NFL Week 3 Picks, Predictions: Koerner’s Best Bets for Packers vs Buccaneers, Falcons vs Seahawks

NFL Week 3 Picks, Predictions: Koerner’s Best Bets for Packers vs Buccaneers, Falcons vs Seahawks article feature image

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Sean Koerner is Action Network's Director of Predictive Analytics. Follow him in the Action App to get all his picks instantly as he makes them.

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Packers vs. Buccaneers
Falcons vs. Seahawks

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Packers +1.5
Best Book
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET

Sean Koerner: The Buccaneers are going to be without a ton of key players for this game. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are both out, while Russell Gage, Julio Jones and Breshad Perriman are all questionable. It should set up for a run-heavy game plan where the Buccaneers lean on Leonard Fournette, who's, you guessed it, questionable too with a hamstring injury.

The most concerning injury has to be left tackle Donovan Smith, who is listed as doubtful with an elbow injury. This injury is especially devastating considering backup LT Josh Wells is currently on the injured reserve, meaning the Bucs will be forced to start third-string LT Brandon Walton.

Early in the season, I wrote that the Bucs could not afford any more injuries to their offensive line, considering LG Ali Marpet retired. His replacement Aaron Stinnie and center Ryan Jensen are both on IR.

The Packers have their own issues, including a WR situation that is struggling to replace Davante Adams, but that was one of the reasons why I bet them to go under their 11.5-win total before the season.

If left tackle David Bakhtiari (questionable) is able to make his season debut, the Packers will pretty much be at full health.

I think the market is overlooking the impact of all of the Bucs injuries, specifically on their offensive line. I think the Packers should be favorites here.

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Under 42
Best Book
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET

Sean Koerner: Both of these teams like to play at a slow pace. According to Football Outsiders' rankings in a neutral game script, the Seahawks are the seventh-slowest team and the Falcons eighth. As a result, this matchup could see much fewer overall plays than a typical matchup.

The Seahawks have been surprisingly pass-heavy with Geno Smith under center, ranking 12th in early-down pass rate. However, he has averaged the lowest intended air yards per attempt (5.2) in the league through two weeks. That means most of their pass attempts have been glorified run plays.

Smith's lack of ambition downfield is a big reason why Seattle's average drive has taken 2:50 off the clock, which is right in line with the league average, but the Seahawks have only scored 17.6% of the time, which is second lowest in the league. This should be music to an under bettor's ears.

Also, Seattle should opt to run the ball a bit more in this matchup as 2-point favorites, facing a Falcons defense that ranks 18th in DVOA against the pass and 28th against the run.

The future is bright for this Falcons offense with Drake London and Kyle Pitts. However, head coach Arthur Smith has been under fire lately for his inability to get Pitts the ball. The criticism is warranted, and it could take this offense a few more games to really hit its stride.

In the meantime, Atlanta will likely continue to lean on its run game, which ranks seventh in early down rush rate. However, the Seahawks defense is more of a pass funnel defense, as seen by their 30th DVOA rank against the pass compared to ninth against the run. Last week, the Falcons put up 27 points against the Rams, but most of them were in garbage time and included a fluky blocked punt return for a TD.

Both of these teams have below-average defenses, but neither offense is really equipped to put up a ton of points on a regular basis. We could see some long, clock-killing drives that end up having to settle for a field goal.

I’m projecting this closer to 40.5 and would bet this down to 41.5, considering 40-41 are pretty key numbers when it comes to totals.

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