One of the biggest difficulties in trying to make NFL picks and predictions is fighting the urge to overreact. Week 1 saw underdogs post a 12-4 record against the spread. The NFL odds adjusted and Week 2 saw underdogs go 9-7. The under hit nine times in Week 2, continuing a trend from the NFL’s opening slate of games.
Looking at the lines for Week 3 shows only one team favored by double digits, but there are five other spreads wider than a touchdown. Injury concerns makes NFL Week 3 Picks and Predictions more fluid as some key players are ruled out while other will try to grit it out.
Despite all this uncertainty, though, NFL Week 3 features a number of actionable lines and totals to bet this weekend. Here’s a look at five of the best bets to follow for Week 3.
The Arizona Cardinals (2-0, 1-1 ATS) visit the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2, 0-2 ATS) in Week 3. This game features two headliners at quarterback, but only one of them is playing up to expectations. Arizona’s Kyler Murray finds himself in the MVP conversation early on with 740 total yards and nine total touchdowns through two weeks. The Cardinals rank second in the league in scoring (36.0 points per game) and face off against one of the league’s worst defenses.
Arizona fields big-play threats across the board on offense, and a front seven that can get after the quarterback. In Week 1, Chandler Jones registered five sacks, and the Cardinals should have no problem getting after Trevor Lawrence. The rookie averages 2.5 interceptions per game thus far, and coughing it up to Arizona would be a big mistake.
The Jaguars have lost 17 straight ball games and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. Lawrence has underwhelmed to start his career, completing only 50 percent of his passes thus far. He’s thrown just four touchdowns and five interceptions in two games. His pass catchers haven’t been able to create the necessary separation to give Lawrence clear throwing windows, and the team just hasn’t been able to put up points.
After scoring a touchdown on their 83-yard opening drive last week, Jacksonville managed just 106 yards the rest of the game. The Jaguars rank 28th in scoring (17.0) and allow the fourth-most yards per game (423.5).
Jacksonville lost their home opener last week, 23-13 to the Denver Broncos, and it’s hard to imagine they’ll be able to keep pace with this Cardinals team that piles up the points.
The Los Angeles Chargers (1-1, 1-1 ATS) come to this pivotal AFC West matchup after a disappointing loss in Week 2. The Kansas City Chiefs (1-1, 0-2 ATS) also suffered a disappointing loss last week, but they remain favorites to win the AFC. Both of these teams should be able to put up points, but considering the Chiefs are 2-11 against the spread in their last 13 games, there’s a good chance the Chargers hang around in this one.
Los Angeles features a solid offense capable of scoring points in bunches, and they’re going against a Chiefs defense that allows a league-high 469.0 yards per game. Kansas City surrenders 202 rushing yards per game and 32.5 points per game. The Chargers should be able to move the ball up and down the field, and they’ll need to convert red zone opportunities if they want to win this one straight up.
They’ll need to clean up their play from last week, though, after piling up 99 yards on 12 penalties. Those penalties cost the Chargers two touchdowns and six first downs along the way. LA also missed a field goal during their three-point loss to the Cowboys.
The Chiefs enter this one coming off a loss, and are 4-0 both straight up and against the spread following their last four losses. Kansas City has owned this series of late, winning 12 of the 14 games since 2014. The Chargers, though, sport a 20-10-3 mark against the spread on the road since moving to Los Angeles in 2017. And four of the last five games between these two teams have been decided by seven points or fewer. The Chargers hold a solid chance to cover this spread, although a straight up win might be more difficult to come by.
The Indianapolis Colts (0-2, 1-1 ATS) hit the road after starting their season with two consecutive home losses. The Tennessee Titans (1-1, 1-1 ATS) bounced back after their disappointing start to the season with an impressive come-from-behind victory against the Seahawks in Seattle. Questions about Indy’s quarterback situation continue to swirl ahead of this matchup. Colts starter Carson Wentz was knocked out of Week 2 late and now nurses two sprained ankles. His replacement, Jacob Eason, entered his first action as a pro and promptly threw an interception.
