NFL Week 3 Mega Betting Guide: Picks, Trends, Sharp Action for Every Game
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Odell Beckham Jr.
- If you're looking for comprehensive betting and fantasy football previews for every Week 3 game, you've come to the right place.
- Our experts cover trends, sharp action, fantasy football sleepers and make the case for a few bets.
All odds as of Friday morning. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets.
Betting odds: New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons
- Spread: Falcons -3
- Over/Under: 54
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FOX
Betting market: Atlanta opened as a 3.5-point favorite, yet an incredible 90% of dollars wagered have come down on New Orleans at the time of writing, explaining why this line has dropped to Falcons -3 across the betting market (see live data here). — PJ Walsh
Trends to know: The Saints have failed to cover in consecutive weeks. Since 2003, teams that have not covered the spread in Weeks 1 and 2 and then are underdogs in Week 3 have gone 47-32 (60%) ATS. — John Ewing.
Drew Brees has started 94 road games in his career for the New Orleans Saints, 34 against the NFC South and 60 against non-divisional opponents. The over has been a great bet when Brees faces a non-divisional opponent on the road (+14.6 units), but when he is in division, the over is a loser (-12.6 units). — Evan Abrams
Injury watch: The Falcons have been devastated by injuries this season. Three starters — linebacker Deion Jones, safety Keanu Neal and guard Andy Levitre — are out for extended periods of time.
Running back Devonta Freeman (knee), who hasn’t practiced all week, is reportedly expected to miss 2-4 weeks, although the Falcons continue to call him day-to-day.
Defensive ends Takk McKinley (groin) and Derrick Shelby (groin) also look like they’re going to be sidelined.
Julio Jones (calf) didn’t practice on Wednesday or Thursday, but told reporters that he’s good and it’s just a precaution.
The Saints’ offense, meanwhile, should be at full health entering Sunday, as Ted Ginn (knee) confirmed he’ll play. The defense will likely be without linebacker Manti Te’o (knee) and defensive tackle Tyeler Davison (foot); neither practiced on Wednesday or Thursday.
DFS edge: Drew Brees and Michael Thomas have posted a ridiculous 74.7% catch rate in three years together, the highest mark among all receivers with at least 100 targets over the past 25 years.
This dominance has extended to matchups against the Falcons. Per the FantasyLabs Trends tool, Thomas has posted 7-71-1, 10-156-1, 10-117-1 and 4-66-0 lines in four career games against the team’s divisional rival.
Thomas has also averaged an additional 1.6 DraftKings points per game with a +5.5 Plus/Minus and 66% Consistency Rating on the road during his career. — Ian Hartitz
Most important matchup: Marshon Lattimore shadowed Julio Jones during each of their two matchups in 2017 with mixed success. The Falcons’ No. 1 receiver managed to post 5-98-0 and 7-149-0 lines in two meetings, but it took Jones 22 total targets to get there.
Still, Lattimore has struggled through two weeks and is one of just seven full-time cornerbacks presently allowing more than 2 yards per cover snap. Mike Evans hung a 7-147-1 line in Lattimore’s shadow on seven targets in Week 1.
Jones has failed to find the end zone in seven consecutive regular-season games, but an eruption might be near. He posted 5-68-1, 10-189-1 and 11-259-1 lines in his next three games following the only other seven-game scoreless stretch of his career. — Ian Hartitz
Bet to watch: Saints +3
This is a fair line … if the Falcons still had the roster they started the season with. But they don’t, as Ian detailed above. We saw the losses of Deion Jones and Neal make an immediate difference last week against the Panthers, who torched Atlanta through the air.
RB Christian McCaffrey had 14 (!!!) catches in that game. It’s frightening to think what Alvin Kamara is going to do to this Falcons defense.
Early season struggles are nothing new for the Saints, so I’m not too worried about them looking sluggish in the first two weeks. Expect New Orleans to be ready to rock for this key divisional matchup and cover the +3.– Scott T. Miller
Betting odds: San Francisco 49ers at Kansas City Chiefs
- Spread: Chiefs -6.5
- Over/Under: 55
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FOX
Betting market: The 2-0 Chiefs are unsurprisingly the more popular side here, drawing 65% of bettors at the time of writing (see live data here). Forty-seven percent of dollars are actually on the Niners despite their low ticket count, but this line is still moving toward Kansas City, from -4 to -6.5.
A similar story is taking place on the total, as the under has drawn 53% dollars despite only 35% of bets, yet the total has risen from 54.5 to 55. — Danny Donahue
Trends to know: This game has the highest total of the week with Kansas City averaging 40 points per game through two weeks with Patrick Mahomes having already thrown 10 touchdown passes.
In Andy Reid’s career as a head coach with the Eagles and Chiefs (330 total games), this is his highest over/under by nearly three points. His second-highest was 53 against the Cowboys last season.
If this total reaches 56.5, it would match the over/under from the Patriots-Falcons matchup in October of 2017.
But a total this high this early in the season is close to unprecedented.
Since 1990, only two games in the first four weeks of a regular season have closed with a total above 56. Both featured Super Bowl-winning, Hall of Fame quarterbacks. — Evan Abrams
Highest Over/Unders in First Four Weeks of a Regular Season Since 1990:
Did you know? According to our Bet Labs data, this is the first time since at least 2003 that three teams enter a week averaging 30 or more points per game, are undefeated against the spread (ATS) and 100% of their games have gone over the total. That includes the Chiefs. (Buccaneers and Bengals are the other two.) — Abrams
Injury watch: A banged-up secondary isn’t the best thing to have entering a matchup against Mahomes and the Chiefs, and Niners cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon (ankle) and safety Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder) should both be considered questionable for Sunday.
It remains to be seen whether the 49ers offense will welcome back right guard Joshua Garnett (foot) or No. 1 receiver Marquise Goodwin (quad).
Meanwhile, the Chiefs could be without safety Eric Berry (heel) for another week. Defensive tackle Chris Jones (groin) and linebacker Ben Niemann (hamstring) aren’t guaranteed to suit up, either.
