LAS VEGAS – The third week of the NFL season opened with a bang last night as the Rams beat the 49ers 41-39 to set the record for points scored on a Thursday Night.

Should we expect an offensive explosion this weekend after a slow start to the NFL’s offenses?

I guess we will have to wait and see, but the lines for this week’s SuperContest are the toughest yet. Vegas has now seen two weeks of games to make their evaluations, and they are expecting a lot of tight games in Week 3. There are 10 SuperContest lines with the underdog getting fewer than four points.

The three leaders of the contest are currently holding 9-1 records, so this is an important week for those of us who are already multiple wins behind.

To recap our first two weeks, Team Gamenight and Team Beatrix Kiddo are 5-4-1 so far after 10 games. Team Bet The Process and Team Sports Action, our computer algorithm, are both 3-6-1 in the contest.

This week, I chose to attack my five picks with the philosophy of looking for teams that are desperate for wins and have their backs against the wall. It’s September, and you can save your season if you string together a few wins before Columbus Day. I especially liked teams that were either getting points at home or were -3 or less this week. I found a few that fit my criteria.

However, this is the most nervous I have been with my selections for the SuperContest. Maybe it’s a good sign that I’m nervous, or maybe I’m in for a rough week. Let’s make some picks!

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Saints +5.5 at Panthers

New Orleans just got crushed by the Patriots at home, and their defense has not been good at all through two weeks. However, at 0-2, this team is as desperate as anyone in the NFL right now, and I think QB Drew Brees is going to be on his game. The Saints travel to Charlotte to take on a Panthers team that hasn’t been good on offense so far. Carolina QB Cam Newton has not been sharp, as he is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. Last week, the Panthers only scored nine points against the Bills and put up just 255 total yards of offense. I like the Saints to keep this game close and potentially get the W. New Orleans is 2-0-1 ATS in the last three games they have played at Carolina.

Bucs -3 at Vikings

I think this will be a very popular pick and a game Matty Vegas and I will discuss on this week’s edition of the Fade or Follow Podcast. (Look for it tomorrow night here). The Vikings have a QB problem with the injured knee of Sam Bradford. Last week, he couldn’t play, and Case Keenum struggled to move the ball against the Steelers. Keenum will start again versus Tampa. The Bucs have only played one game because of Hurricane Irma postponing their opener, but Tampa blasted the Bears at home last week 29-7. It’s interesting that Sports Action’s Pro+ Math Model (available with a premium membership to our app) is slightly going the other way on this game, but I’m going to go with my eyes on this one and take Tampa Bay.

Falcons -3 at Lions

This pick is being made because I’m not buying Detroit just yet as being one of the elite teams in the NFC. The Lions beat the Cardinals, who are old, and the Giants who can’t score on anyone. The Falcons have defeated the Bears on the road and the Packers easily at home. I believe more in Atlanta. QB Matt Ryan has thrown 21 touchdowns to zero picks over his last nine games, and with the added benefit of this game being in a dome, I like the Falcons to win this game and cover. This contest seems to scream high scoring, but the under is 6-1 in the last seven games between this two powerful offenses.

Chargers +3 vs. Chiefs

I’m going back to my initial comment about taking desperate teams this week. Los Angeles could easily be 2-0 after heartbreaking losses at Denver and last week to Miami. However, the Chargers are 0-2, and they have another huge game against a divisional opponent coming to town in Kansas City. With everyone else in the division 2-0 to start the week, the Chargers’ season is hanging in the balance. This is a must-win, and I’m going to roll with LA to get in the win column against a tough Chiefs team who might be due for a letdown. I also like the fact that they are getting points at home after losing two games by a combined five points.

Raiders -3 at Redskins

Oakland has not played at Washington since 1995, so there isn’t a lot of data to look at for this matchup. However, I’m a believer in the Raiders this season, and I think people who have been expecting Oakland to take a step backwards are wrong. The Raiders have been great on the road over the past two years, winning at Tennessee this year already, and 8-2 ATS over their last 10 road games. Washington was favored in Week 1 at home against Philly and lost 30-17. They are getting three points here, and I don’t think they will be able to keep up with QB Derek Carr and Oakland’s high-powered offense. The Redskins are giving up 25 points per game so far on defense, and that’s bad news with Oakland coming in. The Raiders have scored over 35 points per so far in 2017.

Team Beatrix Potter is currently working on their picks at the time of this publication, but Team Bet The Process started Week 3 by taking Jets +6 to play well against divisional rival Miami. They also selected Denver -3 to go and grab their third win of the season at Buffalo, the Bengals +8.5 to hang with the Packers, Washington +3 at home versus Oakland and Arizona +3 to cover against the 1-1 Cowboys.

For Team Super Contest, our computer model is running with Ravens -3.5 in London against the Jags, the Colts +1 at home against Cleveland, Pittsburgh -7 against Chicago on the road, Tampa Bay -3 at Minnesota, and lastly, the Cardinals +3 on the Monday Night Football versus Dallas.

If you are on iTunes, you can subscribe to the Fade or Follow Podcast here so you never miss an episode. Be watching for Episode 3 later tomorrow with Vegas Matty and myself on the consensus 5 picks of the Westgate SuperContest!

Song for the weekend (and my current jam)

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