NFL Betting: Week 3 Best Picks and Advice

During the NFL season, Stadium sports betting analyst Nate Jacobson will break down every single point spread using lines as of Thursday morning. Here are his thoughts on the Week 3 slate.

Note: Nate will discuss all of his college football and NFL bets on the Sharp Lessons podcast that drops every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Subscribe on Spotify and Apple for episodes and follow Stadium Bets on Twitter for more sports betting content.

Sides I Like

Colts (+6) over Chiefs: One of the reasons I placed several bets on the Colts before the season was because they played the Texans and Jaguars out of the gate. Those were two games I expected them to win, and I wouldn’t be able to get a better price on Indianapolis after a 2-0 start. That has not been the case for the Colts, as they are 0-1-1 with Kansas City coming to town for Indianapolis’ home opener. The biggest issue for the Colts has been their offense and the play of QB Matt Ryan. While the Colts were shutout by the Jaguars in Week 2, they were missing WR Michael Pittman (the team is hopeful he’ll be back this week).

Kansas City is off to a 2-0 start and they have the rest and preparation advantage for this game since they last played on Thursday night. However, this line is inflated toward the Chiefs based on the results we’ve seen this season. Before the Colts were embarrassed in Jacksonville, the line for this game was Chiefs -3. This current line is too much of an adjustment, which is why I bet Colts +7 on Tuesday. I’m hoping Pittman and star LB Shaquille Leonard are back in the fold and that RB Jonathan Taylor can run well against the weakness of Kansas City’s defense.

Sides I’m Considering

Patriots (+3) over Ravens: This is the week of the home underdog, as this is one of nine games in Week 3 in which the home team is getting points. My numbers make this game closer to a pick’em, so the math says to back New England catching a field goal in their home opener. But what’s keeping me from making a bet on this game is how Week 2 played out.

The Patriots defeated a Steelers team in Pittsburgh that I don’t have much respect for, while the Ravens squandered a 21-point fourth-quarter lead in a loss to the Dolphins. I expect a focused effort from Baltimore in this one and there are still questions about the Patriots offense. If New England gets down early like Miami did to Baltimore, they don’t have the speed or talent to mount a comeback. The number says to bet the Patriots, but I get why the Ravens are currently a field-goal favorite.

Panthers (+2.5) over Saints: This is another home underdog and fits the six-point teaser where you can get the underdog through the key numbers of +3 and +7. The Panthers are off to an 0-2 start but both losses could’ve gone either way. The Saints suffered a disappointing home loss to the Buccaneers, where their offense struggled and it was revealed before the game that QB Jameis Winston was playing with fractures in his spine. I plan to bet the Panthers in a teaser, and they just need to avoid losing by more than a possession to cash that leg of the bet.

Titans (+2.5) over Raiders: These two AFC teams made the playoffs last season but are both still searching for their first win. The line for this game was Raiders -1.5 before the Titans’ blowout loss at the Bills on Monday. The line moved up to -2.5, but it doesn’t look like it’ll get to -3. If I was able to get Titans +3 I would bet them straight, but for now they are on the list of teaser options at the current number.

Commanders (+6.5) over Eagles: The Eagles looked great on Monday night against the Vikings, which caused this line to jump up from Eagles -3.5 to nearly a touchdown. Philadelphia will be a popular bet this week against a struggling team in Washington, whose home-field advantage will be mitigated by the Eagles fans who make the trip. However, this line is inflated off Philly’s performance in a primetime spot, and they also have a short week of preparation for this game. I made this number Eagles -5, so getting the Commanders at +7 would be a bet for me if it got there by game day.

Texans (+3) over Bears: I believe these two teams would be evenly rated on a neutral field. The Bears are at home, but they don’t deserve three points for home-field advantage. So if the number is Texans +3, I would have to consider Houston in this game. If it falls back to +2.5, I would add the Texans to the teaser list because the Bears don’t have the offensive pieces to win by margin, and the total for this game is low at 40.

Packers (+1.5) over Buccaneers: It’s hard to comprehend that a game between Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady has a total of 41.5, but that’s where we are after the total re-opened at 46 and reached as low as 41. The current roster makeup of both teams — and Mike Evans’ suspension — caused the adjustment in the total, and also brought the Buccaneers down from -3 to -2 early on Monday.

The Packers want to rely on their two running backs early as Rodgers gets familiar with some of his new pass-catching options. The Buccaneers offense is a mess right now due to a noticeable downgrade at offensive line and injuries to several receivers, including Chris Godwin. If the Buccaneers were healthy, I would say this line is a little short and the Bucs would be the side. However, I currently believe it’s Packers or pass, and since I don’t think we’ll get back to +3 on Green Bay, teasing the Packers up in a game with a low total makes sense.