But at least the league’s most-explosive offense is fully healthy.
DFS edge: George Kittle was a chalk bust last week going 2-22-0 on four targets. That said, his ownership should be depressed this week due to recency bias, and he could easily troll all the non-believers in an above-average matchup.
The Chiefs were once known as a team to avoid with your tight end, but so far this season, they have tied for the fifth-most receptions and third-most yards allowed and are currently ranked 31st in Football Outsiders’ DVOA at defending the position. — Joe Holka
Bet To Watch: 49ers +6.5
Mahomes is on pace to throw 80 touchdowns, and the Chiefs lead the league in scoring. But Mahomes can’t maintain this pace, and he will throw some picks.
If everything isn’t clicking on offense, I have no confidence in the defense keeping this close (allowed 32.5 points per game).
Plus, after Kansas City’s impressive wins against the Chargers and Steelers, the oddsmakers have told us that they will inflate the Chiefs lines going forward. Our simulations back this up, as The Action Network model lists Kansas City as a 4.5-point favorite in Week 3.
Finally, I’m a sucker for a good trend. Kansas City started the season with back-to-back road games, winning and covering both. Bettors would expect the good times to continue with the Chiefs playing their home opener in Week 3.
But, according to our Bet Labs data, 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.
Regression, inflated lines and trends all point to the 49ers as a value bet. — John Ewing
Betting odds: Oakland Raiders at Miami Dolphins
- Spread: Dolphins -3
- Over/Under: 44.5
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: CBS
Betting market: This over has been one of the most popular ones of the weekend. It’s landed 76% of bets and 98% of dollars as of writing (see live data here), but the total has actually fallen a half-point from its opening number. — Danny Donahue
Weather report: Temperatures are expected to be in the high 80s in Miami, which one would imagine would benefit the Dolphins, as they’re more used to playing in the heat than other teams around the league.
But that has not been the case for Florida teams historically.
According to our Bet Labs data, the Bucs, Jaguars and Dolphins are a combined 57-95-3 (37.5%) against the spread since 2003 in games with average temperatures higher than 80 degrees.
This drops down to 36.3% when looking only at home games. Yikes. — Mark Gallant
Trends to know: Are we sure the Dolphins are good? Wins over the Titans and Jets don’t look impressive.
Since 2003, teams such as Miami that failed to make the playoffs the year before, start the next season with a winning record and are favored in their next game have gone 193-251-16 (43.5%) ATS. — John Ewing
Through two weeks, the Raiders are averaging only 16 points per game, the fifth-fewest in the NFL. With that have come two consecutive unders for Jon Gruden & Co.
Over Derek Carr’s past nine games as a starter, the Raiders are 2-7 straight-up and averaging 15.2 points per game. The under cashed in all nine starts by 7.2 ppg.
Since the start of the 2017 season, the under is 13-4 (+8.3 units) when Carr starts, making him the most profitable NFL QB to the under over that span. — Evan Abrams
Metrics that matter: The Dolphins’ efficiency can’t be ignored. They rank No. 2 in rushing success rate and No. 11 in passing success rate on offense. They’re also top five in both rushing and passing success rate on defense.
The Rams and Broncos made the Raiders look worse than they are, but history is in the Dolphins’ favor: According to BetLabs, teams on two-game winning streaks that face teams on two-game losing streaks have gone 63-52-2 (54.8%) ATS since 2003. — Chris Raybon
Injury watch: The Raiders offense is expected to be full go — assuming guard Gabe Jackson (pectoral), center Rodney Hudson (ankle) and Marshawn Lynch (shoulder) suit up after practicing in a limited fashion all week.
The defense also has a chance to be mostly healthy, as only cornerback Leon Hall (illness) and defensive tackle P.J. Hall (ankle) missed practice time this week.
The Dolphins secondary could be at less than 100% on Sunday if safety Reshad Jones (shoulder) and/or cornerback Bobby McCain (knee) are unable to suit up.
The offense should be good to go with the exception of wide receiver DeVante Parker (finger), who remained sidelined in Week 2 even though he had resumed practicing in full.
DFS edge: Usage is king in fantasy football, and Jared Cook leads the Raiders with 22% of the target share and 32% of air yards.
This matchup stands out as the Dolphins defense ranked in the bottom three in yards (1,034) and touchdowns (10) allowed to tight ends in 2017, and looks no different this year with Miami’s linebackers and safeties all struggling in pass coverage.
Bet to watch: Raiders +3
If you had asked me before the season which side of this game I would be betting, there would’ve been no doubt that I’d be fading Gruden’s Raiders and taking a contrarian Dolphins side.
But of course the Dolphins had to go screw everything up by winning their first two games, and now I find myself fading an overvalued, undefeated Dolphins team that’s getting the majority of bets.
A couple trends to note:
1. The Raiders are on the second leg of back-to-back games as a road dog. When a team loses the first of those two games, and the public fades it as a result the following week, it has actually gone 146-103-5 (59%) ATS since 2003 in the second game.
2. Non-playoff teams from the previous year shouldn’t necessarily be trusted when they’re off to a hot start the next season.
When the public backs a non-playoff favorite with a winning record in the first half of the season, those teams have gone 147-189-9 (44%) ATS since 2003. — Donahue
Betting odds: Buffalo Bills at Minnesota Vikings
- Spread: Vikings -16.5
- Over/Under: 40.5
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: CBS
Betting market: Bettors aren’t shying away from the biggest line on Sunday’s slate, as the Vikings have picked up 69% of bets and 76% of dollars to move from -16 to -16.5 at the time of writing (see live odds here). — Danny Donahue
Trends to know: This will be only the sixth time since 2003 that we see an underdog of 14 or more points in the month of September. According to our Bet Labs data, the previous five have gone 1-3-1 against the spread, losing by an average of 21.6 points per game. — Stuckey
Injury watch: LeSean McCoy (ribs) is yet to practice in full and might not be ready to handle a featured workload for the Bills even if he suits up.
