Week 3 NFL Betting Picks 2021 | Odds, Previews, And Predictions

Written By Brian Sausa on September 26, 2021

It’s now been two full weeks since the return of the National Football League, and bettors all over the country are turning to online sportsbooks now that the NFL is back. The Week 3 schedule features 16 games, beginning on September 23rd and ending on the 27th with a terrific Monday Night Football matchup between NFC East rivals.

Here, we will provide updated NFL betting odds along with previews and picks for every game on the schedule this week.

Week 3 NFL Betting Lines

Week 3 NFL Predictions | Betting Odds, Previews, And Picks

Thursday, SEPT. 23 (8:20 P.M. ET)

Carolina Panthers at Houston Texans ()

The Week 3 schedule kicks off with the Panthers playing their first road game of the season against Houston. Despite being the visitors, Carolina was a favorite all the way. But following the injury to Tyrod Taylor in Week 2, a small spread ballooned into the Panthers giving away a touchdown with the total in the low-to-mid 40s.

Away teams are at a bult-in disadvantage on Thursdays due to travel and a lack of practice time. That said, this could be one spot where the home team just may not be equipped to deal with what the road team will throw at it. Plus, the Panthers were 7-1 ATS on the road under Matt Rhule in 2020, the best mark in the league.

Carolina is a sizable step up from Jacksonville for no other reason but Christian McCaffrey.The Houston run defense is putrid and CMC is going to take huge advantage of that. If the Texans decide to stack the box, Sam Darnold has the likes of D.J. Moore and the field-stretching Robby Anderson. McCaffrey is even Darnold’s safety valve in the pass game, so the Carolina offense is just too dynamic in our eyes.

Now we get to Houston, which was excellent at home in Week 1, but the injury to Tyrod Taylor on Sunday is a huge deal. Davis Mills’ debut in relief included 102 yards along with a touchdown and an interception, but the rookie was overmatched by the Browns’ defense overall. Against a Panthers defense that just held the Saints to seven points, we don’t love his chances.

We suggested getting in at -3 and 3.5 before the Week 2 action played out. But now that it’s gone, the spread is a lean on Carolina due to Mills’ lack of experience and the Panthers’ recent history on the road. Based on what we’ve seen from the defense, however, a play on the under at 43.5 points or less would be our recommended pick. The Panthers are also a strong selection for a six-point teaser.

Picks: Under 43.5 points (-110 or beter), Panthers -7 or less (-110)

Full Panthers vs. Texans Betting Preview

SUNDAY, SEPT. 26 (1 P.M. ET)

Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans ()

In one of the most highly-anticipated matchups of the week, Indianapolis travels to Tennessee for an AFC South clash. After the Colts opened as a small favorite in the offseason, this number has drastically shifted toward Tennessee in the first couple of weeks of the season.

After a dismal Week 1 showing, the Titans rescued victory from the jaws of defeat with an massive comeback on the road in Seattle. Derrick Henry was unstoppable, totaling over 230 yards from scrimmage and three scores, making the Seahawks’ defense look completely helpless in the process. And since Tennessee just beat a team which already defeated the Colts (on the road, no less), the public is going to back the Titans in this one.

While it’s no fun to bet on winless teams, the value here is with Indianapolis and it could continue that way if this line swells any more throughout the week. The Colts have lost two home games in unimpressive fashion, but look past the Carson Wentz jokes on twitter and see this team is better than its record.

Indy drove down the field on three drives early in this game, totaling three points. Concievably, there should have been at least 10 more points on the board, which would’ve been enough to come out with the victory. Other than a truly brutal pitch attempt inside the five, Wentz actually played pretty well.

The run defense also held the Rams to under 3.5 yards per carry, which may give them as good a chance as anyone at containing Henry at least a little bit. Los Angeles was also just 3-of-9 on third down and the Colts forced a pair of turnovers.

Keep in mind that if Wentz’s two sprained ankles aren’t healed and he can’t go, none of this matters and we’d avoid the game altogether. Even if it seems he will be hobbled, completely abort and either switch your pick or head to a different matchup.

Each of these teams won on the road in 2020 and we wouldn’t be surprised to see the same thing again. The Colts’ pass defense has been torn up twice and it will likely happen again, but the Titans’ defense is also completely fraudulent.

