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

Dolphins (+4.5) over Raiders:  There has been an adjustment in this point spread because Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa is out with fractured ribs he suffered in Week 2. In comes Jacoby Brissett, who is a capable backup that filled in for the Colts in 2019 after Andrew Luck’s sudden retirement. The Raiders are a team I want to fade off wins in the underdog role against the Ravens and Steelers. I’ll take a stand that Brissett isn’t a huge dropoff from Tagovalioa and back Miami at +3.5 or better.

Sides I’m Considering

Colts (+5) over Titans: Another game with a quarterback injury and it involved Brissett’s former team in the Colts. Carson Wentz suffered injuries to both ankles late in the Colts’ Week 2 loss to the Rams and Jacob Eason would be in line to start if Wentz misses the game. Before Week 2 games were played, the look-ahead line for this one was Titans -3.5, so there’s just a slight adjustment from Wentz to Eason. I agree it should only be a minimal move because I’m not a believer in Wentz and Eason has the pedigree of a highly-touted high school recruit who played at Georgia before transferring to Washington.

I have had a good feel for the Titans, cashing in each of the first two weeks: I bet against them as home favorites against the Cardinals in Week 1 and then bet on them as road underdogs against the Seahawks last week. The Titans’ defense is a bad unit, so this would be a manageable first test for Eason as a starter in the NFL. I’m hoping to get +6 or better on the Colts once the quarterback injury news is announced, so I’ll be waiting to bet this later in the week.

Lions (+9) over Ravens: There won’t be many games where I consider the Lions this season, but the Ravens are in a vulnerable spot. Baltimore is coming off the biggest regular season win with Lamar Jackson’s career as a starter, as they rallied to beat the Chiefs on Sunday night. Kansas City defeated Baltimore in the three other regular season meetings when Jackson and Patrick Mahomes were the starting quarterback for each team, and it was vital the Ravens avoided an 0-2 start.

Now the Ravens travel for an out-of-conference game and still are dealing with a lot of injuries. This is a natural letdown spot against a Lions team that lacks talent, but I trust Detroit play hard for 60 minutes and stay around the number. The Ravens could be a popular six-point teaser leg if the line comes down to -8.5 or better, but I’ll be avoiding Baltimore in those types of wagers.

Patriots (-2.5) over Saints: The Saints were a team I bet against last week because I thought there was an overreaction to their Week 1 win over the Packers in the point spread. New Orleans had a miserable day in Carolina, averaging just 3.0 yards per play and Jameis Winston threw two interceptions. Usually I would look to bet on a team off a bad performance, but I can’t do it with the Saints. Before the season, I thought the Saints would take a step back with quarterback uncertainty, a lack of a No. 1 wide receiver without Michael Thomas to start the season, and an aging defense.

New England was unfortunate to lose in Week 1 after outplaying the Dolphins. They made life miserable for Zach Wilson and the Jets in Week 2, as the rookie quarterback threw four interceptions, including two on his first two pass attempts of the game. I can see Bill Belichick’s defense causing issues for the turnover-prone Winston in this game. Another reason to fade the Saints is they have been away from home, practicing in Dallas since August as New Orleans recovers from Hurricane Ida. Being away from home for so long has taken a toll on the team as we saw last week. I like the Patriots here at -2.5 or better because New England is the better team and they are playing at home.

Falcons (+3) over Giants: This is a number play for me. Other than the Lions, I don’t think the Giants should be a field goal favorite against any team in the NFC. They played well against the Washington Football Team last Thursday on the road, but that’s a team Daniel Jones has had success against in his career. He has four wins over Washington and is 4-19 as a starter against all other teams. The Falcons were blown out by the Eagles in Week 1 and the scoreboard against the Buccaneers looks like another blowout in Week 2. However, Atlanta was only down 28-25 before two interceptions for touchdowns made the final score 48-25. It’s intimidating to trust Atlanta, but I’ll trust my numbers in this one.

Eagles (+3.5) over Cowboys: The Eagles lost to the 49ers 17-11 in Week 2, but they closed as only a 2.5-point home underdog against a team in San Fransisco who I have a lot of respect for. The Eagles were unlucky to lose that game, as they outgained the 49ers 6.0-4.5 on a yards-per-play basis. I was impressed with how the Cowboys played in a loss against the Buccaneers to open the season and felt like they were lucky to beat the Chargers in Week 2. Whenever a team coach by Mike McCarthy is favored, I usually will look to the other team. I’ll take a shot on the Eagles getting back on track after falling short last week.