The offense should at least have No. 1 wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (hip), but the defense could be without cornerbacks Taron Johnson (shoulder) and Phillip Gaines (elbow), along with defensive end Shaq Lawson (hamstring).
Vikings starting center Pat Elflein (shoulder, ankle) should make his season debut, and the offensive line is tentatively expected to also have right tackle Rashod Hill (foot).
The bad news is that featured back Dalvin Cook (hamstring) and key pass-rusher Everson Griffen (knee) have been sidelined all week.
DFS edge: Per the FantasyLabs Trends Tool, quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers have posted +0.4, +0.6 and +1.2 Plus/Minus values, respectively, when favored by at least two touchdowns since 2014.
Still, Cook being limited could certainly lead to a reduced workload in what doesn’t figure to be the Vikings’ most-competitive game of 2018.
This could mean plenty of work for wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, who have soaked up a respective 30% and 23% of Kirk Cousins’ target share through two weeks.
Thielen boasts the best matchup of the pair in the slot against Rafael Bush, Pro Football Focus’ 12th-worst graded cornerback of 103 qualified players. — Hartitz
Bet to watch: Vikings -10 1H
Despite having the Bills rated as the worst team in the league heading into the season, I recommended to buy low on Buffalo last week.
I did not expect things to go south so quickly in Orchard Park. Not only did the Bills lose a starting corner to injury in the first half, they had another retire from football at halftime.
With Gaines and Johnson sidelined with injuries, the Bills are down to one viable corner: Tre’Davious White, who could be lining up with Lafayette Pitts (a journeyman special teams player) and Ryan Lewis (who was just signed off the practice squad).
That spells doom against one of the deadliest receiving corps in the NFL.
I also don’t trust Josh Allen, a very pedestrian group of receivers and a bad offensive line on the road against one of the league’s best defenses.
Add in McCoy’s injury and the dominant Minnesota interior, and I’m not sure how the Bills even move the ball.
The only reason I prefer the first half is because the Vikings might play it super conservative in the second half, especially with a huge primetime game against the Rams looming on Thursday.
In addition to Vikings 1H, I’d also look at the full game Over and Bills Team Total Under. — Stuckey
Betting odds: Indianapolis Colts at Philadelphia Eagles
- Spread: Eagles -6.5
- Over/Under: 47.5
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FOX
Betting market: The Colts still aren’t getting love from bettors despite beating the Redskins as 6-point underdogs on the road last week.
Trends to know: Andrew Luck is 19-12-1 against the spread (ATS) as an underdog in the regular season, including 10-4 ATS as a dog of six or more points. — John Ewing
Injury watch: Wentz (knee) will make his much-anticipated return on Sunday, but Alshon Jeffery (shoulder) — who isn’t expected to return quite yet — could be joined on the bench by running backs Darren Sproles (hamstring) and Jay Ajayi (back). Mike Wallace (ankle, Injured Reserve) is also out indefinitely.
The good news for the Eagles is that Wentz is expected to have all-world left tackle Jason Peters (quad).
The Colts offense didn’t suffer many notable injuries in their Week 2 win over the Redskins, yet tight end Jack Doyle (hip), running back Marlon Mack (foot, hamstring), No. 1 receiver T.Y. Hilton (quad), cornerback Quincy Wilson (concussion), defensive end Hassan Ridgeway (calf), defensive tackle Denico Autry (ankle) and left tackle Anthony Castonzo (hamstring) did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday.
Hilton said he’s “feeling good” and “should be fine.” Regardless, the Colts seem poised to be without multiple starters in Philadelphia.
DFS edge: Corey Clement was an asset in the receiving game last season, according to my Rushing Expectation methodology, which adjusts running back efficiency based on offensive line quality.
He had an overall receiving expectation score in the 95th-percentile on 26 targets, which is impressive considering how high of an expectation the Eagles offensive line provides.
This matchup sets up extremely well for Clement’s skill set, as the Colts have allowed the most receptions and second-most receiving yards to running backs through two weeks. — Joe Holka
Bet to watch: Colts +7
This Eagles offense is in horrendous form, and Wentz isn’t going to magically solve all of their problems.
Not only is Ajayi out, but Philly is down to only four healthy receivers: Nelson Agholor, Kamar Aiken, Shelton Gibson and the recently signed Jordan Matthews.
I don’t think this group can exploit an extremely raw Indianapolis defensive backfield.
Expect some Wentz growing pains, especially since he doesn’t have any chemistry with this group.
The Colts offensive line should get mauled by one of the best defensive lines in football, but Luck is getting rid of the ball fast and utilizing the quick passing game to negate that deficiency.
He’s averaging a career low 5.9 yards per pass attempt (27th in the NFL) and it’s helping to cut down on his mistakes.
And don’t sleep on the Frank Reich familiarity factor: The Philly offense seems to miss its former offensive coordinator, who will really know how to attack the Eagles defense. Look for big days from the Colts tight ends.
This game should be closer than most think. Getting +7 will be valuable. At the time of writing, everything from +6.5 to a juiced-up +7.5 was available around the market.
If you can’t find +7 at your shop, I would wait. Public Eagles money should push it there. If it never does, I’d still lean Colts +6.5. — Stuckey
Bet to watch: Colts +7
Luck has shown no signs of rust and seems to be picking up right where he left off before his shoulder injury. And the Colts defense, while not spectacular by any means, has been passable.
Everyone is high on the Eagles because of the return of Wentz, but much like a starting pitcher returning from the DL, this is a dicey prospect in his first game action.
Wentz needs to test that knee and get hit, and we need to see him at 100% before I back the Eagles laying a touchdown.
And as Stuckey mentioned, injuries to the Eagles’ receiving corps are also a factor. — BlackJack Fletcher
Betting odds: Green Bay Packers at Washington Redskins
- Spread: Packers -3
- Over/Under: 45.5
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FOX
Betting market: This game features some of the bigger bet vs. dollar discrepancies on Sunday’s board.
