With the 2019-20 NFL season underway, oddsmakers are constantly adjusting lines to account for the performance of players and teams in Weeks 1 and 2.
The continued holdouts of Chargers running back Melvin Gordon, and Redskins LT Trent Williams, as well as serious injuries to Drew Brees (thumb) and Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) will play into the point spreads listed by US sportsbooks like DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook for Week 3 of the NFL season.
At PlayPicks, we feel confident with the information that we have to start making our picks against the spread.
In this weekly column, we will list three of our best bets against the spread with data to support our picks. Then, we will list the following games on the NFL slate in order of our confidence in analyzing the matchup. Keep in mind that lines can often shift due to weather or other unforeseen issues. Of course, injury news plays a huge role throughout the NFL season, and the status of specific players often bears monitoring until a couple of hours before kickoff.
NFL Week 3 Best Bets
Houston Texans (+3) at Los Angeles Chargers
With Melvin Gordon holding out, the Chargers offense has been quite pedestrian through two games. Now they’ll host a Texans team that led the NFL in DVOA rush defense last year. Houston’s defense has underperformed so far, but a narrow win over the Jaguars should light a fire under this unit. The Texans are 3-2 against the spread (ATS) as road underdogs since the start of last season and the Chargers are a putrid 2-5-1 ATS during that span.
Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins are capable of taking over this game in a road environment that is far from formidable. The Chargers rank 25th in DVOA pass defense so far this year and struggled to contain Jacoby Brissett in Week 1. Removing their home games against the bottom-feeding Raiders and Cardinals last year, the Chargers went 3-3 with a -20 point differential at home. The Texans (+150) are an appealing bet on the moneyline as well.
New England Patriots (-22.5) vs New York Jets
Normally, you might have concerns about a team keeping their foot on the gas pedal against a clearly overmatched opponent. But Bill Belichick has proven time and time again that he will rub the nose of his adversaries in the dirt and Tom Brady seems to refuse to come out of games in the fourth quarter of a blowout. The Patriots are a league-best 8-2 ATS at home since the start of the 2018 season and are a safer bet than the Cowboys (-21.5) to cover an astronomical spread despite the fact they’re facing a divisional foe.
The Jets offense is going to remain anemic with third-string QB Luke Falk starting and they could easily get shut out against a Patriots team that ranks first in DVOA pass defense and third in DVOA rush defense so far this year. The Jets could easily come up short of their implied total (12.5), as the Pats have held them to just 12 total points over their last three trips to Foxboro.
Indianapolis Colts (-1) vs Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons rallied late to best an injury-depleted Eagles team on Sunday night and extend their impressive streak of covering in home openers. Yet this is a Falcons team that’s been far worse away from their home dome, with a 1-5 record ATS as road underdogs since the start of last season. The Colts went 3-2-1 ATS at home during that span.
The Vikings established a blueprint for how to shut down Atlanta’s flawed offense and the Colts should follow suit. It won’t help that Atlanta lost first-round guard Chris Lindstrom (foot) for the season and is dealing with injuries to guard Wes Schweitzer (shoulder) and tackle Matt Gono (back). The Colts defense is surging behind an improved pass rush and disciplined secondary. If Frank Reich is able to devise a game plan that takes away Matt Ryan’s primary targets, Indy could roll at home.
NFL Week 3 Picks Against The Spread
Dallas Cowboys (-21.5) vs Miami Dolphins
The Cowboys offense has been on fire and their defense is capable of shutting out the Dolphins for a second straight game. Dallas isn’t quite as ruthless as New England, but Miami is probably the worst NFL team we’ve seen in a decade.
Carolina Panthers (+2.5) at Arizona Cardinals
While Cam Newton (foot) may not play, the Panthers should bounce back from a rather embarrassing showing last Thursday night. They will be playing on 10 days rest against a Cardinals team that’s allowed the fourth-most rushing YPG (149) this season and 25th in DVOA offense under rookie QB Kyler Murray. Carolina backup Kyle Allen may be more accurate than a hobbled Newton.
Green Bay Packers (-7.5) vs Denver Broncos
The Broncos secondary made Derek Carr look like Aaron Rodgers in Week 1 and should get shredded by the real Rodgers. On the other side of the ball, Joe Flacco will be a sitting duck behind a weak offensive line while facing an excellent secondary and tough pass rush.
San Francisco 49ers (-6.5) vs Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers turn to Mason Rudolph to prevent an 0-3 start and he’ll be hard-pressed to crack a 49ers secondary that ranks second in DVOA pass defense this year.
Buffalo Bills (-6) vs Cincinnati Bengals
After rallying in their opener, the Bengals came crashing back to earth in a 41-17 home loss to the 49ers. Now they’ll travel to Buffalo, where Sean McDermott’s squad is 5-2-1 ATS as home favorites.
Detroit Lions (+6.5) at Philadelphia Eagles
The Lions rank eighth in DVOA pass offense and should move the ball effectively against the Eagles weak secondary if they devise a proper game plan to avoid Philly’s solid rush defense. The potential absence of Tim Jernigan (foot) along with receivers Alshon Jeffery (calf) and DeSean Jackson (groin) would hurt the Eagles chances to cover.
Baltimore Ravens (+6.5) at Kansas City Chiefs
While the Raiders were unable to cover at Arrowhead last week, the Ravens were a far more impressive 4-1 ATS as road underdogs last season. Baltimore has the look of a contender with Lamar Jackson making a huge leap and KC posted a 5-5 record ATS as home favorites last year.
Los Angeles Rams (-3) at Cleveland Browns
Handling a shorthanded Jets squad on Monday night proves very little for the overhyped Browns. They’re unlikely to defeat a loaded Rams squad on a short week.
New York Giants (+6.5) at Tampa Bay Bucs
Daniel Jones takes over under center for the Giants and while new QBs are 26-31-1 ATS in their debuts over the past decade, he has to be considered an upgrade over aging Eli Manning. With Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram making plays, Jones should keep the Giants close enough down the stretch.
Seattle Seahawks (-4) vs New Orleans Saints
The Seahawks have revamped their defensive front and that should help them overcome their deficiencies in the secondary. If they can put new starter Teddy Bridgewater under duress, the Saints could fail to find the end zone once again.
Minnesota Vikings (-9.5) vs Oakland Raiders
The Vikings were 4-2-1 ATS as home favorites last year and held opposing QBs to a 75.3 passer rating at home. Derek Carr went 1-7 with a 7:5 TD:INT ratio on the road last year. Kirk Cousins needs to get back on track in this winnable matchup, but this is a large number for a struggling QB to cover.