Sides I Plan to Use in a Six-Point Teaser

Vikings (+1.5) over Seahawks: It’s shaping up to be a week with a lot of traditional teaser legs that go through the key numbers of both 3 and 7. I mentioned the Ravens as one to avoid above, and below I have some concerns about teasing the Panthers, Cardinals, Bills, Browns and Rams. But one teaser leg I’ll look to key in with others is the Vikings up to over a touchdown against the Seahawks. Minnesota has two narrow losses to begin the season and if those flipped to wins, we’d probably be looking at the Vikings as the 1.5-point favorite in this game. The Vikings need this game after starting 0-2 and should get a nice home-field advantage boost playing their first game of the season in Minnesota. The Seahawks are known for playing a lot of close games, so I don’t think they will win by over a possession, and I think the Vikings have shot to win this game.

Games I’m Undecided On

Panthers (-8) at Texans: Before Week 2, the Panthers were a four-point favorite in this game. Now it’s out to -8 with the Texans losing quarterback Tyrod Taylor to a hamstring injury. Third-round rookie Davis Mills will start for Houston and now Carolina is in a territory where they can be teased down through two key numbers. I’m going to be cautious with this one because it’s a Thursday night game on the road and Carolina is coming off a big division win against the Saints. 

Cardinals (-7) at Jaguars: I’m guessing the Cardinals will be an extremely popular side this week and also be included in the many potential two-team teasers. This is another spot where I’m going to be cautious with the road team traveling to Florida for an early start, plus Arizona has a huge game at the Rams on deck.

Washington at Bills (-7.5): The point spread in this game re-opened at Bills -9.5 on Sunday evening. Buffalo is coming off a 35-0 win over Miami, but the Dolphins lost Tua Tagovailoa early on and were out of sorts. Josh Allen was only 17-of-33 passing and there’s some concern if he’s regressed after his 2020 campaign. Money has come in on Washington early this week and the line is down two points.

I actually considered Washington when the number was higher earlier this week. Washington has extra time to rest and prepare for this game, and there’s a lot of familiarity between the head coaches as Sean McDermott served as a defensive coordinator in Carolina for Ron Rivera. I’m going to stay away from this game for now.

Chargers at Chiefs (-6.5): This is one of the best games on Sunday, but I don’t have a betting opinion on it. It’s rare when Patrick Mahomes loses a regular season game, as Kansas City has won 21 of their last 23 with him starting since 2019. That includes their loss last week to the Ravens so it’s hard to bet against the Chiefs off a defeat. However, I have concerns about their defense and the Chargers have a great quarterback in Justin Herbert. I also have concerns about the Chargers offensive play calling and red zone woes. That will ultimately keep me away from this game.

Bears at Browns (-7): If Andy Dalton was starting in this game, I would be using the Browns in teasers and possibly bet them straight up if this was the point spread. Justin Fields gets the call under center for this game because Dalton is out with a knee injury. I’m not sure if the Bears will be immediately be better with Fields, but his style of play adds a lot of variance in this game and make the range of outcomes wider.

Bengals at Steelers (-3): The look ahead line in this game was Steelers -6.5 and it was down to -4.5 by Monday. Since then, another wave of Bengals money has knocked this line down to Steelers -3 due to potential injuries. The most notable one is quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and a pectoral injury that could limit him if he plays at all. At the current price, the Steelers are the only side I could play in this one. I would rather wait and track their injury reports throughout the week.

Jets at Broncos (-10.5): The biggest point spread of the week also has the lowest total at 41. I really want to make a case for the Jets catching double-digits against a Broncos team that is getting a lot of respect for beating the Giants and Jaguars. I’m just worried about Zach Wilson and the Jets will have trouble scoring and staying within the number against Vic Fangio’s defense.

Buccaneers (-1.5) at Rams: The Rams were as high as a 2.5-point favorite on the look ahead line. The Buccaneers have taken plenty of money and are now the short favorite in this game. I personally think this line should be a pick ’em so the Rams could be considered later in the week as a teaser of +7.5 or better. I do have concerns about the Rams defense that let Andy Dalton and Carson Wentz move the ball on them in the first two games. It’s another great game, but another one I don’t have a betting opinion on.

Packers at 49ers (-3): This is the Sunday night game and early money on the Packers has driven this line down to 49ers -3. There also have been bets on the over that opened at 48 and now is 50.5. The move on the over makes sense after Kyle Shanahan’s success facing the Packers in two 2019 meetings, including the NFC title game. The Packers have a new DC in Joe Barry, and that unit gave up five touchdowns to Jameis Winston in Week 1 and two first-half touchdowns to Jared Goff on Monday night. The Packers’ offense is in a good spot with the 49ers going through several early-season defensive injuries. I don’t expect Aaron Rodgers to have another bad road performance like he did in Week 1.