NFL Picks: Falcons vs. Titans in Preseason Week 3

Jordan Sharp

Wednesday, August 21, 2013 3:40 PM GMT

With both teams coming into Week 3 of the NFL preseason without a win, Saturday’s game will be as close to crucial as it gets for the preseason.

The NFL betting odds for this one favor the Titans at -3, with a total of 42.5. Who among these two will get their first preseason win here?

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Week 2

Atlanta was on their way to a win in Week 2, but the Ravens stormed back in the 4th quarter to take the lead and the win. Even though Mike Smith’s team has been in basic formations and not game planning very much for their opponent, Week 3 will likely change that.

While in the game against Baltimore, Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ offense were good but not great in their time on the field. Ryan completed 8/15 passes for 97 yards, and a late 1st quarter touchdown to Julio Jones. Steven Jackson ran the ball extremely well, and overall, Atlanta looked like their offense is coming back up to speed. Obviously this next game will be a big test for them, seeing if they are ready to start the year.

The Titans lost again in Week 2, this time to the Bengals on the road. Jake Locker was forgettable while in the game, and Ryan Fitzpatrick actually looked like the better player. The Titans’ defense didn’t look great either. They gave up 429 yards of total offense, including 193 yards on the ground to Cincinnati.

Smith’s saving grace

Mike Smith has been known to be apathetic about the preseason. Since the Falcons got good, (around 2011) they have been 1-9 SU in the preseason. That’s including this year, and while 1-9 would raise eyebrows in the regular season, we all know how good the Falcons are, so their need to show up in the preseason is nonexistent.

However, in this game, I could very well see the Falcons as undervalued. Even though they have lost nine of their last ten preseason games, Week 3 is where the starters get more run in the game. On top of that, Mike Smith has a very good (4-1 SU) record in Week 3 of the preseason. If there was any week to take the Falcons for your sports picks, this one is it.

Atlanta will likely play their starters for a majority, if not the entire first half in Tennessee. Ryan played into the 2nd quarter in Week 2, and even though Smith could pull some of the older skill players earlier, Ryan should play the entire first half. That alone is worth a value pick on the Falcons as underdogs.

[gameodds]16/227813/?r3=349/dec&r-1=349/us[/gameodds]

The Sharp Pick

The Titans have a very shaky defense to begin with, and as long as the Falcons can stop the run in this contest, they should win outright. I’m taking the points for my NFL picks just to be safe, but in the end, I think Atlanta will have a big lead going into the half. Even if the Titans come back, I don’t think they have enough to overtake a two-score lead at the half. So, accordingly, another bet I’m taking in this game is the Falcons on the first half money line. Mike Munchack may have a good preseason record SU, but he is now 5-5 ATS in his career in the preseason. He might also be dealing with a quarterback usurper if Fitzpatrick plays well again and Locker struggles.

NFL Pick: Bet the Falcons +3 (EV) for the game at William Hill

(Also, look to bet the Falcons 1st Half Money Line; but shop around for the best lines once they're posted.)

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