NFL Picks: Game-by-Game ATS Betting Guide for Week 3

Nikki Adams

Wednesday, September 23, 2015 1:45 PM GMT

Join us as we serve up NFL game-by-game ATS picks for all week 3 matchups in this comprehensive column, complete with analysis and current NFL odds and lines.

Week 2 NFL Betting Recap
Week 2 didn’t go so well. Let’s get that bit out of the way. We were massacred on our ATS picks, finishing with an abysmal 4-12 record. Some of our losses – Giants (-1) fell to the Falcons at home after leading for most of the game; the Lions (+2.5) barely got anything going against the Vikings – although Matthew Stafford did get beat up bad; the Niners (+5.5) were bowled over in Pittsburgh; the Eagles (-5) barely got off the ground in a 20-10 loss to the Romo-less Cowboys; the Ravens (-6) were overcome by the Raiders in a 37-33 loss in Oakland; and pricey quarterback Philip Rivers narrowly missed the cover as the 3-point road underdogs in a 24-19 loss; amongst several others.

Oh la. No sense is crying over spilt beer. On a bright note, thanks to a stellar week 1 in which we finished 13-3 with our NFL picks our total record is 17-15-0 in two weeks. So we are in the green, if only just.

Week 1 Record: 13-3-0
Week 2 Record 4-12-0 Ouch!

Let’s get cracking on Week 3 NFL odds and recover some lost ground.

Redskins vs. Giants
The Washington Redskins (1-1 SU and ATS) are coming off a 24-10 win over the St. Louis Rams, all while covering as the 3-point home underdogs. The Giants (0-2 SU and 1-1 ATS) are coming off another loss marked by another late game collapse, prompting NFL bettors to one simple demand: Will the real Giants please stand up! Are the Giants the team that led the Cowboys for the better part of week 1, almost pulling off the upset? Are they the team that led the stout Falcons for almost 59 minutes in week 2? Or are they the team that featured late in the game, the one-minute-horror-show that cost them the W two weeks in a row. Dilemma, dilemma.

It’s tough to say which one they are for sure. Perhaps, the best way to look at this game is from the perspective of the road underdogs, Redskins. In week 1 they held the tough Dolphins to a 17-10 loss and in week 2 they upset St. Louis (favored at 3.5-points on the road), a week after the Rams masterminded the biggest upset of all in beating the Seahawks. The merit of their performance lies in defense, really. That being said, Kirk Cousins has risen to the task of replacing RGIII for the time being; he hasn’t been too shabby in either appearance.

Giving the Giants a four-point edge at home when they are 0-2 SU on the season, not to mention after showing a concerning ability to frit away games in the late stages seems a bit rich Not until the Giants prove otherwise, we’re having nothing do with them as the 4-point home chalk. So we’re shading Redskins plus the points.

NFL Picks: Redskins +4 at 5Dimes

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Falcons vs. Cowboys
This would have been a right showdown had Tony Romo not succumbed to an injury in week 2. As it is, the Cowboys (2-0 SU) are in very real danger without their franchise quarterback, with the season now hanging in the balance of Brandon Weeden’s ability to lead the team over the next 8-10 weeks, including this upcoming week 3 NFL betting showdown with the Dan Quinn inspired Falcons (2-0 SU and ATS). Frankly, this is the worst matchup for Weeden to get his 2015 starting days underway. He may have held the fort against a lifeless Eagles (what’s going on in Philly eh?) in week 2, but he’ll have his work cut out against a Falcons defense that is gradually improving under defensive guru Quinn. As well, Matt Ryan and the O-line have been producing at a fast clip, with Ryan third in offensive leader charts behind Brady and Roethlisberger with 661 yards and the Falcons ranking 5th overall in total offense, third in passing and 22nd in rushing.

NFL Picks: Falcons -1 (-115) at BetOnline

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Bengals vs. Ravens
The Bengals (2-0 SU and ATS) and the Ravens (0-2 SU and ATS) are enjoying contrasting fortunes. The former leads the AFC North while the latter props it up. One would think the NFL betting outlook would reflect such a reality, but it doesn’t. The Ravens enter as the favorites on the NFL odds board, trading at 2.5-points to 3-points (depending on your sportsbook of choice) against the spread. Cincinnati Bengals, who have been the better team on both sides of the ball through two weeks, are the beneficiary of 2.5-points on the spread, points that many NFL bettors are of a mind to grab. Why stare a gift horse in the mouth, right? (Vegas insider reveals 55% of early money going towards the Bengals).