If Wentz is a full go, this could be a one-score game and having the points will help. Take the over, and consider backing the away team with nearly a touchdown in this potential shootout.

Picks: Indianapolis Colts +5 (-110 or better), Over 50 (-110 or better, up to 51.5)

Full Colts vs. Titans Betting Preview

Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants ()

The Falcons’ second consecutive road game in the early going will be at MetLife Stadium against the Giants following a 23-point road loss to Tampa Bay in Week 2.

Atlanta struggled against the pass in 2020 and working in the Giants’ favor is that it apears the Falcons aren’t improved in really any aspect of the game from last season. This group has let up 80 points in two losses, so we feel pretty good about a Big Blue offense that found some success on the road against Washington’s strong defense.

The Giants had a rough go of it getting two elite defenses to begin the season. Even with Daniel Jones’ ball security issues and Saquon Barkley not yet at full strength, this Atlanta defense looks like one the G-Men can handle.

New York was in the -1.5 to -2.5 range but after the Giants’ near-victory on Thursday and Atlanta’s loss, the line is now -3 nearly across the board. At a field goal or less, we’d like Big Blue to win this game and make up with its home fans after a dud in Week 1, but the early action indicates the sharps are on Atlanta after a couple of dismal showings. Take the over and lean toward the Giants.

Picks: Over 48 (-110 or better), Giants -3 (-115 or better)

Full Falcons vs. Giants Betting Preview

Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs ()

After blowing a two-score lead to Baltimore on Sunday night, the Chiefs return to Arrowhead as a touchdown favorite. The Chargers played a tight, surprisingly low-scoring game against the Cowboys that came down to the wire as Dallas kicked a game-winning field goal. So here, we’ve got two quality teams coming off losses in what is expected to be a shootout.

Let’s just cut to the chase: the Chiefs don’t cover. Dating back to last season, this team is 1-9 ATS in its last 10 regular-season games, even though it wins most of them. It’s never fun fading a Super Bowl-caliber team and one you, in theory, would actually want to bet on, but sometimes it’s necessary.

Third down is one area in which Los Angeles can exploit Kansas City. The Chargers are 19-for-31 on third-down conversions early in the season and especially in short yardage, the Chiefs’ defense isn’t likely to get off the field without Herbert making a few mistakes.

With a touchdown still available, snag the Chargers now before sharps pull the string below a key number. At -6.5, much of the public is likely to continue riding with the Chiefs, but there’s no telling where this spread winds up. We’d side with Los Angeles with the points, even at Arrowhead. This total has jumped quite a bit but it’s still a lean on the over.

Picks: Los Angeles Chargers +7 (-115 or better), Over 54 (-120 or better)

Full Chargers vs. Chiefs Betting Preview

Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers ()

For the second week in a row, the Bengals get a tough road game as they travel to Heinz Field to play the Steelers. Pittsburgh is playing as a home favorite for the second straight game and is favored by basically the same amount, but they’ll be looking for a much different result.

Everything was working in the Steelers’ favor in Week 2, but they laid an egg on offense and lost to a Raiders team traveling east with shorter rest and some key injuries. It was a truly ugly result, and it definitely makes you think twice about backing them giving away almost a touchdown yet again.

The issue there is, your other option is Cincinnati. While Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase are already building a special bond at the NFL level, this team is massively flawed on both sides of the football. If not for over 100 yards in penalties from Minnesota in Week 1, the Bengals are 0-2.

The line moving from -5.5 to -3 screams Bengals but at this point in the week, we’re sticking with the Steelers. Pittsburgh still has the superior talent on both sides of the ball and at some point, we are expecting that to shine through. Maybe the Steelers aren’t what we saw in Week 1 or Week 2 but something in between. If so, it’s good enough to win at home against the Cincinnati, which struggled mightily with Chicago’s defense on Sunday.

The Steelers have huge issues on the offensive line and its inability to run the ball is going to be a problem over the long haul, but not in Week 3. Najee Harris finally breaks out on the ground and Pittsburgh wins by a touchdown.