The Redskins have drawn only 33% of bets, but those account for 63% of dollars wagered at the time of writing (find updated data here). That sharp vs. square action has kept this line at +3.
The under has similarly drawn 38% of bets accounting for 67% of dollars, which has brought this total down from 47.5 to 45.5. — Danny Donahue
Injury watch: Aaron Rodgers (knee) likely won’t practice on Wednesdays and Thursdays for the foreseeable future, but he’s fully expected to suit up Sunday in Landover, Md.
The defense isn’t so lucky, as defensive backs Kevin King (groin), Davon House (biceps) and Josh Jones (ankle) are questionable. The good news is middle linebacker Oren Burks (shoulder) has practiced in full all week and should be good to go for Sunday.
The Redskins defense is tentatively expected to have cornerback Josh Norman (illness) and linebacker Zach Brown (oblique), who were each limited in practice on Thursday.
The offense might be without left guard Shawn Lauvao (calf), but right guard Brandon Scherff (knee), left tackle Trent Williams and No. 1 receiver Paul Richardson (shoulder, knee) are expected to suit up Sunday barring any setbacks.
Trends to know: Washington scored nine points in a loss to Indy on Sunday, and right around 70% of spread tickets are fading the Redskins as short home dogs against Rodgers and the Packers.
This is a good buy-low opportunity for the ‘Skins. Since 2003, teams that scored fewer than 10 points in their previous game and are receiving fewer than 30% of bets have gone 145-91-4 (61%) ATS, according to our Bet Labs data. — John Ewing
In his career as a starter, Alex Smith has excelled against the spread when facing opposing teams with good offenses, such as Rodgers and the Packers, and not so much against teams with weaker offenses.
When facing teams that average at least 21 points per game, Smith is 47-33-4 ATS (+11.6 units), making him the third-most profitable quarterback in the NFL in that spot since 2004, behind Tom Brady and Drew Brees.
When Smith plays an opponent averaging fewer than 21 PPG, his teams are just 31-33-1 ATS (-3.5 units). — Evan Abrams
Last week perfectly illustrated why Andy Reid discarded Smith in favor of Laser Show Patrick Mahomes.
While Smith guided the Redskins to a hapless nine points in a 21-9 loss as a home favorite to the Colts, Mahomes lit up the Steelers for six touchdown passes in a 42-37 win as a road underdog.
Without Reid, Smith is just 5-6-1 (45.5%) ATS in his career as a home underdog. — Chris Raybon
DFS edge: Since Rodgers injured his knee in the first half of Week 1. he’s thrown for four touchdowns and 554 yards, proving the two-time first-team All-Pro is capable of pretty much anything.
Rodgers has historically been a bit less fantastic on the road in recent years. Per the FantasyLabs Trends tool, he’s averaged 3.1 fewer DraftKings PPG with a -0.6 Plus/Minus and 46% Consistency Rating away from Lambeau Field since 2014.
The Redskins have allowed a league-best 6.9 DraftKings points below salary-based expectation to quarterbacks over the past 12 months. — Ian Hartitz
Bet to watch: Redskins +3
Rodgers isn’t 100% and the Packers are going on the road for the first time this season. The Packers are 2-5 ATS in their past seven games as a road favorite.
Smith and the Redskins played extremely well in Week 1, and I expect them to bounce back in Week 3.
Betting odds: Cincinnati Bengals at Carolina Panthers
- Spread: Panthers -3
- Over/Under: 43.5
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: CBS
Betting market: Betting tickets suggest balanced action with exactly 50% of bets on each team, but our money percentages reveal that 69% of dollars wagered have taken the Panthers at the time of writing (see live data here).
Trend to Know: According to our Bet Labs data, Andy Dalton is 30-16-2 against the spread as an underdog (regular season only).
A $100 bettor would have returned a profit of $1,367 wagering on Dalton, making him the most profitable underdog quarterback over that span. — John Ewing
The Panthers lost to the Falcons in Week 2. In Cam Newton’s career, he is 15-6-1 ATS (+8.5 units) when he plays at home off a straight-up loss.
The only QB in the NFL since Cam was drafted in 2010 who is more profitable in this spot? Drew Brees in the Superdome (19-9 ATS). — Evan Abrams
Injury watch: The Panthers are expected to be without multiple starters on both sides of the ball. Cornerback Donte Jackson (groin) and safety Da’Norris Searcy (concussion) have joined right guard Trai Turner (concussion), wide receiver Curtis Samuel (heart procedure) and tight end Greg Olsen (foot) on the sideline all week.
DFS edge: A.J. Green could be everything we wanted to see from Julio Jones last week and more against James Bradberry.
The Panthers’ “shut-down corner” ranked 77th among 85 qualified full-time defensive backs in 2017, and this matchup is the second-best WR/CB advantage of the week, per Pro Football Focus. — Joe Holka
Bet to watch: Bengals +3
The most important stat in betting is yards per play. It’s the best indicator of how a team is performing; it’s immune from fluke plays, turnovers and garbage time scores.
Right now, the Bengals are top 10 in yards per play 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. Then they dominated the Ravens in Week 2.
Cincinnati’s rush D is especially good, allowing just 3.2 ypp. You can’t say that’s a fluke when this D-line has consistently been great the past few years.
Meanwhile, 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.
Offensively, Carolina ran up some numbers last week, but Cam threw the ball 45 times while trying to come back against a defense missing its middle linebacker and starting safety.
He will have to do that again this week because Christian McCaffrey won’t be able to expose the Bengals’ front seven the same way he did against the Falcons. — Chad Millman
Betting odds: Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars
- Spread: Jaguars -6.5
- Over/Under: 39.5
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: CBS
Betting market: Only one book has posted odds, which are listed above. Most books have held off as the status of Marcus Mariota’s elbow remains murky. Keep an eye on our NFL live odds page for updates as the game gets closer.