In so doing, the public is suggesting in no uncertain terms that the Ravens might go 0-3 SU to start the season? Can that be possible? The Ravens are sat in between a rock and a hard place. This is essentially a must-win game for them if they hope to get their season off the ground. What’s more, the Bengals have had their number of late and it’s time to set the record straight – or straighter. How long do you think it’s going to take before the real Andy Dalton shows up, anyway?

NFL Picks: Ravens -2.5 -115 at WilliamHill

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Colts vs. Titans
Indianapolis Colts are a stunning 0-2 SU and ATS on the season, thrusting their Super Bowl 50 aspirations up in the air (they are steadily slipping down the NFL futures odds board; out of triple-digit favour they are trading now at +1600 after the abysmal 20-7 loss to the Jets in MNF. In spite of this concerning start to the season – incidentally, the second season in a row they go 0-2 SU to start – the Colts are trading as the 3-point road faves in week 3 NFL betting at the expense of the Tennessee Titans (1-1), who are coming off a 28-14 loss to the Browns.

Colts have owned this divisional meeting in recent memory with a 7-0 ATS mark and they are faced with a must-win game over the Titans on the road if they are to avoid a 0-3 start (gulp!). They have glaring issues on both sides of the ball, with a depleted secondary no less and an Andrew Luck that was visibly T-off on Monday Night after throwing picks left, right and centre. Question is can Marcus Mariota and the developing Titans capitalise on those issues? Titans the pick to cover.

NFL Picks: Titans +3 (+105) at 5Dimes

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Jaguars vs. Patriots
The New England Patriots are flying high in the AFC East with a 2-0 SU record and a 1-1 ATS record. They are also sitting atop the NFL Power Rankings tree behind the stellar play of Tom Brady (754 yards and 7 touchdowns in just two games, and no picks) against the Steelers and Bills. As such, it’s no surprise they are the hefty 13.5-to 14-point home faves in week 3 NFL betting against the Jaguars (1-1).

So many points in an NFL game is dicey – this isn’t college football. More often than not, the wise move is to take the underdog plus the points, a move underscored in this case by the Jaguars’ record against the spread last season which was 6-9-1 and featured a 10.2-average margin of defeat. In two games this season the Jaguars boast a minus 4-point average margin, largely down to the 20-9 loss they suffered in week 1 against the Panthers.

Heck, if Cam Newton can hang an 11-point margin over the Jaguars, you’d think the Patriots could do much better. The outcome of the game is in the sublime hands of Tom Brady and the way he’s been playing in just his first two starts of the season, one gets a sense that things could get ugly for the Jaguars.

NFL Picks: Patriots -13.5 at Pinnacle

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Saints vs. Panthers
The NFC South showdown between the Panthers and Saints features on week 3 NFL betting with the hosts favored at 3-points, down from an opening 3.5-points at opening doors on the trading floor. Saints have staggered out of the gates on a 0-2 SU and ATS record, highlighted by an appalling 9.5-point margin of defeat in just two games. By their lofty standards, it’s rather concerning. Then again, the Drew Brees is playing with an injured shoulder, thrusting everything into the air where they are concerned. It remains to be seen whether Drew Brees will play in week 3 NFL betting, but with or without him the Saints have a lot of issues on both sides of the ball. Offense has been tepid at best and defense timid. Panthers have to be the NFL pick on the reasonable 3-point home chalk.

NFL Picks: Panthers -3 (-125) at Bookmaker

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Raiders vs. Browns
Both the Raiders (1-1 SU and ATS) and the Browns (1-1 SU and ATS) will look to continue the momentum in week 3 NFL betting, but something is going to have to give. Johnny Manziel bested rookie Marcus Mariota and the young developing Titans in week 2, to earn his first NFL win. A matchup that is the making of great quarterbacks, right. Meanwhile, the Raiders are coming off a very respectable win over the Baltimore Ravens, a playoff contender last season and a side that was touted by many to spot in NFL betting picks this season. On balance of week 2 results, the Raiders impress us more on both sides of the ball. Is it enough to bank on them as the 3.5-point road underdogs? The Browns defense is nothing to sniff at, which could make life a bit more difficult for Derek Carr. Certainly, more difficult than it was against the injury-ridden Ravens. Then again, would you lay the points with Johnny Manziel with any conviction on your NFL picks?

