Week 3 NFL betting guide: Picks against the spread for every game, best totals, and more

Week 3’s NFL betting picks brings plenty of total plays and a spread you must hit

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo stands on the field during the second half an NFL football game H=, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
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The picture is starting to become clearer for some teams around the NFL.

At the same time, we’re getting two teams that are getting 20-plus points this week.

And first-time starters at quarterback. So many first-time starters at quarterback.

I regret to say it, but things are still a hot mess.

Let’s see if we can exploit the market.


Broncos at Packers (-7.5)

This is a quick breakdown: Is Joe Flacco and the Denver Broncos offense going to put up more than 20 points on the road?

I don’t think so.

And I’m not all that in on the Packers’ offense.

The spread is a hot mess here, but there’s big-time value in that under. I think it’s three or four points too high.

Bet: Under 43


Bengals at Bills (-6)

This game has too many contradictions for me to place a bet.

I love the Bills’ defense, but I’m not sure if I can buy in on the offense just yet, as their first two opponents were the Jets and the Giants. Add in no Devin Singletary and I’m not bullish.

And while I want to fade the Bengals hard after the Niners exposed them on both sides of the ball, six points seems like a lot.

Sorry Bills, you’ve made me a bunch of money so far, but…

NO BET


Falcons at Colts (-1)

This is a no-man’s land.

Two factors to note with the Falcons: Matt Ryan is a terrible road quarterback and the run game has been underwhelming this season.

Pair that with a Colts offense that can move the ball but doesn’t stop the run, and I can’t advise anything on this game. This is NFL parity at its best.

NO BET


Raiders (+9) at Vikings

Well, it didn’t take long for the Raiders to get punted by the market.

This line opened at 7.5 and jumped to 9 right quick.

Take that shift.

The Vikings want to run the ball on every single down. The one bright spot for the Raiders, I would argue, is run defense.

Do you trust Kirk Cousins to pass the Vikings to a win?

Do you trust Derek Carr to challenge the Vikings defense downfield behind a questionable offensive line (right tackle Trent Brown might not play) and with questionable weapons around him?

No and no.

So I don’t think there are many points in this game, which makes a nine-point margin look hilarious.

I’m staying away from the handicap — I don’t trust the Raiders — but I’m pounding the under.

Bet: Under 43.5


Giants at Buccaneers (-6.5)

Buy into all the Daniel Jones hype you want — hell, he might be an upgrade over Eli Manning — he won’t fix the Giants’ god awful defense.

And seeing as we saw some life from Tampa Bay in their win over the Panthers last Thursday — and all they have to do is stuff the box on first and second down to slow down whatever the Giants pass as offense these days — I have to like the home team here.

Bet: Buccaneers -6.5


Panthers at Cardinals (-2)

I don’t know what Kyle Allen is. He might be an upgrade to the injured Cam Newton, but I’m not putting anything on this game.

Update: Allen grew up in the Phoenix area. That’s cool! Still…

NO BET


Texans at Chargers (-3)

The Chargers somehow lost to the Lions last week, but they’re fine. In fact, they’re being undervalued by the market, and that, in conjunction with the Texans being one of the most overpriced teams in the NFL, creates value.

I think this number would be good to 5 points, so I’m jumping on two freebies.

I was moving towards a total bet — the Chargers’ secondary is poised to give up some big plays — but ultimately, I can’t bet on Deshaun Watson in this one. He’s behind a bad offensive line and runs into sacks — he’ll play directly into the strength of the Chargers’ defense.

Bet: Chargers -3


Dolphins (+23) at Cowboys

I will not be writing up any Dolphins games until they prove they can compete with NFL teams.

NO BET


Patriots at Jets (+22.5)

Tom Brady was the 199th overall pick.

Jets starting quarterback Luke Falk was the 199th overall pick.

Both were vaulted into their first start in Week 3.

Coincidence?

Yes.

But sometimes that’s all we need.

That said, no person in their right might would be this game.

I’m not touching this.

NO BET


Lions (+6) at Eagles

I don’t think the Lions are very good — all the numbers except the final score from last week’s win against the Chargers indicated that they should have been smoked. I’m also not in on Matt Stafford and Matt Patricia on the road — that’s just principles.

But the Eagles are banged up on offense and look lost on defense. This line is inflated given the number of injuries this team has to skill position players.

The Eagles are going to try to run it a ton, but I think the Lions get points in this contest.

Ultimately the Lions make no sense and the Eagles are dramatically overrated.

So take the day game off – there’s no desirable outcome here.

But if you’re a degenerate like me, take the two or three extra points the market is giving Detroit.

