Welcome to Week 3! I hope everyone is feeling as good as Ryan Fitzpatrick did wearing DeSean Jackson’s clothes and channeling his inner Conor McGregor at the Buccaneers’ postgame press conference.
— samantha (@previtee) September 17, 2018
As a season-long bettor, sometimes you have good weeks, sometimes you have bad weeks, and sometimes you have 8-8 weeks like I did in Week 2 and you feel like Jeff Fisher. It happens. Cheers to a new card and 16 more games.
Please keep in mind that means by the time you’re reading this, the line may have shifted depending on breaking news during the week, or money flowing through the market.
Sunday 1:00 PM EST
San Francisco at Kansas City, -6.5
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes continued to shine in Week 2 on the road against the Steelers, throwing for 6 touchdowns on 326 yards and 28 attempts. I think he’s due for some regression since he probably won’t throw for 80 touchdowns this season, but with weapons like Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, Kareem Hunt, and the reemergence of Sammy Watkins, it will be difficult for opposing defenses to stymie this offensive. Meanwhile, the 49ers barely eked out a win last Sunday against a permeable Lions defense and some questionable coaching from Matt Patricia. I am taking the Chiefs to win this game handily and cover the spread.
Denver at Baltimore, -5.5
The Broncos barely got the win against Jon Gruden’s Raiders last Sunday. Meanwhile, the Ravens are coming off of a tough divisional loss to the Bengals in which their defense allowed Andy Dalton to throw for three first half touchdowns. I think this is a bounce-back game for Baltimore, who has had extra rest and time to prepare for the Denver. With the Broncos traveling cross-country, give me the Ravens to cover the 5.5 point spread at home.
NY Giants at Houston, -5.5
The Giants and Texans are facing a lot of similar issues going into Week 3. Quarterbacks Eli Manning and Deshaun Watson, though at different ends of their careers and for very different reasons, are facing serious criticism. Additionally, both teams’ offensive lines remain pain points. This is a tough game to bet, but I think the Giants offensive line may be the worst in the league. This, stacked up against a decent Texans’ pass rush, will be a serious challenge for Eli come Sunday. I am taking the Texans to cover the 5.5 point spread.
Oakland at Miami, -3.5
The Dolphins are quietly the AFC East leaders beginning the season at 2-0. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill completed almost 73% of his passes in last week’s outing and former Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick has made a palpable impact on their defense, which has also looked solid in the first two weeks. Meanwhile, Derek Carr and the Raiders are still in the hunt for their first win of the season, and I don’t think they will find it in Miami travelling cross country against a decent pass rush, especially with Carr’s historical performance under pressure. The spread basically suggests this game would be a pick ‘em on a neutral field, which feels suspiciously low. I would like this game more at 3, which is where most books have it, but I have to go with the hot hand and take the Dolphins to cover the 3.5 spread in this game.
Green Bay at Washington, +2.5
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been dealing with a knee strain, but was still good enough to tie the Vikings against their impressive defense in my biggest heartbreak of the week (as I took the Packers as half point favorites to win the game). Meanwhile, the Redskins have come back down to earth after a bad loss to the Colts at home. Alex Smith went without a touchdown last week, and they will be even thinner at the running back position, placing Rob Kelley on injured reserve this week. I’m not overly concerned about the Rodgers injury, as he was able to stay in the pocket for the overwhelming majority of his passes. Although I’m usually partial to home underdogs, I am going with the Packers to win this game and cover the 2.5 spread.
Cincinnati at Carolina, -3.5
The Panthers are dealing with significant offensive injuries to right tackle Daryl WIlliams and tight end Greg Olsen, as well as a concussion to right guard Trai Turner. They are up against the AFC north-leading Bengals, who secured a big divisional win against the Ravens in Thursday night football. The Bengals may have lost sophomore running back Joe Mixon to knee surgery last week, but they’ve had extra time to prepare for this Carolina team not even close to full strength. Give me the Bengals getting the 3.5 points on the road.
Indianapolis at Philadelphia, -6.5
Carson Wentz is slated to return this week, a very exciting prospect for all of Wentzlvania. They will have to temper expectations, however, as recovering from a torn ACL is no easy feat. We’ve seen Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson struggle in the first two weeks of the season after recovering from a similar spot. Wentz will also be without star receiver Alshon Jeffery again, and with Mike Wallace on injured reserve, the Eagles come into this game very thin at the wide receiver position. Running back Jay Ajayi may also miss this game due to a lower back injury. With so many weapons gone and without knowing what we can expect from Wentz, I am leaning Colts to keep this one within a touchdown and cover the spread.