NFL Picks: Raiders +3.5 at Pinnacle

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Eagles vs. Jets 
The Eagles are faced with a must-win game in week 3 NFL betting. Unfortunately, they come up against a very confident NY Jets side that is after upsetting the Indianapolis Colts in week 2 NFL betting to improve to 2-0 SU on the season. Taking the road win is going to be a tough ask, particularly if the Eagles look as abysmal as they did in the game with the Cowboys. Utterly clueless and seemingly running out of ideas, Sam Bradford and the Eagles were embarrassed by the Romo-less Cowboys in Philadelphia so much so they left the field to audible boos..

The offense mainly needs to get back to the basics because the Jets defense is no slouch and it will capitalise on any insecurity or uncertainty on the field the Eagles O-line shows. As it is, the public is heavy on the Jets with 79% laying the points with the hosts. Never bet with the public, is a common theme amongst NFL handicappers so in keeping with that rule we’re banking on a Jets let down this week.

NFL Picks: Eagles +2.5 at Bovada

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Steelers vs. Rams 
The Steelers finally got into the win column with a statement 48-13 win that handsomely covered the 5.5-point home chalk and almost cracked the 45-total on the strength of their scoring. In week 2, they take on the Rams, who came crashing back down to earth behind a 24-10 loss to the Redskins on the road. Both teams are 1-1 SU and ATS, each winning at home so far.

The Rams defense figures to be stout, particularly their excellent pass rush that stifled Seattle and sacked Russell Wilson more often than he’d like to count and Kirk Cousins twice in week 2. They could give Big Ben some fits. However, Big Ben went 21-of-27 for 369 yards and three TDs against the Niners, whose defense is no slouch. What’s more, LeVeon Bell is back. That amounts to an offense swelling in strength. On balance, this is one that is a tossup on our NFL picks. Push comes to shove, we’re backing the Steelers as the 1-point road faves.

NFL Picks: Steelers -1 at WilliamHill

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Chargers vs. Vikings 
Playing in their second straight home game, the Vikings look to improve to 2-1 SU and clinch their second straight home win in as many weeks. Last week, they defeated divisional rivals Detroit Lions 26-16, atoning for their rather lacklustre opener at Levi Stadium and proving to NFL bettors their merit as the home chalk. Once again, they enter as the home chalk in week 3, matched at anywhere from 1 to 2.5-points at the expensive of one of the most-expensive quarterbacks Philip Rivers and the Chargers. That’s quite a disparaging spread all things being considered.

Speaking of the visitors, they are coming off a disappointing 24-19 loss to the Bengals and failing to cover as the 3-point underdogs. (Oh, did you know Rivers is third on the list of quarterbacks with the most turnovers/giveaways since 2014; he has 24 in total, which puts him behind leader (surprise surprise) Andrew Luck (28) and Jay Cutler (26). Hmmm? How did Philip Rivers get such a nice contract then? Who cares? Looking at that stat, perhaps the Vikings at home are the smart NFL pick at the nominal chalk after all.

NFL Picks: Vikings -1 (-125) at 5Dimes

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Bucs vs. Texans 
Houston Texans (0-2SU and ATS) look to finally get their first win of the season when they welcome the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The visitors may be coming off their first win of the season against New Orleans Saints, but how much stock can NFL bettors put into a win over a team that is clearly struggling on both sides of the ball and is in the midst of an existential crisis – or something of the sort. Not to take anything away from Jameis Winston; his first NFL win in his rookie season is going to be something that will stay with him forever and to do it against former Super  Bowl champions and future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees makes it that much more special. The reality of the matter is that in the Texans, he’ll come up against some of the most feared defensive players in the NFL: J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney. Highly doubt Winston can somersault his way into the end zone as Superman Cam Newton can. Importantly, the Texans don’t seem phased by their 0-2 SU start and they’re sure to look at this game as an opportunity to get back in the win column. Six-points may seem a bit much to lay with a winless team, but we’re taking a chance the Texans will finally find their rhythm in week 3 against a Bucs side that played above their heads against a questionable Saints.