Picks: Pittsburgh Steelers -3 (-110 or better) play to -4.5, Over 45 (-110)

Full Bengals vs. Steelers Betting Preview

Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns ()

After having to play the Rams on the road in Week 1, Chicago gets no favors when it must go to Cleveland in Week 3. But Bears fans have reason to be excited, as Justin Fields will make his first NFL start. Following a 10-point win over Houston in Week 2, the Browns are giving away about 7.5 points across the board.

While Fields has flashed at times when appearing in the first two games, his career won’t be without some speed bumps at the start. His mobility gives the Bears more options and we’re likely to see more points on the baord. But the Chicago defense, despite what saw against Cincinnati, isn’t what it used to be.

Cleveland has averaged 30 points over the first two games of the season thanks to one of the league’s best offensive lines giving Baker Mayfield a clean pocket. The Bears’ defensive front was just average in Week 2 despite how the Bengals made it look, and the Browns’ offense is too dynamic not to score a few touchdowns again.

Our favorite play would be on the over and if you’re taking the game, cover the key number of seven with the Browns in case it lands on the touchdown.

Picks: Over 46 (-110 or better), Browns -7 (up to -120)

Full Bears vs. Browns Betting Preview

Baltimore Ravens at Detroit Lions ()

The Ravens have played two absolutely thrilling games in prime time so far this season. After losing in overtime in Las Vegas, Baltimore overcame a two-score deficit to beat Kansas City on Sunday night in Week 2. In a much more low-key affair, the Ravens visit the Lions as huge favorites.

After playing Green Bay at Lambeau on Sunday Night Football, things don’t get any easier for the Lions. They get to go home, but the Ravens and another likel loss will be waiting. Baltimore being -7.5 on the road tells you all you need to know about this mismatch, even if the Ravens are dealing with a ton of injuries.

Stopping Lamar Jackson is a big enough problem, but having one less day to do it is truly a nightmare situation. Detroit will need to score to keep pace but eventually, a Jared Goff turnover or a third-and-long situation is bound to doom the Lions. After all, the Ravens held the Chiefs to just 1-for-6 on third-down conversaions in the rare occasion they actually forced one.

This is another game where you’re on the wrong side of the hook at -7.5. Consider the Ravens for any teaser you may build, and consider buying the hook for the road team to cover seven. If you’re concerned about another back-door cover for Detroit, stick with the over at 48 or more.

Picks: Over 48 (-110 or better), Baltimore Ravens -7 (-120 or better)

Full Ravens vs. Lions Betting Preview

New Orleans Saints at New England Patriots ()

When the New England Patriots return home in Week 3, they’ll do so as field-goal favorites against the Saints. New Orleans was beat soundly on the road in Week 2 and Jameis Winston looks to rebound after throwing for just 111 yards.

This game was a pick’em before Week 2, and the Patriots are now -3 across the board. We see this as an overreaction to New England playing two young and mistake-prone quarterbacks and overreaction to what happened to the Saints in Carolina.

New Orleans isn’t the team we saw wallop the Packers in Week 1, but it’s also not the group that couldn’t score on Carolina in Week 2. It’s somewhere in the middle, and whatever that is, it’s better than what the Dolphins and Jets have shown to this point. We’re taking the road team with a free field goal.

Picks: New Orleans Saints +3 (-110 or better), Under 47 or higher (up to -115)

Full Saints vs. Patriots Betting Preview

Arizona Cardinals at Jacksonville Jaguars ()

After two games, the Arizona Cardinals and Jacksonville Jaguars are going in opposite directions. The Jags are among the league’s worst while Arizona still undefeated as one of the league’s early success stories. Kyler Murray is tearing it up, Kliff Kingsbury looks like a genius, and the Cards are all set to go 3-0.

The question becomes, can they cover this touchdown spread? It’s plenty of points to give away on the road, but the Jaguars don’t inspire any confidence at all. Its defense has virtually no chance of stopping Murray after allowing 60 points through two games, and Trevor Lawrence won’t be able to drive the field enough times to keep up.

Our favorite bet is on the over, but the lean for a side has to be Arizona until Jacksonville keeps one within double digits.

Picks: Over 49 (-110 or better), Arizona Cardinals -7 (up to -120)

Full Cardinals vs. Jaguars Betting Preview

Washington Football Team at Buffalo Bills ()

After two home games, the Washington Football Team will go on the road for the first time and play Buffalo. This matchup is a result of the 17th game being added for all teams, and it was a tough draw for the WFT. This one pits strength against strength, as the WFT boasts a stellar defense and the Bills ranked top five in many offense categories behind MVP candidate Josh Allen.