Tennessee at Jacksonville, -6.5
Most books have yet to put a line on this game once again with Tennessee’s quarterback situation up in the air. If Blaine Gabbert starts this game, it’s very easily Jaguars laying the touchdown. Even if Marcus Mariota plays, Tennessee left tackle Taylor Lewan still may not be available, and Jacksonville’s pass rush is no joke. Keep an eye on news for this game throughout the week, but I think regardless of the quarterback on the Titans’ side of the ball, it’s Jaguars or nothing for me against the spread.
New Orleans at Atlanta, -3.5
Matt Ryan showed some improvement in Week 2 against the Panthers, but the Falcons aren’t out of the woods yet. They’re still down two of their best pass rushers in Keanu Neil and Deion Jones on defense, and star running back Devonta Freeman is unlikely to play in Sunday’s matchup against the Saints. I think this NFC south divisional matchup stays close and think New Orleans could even win this game on the road, despite an iffy start against the Bucs and Browns, respectively. With both defenses looking less than stellar, give me the Saints to keep it within a field goal and maybe even win outright.
Buffalo at Minnesota, -16.5
This is the biggest line of the year to date and Vegas is practically begging you to take the Bills. Games with huge lines are always tough because while the Bills might be this year’s Cleveland Browns, when teams go up by significant margins, starters get pulled and the next thing you know, the Bills have a backdoor, garbage time cover. That said, their only star player, LeSean McCoy, has a rib injury that will most likely sideline him for Sunday’s game. Without any viable offensive weapons, I just don’t see them putting up any kind of fight against a good Minnesota team that is stacked on both sides of the ball. As much as it pains me to say it, give me the Vikings laying the 16.5 points at home.
Sunday 4:05 PM EST
LA Chargers at LA Rams, -7.5
The Rams come into this game 2-0, outscoring the Raiders and Cardinals collectively 77-13 in the first two games of the season. They will face their first serious test against the Chargers and while the Rams feel like a much more complete team on each side of the ball, I think the Chargers manage to keep this one close. Keep an eye on the injury report for star running back Melvin Gordon throughout the week, who has been dealing with an upper body issue. I would probably reconsider this line at a touchdown or under so this isn’t a strong pick, but at 7.5, I think you have to look at the Chargers getting the points.
Sunday 4:05 PM EST
Dallas at Seattle, -2.5
I’m not sure Seattle’s first home game of the season can help with their offensive line woes. Quarterback Russell Wilson took six more sacks on Monday after taking seven in Week 1. Meanwhile, Dallas’ pass rush and defense overall may be a lone bright spot for this team. Seattle will be without star wide receiver Doug Baldwin again, and for these reasons, I have to lean Cowboys, who actually plays well on the road and are looking better than their roster’s talent would suggest.
Chicago at Arizona, +5.5
This feels like a pretty big overreaction line in light of Chicago’s Monday night win against a bad Seahawks team. The line has already shifted to 6 and even 6.5 at some books with Vegas begging you to take Arizona. The Bears have a strong pass rush which will get after Sam Bradford in this game, but Matt Nagy will need to ignite Mitch Trubisky and their offense before I can start to lay 6 points with this squad. I am going with the home underdog Cardinals in this spot getting 5.5 points.
Sunday 8:20 PM EST
New England at Detroit, +6.5
Matt Patricia and the Lions will face a difficult matchup against his alma mater, the Patriots, who are known for punishing teams A) after a loss, and B) with returning former coaches. If newly added Josh Gordon can play this Sunday, Tom Brady will have another deep threat target on the field. I am taking the Patriots to bounce back after an embarrassing loss to the Jaguars and blow out the Lions on the road in primetime.
Monday 8:15 PM EST
Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay, +1.5
This line also feels like a pretty a bit of an overreaction to the last two weeks. Try to think back to before Week 1 if I told you the Steelers would only be favored by 1.5 in prime time against the Buccaneers without Jameis Winston; you’d probably have laughed and thrown a pretty penny on the Steelers, right? All this said, the Buccaneers have beaten two good teams in two weeks straight. I think you have to lean on the home underdogs with the hot hand in prime time, which is why I’m going Buccaneers getting the 1.5 points.
Thursday 8:20 PM EST
NY Jets at Cleveland, -3.5
I have to admit, I had to read this line a few times to make sure I wasn’t misreading it – the 0-1-1 Browns are actually favored by 3.5 in this Thursday night’s game against the Jets. This is only the second time during head coach Hue Jackson’s 35 game tenure that the Browns have been the favorite. History aside, their two opening games were winnable, especially had their kicker not missed four kicks last Sunday. This could be the Bud Light fridge-opening game, but the extra half point makes me shy away. I am taking the Jets to keep this within the field goal.