Our Experts’ Favorite NFL Bets for Week 3

Our Experts’ Favorite NFL Bets for Week 3 article feature image

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins

  • Our staff reveals their favorite NFL bets for Sunday's main slate of Week 3 games.
  • See how they're betting Texans-Chargers, including an against-the-spread and over/under pick.

Are the Texans being undervalued against the Chargers?

Our staff reveals their five favorite bets for Sunday’s main slate of Week 3 games, featuring two picks for that late afternoon AFC showdown.

Odds above as of Friday evening and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can exclusively bet every NFL spread this season at reduced juice (-105).

Here are the games they have against-the-spread and over/under picks for:

  • Falcons at Colts: 1 p.m. ET
  • Raiders at Vikings: 1 p.m. ET
  • Lions at Eagles: 1 p.m. ET
  • Texans at Chargers: 4:25 p.m. ET

Now let’s dig in!

Chad Millman: Colts -1 vs. Falcons

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET

Week 1, the Colts lose in OT, thanks to Adam Vinatieri leaving many many points on the field. Week 2, the Colts survive the Titans, in spite of Adam Vinatieri leaving many many points on the field.

In both cases, the Colts were underdogs, and neither made sense to me. This one doesn’t, either.

Their offensive line is among the best in the NFL, and that seems to be forgotten by fans who are betting the Falcons at a 62% clip as of writing (see live public betting data here). Maybe there’s some residual, high-flying perception from the Falcons beating the Eagles on Sunday Night Football, but look beyond that score: I saw a Falcons team lose a lead, only to win because one of the best players in the league made a miracle mad dash for the end zone off a screen pass.

The Colts are strong where it matters — on the offensive front and  in the running game — two areas where the Falcons don’t have enough answers to be getting so much respect, especially on the road.

Matthew Freedman: Vikings -9 vs. Raiders

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET

If you follow me in The Action Network app, you’ll see that I have this at -7.5, which is where I bet it shortly after lines were released on Sunday night. But I still think there’s plenty of juice left in this lemon to make -9 worth it.

Under head coach Mike Zimmer, the Vikings have had all sorts of edges (per Bet Labs).

They have been a profitable regular-season team to back:

  • At home: 28-12-1, 35.1% Return on Investment
  • As favorites: 30-14-1, 32.1% ROI
  • Outside of division: 37-13-1, 43.3% ROI

I tend not to be a “trend bettor,” but these trends make sense to me within the context of who Zimmer is as a coach and what kind of team the Vikings are.

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Mike Zimmer

Zimmer is a focused, no-nonsense, risk-adverse, process-oriented “manager” (for lack of a better word), and the Vikings are a disciplined team that doesn’t often make big mistakes. They don’t waste the natural advantage they have at home. They don’t play down to the level of their underdog opponents. They don’t present a known and easy challenge to teams that aren’t familiar with them.

Against the Raiders, the Vikings are a non-divisional home favorite. They are in the middle of this Venn diagram of sports-betting goodness.

As non-divisional home favorites, Zimmer’s Vikings are an outstanding 17-2-1, good for a 70.7% ROI.

I’d bet this line to -9.5.

Mike Randle: Vikings -9 vs. Raiders

I’m tacking onto Freedman’s case here.

This game has all the makings of a big Minnesota win. Over the past three seasons, Zimmer’s Vikings have a 76% winning percentage and 7.62 point differential in home games.

In Week 1, the Vikings put on a dominant defensive display against a Falcons offense that is vastly superior to Oakland. Minnesota won 28-12 and sacked Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan four times.

The Raiders were 1-7 on the road last season and that one win was against the Cardinals. Oakland allowed an average of 28.5 points and scored an average of 13.9 points in their eight road games. The Raiders 27th ranked pass defense is now short-handed with first-round rookie safety Jonathan Abram out for the season with a shoulder injury.

Minnesota will be undaunted by Oakland’s fourth-best run defense DVOA (per Football Outsiders). Dalvin Cook leads the NFL with 265 rushing yards and a 6.5 yards per carry average. He totaled 165 rushing yards last week in Green Bay against the Packers’ stout run defense.

Through their first two games, the Raiders have relied heavily on rookie running back Josh Jacobs, who ranks fifth among all running backs with 35 rushing attempts. However, Jacobs’ status for Sunday is questionable with a groin injury.

Take the Vikings at home to easily cover the spread in Oakland’s first road game of 2019. I would also feel comfortable taking this line up to -9.5.

Stuckey: Lions +5.5 at Eagles

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET

I covered the big advantage the Lions have with their secondary in our preview of this game, but don’t sleep on their defensive line, either — it’s one of the NFL’s best with the additions of Mike Daniels and Tre Flowers to a deep group that features Snacks Harrison, Da’Shawn Hand (who might return this week) and A’Shawn Robinson.

They can match up in the run game with Philly’s excellent offensive line.

I don’t think Miles Sanders, who looks like he’s still figuring things out as a rookie, will have a ton of success on the ground. And the Lions could get linebacker and captain Jarrad Davis back this week.

This is a good matchup for the Lions, especially with all of the Eagles’ injuries. Matthew Stafford might make a boneheaded throw or two, and Zach Ertz might have a huge game for Philly, but the Lions should keep this within a touchdown.

I played this at +7, but would take it at +6 or better.

Chris Raybon: Texans +3 at Chargers

Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET

The Texans are coming off an ugly performance in which they barely squeaked out a win at home against a rookie QB, while the Chargers fumbled and kicked and threw a close game away against Detroit on the road.

Easy bounce-back spot for the Chargers, right?

I’m not so sure.

Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram will surely wreak their fair share of havoc. But the Chargers’ depleted secondary combined with the Texans’ addition of Laremy Tunsil and their healthy top-four wide receiving corps featuring DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller, Kenny Stills (the No. 1 rated WR by Pro Football Focus through two weeks!) and Keke Coutee — plus Deshaun Watson’s ability to escape pressure and deliver on the run — the Texans should give the Chargers problems.

The Chargers’ ongoing kicking issues make them absolutely liable to not cover, if not lose this game outright.

They’re at home, but so what? It hasn’t been an advantage for them in the Anthony Lynn era, as their 40.0% cover rate in their own building is tied for the sixth-lowest since he took over in 2017.

Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins

Oh, and by the way, Watson is 6-2 against the spread as a road underdog — the line tends to sell him short in these situations, and it’s been the most profitable spot to back the Texans (Watson is 7-8-1 ATS in all other situations).

Another trend working in Houston’s favor? Road underdogs are 115-93-6 ATS since 2003 when both teams failed to cover in the prior week, including 58-40-2 when +4 or less (per Bet Labs).

I got this at +3.5, but big bets have pushed this line to +3. I would still bet it there, but would consider the Texans’ moneyline if the line goes to +2.5 or lower.

John Ewing: Texans-Chargers Over 48.5

Thanks to a goal-line fumble and two missed field goals, the Chargers scored just 10 points in their Week 2 loss to Detroit. The Texans also struggled to get their offense going last week — the 13 points they scored were tied for the fewest in a game that Watson has started.

Unsurprisingly, Los Angeles and Houston each went under their totals, so it’s natural that bettors would want to wager on this under. And nearly 60% of bettors are banking on these teams to combine for fewer than 48 points. But history says the over has value.

Since 2003, the over is 480-437-12 (52.3%) in games when both teams went under the previous week.

Oddsmakers know recreational gamblers tend to chase results. If both teams went under in their past game, the bookmakers will shade the total to the under anticipating public money.

This strategy works the best early in the season, when we can take advantage of bettors putting too much emphasis on a small sample of team performances.

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