Week 3 NFL Picks: The 4 Spread & Total Bets To Lock In Early
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images. Pictured: Kirk Cousins
And just like that, we’re already onto Week 3 of the 2020 NFL season!
Find the spread and total bets our staff has already locked in below. Note that we included books that are offering the best lines for each pick as of writing, but you can compare real-time spreads and totals across multiple sportsbooks with our NFL odds page.
Week 3 NFL Picks
Chris Raybon: Giants +4.5 vs. 49ers, Under 41
It would be an understatement to say the 49ers are beat up right now.
Their starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle) is questionable; their top two running backs, Raheem Mostert (knee) and Tevin Coleman (knee), aren’t expected to play; No. 1 wide receiver Deebo Samuel (foot) is still on Injured Reserve; and No. 1 target George Kittle (knee) is questionable.
The 49ers will be playing on the MetLife Stadium turf for a second week in a row, and head coach Kyle Shanahan indicated that the team will be cautious with players already nursing injuries, so it’s not looking good for Garoppolo and Kittle. There’s a good chance that the 49ers offense looks like it would in the fourth quarter of a preseason game.
Not to mention the Giants will be without their top offensive player in running back Saquon Barkley, who tore his ACL against Chicago and is done for the season.
Low-scoring games tend to favor the underdog because it’s harder for the favorite to separate on the scoreboard. And although the Giants lost Barkley, the 49ers lost a player just as impactful on defense in Nick Bosa, who also suffered a season-ending ACL tear this past Sunday. That’s not enough to drive this game to a high-scoring expectation, but it’s certainly enough to give the Giants a good shot at keeping a toss-up game between two banged up teams within a field goal, especially with San Francisco playing its second straight game across the country — on turf that its (remaining few healthy) players now want no part of.
This is a prime letdown spot for San Francisco: According to our Bet Labs data, the 49ers are 1-8 (11.1%) against the spread (ATS) under Shanahan as a favorite coming off an ATS win.
Raheem Palmer: Titans -2.5 at Vikings
The NFL is a parity driven league. Typically, five of the 12 previous postseason teams fail to return the following season. The Minnesota Vikings, who have hit rock bottom with blowout losses to the Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts will definitely be one of those teams.
In some ways, this was to be expected as professional bettors hit the Vikings’ season win total from 9.5 down to the closing line of 8.5. Right now, we’re just watching the results of what we expected play out.
For Mike Zimmer-led teams, defense has always been the calling card. But that hasn’t been the case this season as the Vikings lost nine defensive starters, embracing a full rebuild on that side of the ball. In the process, they’ve taken a huge step back: They’re 20th in Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA, allowing 35.5 points and 438 yards per game — the second- and fourth-highest totals in the league.
To make matters worse, Pro Bowl defensive end Danielle Hunter has been on Injured Reserve with a neck injury, and they lost another Pro Bowler in linebacker Anthony Barr when he suffered a season-ending pectoral injury in their Week 2 loss to Indianapolis.
Unfortunately for the Vikings, the offense hasn’t fared much better as they rank 24th in Football Outsiders’ offensive DVOA.
Against a middling Colts defense that gave up 27 points to the Jacksonville Jaguars the week before, the Vikings could muster only 11 points and 175 total yards on 3.7 yards per play. Kirk Cousins was 11-of-26 for 113 yards, threw three interceptions and had an abysmal 15.9 quarterback rating — he hasn’t been able to put the team on his back to make up for a struggling defense. With the loss of Stefon Diggs, the receiving corps outside of Adam Thielen is largely unproven, and their pass protection leaves a lot to be desired.
The Titans aren’t a team I’m particularly high on this season, but they’re the better team in this matchup, and I’ll be looking to fade Minnesota for as long as it has value. I grabbed the points with Green Bay in Week 1, laid the number with Indianapolis last week and quickly bet the opening number of Tennessee -1.5 as my model makes this game -4.22.
The Vikings historically have one of the best home-field advantages in the NFL, but that’s been negated without fans. And with wide receiver A.J. Brown back, the Titans should have no problem taking care of business this Sunday.
Brandon Anderson: Steelers -3.5 vs. Texans
This line opened around Pittsburgh -6 but has moved quickly in Houston’s direction, which is a real surprise.
Houston’s 0-2 record certainly doesn’t tell us much. The schedule makers didn’t do the Texans any favors by giving them the Chiefs and Ravens to open the season, and it doesn’t get much easier from here. Bettors will want to give the Texans the benefit of the doubt with their season presumably on the line in an 0-2 hole.
The problem is that the Steelers are still just much better.
The defense is the major difference. Pittsburgh’s run defense has been strong so far while Houston’s running attack hasn’t done much yet, so that puts a lot on Deshaun Watson’s shoulders — not like that’s anything new. Houston has worked to improve its offensive line over the past few years, but Watson has taken four sacks in each of the first two games, and Pittsburgh has the best pass rush in the league.
Yes, the Steelers were unimpressive in their win over a Broncos team missing just about all the key players on offense for much of the game, but that’s kind of what the Steelers do — they’ve played down to their opponents for years, and it’s hard to stay focused against Jeff Driskel.
The defense will have no problems getting up for Watson. Pittsburgh’s offense hasn’t been great yet, but Houston’s defense might help out with that.
I’m expecting this line to rise back up by Sunday and wouldn’t be surprised to see it cross the key numbers of 6, 6.5 or even 7. I’ll grab Pittsburgh at -3.5 while it’s available.