Weather report: With their win over the Patriots last week, the Jaguars are now just 8-21 against the spread at home in games in at least 80-degree heat, according to our Bet Labs tools.
All three Florida teams have fared poorly against the spread in hot home games, failing to take advantage of visiting teams that aren’t used to playing in similar conditions.
Temps in Jacksonville are expected to be in the mid 80s this weekend. — Mark Gallant
Trends to know: Over the past three seasons, Blake Bortles and the Jags are 11-6-1 ATS vs. division rivals — including 6-2 ATS as a favorite — covering by an average of 10.1 points. — John Ewing
Whether it’s Mariota or Blaine Gabbert under center, history is not on the Titans’ side.
Gabbert is 0-8-1 ATS after he manufactures a straight-up win in his previous game, failing to cover by more than a touchdown per game.
Since Gabbert’s first start in 2011, he’s the only NFL QB (minimum three starts) who has never covered following a SU win.
But it doesn’t get much better for Mariota.
Since he was taken second overall in the 2015 NFL Draft, Mariota is 17-24-2 ATS (-8.2 units) and is the second-least profitable QB in the league behind only the retired Carson Palmer. — Evan Abrams
Injury watch: Mariota (elbow) reportedly had his best practice on Thursday in terms of velocity on his throws, but he was still listed as a limited participant.
The status on running back Derrick Henry (back) remains unclear, as well, although he has at least practiced in a limited fashion all week.
The Titans offense is hoping to welcome back left tackle Taylor Lewan (concussion) and right tackle Jack Conklin (knee) against the Jaguars’ fearsome front seven.
Leonard Fournette (hamstring) is on track to return after getting in limited practices on Wednesday and Thursday. The status of T.J. Yeldon (ankle) appears less certain after he opened the week with a DNP before returning to practice on Thursday.
The good news for the Jaguars is that right guard A.J. Cann (triceps), tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (core), right tackle Jermey Parnell (knee) and center Brandon Linder (knee) don’t appear to be in danger of missing any game time.
Bet to watch: Under 40(ish)
The Titans could once again be without Conklin and Lewan along the O-line, and one of their first backups (Dennis Kelly) is also questionable.
That’s a problem for most teams. That’s an even bigger problem for the Titans, who have no depth at tackle, and it’s a potential disaster against a vicious Jacksonville defensive line.
So what does that mean? Don’t expect Tennessee to get anything through the air with its subpar receivers against the best coverage corners in football — especially with tight end Delanie Walker out.
Regardless of who is under center, the Titans will have to run the ball up the gut a lot, which is a relative weakness of the elite Jags defense. Jacksonville knows this, but I’m not sure Tennessee has any other choice.
The Titans defense played very well against the Jags last year, holding them to 16 and 10 points. I expect another inspired effort in what should be a classic low-scoring divisional slugfest.
The Jaguars could also come out flat after getting their long-awaited revenge against the Patriots last week.
Look for a number of 40 or higher once this opens across the market. — Stuckey
Betting odds: Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens
- Spread: Ravens -5
- Over/Under: 44.5
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: CBS
Betting market: Baltimore opened -4.5 and moved up to -5.5 before settling at -5 behind 59% of dollars wagered at the time of writing (see live betting odds and data here)
It’ll be interesting to monitor whether this line moves back up and if Denver buyback is waiting to hammer the Broncos at the key number of +6. — PJ Walsh
Trends to Know: Denver is one of seven 2-0 teams but the Broncos are sizable underdogs in Baltimore.
According to data in Bet Labs going back to 2003, undefeated teams that are underdogs of more than three points on the road have struggled to cover: 36-52-2 (41%) against the spread.
Denver has the worst point differential of the 2-0 teams and will be playing on the road for the first time in 2018. — John Ewing
The Broncos may be 2-0 SU, but in the betting world, they are one of nine teams currently without a cover in 2018.
In a league that still includes Hue Jackson, it’s pretty remarkable that Vance Joseph (4-12-1 ATS, -8.2 units) is the least profitable coach since the start of last season. — Evan Abrams
You hear a lot of chatter about Andy Reid’s success when he has additional time to prepare for an opponent and rightfully so, but you don’t hear as much as you should about John Harbaugh.
Of all coaches (active or not) in our database, Harbaugh is the third-most profitable coach ATS (19-11-2) when he has eight or more days to prepare for an opponent in the regular season, trailing only the aforementioned Reid and Bill Belichick.
Of active coaches, only Belichick has a higher ATS win percentage in this spot. — Stuckey
Injury watch: Broncos QB Case Keenum (knee) didn’t practice on Wednesday, but was a full participant in practice Thursday and will start Sunday.
Keenum may or may not have right tackle Jared Veldheer (concussion). The Denver defense could also be at less than 100%, as cornerback Adam Jones (thigh) and linebacker Brandon Marshall (knee) failed to practice on Wednesday or Thursday.
For the Ravens, rookie tight end Hayden Hurst (foot) will miss another week, but the rest of the skill position players are healthy after Alex Collins (illness) returned to a full practice Thursday. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley (elbow) should be considered questionable.
The defense is a bit more banged up, as linebackers C.J. Mosley (leg) and Matthew Judon (hamstring) were limited in practice on Thursday, and defensive tackles Willie Henry (hernia) and Michael Pierce (foot) have failed to practice all week.
DFS edge: Ravens CB Brandon Carr is likely to shadow WR Demaryius Thomas. This isn’t ideal for Thomas, considering Carr has allowed a passer rating of just 5.0 when he’s been targeted this season (Pro Football Focus).
On a positive note, Emmanuel Sanders has run 71% of his routes from the slot this with the Broncos. Keenum has fared well when targeting him, completing 14-of-15 passes for 231 yards and one touchdown.
Sanders should be able to dominate slot corner Tavon Young, who has allowed a passer rating of 149.5 when targeted this year. Per the FantasyLabs Player Models, Sanders’ $6,900 price tag on FanDuel comes with a 94% Bargain Rating. — Justin Bailey
Bet to watch: Ravens -3 1H
Joe Flacco should be the perfect answer to the Broncos’ stout front four.