For the Titans, Derrick Henry came to life in the second half against Seattle. Henry, who ran for more than 2,000 yards last season, scored three second half touchdowns and finished with 182 rushing yards overall. In his last meeting against the Colts, Henry piled up 178 yards and three scores. Henry has eclipsed the 100-yard mark in each of his last three games against the Colts, averaging 143.3 rushing yards.
What worries Titans fans is the defense, which has allowed 34 points per game through the first two. Now, Indy’s offense is nowhere near has high-powered as that of either the Cardinals or Seahawks, Tennessee’s first two opponents, but 68 total points is still a big number. That said, either a quarterback making his first career start, or one that’s hobbled by injury, should help the Titans’ defense considerably.
Although the road team has covered in the last five meetings between these two, Tennessee plus the points feels like the right play. The Colts offense ranks in the bottom half of the league in both yards per game (345) and points per game (20), and their defense has been susceptible to big plays in the passing game. And only two of the last 10 games in this matchup has been decided by seven points or fewer.
The Denver Broncos (2-0, 2-0 ATS) host their home opener with a great chance to improve to both 3-0 straight up and against the spread this weekend. Although this is the largest line of the weekend, the Broncos welcome in a New York Jets (0-2, 0-2 ATS) team that’s in the running for the worst in the league.
The Broncos finally have a reliable quarterback to captain the offense opposite their solid defense. Teddy Bridgewater completed 78 percent of his passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1. Then followed that performance by completing 77 percent of his passes for 328 yards and two touchdowns in Week 2. Denver won both road games by double digits, and now return home to face a similarly young quarterback.
New York’s Zach Wilson entered the league as the No. 2 overall selection in last year’s draft, but he’s been terrible thus far. His first two passes in Week 2 were intercepted, and he threw four interceptions total. His touchdown-to-interception ratio is 2:5 thus far. The Jets rank in the bottom third in yards per game (294.0) and rank 31st in points per game (10.0). Wilson’s been sacked a league-high 10 times through two games.
The Broncos defense should have no problem attacking Wilson and frustrating the young QB even further. After surrendering an opening drive touchdown to Trevor Lawrence in Week 2, a drive where they played mostly man coverage, Denver switched to primarily zone coverages and held the Jaguars to just 106 yards for the remainder of the game. They’ll probably do something similar against Wilson.
This game also features the lowest total of the week, which isn’t surprising considering New York’s ineffective offense. Denver really shouldn’t have a problem covering the 10.5-point spread, especially since Bridgewater is 37-13-1 against the spread in his career.
The headline matchup of NFL’s Week 3 slate comes in Los Angeles as the Rams (2-0, 1-1 ATS) play host to the defending Super Bowl champs, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0, 1-1 ATS). This game features the two teams with the best Super Bowl odds in the NFC entering this season, and two of the most high-powered offenses in the league.
The Bucs average a league-high 39.5 points per game through their first two contests, while Los Angeles ranks fifth at 30.5 points per game. Those figures would make it seem like the over is destined to hit in this one, but at 55.5 points, that’s a big total.
Tom Brady continues to defy Father Time considering he’s thrown a career-high nine touchdown passes through the first two weeks. He’s on pace for a whopping 76 touchdown passes this season. Over his last 10 game, including the playoffs, Brady’s averaging 304.9 passing yards per game and has thrown 31 touchdowns to just six interceptions. Despite his long and storied career, Brady’s never played in the city of Los Angeles.
The Rams upgraded massively at quarterback this season when they brought in Matthew Stafford from Detroit. Stafford continued to establish his chemistry with Cooper Kupp, who caught nine passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns in Week 2. And considering the Buccaneers defense allows 342 passing yards per game, third-most in the league thus far, Stafford should feel comfortable out there.
The spread for this game hovers between 2.5 and 1 point, depending upon the sportsbook, and it’s basically a pick ‘em at this point. The Rams are 7-1 against the spread in their last eight games against Tampa Bay. Tampa Bay, meanwhile, is 4-2 against the spread in their last six road games. Stafford should be able to exploit the Bucs inconsistent secondary, while Aaron Donald and Co. can get after Brady with the home crowd behind them.