NFL Betting Odds - Where Are The Sharps Looking In Week 3?

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, September 20, 2016 2:51 PM UTC

Tuesday, Sep. 20, 2016 2:51 PM UTC

Not counting the Week 2 Monday night game between the Eagles and Bears in Chicago, underdogs have been the smart bet in the NFL this season as they have covered 18 of the 31 games. Joins expert capper as he analyses where the early sharp action lies on NFL odds.

Houston Texans vs. New England Patriots 
The Thursday night game this week. New England would have opened as around a 5-point favorite if not for the injury on Sunday to quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who had been outstanding in the first two weeks with Tom Brady suspended until Week 5. The public was big on Arizona over New England in Week 1 and Garoppolo led the upset. Early action is much the same here on Houston because the Patriots will start third-round rookie Jacoby Brissett under center as Garoppolo has a sprained AC joint in his shoulder. The sharps have learned not to count out the Patriots because of a quarterback change. Look at what unknown Matt Cassel did in 2008. 

The Patriots haven't lost a home prime-time game to an AFC team since that season and they have won 28 straight at home against non-divisional AFC teams. Short turnaround games generally favor the home teams and no club has a better coaching staff than New England to get Brissett ready in just three days. The Patriots also have won six straight games on Thursday. You will see late sharp action on New England here, especially if the line continues to rise across the board. This is the first time the Pats are home dogs since 2014 against Denver. New England won that game easily.

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Arizona Cardinals vs. Buffalo Bills 
The public is hammering Arizona as of this writing but the sharp money is on Buffalo for a few reasons. True, the Bills have looked terrible both offensively (Week 1 loss to Ravens) and defensively (Week 2 loss to Jets). But they are on extra rest and in desperation mode. If the Bills lose this one, it surely means Rex Ryan isn't long for that head coaching job. He already made a panic move after last Thursday's 37-31 loss, firing the highest-paid offensive coordinator in football, Greg Roman. Interesting that Ryan would dump his offensive guy after the Bills put up 31 points on a good Jets defense. But then Ryan isn't going to fire himself or brother Rob, who oversee that defense. An in-season coordinator or head coaching change often can spur a team to play much better for a few weeks. 

Look at last season's Detroit Lions and, briefly, Miami Dolphins. New offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn led Buffalo's offense for the first time in practice Monday but is keeping the terminology from Roman's playbook intact. Lynn will make some tactical changes. This is one of those 10 a.m. Pacific time starts for Arizona and also its first road game of the season. The Cardinals won't play another 1 p.m. ET time game until Nov. 20 at Minnesota, and that one could be flexed to Sunday night.

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Minnesota Vikings vs. Carolina Panthers
Early returns this season suggest you should take the points in any spread over a touchdown. There have been 21 games decided by seven points or fewer, the second-most in a season’s first two weeks in NFL history (22 in 2013). The public is reacting to the likelihood that the Vikings will be without star running back Adrian Peterson as he tore a meniscus in his right knee in Sunday night's win over Green Bay. Backups Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata combined for 1,108 rushing yards on 277 carries in 2014, when Peterson missed 15 games due to suspension. 

The Vikings also have an excellent defense and have covered their past eight games as a road underdog, something to take into account for your NFL week 3 predictions. Carolina has won 14 consecutive games at home, the longest active streak in the NFL. But the Panthers will be without their top running back in Jonathan Stewart due to a hamstring injury, and he could miss multiple weeks. Stewart missed Carolina's final three regular-season games last year with a foot injury and the Panthers suffered their only regular-season loss in that span, falling in Atlanta. The Panthers did average more yards rushing a (145.6) in those games without Stewart than they did in the previous 13 when they averaged 141.9. The last time these two teams met was in Week 13 two years ago and the Vikings rolled to a 31-13 win in Minneapolis. They didn't have Peterson then. 

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