The Bills finally look like what we all imagined them to be in a 35-0 drubbing of Miami. And with Taylor Heinicke at quarterback, the Bills will be a popular pick for a double-digit win at home. Especially after how the team played against Pittsburgh in Week 1.

In this instance, we’d love to say that Washington bends but doesn’t break, making 8.5 points too many to give away. But after seeing how much success the Giants had on Thursday, it’s harder to trust. That said, the three extra days of preparation could be exactly what this defense needs to hit the reset button after a couple of flawed games early on.

This is a no-play for us on the spread with a lean toward Washington, but we’ll take the over with the thought that Heinicke will have to push the ball down the field a bit to keep up with Allen.

Picks: Over 47 (-110 or better), Washington Football Team +8.5 (-110, play down to +8)

Full WFT vs. Bills Betting Preview

New York Jets at Denver Broncos ()

After winning two games on the road to begin the season, the Broncos’ home opener will be in Week 3 against the New York Jets and a rookie quarterback who just threw four interceptions. As a result, the home team is favored by double digits at Mile High, up from just 5.5 points before Week 2 games.

The Jets have looked lost on offense through two games and considering the Broncos’ defense hasn’t let up more than 13 points yet, Zach Wilson is probably in trouble once again. The offensive line is banged up and Wilson’s decision making has been porous at points. Not to mention, there was little help coming from the reciving corps in the Week 2 decimation via New England.

The schedule gets considerably tougher for Denver after this game, so it’s one that the Broncos will be extremely motivated to win at home and move to 3-0 before that happens. What makes this difficult is that giving away 11.5 points with an offense that isn’t all that powerful isn’t easy. Even if the Jets’ offense only mustered the 10 points it’s averaging through two games, it’s not totally inconceivable for the defesse to hold Denver to 21 points.

We’re sticking with the under as our favorite play. It was at 44 before Week 2 and already dropped to 42 or less, so keep an eye on the number and shop around. As for a side, it feels like you can’t possibly back the Jets in this scenario. But at some point, sharps are going to buy back on New York and we’d be willing to do that as well at 11.5 points or higher.

Picks: Under 42 down to 41 (-110 or better), Jets +11.5 or more (-110 or better)

Full Jets vs. Broncos Betting Preview

SUNDAY, SEPT. 26 (4:05 P.M. ET)

Miami Dolphins at Las Vegas Raiders ()

The Las Vegas Raiders (2-0) return home after a huge road win over Pittsburgh in Week 2 and face a Dolphins team that could be without Tua Tagovailoa due to a rib injury. As a result, the Raiders are five-point avorites over Miami on Sunday afternoon.

Las Vegas has its own injury issues with Josh Jacobs, but what Miami has to deal with is much worse. Things looked absolutely awful with Jacoby Brissett and whether it’s him or a banged-up Tua, you can be sure the Dolphins will have to score at least a bit to remain in this one.

These two played an absolute thriller in Las Vegas last December but I’m not sure we get the same thing this time around. This pick’em spread has become rather large but before it gets to a touchdown, back Las Vegas to make it a surprisng 3-0 start.

Picks: Raiders -5 (-110, play up to-6), Under 45.5 (-110 or better)

Full Dolphins vs. Raiders Betting Preview

SUNDAY, SEPT. 26 (4:25 P.M. ET)

Seattle Seahawks at Minnesota Vikings ()

Week 2 wasn’t a good one for Seattle or Minnesota. Following an impressive Week 1 road win, the Seahawks squandered a multi-touchdown lead and lost to the Titans in overtime. On the other side, the Vikings gave away wins in both of its first games and comes in with an 0-2 record.

Both of these teams are fresh off a shootout, and we could be in store for another one. Both the Seahawks and Vikings, plus each of their opponents, got over the 30-point mark in Week 2, and this total is at around 55 after being closer to 48 before last Sunday. For what it’s worth, Vikings home games were 7-0-1 to the over in 2020.

