NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions: Chargers, Lions, Falcons Headline Our Best Bets For Sunday’s Early Games
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images. Pictured: Jared Goff No. 16 of the Detroit Lions and teammates
Looking for the best bets on the board for Week 3 of the 2021 NFL season? Our experts have you covered!
For the early slate of games, they’re eyeing the over for the Falcons and Giants total, as well as the spread for two underdogs. Find out why they’re picking the Chargers to take down the Chiefs and the Lions to hand it to the Ravens this week.
Ravens vs. Lions
Sean Koerner: The Ravens are coming off an emotional 36-35 win over the Chiefs on Sunday Night Football, so I view this as a potential letdown game.
As of writing, 66% of the action has come in on Baltimore, yet the line has remained parked at -7.5 (check real-time public betting data here). There are plenty of reasons the sharps may be on the Lions here.
The Ravens continue to face lousy injury luck. All-pro LT Ronnie Stanley remains out and the defense will be without Derek Wolfe, Brandon Williams and Justin Houston.
Baltimore’s ravaged defense, coupled with Jared Goff’s willingness to take what the defense gives him when trailing, makes the Lions a serious threat for a backdoor cover here. We’ve already seen them pull off a miraculous backdoor “push” in Week 1 against the 49ers. I’m only interested in getting the Lions at the key number of +7.5 here.
Chargers vs. Chiefs
Michael Arinze: I love this spot for Los Angeles, notably off a loss. You could make the argument that if you were starting a team and Patrick Mahomes was off the board, you’d probably select Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert as the best available player.
But let’s focus on the Chiefs for a moment. When you watch this team, it’s almost as if they get bored at times with the understanding that the offense can overcome any errors or obstacles they make on the day. And if we look at the team’s structure, Kansas City utilizes a “bend but don’t break” style of defense. The Chiefs allow teams to have everything in front of them to avoid giving up the big play. This is a calculated risk because the assumption is that their touchdown efficiency will be too much for their opponents to overcome throughout the ballgame.
Last season, Kansas City was sixth with 3.4 touchdowns per game. Through two games this season, they’re ranked second with 4.5 per game. Defensively, the Chiefs allowed 2.7 touchdowns per game, and this season that number’s up to 4.5. As long as that margin is within one, Getting seven points in this spot with the underdog is a play you should make more times than not.
Here are two things to note for this game: The visiting team is 12-3-1 ATS in the last 16 meetings. Kansas City is on an 0-4 ATS run. The Chiefs are 1-9-1 ATS in their previous 10 games.
The Chargers are widely available at +7, but I’m going to buy the hook to +7.5 to avoid a possible push.
Falcons vs. Giants
Chris Raybon: After fading the Falcons as a favorite against the Eagles in Week 1 then vs. the Buccaneers in Week 2 (via tease), it’s finally time to buy low on Atlanta — Arthur Smith showed he was a brilliant offensive mind in Tennessee, and I expect the first-time head coach’s team to improve as the season progresses.
The reason I faded Atlanta in Weeks 1-2 was that it was badly outmatched in the trenches (correctly evaluating the offensive line vs. defensive line battle on both sides is a key to being a profitable long-term NFL bettor). But in this Week 3 matchup, the Falcons should be able to hold their own against a Giants front that has brought down the quarterback only three times in two games. And on the defensive side, the Falcons won’t be great, but the matchup against the Giants’ bottom-tier offensive line is substantially better than the top-tier Eagles and Bucs units.
The Giants covered on the road last week, and now they’re getting a field goal (or more at some books) at home. This has been the formula to betting the Giants: Giants stink at home, go on the road and surprise people, and then come back down to earth just in time to be overrated for what turns out to be an ugly showing in the Meadowlands of New Jersey.
Case in point: According to our Action Labs data, Daniel Jones is 10-4 against the spread on the road, but just 4-10 ATS at home.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Atlanta wins this game outright. I like the Falcons on the spread at a field goal or better.
Falcons vs. Giants
Billy Ward: The Falcons are allowing 40 points per game so far this season. Yes, they played Tom Brady and the Bucs, but they also allowed 32 points against the Eagles. On the other side of the ball, the Giants defense allowed Washington, led by backup Taylor Heinicke, to put up 30 points.
Both of these teams are in the bottom six in the league in overall DVOA currently. The offenses for both teams have shown some life as well. Daniel Jones was impressive against a tough Washington defense — the Giants ended up scoring 29 points. His rushing ability has been critical so far this year, and I expect Saquon Barkley to improve as he comes back from last year’s ACL tear.
Matt Ryan looked better in week two, completing 76% of his throws en route to 300 yards. The three interceptions he threw hurt the Falcons, but turnovers help when we’re betting overs. Most other books have moved this line up to 47.5, but for now BetMGM is holding firm at 47. I’d continue to place this bet down to 47.5 (-110), but it’s important to shop for the best line.