Dip into the Week 3 Betting Pool with these Free NFL Picks

Jason Lake

Sunday, September 21, 2014 3:57 PM GMT

Jason Lake dips into the Week 3 NFL betting pool and comes up with three choice picks, starting with this year’s No. 1 bounce-back candidate taking on a New York Giants team that’s more splat than bounce.

Jason’s Record After Week 2: 4-7 ATS, 1-2-1 Totals

Profit: minus-8.8 units

You’ve probably heard by now how important it is to win your first two games. In case you missed it, Benjamin Morris at FiveThirtyEight ran the numbers and found that NFL teams who start 0-2 make the playoffs just 12 percent of the time. Teams who start 2-0 get to the postseason 63 percent of the time, while those who have split their first two games are still in the hunt at 41 percent.

What can we infer from these numbers? How about this: We learn more about 0-2 teams than anyone else after two weeks. Sure, it’s still a small sample size, and there are mitigating factors like strength of schedule to take into account. But let’s fade these poor souls while the fading is good. We’ve got two of them on this week’s ticket, plus we’ll support the hottest 2-0 team on the market while there’s still room on the bandwagon. Note: These will all be 1-star picks for purposes of our running ATS tally.

 

Sunday: Houston vs. N.Y. Giants (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS)
We’ve been in love with the Texans (2-0 SU and ATS) from the get-go, and they’ve delivered despite playing at a fairly mediocre level: Football Outsiders has them ranked No. 18 in overall efficiency (No. 14 offense, No. 16 defense, No. 25 special teams). That’s still a major improvement over last year, when the Texans ranked No. 30. Beating the NFL spread is all about beating market expectation.

It helps when your first two opponents are Washington (enigmatic) and Oakland (awful). But the Giants (0-2 SU and ATS) are playing even worse football than those guys at No. 31 on the DVOA charts (No. 31 offense, No. 24 defense, No. 30 special teams). Their problems go beyond getting Eli Manning to figure out the West Coast offense. New York has major injuries up and down the roster – you’d think this was 1987 replacement football. Where’s Jim Crocicchia?

Free NFL Pick: Put 1.4 units on the Texans PK (+105) at Sportbet

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Sunday: San Diego vs. Buffalo (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS)
The hot 2-0 team we’re talking about? The Bills (2-0 SU and ATS), of course. They have the highest Simple Rating System (SRS) of anyone in the league at 49.9, and you can’t blame this one on the schedule: Buffalo beat the Chicago Bears (–7 at home) and the Miami Dolphins (+1.5 away). Looks like EJ Manuel (95.4 passer rating) might be an NFL quarterback after all.

The Chargers (1-1 SU, 2-0 ATS) have done just fine against the NFL lines, and they upset the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks (–4.5 away) last week. But San Diego has a minus-3.7 SRS to show for it, and Football Outsiders has them ranked No. 25 in overall DVOA (No. 19 offense, No. 27 defense, No. 9 special teams). Buffalo checks in at No. 3 (No. 7 offense, No. 14 defense, No. 1 special teams) in efficiency. Also: West Coast team playing an early Sunday East Coast game.

Free NFL Pick: Put 1.4 units on the Bills –1.5 at Jazz

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Sunday: Kansas City at Miami (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS)
You know the drill by now: Kansas City (0-2 SU, 1-1 ATS) bad. They’re this year’s anti-Texans at minus-21.1 SRS and No. 30 overall (No. 27 offense, No. 32 defense, No. 18 special teams). The Dolphins (1-1 SU and ATS) aren’t exactly all that at No. 23 in DVOA (No. 21 offense, No. 12 defense, No. 32 special teams), but they have a plus-38.9 SRS and a very good chance of beating this small spread at home.

Free NFL Pick: Put 1.4 units on the Dolphins –3.5 (+102) at Pinnacle

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