NFL Picks: The 5 Best Spreads & Totals To Bet For Week 3

NFL Picks: The 5 Best Spreads & Totals To Bet For Week 3 article feature image
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Ronald Martinez/Getty Images. Pictured: Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott

One way I find betting edges is by comparing the odds to my NFL Power Ratings — if there’s a notable difference between my projections and the market, I’ll make a bet. (You can read more about my methodology here.)

Each week of the season I’ll highlight the biggest of those edges. We’ve got five for Week 3, so let’s jump right in!

Week 3 NFL Picks

Click on a pick to skip ahead to that analysis.

Pick
Kickoff
Bet Now At
Patriots -5.5 vs. Raiders
1 p.m. ET
DraftKings
Giants +3.5 vs. 49ers
1 p.m. ET
FanDuel
Bears +3.5 at Falcons
1 p.m. ET
PointsBet
Titans-Vikings Under 50
1 p.m. ET
PointsBet
Cowboys-Seahawks Under 57.5
4:25 p.m. ET
BetMGM

Patriots -5.5 vs. Raiders

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | TV: CBS

The Patriots were one yard shy of upsetting the Seahawks and opening the season 2-0.

What was encouraging about last Sunday’s matchup was how well the Patriots performed in a negative game script in which Cam Newton attempted 44 passes. This week’s matchup against the overachieving Raiders should play right into the Patriots’ strengths.

The Raiders defense ranks 26th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA against the pass and 28th against the run, so I expect the Patriots to get to an early lead and force Derek Carr to push the ball downfield.

Bill Belichick is a mastermind at coming up with a game plan to stop what the opposing offense would like to do. Josh Jacobs and Darren Waller are the lifeblood of this Raiders offense. The Patriots will likely stack the box to slow down Jacobs while also tasking Stephon Gilmore to shut down Waller, which will force Carr to look downfield to throw, but with first-round pick Henry Ruggs ruled out, Carr won’t have his top downfield threat at his disposal.

I expect the Patriots to easily win this game and would bet them up to the key number of -7.

[Bet now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 bonus, including a $500 risk-free bet]

Giants +3.5 vs. 49ers

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | TV: FOX

The 49ers have been decimated by injuries to start the 2020 season.

Every single key player on offense and defense is expected to miss this game. You can read more in-depth analysis about how I and some of my colleagues have adjusted our projections as a result, but for context, I’ve lowered the 49ers’ team rating by 5-7 points in the aftermath.

The Giants are also dealing with injuries and will be without Saquon Barkley (season-ending ACL tear) and Sterling Shepard. I’ve docked 1.5 points from my Giants team rating based on their absences.

If both teams were healthy, I would set this spread at 49ers -7. But given the injury adjustments, I moved this number down to 49ers -2, so I love the idea of locking in a key number like +3.5 against a team that will roll out a starting lineup that you would typically only see when starters are resting in Week 17.

[Bet Giants +3.5 at FanDuel completely risk-free for $1,000]

Bears +3.5 at Falcons

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | TV: FOX

About 75% of the bets have been on the Falcons -3.5 to -4 all week, but sharp action has been pushing it to -3 (find real-time public betting data here). It’s truly bizarre to see the public backing an 0-2 Falcons team against a 2-0 Bears squad.

I expect both teams to regress toward the 8-8 record I projected for them heading into the season. However, the Falcons should not be laying a key number of -3.5 in this spot. Their defense has been unable to stop the pass (28th in DVOA), and a hamstring injury has slowed down Julio Jones.

I project this game at Falcons -2 and love to lock in a key number like 3.5 for a game I consider to be a coin flip.

[Bet now at PointsBet and get $150 if the Bears score a point]

Titans-Vikings Under 50

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | TV: CBS

After opening at 45.5, this total has been bet up to 50. But I have it projected at 45, and I can’t figure out why it has climbed 4.5 points other than that 98% of the money has poured in on the over.

A.J. Brown has already been ruled out, which leaves the Titans without their top wide receiver for the second straight game. They should still move the ball with ease against a rebuilding Vikings defense, though, and I expect another “Derrick Henry game” of 25 or more carries.

Both teams love to run the ball when in a neutral game state. Last season, the Titans ran the ball at the second-highest rate in one-possession games while the Vikings ran the ball at the seventh-highest rate. This trend has spilled into 2020 with the Vikings now second and Titans now ninth.

Considering the Titans are 2.5- to 3-point favorites, this game should be reasonably close for all four quarters. The Vikings also love to play at a slower pace (28th in seconds per play in a neutral game situation per Football Outsiders) while the Titans are closer to league average (13th).

Of course, these two teams are capable of combining for more than 50 points, but I don’t see how the medium would be in the 50s if they played this very game 1,000 times.

It might be worth seeing if the line climbs to 51 considering it’s a key number when it comes to betting totals, but it’s already my play of the week at 50. I would bet it down to 47.5.

[Bet the Under at PointsBet risk-free up to $250]

Cowboys-Seahawks Under 57.5

Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET | TV: FOX

It pains me to target the under in a matchup that offers a ton of fantasy football potential. However, with bettors pounding the over with 80% tickets and 99% of the money as of writing, the total is now as high as 57.5 at some books. And with 57 the last key number for totals, I would expect the sharps to come in on the under at 57.5 (consult our PRO Report for any sharp action).

We need only a few stops on defense for the under to hit with a total this high.

One area in which regression could be on our side is red-zone scoring percentage: Seattle has scored a touchdown on 100% of its red-zone trips this season (first) while Dallas has scored a touchdown on 70% (seventh). For context, the top team(s) in that metric usually finish around 70%, and while I expect the Seahawks to be a top-three offense the rest of the season, they’ll eventually have a game in which they’ll have to settle for a field goal (or two) in the red zone — mark my words.

The Seahawks defense should also only improve as safety Jamal Adams continues to perfect his role on his new team. He can help shut down an opposing offense in nearly every facet. And if offensive tackle Tyron Smith (game-time decision) is unable to suit up for the second straight game, it would be a massive loss for the Cowboys offense.

I’ll be fading the public here, fully aware of this game’s scoring potential. But 57.5 provides just enough value that I can’t pass it up.

[Bet now at BetMGM and get a $500 INSTANT deposit match]


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