This season Flacco has the fourth-most dropbacks in the NFL, but just 27.4% of his dropbacks have been pressured, the seventh-lowest mark in the league.
Flacco’s first-half numbers are also superb — especially at home.
In 78 career first halves at home, Flacco has thrown more than one interception only once, and since the start of 2016, he has 13 touchdowns and just two picks in the first half at home against non-divisional opponents.
The veteran quarterback is 46-28-4 (62.2%, +15 units) against the first-half spread at home. That makes Mr. Elite the most profitable QB in the NFL in that spot since being drafted by the Ravens in 2008.
As Stuckey noted, Harbaugh is fantastic with extra prep time, and that includes a 19-12-1 record against the first-half spread. — Evan Abrams
Betting odds: New York Giants at Houston Texans
- Spread: Texans -6
- Over/Under: 42.5
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FOX
Betting market: This has been one of the most stagnant lines of the week. Other than a couple brief appearances at -5.5 and -6.5, the Texans have held steady as six-point favorites.
That lack of activity comes despite Houston receiving 60% of bets and 68% of dollars at the time of writing (see the updated lines here).
The total also hasn’t moved much despite the 40% of bets on the under accounting for 53% of dollars. — Danny Donahue
Injury watch: The Giants don’t seem any closer to getting defensive end Olivier Vernon (ankle) back, while fellow defensive end Connor Barwin (knee) and cornerback Eli Apple (groin) have missed practice time, as well.
The loss of starting center Jon Halapio (ankle) and the status of tight end Evan Engram (ankle), who practiced in a limited fashion on Wednesday and Thursday, is a big concern.
Neither DeAndre Hopkins (ankle, thumb, hamstring) nor Will Fuller (hamstring) suffered setbacks in Week 2, but they’ve been limited in practice all week.
Regardless, they’re expected to play Sunday, along with defensive end Christian Covington (thigh, knee) and tight end Ryan Griffin (hip). Jadeveon Clowney (back, elbow) expects to play after failing to suit up last week.
Trends to know: After both teams played in low-scoring games, the majority of dollars are on the under for their Week 3 meeting.
That could be a mistake, as it has been profitable to bet the over when both teams go under in their previous game early in the season.
Eli Manning and the Giants are coming off a hard-fought loss on the road at AT&T Stadium against the Cowboys.
In Manning’s career, the Giants have struggled the week after their yearly trip to Dallas: 4-9 ATS (-5 units).
Since 2011, the Giants are 1-6 SU and 0-7 ATS in this spot, failing to cover the spread by 11 PPG. — Abrams
Metrics that matter: If Giants put defensive back B.W. Webb on Fuller this week, expect Watson to target that side of the field. Webb has allowed 10 touchdowns in coverage, despite being thrown at only 114 times in total in his career, according to Pro Football Focus. — Abrams
James Bettcher used Patrick Peterson to shadow top receivers in Arizona. Expecting the same here with Janoris Jenkins and the Giants. Jenkins will likely follow Texans star WR DeAndre Hopkins. That would leave BW Webb on Will Fuller on the other side with Eli Apple (groin)…
— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) September 20, 2018
DFS edge: Odell Beckham Jr. is mired in the fourth-longest touchdown drought of his career … two games.
His 30% target share after two weeks indicates things could change, and he’s set up well against a Texans defense that couldn’t keep Blaine Gabbert’s Titans under 20 points last week.
Overall, the Texans boast some of PFF’s bottom-40 corners this season out of 103 qualified defensive backs.
Deshaun Watson in five starts with Will Fuller: 296.2 yards | 3.6 touchdowns per game | 9.52 yards per attempt.
Watson in three starts without Fuller: 200.7 yards | 1.0 touchdowns | 6.62 yards per attempt.
Small sample size, but still relevant: Watson is a different beast with his field-stretcher in the lineup. — Chris Raybon
Bet to watch: Over 42
Neither team has scored 21 points in a game this year, so we’re getting a little value with this number.
Manning is also taking shots downfield with 13 attempts of 20-plus yards (third-most), which will only help create opportunities for Beckham Jr. over the top and Barkley in the running game.
As explosive as Watson has been in his career, his propensity for turnovers is really alarming.
In 323 career dropbacks, Watson has 10 interceptions and six fumbles (two lost). Inside his own 40-yard line, he’s had four interceptions, one fumble and 10 sacks.
This should lead to offensive opportunities that the Giants missed against Jacksonville and Dallas, especially if they can get pressure.
Watson has been pressured on 47.6% of dropbacks, highest percentage in NFL.
Be sure to shop around for the best line, as 42 is a key number in over/under betting. — Abrams
Betting odds: Los Angeles Chargers at Los Angeles Rams
- Spread: Rams -7
- Over/Under: 48.5
- Time: 4:05 p.m. ET
- TV channel: CBS
Betting market: The Chargers are coming off a lopsided win vs. the Bills, but bettors are still having trouble resisting the Rams, who have looked terrific in their first two games.
Sixty percent of bettors are on them as a touchdown favorite at the time of writing (you can find updated data here). The line dropped to 6.5 for a bit across the market, but it didn’t take long to move back to 7. — Mark Gallant
Injury watch: The Chargers have already ruled out right tackle Joe Barksdale (leg), along with defensive end Joey Bosa (foot).
Wide receiver Travis Benjamin (foot) and tight end Antonio Gates (illness) should each be considered questionable, although neither would be expected to see a full game’s worth of snaps even if he ultimately suits up.
Rams kicker Greg “The Leg” Zuerlein (groin) has already been ruled out. Head coach Sean McVay confirmed injuries to defensive end Michael Brockers (shoulder) and center John Sullivan (arm) aren’t considered serious.