NFL Picks: Texans -6.5 at Pinnacle

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Niners vs. Cardinals 
The Niners open their season with two contrasting accounts. In week 1, they were stellar on both sides of the ball, but, arguably, formidable on defense. In week 2, they were simply abysmal on both sides of the ball and Kaepernick got beat up pretty badly by the Steelers defense. In week 3 they come up against a Cardinals side that everybody is practically buying into – 53% of public money is laying the points with the Cards, which isn’t hard to understand considering they are well coached; offense ranks tenth overall in total offense, 12th in passing and 13th in rushing; and they have the tenth best rushing defense after two rounds. They also served up beat downs over the Saints and Bears for a whopping 18.5-point margin of victory. However, both the Saints and Bears are struggling and boast a 0-2 SU mark, so those wins must be taken with reservation. In the context of divisional rivalry, this matchup could be a whole lot different than most expect according to the NFL betting trends. It’s a potentially deciding game down the stretch and divisional games tend to be closer affairs. Cardinals could get the job done straight up but the Niners could cover as the hefty 7-point road underdogs.

NFL Picks: Niners +7 (-130) at 5Dimes

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Bills vs. Dolphins 
The AFC East showdown between the Bills and Dolphins is a must-see game on the NFL betting card in week 3. Bills have played above their heads in two weeks of the NFL, beating the Colts and giving the Patriots a run for their money in a 40-32 loss in week 2. Dolphins, meanwhile, edged the Reskins in week 1 but fell to the Jaguars. On strength of schedule, the Bills have had a much tougher two weeks, which makes their 1-1 SU record standout. How can one not like the Bills as the 2.5-point underdogs? We do for our sleeper NFL pick in week 3.

NFL Picks: Bills +3 (-115) at Bookmaker

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Bears vs. Seahawks
The 0-2 SU and ATS Seahawks go into week 3 NFL betting looking for their first win and cover. Fortunately, they take on a beatable (or so it seems) Chicago Bears (0-2 SU and ATS) at CenturyLink Field where they have been nigh infallible over two seasons and some change. A 14-point opening spread for a side that hasn’t won a game yet seems a bit much. It’s virtually unheard of to have such an NFL betting line trading in such circumstances, unless of course the team in question are the 2013 Super Bowl champions and perennial Super Bowl favorites since their championship winning season. NFL betting trends reveal 92% of early money backed the Seahawks on their NFL picks, laying the 14-points with them. That’s force the line up to as high as 16-points at some sportsbooks! Crikey! Something about this just doesn’t feel right. Public perception vs. reality. Call it a hunch. Granted Jay Cutler is questionable for this game, but this NFL betting line is getting out of hand.

NFL Picks: Bears +16 (-125) at 5Dimes

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Broncos vs. Lions
The Denver Broncos are 2-0 SU and ATS after two weeks, coming through as the 4.5-point home faves over the Ravens in their opening 19-13 win and as the 3-point road underdogs in their divisional clash with the Chiefs when they won 31-24 on Thursday Night Football. Expect a well-rested Broncos side to descend on the hapless Detroit Lions (0-2 SU and ATS) in week 3 NFL betting to heap more misery on them. Defensively the Broncos are stellar. Offensively, Peyton Manning and the O-line got things going late in week 2, which augurs well for their NFL fans. Take the Broncos on your NFL picks as the road favorites on Sunday Night Football.

NFL Picks: Broncos -3 (-115) at BetOnline

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Chiefs vs. Packers
The Green Bay Packers are after two straight wins to open the season, all while covering both games. Crucially, they set the record straight in the repeat of the NFC Championship game last week, beating the Seahawks 27-17. When a team, even as good as the Packers are, knocks off the big bad bully of the NFL, the so-called Legion of Boom, it’s worth taking stock of. Meanwhile, the Chiefs are coming off a rather crazy game with the Broncos in week 2, a game in which they led on three separate occasions, only to frit away the lead each and every time and, most pivotally, in the last minute of play to a 31-24. That’s a confidence crusher and not the sort of game to enjoy ahead of a clash with the top Super Bowl 50 faves (in current NFL betting markets) Green Bay Packers.

NFL Picks: Packers -6.5 at Bet365

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