Look, we don’t trust either defense and both offenses are pretty good, so it feels like a toss up. This spread was Vikings +3 until Week 2 happened and then suddenly, it’s close to a pick’em. There’s a reason for that, especially after both team experienced similar fates on Sunday. Minnesota is a team that has found ways to lose, but so has Seattle, and we’re taking the Vikings in a shootout to win its home opener. If this number gets to +3 somehow, take the field goal.

Picks: Vikings ML (+110 or better), Over 55 (-110 or better)

Full Seahawks vs. Vikings Betting Preview

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Los Angeles Rams ()

In what could be one of the best games of the slate, the Buccaneers will visit SoFi Stadium to play the Rams in Los Angeles. After winning two games to start his career in blue and golf, Matthew Stafford is looking like a slight favorite against the defending champs, though pick’em may still be out there as well.

Our initial thought was that considering its elite defense and how perfectly Stafford fits into Sean McVay’s offense and someone has to win at a packed-out SoFi before we take the other side. But with that said, this feels like a cheap price on a Buccaneers team that has scored 30 or more points in nine straight games (all wins, of course) leading back to last year.

The Rams will probaby be a favorite among the public because of the short line, but this team is lucky to be 2-0. If not for terrible red-zone play from Indianpolis and Carson Wentz’s injury, Los Angeles would’ve allowed over 30 points in a Week 2 loss. The Bucs haven’t exactly been perfect, but its offense currently looks unstoppable, even for the Rams.

Los Angeles went on the road to Tampa last year and beat this Bucs team before it got hot, and now the Rams are upgraded at quarterback and playing at home. It’s a complete toss-up game, but we’re not doubting Tampa until someone beats them in a setting such as this one.

Picks: Tampa Bay Buccaneers +1.5 (-110 or better), Over 50 up to 51 (-110)

Full Buccaneers vs. Rams Betting Preview

SUNDAY, SEPT. 26 (8:20 P.M. ET)

Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers ()

In a rematch from the NFC title game a couple of seasons ago, the Packers will visit the 49ers at Levi’s Stadium. Oddsmakers see this game as an even matchup on paper, as the Niners are three-point favorites across the board.

Green Bay rebounded nicely in Week 2 against the Lions, but its struggles along the offensive line could be exposed yet again, which would help mitigate the huge disadvantage that the Niners have at quarterback and on offense in general. The Niners also rebounded from a terrible second half in Week 1, and its defense looks like one of the league’s best units once again. Plus, San Francisco gets an extra day and Green Bay has to travel.

I’ve sided with Rodgers and Green Bay in so many toss-up situations, including him going home to northern California to play the Niners, and have fallen flat. Have I learned my lesson? Nope. Take Green Bay and the points, or wait for this line to grow before you back the Packers to stay in this game.

Picks: Green Bay Packers +4 (-110 or better), Under 48.5 (-110)

Full Packers vs. 49ers Betting Preview

MONDAY, SEPT. 27 (8:15 P.M. ET)

Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys ()

The first divisional game for these NFC East rivals will also be the Cowboys’ first home game of the 2021 season. It will take place in prime time on Monday Night Football and Dallas is about a 3.5 or 4-point favorite depending on your sportsbook.

This has the feel of a tight ballgame, as both these teams played in Week 2, but Dallas is going to have a major advantage because of its offensive line. The Cowboys’ front dominated the Chargers while Dallas ran for nearly 200 yards. Through two games, the Eagles’ defense has gotten the job done, but this will be the best offense Philly has played yet.

The NFC East traditionally plays tight games, so that line could see action from people taking the points with the road team, but we’re going the other way. Call it reactionary, but what we saw in Week 2 from both of these teams is likely to persist. Dallas’ defense will bend without quite breaking, and Eagles will struggle against the Cowboys’ offensive line. If the Cowboys can finish drives like it did in Week 1 rather than Week 2, this can be a touchdown win for Dallas.

Picks: Cowboys -3.5 (-115 or better) , Under 51.5 (-110 or better)

Full Eagles vs. Cowboys Betting Preview

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Brian Sausa

Brian Sausa is a longtime sports content creator with extensive betting experience and knowledge of the industry. A journalism graduate with a ranging sports background, Brian has been employed by multiple professional leagues including MLB, MiLB, and the NHL.

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