Trends to know: Teams are often overvalued after a blowout win. Since 2003, teams that won their previous game by 30 or more points went 85-102-9 (45.5%) ATS the following week, according to our Bet Labs data.
The Rams blanked the Cardinals 34-0 in Week 2. — John Ewing
The story in Los Angeles through two weeks has been the Rams’ stout defense, which has allowed just 6.5 PPG.
Over the past five seasons, only two teams have entered Week 3 allowing less than a touchdown per game, both came last season:
- The Panthers, allowing 3 PPG, lost 34-13 at home to the Saints
- The Ravens, allowing 5 PPG, lost 44-7 on the road to the Jaguars. — Evan Abrams
The Chargers opened up as touchdown underdogs against the red hot Rams in the battle for LA.
Philip Rivers has made 203 career starts, including the playoffs, and this will be just the 14th time he will open as a touchdown underdog.
In those previous 13 starts, Rivers is 11-2 ATS (+8.7 units), making him the most profitable quarterback in the NFL when opening as a touchdown underdog.
DFS edge: Todd Gurley will have a matchup against a Chargers defense that will be without two defensive linemen in Bosa and Corey Liuget. This game should set up nicely for him since the Rams are implied for 27.5 points and they’re seven-point favorites.
Bet To Watch: Chargers +7 at Rams
The Rams have obviously looked great through their first two games, but are we sure that they deserve to be favored by a touchdown here? The Cardinals have barely looked like an NFL team through their first two weeks, and the Raiders haven’t looked much better.
Meanwhile, the Chargers are coming off a sneakily impressive win vs. the Bills: West coast favorites playing on the East coast had been only 22-27-1 ATS before the Chargers’ win.
This will be a true test for the Rams, and I think the line is a couple of points too high. — Matt LaMarca
These two teams mirror each other. They are soft up the middle against the run, but have solid defensive lines and elite secondaries. They also have a very well-balanced offenses, led by dominant running backs.
The Chargers’ injuries/suspensions on their defensive line downgrade them slightly, but I don’t think these teams are four points apart after adjusting for home-field advantage.
Look for a huge game out of Melvin Gordon against a Rams defense that ranks 17th in rush yards per attempt this season.
Small sample size, yes, but that trend speaks directly to the Rams’ weak linebacking corps. The Rams finished 30th in the NFL in yards allowed per rush (4.7) in 2017.
Trust Rivers and the +7 in a potential Super Bowl preview. (Yeah, I said it.) — Stuckey
Betting odds: Chicago Bears at Arizona Cardinals
- Spread: Bears -5.5
- Over/Under: 38
- Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FOX
Betting Market: The Cardinals have looked so bad to start the season that 76% of bettors were on the Bears as a -5.5 road favorite at the time of writing (you can see updated odds data here).
That’s saying something. Chicago isn’t receiving enough sharp action to move up to -7 or even -6/-6.5, but it doesn’t look like the pros are confident enough in the Cardinals to take the Bears, either. — Mark Gallant
Trends to know: The Cardinals managed six points in a Week 1 loss to the Redskins and were shut out by the Rams in Week 2.
Talk about changing the narrative quickly. Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears are 5.5-point road favorites in Arizona in Week 3.
Trubisky has made seven career road starts before this week and he has never been a road favorite (closest he’s been is +5 at Detroit).
Welcome to the world of betting expectations, Mitch! — Evan Abrams
Injury watch: The only player on the Bears’ injury report is backup safety DeAndre Houston-Carson (forearm).
Larry Fitzgerald (hamstring) confirmed that he’s planning to play Sunday, while defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche (foot), left guard Mike Iupati (chest), defensive end Markus Golden (knee) and tight end Jermaine Gresham (Achilles) are each tentatively expected to suit up as well.
The status of right tackle Andre Smith (elbow) remains unclear.
Did you know? Since 2003, teams listed as underdogs in Week 3 that didn’t cover their first two games are 47-32 ATS (59.5%) for an ROI of 59.5%. — Stuckey
DFS edge: This game is sitting with a total of just 38 right now, and the Cardinals are implied for 16.25 points, the second-lowest implied total on the slate.
It’s difficult to envision the Cardinals generating any sort of offense in this game. They’ve scored just six points all season and face a Bears defense that ranks second in adjusted sack rate (per Football Outsiders), and has forced a league-high 10 sacks through two games.
The Bears’ defense has a Leverage Rating of 87% or higher on DraftKings and FanDuel. — Justin Bailey
Bet to watch: Cardinals +6
I like contrarian value here. The Bears just won in front of a national audience on Monday Night Football, prompting a major overreaction from oddsmakers and adjusting for the inevitable wave of Chicago action coming from recreational bettors.
Westgate’s lookahead line was Bears -2.5 last week, and now we can grab the Cardinals at +6?
Yes, the Cards got blown out, 34-0, by the Rams last week, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing when it comes to betting value.
Just like the Raiders and Lions (both of whom covered in Week 2), teams coming off losses of 20 points or more are 403-338-17 (54.4%) ATS in their following game.
Teams coming off 30-point blowouts are slightly better at 108-80-8 (57.4%) ATS.
Give me the Cardinals and the free 3.5 points of line value. — PJ Walsh
Betting odds: Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks
- Spread: Seahawks -1
- Over/Under: 42
- Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FOX
Betting market: The Seahawks opened as a slight home dog following their second consecutive loss to start the season, but have received enough support to move to -1 across the market.
They’re getting 55% of the spread bets and 73% of the money at the time of writing (you can find updated odds here).
Meanwhile, the under in this game is easily the most popular of the week. It’s the only one getting the majority of bets, and at 64%, it’s not even close.
However, despite the public support on the under, the total has actually ticked up to 42 after opening at 41.5. — Mark Gallant
Trends to know: Seattle has opened the season with back-to-back losses. This is just the sixth time in the Russell Wilson era (since 2012) that the Seahawks have dropped consecutive games.
Not all betting trends are created equal. The Seahawks lost straight up and failed to cover against the Bears on Monday Night Football.