Falcons (+1.5) over Seahawks: I don’t have much interest in straight betting the Falcons because I think these teams are equal. Also keep in mind that home-field advantage for the Seahawks early in the season is as strong as it gets. That being said, I don’t think much of Seattle, and Atlanta looks to be better than their pre-season expectations. That’s why the Falcons are another teaser option this week.

Cowboys (+1.5) over Giants: The look-ahead line for this Monday night game was Giants -4.5, but re-opened Giants -3 after Cooper Rush led the Cowboys to a 20-17 win over the Bengals as touchdown home underdogs. The Giants improved to 2-0 after defeating the Panthers, but their offense sputtered for most of the day, only averaging 3.8 yards per play — and they were aided by two early Carolina fumbles that led to field goals.

On Monday, the line for this game moved off the key number of +3 and down to +2.5. This is another game to add to the teaser conversation, but I’d also consider betting the Cowboys on the moneyline because their pass rush led by Micah Parsons has a big matchup edge against the Giants’ o-line.

Game-Time Decisions

Steelers at Browns (-4): There are a lot of matchups with low totals this week, but this Thursday night game has the lowest total on the board at 38.5. The point spread for this game re-opened -3.5 on Sunday night and reached -5 on Monday. Now some money has returned for Pittsburgh due to injury concerns mounting on the Cleveland side.

This game is a pretty easy one for me to stay away from. Jacoby Brissett played well in Week 2’s shocking collapse by the Browns but I don’t have interest laying points with him as more than a field-goal favorite. Historically, the Steelers relish the underdog role under Mike Tomlin, but I also don’t want to put my money on a team quarterbacked by a struggling Mitch Trubisky.

Bills (-6) at Dolphins: This is a fascinating matchup between a pair of undefeated teams from the AFC East. The Bills are coming off two dominating performances in primetime and clearly are the highest-rated team in the NFL. The Dolphins defeated the Patriots in Week 1 and followed it up with an amazing comeback at the Ravens. It also seems like for the first time in QB Tua Tagovailoa’s NFL career, the former first-round pick is getting some hype from the media. My personal number is in line with the market price, so this is a game to watch and enjoy.

Bengals (-5) at Jets: It’s been a disappointing start to the season for the defending AFC champs, who are 0-2 with losses to Mitch Trubisky’s Steelers and Cooper Rush’s Cowboys. The Bengals have had trouble offensively, and Joe Burrow has been sacked 13 times through two games. This is probably a good spot for the Bengals to bounce back against Joe Flacco and the Jets, who just had an incredible comeback win over the Browns. I have no interest in betting on a Zac Taylor team in the road favorite role, so this is a pass for me.

Lions at Vikings (-6): The look-ahead line for this game had the Vikings as over-a-touchdown favorite. The Lions’ win on Sunday coupled with the Vikings’ loss on Monday then sent this line to under a touchdown, which I think is justified. I’m high on Minnesota this season, but I respect Dan Campbell in the underdog role.

Jaguars at Chargers (-7): I need to know more about Chargers QB Justin Herbert, who suffered a fracture to his rib cartilage last Thursday. His current status is day-to-day, but it’s helpful that he has a few extra days to try to heal for this game. If Herbert does play, this line might jump more, making the Jaguars attractive against the spread. If veteran backup Chase Daniel instead gets the nod, I would probably stay away from betting this game.

Rams (-3.5) at Cardinals: This is an NFC Wild Card rematch from last season, where the Rams dominated the Cardinals on their way to winning the Super Bowl. Sean McVay has a 6-1 record against Kliff Kingsbury, and the only time Kingsbury got the better of McVay was early last season when the Cardinals were the NFL’s hottest team.

I’m curious to see what this line would’ve been if the Cardinals didn’t miraculously overcome a 20-point deficit last week against the Raiders. I’m guessing it would be closer to Rams -5, which is what the line re-opened at on Sunday. I would need -3 on the Rams to consider them in this game, but I don’t think it’ll get to that point.

49ers (-1.5) at Broncos: What caused the Broncos to re-open as a 2.5-point favorite on Sunday night before the 49ers were installed as the favorite? On the 49ers side, Jimmy Garoppolo is back as the starting QB after Trey Lance suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 2. Garoppolo doesn’t have as high of a ceiling as Lance, but he’s an upgrade for San Francisco if you want to bet them in individual games.

As for the Broncos, new head coach Nathaniel Hackett looks in over his head due to Denver’s questionable red-zone play-calling and general game mismanagement that we’ve seen over his first two games. These factors are built into the current number, which is why San Francisco is the favorite for this Sunday night game.