Week 3 NFL Betting Picks: Colts, Vikings, Cardinals, Rams, More Spreads & Over/Unders
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images. Pictured: Minnesota Vikings star running back Dalvin Cook.
NBA betting analyst Raheem Palmer breaks down his favorite Week 3 bets below, featuring the Rams and a teaser.
Week 3 NFL Bets
Packers vs. 49ers Over 50
Kickoff: 8:20 p.m. ET on Sunday
Primetime overs are now 6-1 on the season and while that has no bearing on this Sunday night matchup between the Packers and 49ers, it’s worth it to mention.
Nevertheless, these are two teams that will struggle to stop one another in this matchup, so it’s no surprise that we’ve seen movement from 48 to 50.
The Packers’ defensive issues have been well documented this season. Given the absence of Za’Darius Smith — who’s on IR with a back injury — the team struggles to generate a consistent pass rush, ranking 21st in pressure rate (22.2%) and dead last in sacks with just one this season.
The Packers are also ninth in points allowed at 27.5 points per game, 22nd in defensive expected points added (EPA) per play and 21st in Defensive Rushing Success Rate. That means I’m expecting Jimmy Garoppolo and this 49ers’ zone run scheme to have no problems moving the ball up and down the field, even with injuries at running back.
Unfortunately for the 49ers, their injuries extend to their defense where they’re missing Jason Verrett, who tore his ACL in Week 1.
In addition, Emmanuel Moseley has been dealing with a knee injury and Josh Norman also tweaked his ankle against the Eagles. Linebacker Dre Greenlaw will miss the next six-to-eight weeks with a groin injury.
As I said last week, this is a banged-up defense with DT Javon Kinlaw (knee), DL Arik Armstead (hip/adductor), DE Dee Ford (ankle) and LB Marcell Harris (oblique) all playing through injuries.
Nevertheless, Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams should do a much better job than the Philadelphia Eagles did last week at capitalizing on chances to score.
Take the over 50.
Colts +5.5 at Titans
Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET on Sunday
This is ugly but this line feels like a drastic overreaction.
Last week, the Titans were catching six points to the Seahawks and now they’re laying six to an evenly-matched opponent. Plus Carson Wentz returned to practice on Friday after dealing with two sprained ankles and is likely to play on Sunday.
My model makes this game closer to Titans -2, so I feel like there’s some value here.
Dolphins +4 at Raiders
Kickoff: 4:05 p.m. ET on Sunday
The Dolphins are coming off a 35-0 home blowout loss against Josh Allen and the Bills.
Despite being shut out against a Bills team that has scored 122 points in their last three matchups, the Dolphins had their opportunities last week, failing to score on three trips inside the red zone.
Nevertheless, in Week 3, the Dolphins will take on the Raiders, who have won back-to-back games against the Ravens and Steelers.
While the Raiders have improved this season, I’m not sure they’ve improved enough to warrant this number.
I’m not upgrading the power rating for this Raiders team after their win over the Steelers — who’ve had issues offensively and dealt with losses to T.J. Watt, Devin Bush and Joe Haden defensively. Plus, their win over the Ravens was largely because of two Lamar Jackson fumbles.
The elephant in the room is the absence of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who will miss Sunday’s game with fractured ribs. Jacoby Brissett will step in and he’s more than capable of keeping the Dolphins afloat in Tagovailoa’s absence.
It’s also possible Brissett could be an upgrade for this team as opposed to a downgrade given his arm strength.
Derek Carr also comes into this game dealing with an ankle injury and he’ll be facing a Dolphins defense that is still 11th in efficiency and leads the league in quarterback hits (15).
The Raiders’ offensive line is banged up and is 32nd in adjusted line yards and 16th in adjusted sack rate (5.5%), so Miami should be able to cause problems for this unit.
According to our Bet Labs database, since 2003 teams who lose by 35 points or more are 24-15-4 (61.5%) in their following matchup.
Overall, I see this number as a bit high and believe the spread is overvaluing the loss of Tagovailoa.
I’ll play the Dolphins.
Rams +1.5 vs. Bucs
Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday
I expect most of the public to play the Buccaneers this week. They’ve won 10 straight games through last season (including the playoffs) with Tom Brady throwing 31 touchdowns to just six interceptions in that span.
That said, I still believe the Rams are the right side in this matchup as oddsmakers opened them as one-point favorites before this moved through the zero, making the Buccaneers favorite.
These two teams met last year and in many ways, it provided a blueprint for what we’ll see this Sunday.
The Buccaneers have been first in defensive run efficiency the past two seasons and teams have recognized that it doesn’t make sense to run on this team.
Last season, the Rams ran 51% of the time on early downs. In their matchup against the Bucs, they passed 77% of the time on early downs.
It was a blueprint followed by the Cowboys and Falcons this season, who passed on 81% and 71% of their early downs against Tampa Bay in Weeks 1 and 2, respectively.
Opposing NFL offenses are passing against the Bucs 77% of the time and calling running plays just 35 times this season. There’s a clear method of beating this team and it’s through the air.
The Rams are fully equipped of beating this banged up secondary with Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. The Rams are second in drop back EPA/play (0.489) and are facing a Buccaneers defense that is 21st in Passing Success Rate.
The Buccaneers are missing Sean Murphy-Bunting — who is out with a dislocated elbow — which won’t bode well against this prolific Rams offense.
With Jason Pierre-Paul out of the lineup, we have to downgrade this defense a bit more.
The Buccaneers will get theirs offensively but this feels like a game where the wrong team is favored.
I’ll take the Rams as a dog here and feel free to add them to 6-point teasers.
2-Team, 6-Point Teaser
Vikings +2.5 to +8.5 vs. Seahawks
Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday
The Seahawks have played in 24 one-score games over the past two seasons and now find themselves on the road facing the Vikings in their home opener.
Narratives aside, this is a Vikings offense that’s loaded with talent in Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen and Dalvin Cook.
While betting against Russell Wilson is always a scary proposition, we can’t necessarily say the same thing about the defense. The Seahawks are 26th in Defensive Success Rate (50.4%) and 23rd in EPA/play.
Look for the Vikings to keep this close in the last stand for their season.
Cardinals -7.5 to -1.5 at Jaguars
Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET on Sunday
The Jacksonville Jaguars are a mess. It doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in a team when your head coach — who made his name in College Football — says every team is like playing Alabama losing to the Texans and Broncos.
The Jaguars gave up 37 to the Texans and 23 to the Broncos and now they take on Kyler Murray and an Arizona Cardinals offense that’s top 10 in EPA and 2nd in explosive pass play rate with 18% of their pass plays going for 20 yards or more.
Even more troubling is how much the Jags’ defense has been on the field.
Trevor Lawrence has struggled — completing 14-of-33 passes for 118 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions — and now has to deal with Chandler Jones and J.J. Watt.
I’ll tease the Cardinals down as they should win this game to send the Jaguars to 0-3.
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