In his career Wilson is 17-7-2 ATS (+9.5 units) after a SU and ATS loss. Since entering the league, he is the fourth-most profitable quarterback in this spot. And when he’s returning home, the Seahawks have been even better: 14-1 SU and 11-3-1 ATS (+7.6 units).
An important counter-trend: In Seattle’s last 10 home games, including the playoffs, the Seahawks are just 5-5 SU and 3-7 ATS (-4.1 units), making CenturyLink Field the second-least profitable stadium against the spread over that span behind Heinz Field.
To be fair, in those 10 games, it’s been more the defense’s fault (23.4 PPG, eight interceptions) than Wilson’s (25 total touchdowns, nine turnovers). — Evan Abrams
Injury watch: The Cowboys’ No. 1 receiver Cole Beasley (ankle) practiced in a limited fashion Thursday after getting in a full session on Wednesday. Starting center Travis Frederick (illness) still has no timetable for his return.
The defense is banged up with defensive tackle Maliek Collins (knee) and free safety Xavier Woods (hamstring) uncertain to play Sunday, but linebacker Sean Lee (hamstring), defensive tackle Datone Jones (knee), and defensive end Randy Gregory (concussion) are expected to suit up.
The Seahawks defense will happily welcome back stud linebacker Bobby Wagner (groin), although linebacker KJ Wright (knee) is still likely a week away from returning.
Guard DJ Fluker (hamstring) and cornerback Trequille Flowers (hamstring) are expected to suit up after practicing in full.
The statuses of left guard Ethan Pocic (ankle) and center Justin Britt (shoulder) are uncertain after neither managed to practice to start the week. The timetable for No. 1 receiver Doug Baldwin (knee) is still up in the air.
DFS edge: Ezekiel Elliott could be an interesting tournament pivot off the chalkier options. The Seahawks will get Bobby Wagner (groin) back, but Zeke is one of the true workhorses in the league.
Through the first two weeks, he’s averaging 20 touches per game and he’s run the second-most pass routes (52) for the Cowboys. Overall, Zeke has some of the highest touchdown equity for the Cowboys, with touches on 66.67% of their red zone opportunities.
He’s currently projected for just 5-8% ownership in large-field tournaments on DraftKings, which gives him an 80% Leverage Rating in the FantasyLabs Models. (Leverage Rating is a percentile score based on projected ownership with the player’s projected ceiling.) — Justin Bailey
Bet to watch: Under 42
Both teams will try to run the ball and take deep shots, neither team will be particularly great at that strategy.
The Cowboys rank 24th in offensive yards per play and the Seahawks come in at 25th. Mix in that both teams love milking the clock — Dallas and Seattle rank 31st and 28th respectively in plays per game — and we should get a low-scoring game on Sunday. — Geoff Schwartz
Betting odds: New England Patriots at Detroit Lions
- Spread: Patriots -6.5
- Over/Under: 54
- Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
- TV channel: NBC
Betting market: The Patriots’ loss to Jacksonville is not fazing the public. In fact, it’s encouraging them.
At the time of writing, New England is receiving a whopping 84% of spread bets (see live betting odds and data here).
The Pats are by far the most popular bet in Week 3. It seems as if folks have caught on to the fact that they generally don’t fail to cover twice in a row.
The over/under has seen some crazy line movement: The early opening lines were 45.5/46.
The total is now sitting around 53.5-54 at most books across the market, thanks to more than 80% of bets and 97% of dollars on the over.
Congrats to anyone who got over 46 . —Mark Gallant
Trends to know: New England lost to Jacksonville 31-20 in Week 2. According to our Bet Labs data, Tom Brady is 32-10 (76%) against the spread after a loss since 2003.
After a double-digit loss, TB12 has gone 13-2 (87%) ATS, covering on average by 12.3 points. — John Ewing
Here we go again, Matthew Stafford in a key spot against a good team and a great QB. In his career, he is 23-48 (32.4%) straight-up and 27-42-2 (39.1%) against the spread vs. teams who are .500 or better at the time of the game. Stafford has been in the NFL for a decade now and has faced nine different QBs who have won a Super Bowl ring. Stafford is 7-23 (23.3%) straight-up and 7-22-1 (24.1%) against the spread vs. Super Bowl-winning QBs, including just 3-9 SU and 2-10 ATS at home in Detroit. — Evan Abrams
Injury watch: Rob Gronkowski (ankle) made his first mid-week appearance on the injury report of the season after being downgraded to a limited practice Thursday.
The rest of the offense is mostly healthy, as only newly acquired wide receiver Josh Gordon (hamstring) and right tackle Marcus Cannon (calf) failed to get a full practice in before Friday.
The defensive side of the ball is less promising, as the Pats could be without cornerback Eric Rowe (groin), defensive end Trey Flowers (concussion) and strong safety Patrick Chung (concussion).
The Lions face the prospect of trying to stop Tom Brady without their No. 1 cornerback Darius Slay (concussion), who didn’t practice on Wednesday or Thursday.
Linebacker Eli Harold (hip) and defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (shoulder) were limited in practice on Thursday. The timetable for right guard T.J. Lang (back) remains unclear.
DFS edge: Gronk will take on a Lions defense that ranks 27th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric against tight ends to start the season, so he should rebound in a big way from his 2-15-0 stat line in Week 2.
Bet to watch: Patriots -6.5
Brady is 22-3 ATS on the road coming off a loss since 2003. Sample too small/specific for you? Road favorites vs. home teams on two-game losing streaks have gone 104-76-7 (57.8%) ATS since 2003.
Brady and Lions head coach Matt Patricia know each other from Patricia’s time as defensive coordinator with New England. But Patricia’s defense ranks 31st in points allowed, and it got shredded by Sam Darnold in Week 1. What do you think Brady will do to Detroit this week?
So, yeah, the fact that Brady and Patricia have seen each other every day in practice for the past six years is looking like a strong “advantage Brady.” — Chris Raybon
Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.