Bet: Lions +6


Ravens at Chiefs (-6.5)

This is a strong line, but given the love of Baltimore this season, I do think that there’s value in it.

I like Lamar Jackson as the next guy, and I’m not going to be making some argument about him not being a passer — he can pass, he’s really good at it — but I’m fading the Ravens because they have played two terrible teams and, frankly, in last week’s game against the Cardinals, they weren’t impressive.

Kansas City’s defense is boom-or-bust, and I think they’re pretty smart about how they handle risk. Baltimore is going to have to run against Kansas City to be successful.

You could be out on the Chiefs’ offensive ceiling in this game because they’ll have a backup tackle starting, but Baltimore’s defense is more a theory than an actual intimidating unit. They’re one of the worst defenses in the NFL so far at giving up explosion plays. How is that possible when you play the Dolphins and Ravens?

Never bet against Patrick Mahomes, and buy into a real home-field advantage for the Chiefs.

Bet: Chiefs -6.5


Steelers (+6.5) at 49ers

This game was marked to be even with Ben Roethlisberger in the fold. With him out, it went up to seven points before falling to 6.5.

Forgive me for thinking that Mason Rudolph is just a bit better than that. Seven points? Out of the Big Ben we had seen the last two years? Nah.

Especially when you take into account that Rudolph made the Steelers offense look better when he came in last week against Seattle.

I think the Niners are a better team across the board, but I worry that Jimmy Garoppolo and Kyle Shanahan — who rely so much on YAC — won’t be able to take full advantage of the Steelers’ coverage and scheme issues and will instead hope that they start missing tackles. A big-play, downfield challenging quarterback could feast — that’s not Garoppolo. In fact, challenging downfield is when he gets into trouble.

Add in the fact that they’ll be starting a rookie, sixth-round pick at left tackle and the fact that the Steelers have a solid pass rush — oh yeah, and the lack of a real home-field advantage in Santa Clara — and I’ll take the value the market is giving the Steelers on the handicap.

Bet: Steelers +6.5


Saints at Seahawks (-5)

A tricky, tricky play here. No one knows what you’re going to get with the Saints, who may or may not use two quarterbacks — the underwhelming Teddy Bridgewater and the run-first Taysom Hill — against a Seattle secondary that is questionable at best.

Seattle is going to put points on the board — they’re throwing it more often and letting Russell Wilson do stuff is a great recipe for success.

This is not a body-clock game, as the Saints have stayed on the West Coast all week.

There might be value in these five points, but I wouldn’t bet on Bridgewater — even against these Hawks — and I certainly don’t like quarterback rotations. It’s not worth the risk.

NO BET


Rams at Browns (+3)

I’m not in on the Browns, but I’m fading the Rams at the same time. What’s a bettor to do?

Play an under.

I don’t think the Rams are going to be able to put a big number on the board in this game — their reputation precedes them, but they have not lived up to it in 10 months. I like Jared Goff, but he had a nearly 1:1 TD to INT ratio on the road last year. All that noise makes it difficult for Sean McVay to baby him.

Add in the question marks on the interior offensive line and the Browns’ defensive strength being on the line, and I think Goff hops on the struggle bus, bringing the entire Rams offense with him.

And any time you can bet against the Browns, do it. Especially when they have a sense of false confidence about them, as a win over the lowly Jets will surely provide. Baker Mayfield might have weapons, but he’s proven to be average so far this year and he’s going to meet Aaron Donald at least twice in this game, and that can’t be good for his health.

I’m not taking the handicap, but — in a pinch — the play is Browns. Toss in a money line bet, too. LA is overvalued, in my estimation.

The play is to go under at 48.5. — the total was at 50.5 but moved down three points.

Sit it out if it stays at 47.5, play the under if it moves back towards 50.

Bet: Under 48 (If you can get it)


Chicago (-4) at Washington

Has Mitch Trubisky been good? Not even close. But let’s acknowledge that he’s played two really good defenses in the Packers and Denver (at home).

I’m not totally down on Washington, but they don’t pressure the passer and they can’t stop the run. If Trubisky is clean in the pocket, he’s going to be able to do at least basic competent things, and you know that the Bears have more than competent weapons.

Washington doesn’t have much talent, but they pass the ball a ton and have been pretty successful at it. On the flip side, the Bears’ defense is still good, but not as good as the first two games would indicate.

I’ll take the Bears on the handicap, but the real play is the total, because of the narratives — specifically against Trubisky and for the Bears defense — that has led the market to drive it down from where it started. I’m going to take that free money, because I don’t think it’s outrageous to think that both teams can get into the 20s.

Bet: Over 41.5

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