Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Chargers running back Melvin Gordon
- The Action Network's NFL experts give their favorite bets for Week 3 of the 2018 season, including ones for Sunday and Monday night.
- Hope you're ready to sell high on a few overvalued teams. Plus, get over/under betting angles on multiple matchups.
Everybody keeps talking about the first Browns win in 635 days and rightfully so, but do not forget that Cleveland also covered the spread in the process. Good teams win, and great (err, non-winless) teams cover.
After Baker Mayfield delivered in his debut on Thursday Night Football, a few other quarterback questions highlight the Week 3 card:
- Can Ryan Fitzpatrick and Patrick Mahomes stay red hot?
- How will Carson Wentz look in his return to Philly?
- Will Marcus Mariota play against the Jaguars?
You will see some of those questions touched upon as you read through our staff’s favorite Week 3 NFL bets, which include picks for both Sunday and Monday Night Football. Let’s get to it.
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SUNDAY’S EARLY ACTION
Sean Koerner: 49ers +6.5 (at Chiefs)
1 p.m. ET on FOX
Make no mistake, quarterback Patrick Mahomes is the real deal. However, as I discuss in my Week 3 Tiers column, he’s certainly going to regress from a Madden Create-a-player with 99 at every attribute down to a top-tier QB.
In order for the Chiefs to remain undefeated, Mahomes and the offense will need to keep up the pace considering their defense is in rough shape and likely without Eric Berry again this week.
On the other side of the ball, Jimmy G and the 49ers offense is no pushover. They are more than capable of trading TDs with the Chiefs offense.
They will also welcome back LB Reuben Foster — who returns from a two-game suspension. Foster’s presence will only help San Fran’s chances of keeping the KC offense in check.
I’d wait until the Chiefs hype potentially drives this number all the way up to a key number in +7 and attack then.
John Ewing: 49ers +6.5 (at Chiefs)
1 p.m. ET on FOX
Mahomes is on pace to throw for 80 touchdowns, and the Chiefs are leading the league in scoring. That pace simply won’t last, and if everything isn’t clicking on offense, I have no confidence in a defense that is allowing 32.5 points per game.
Plus, after KC’s impressive wins over the Chargers and Steelers, the oddsmakers have told us that they will inflate the Chiefs’ lines going forward. Our simulations back that statement up as The Action Network model lists KC as only a 4.5-point favorite in Week 3.
Finally, I’m a sucker for a good trend. Kansas City started the season by winning and covering in back-to-back road games. Bettors might expect the good times to continue with the Chiefs playing their home opener in Week 3.
However, according to Bet Labs, teams that began the season with consecutive road games have gone 9-26-2 (26%) ATS in Week 3 home openers, since 2003. Home-field advantage is often overvalued.
Sell high on the Chiefs and side with the Niners value.
Collin Wilson: 49ers +6.5 (at Chiefs)
1 p.m. ET on FOX
Fading the Chiefs has to pay off at some point, correct? The Chiefs enter 2-0 ATS after an impressive non-stop scoring victory in Pittsburgh, while San Francisco carries an 0-2 ATS record after having to hold on for dear life against the Lions.
This pick would seem as contrarian as possible, but a few metrics from Football Outsiders lead me to believe the 49ers defense actually has a shot to contain the Chiefs’ explosive offense.
Additionally, despite the perception discrepancy, these two teams have a very similar net yards per play over the first two weeks:
- Chiefs: +0.5
- 49ers: +0.3
This line should sit around 4, not 7.
Chad Millman: Bengals +3 (at Panthers)
1 p.m. ET on CBS
Collin just mentioned yards per play, which is the most important stat when it comes to betting on football. It’s the best indicator there is of how a team is performing; it’s immune from fluke plays, turnovers and garbage-time scores.
Right now, the Bengals rank in the top 10 in ypp on offense and defense. In Week 1, they beat a Colts team on the road that is a bit better than people expected, especially on defense. They then followed that up with a dominant win over the Ravens in Week 2.
Their rush D is especially good, allowing just 3.2 ypp. You can’t say that’s a fluke when this defensive line has consistently been great the past few years.
The Panthers defense was exposed last week by Matt Ryan, especially in the secondary where Carolina starts a rookie in Donte Jackson and a 37-year-old safety in Mike Adams.
The Panthers did run up some numbers on offense, but Cam threw the ball 45 times while trying to come back late. He will have to do that again this week because Christian McCaffrey will not be able to run through the Bengals defensive front.
Take the points with a Bengals team that should benefit from a few extra days of preparation and rest.