NFL Picks: A Trio of Friday Night ATS Bets to Blast the Bookies

Jason Lake

Thursday, August 27, 2015 4:58 PM UTC

Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015 4:58 PM UTC

Week 3 of the preseason is when the starters are supposed to play the most, but with all these injuries, bench strength is still going to affect Friday's football picks.

Dress rehearsal this, dress rehearsal that. It might be Week 3 of the preseason, but we're still going to see lots of second-stringers, and even some third-stringers, during Friday's exhibition games. That's especially true for those clubs who've been waylaid by injuries – which, to be fair, is just about everyone. Some teams are hurting worse than others, though, meaning we'll be more inclined to fade them in this week's NFL picks.

New England at Carolina (7:30 p.m. ET)
It was bad enough when Carolina lost WR Kelvin Benjamin to a torn ACL, but things got much worse in the short-term when center Ryan Kalil sprained his knee last week. Kalil hopes to return for the regular season; Brian Folkerts is next on the depth chart. Oh, and the guy who'll presumably take over Benjamin's spot, rookie WR Devin Funchess, might miss Friday's game with a hamstring injury.

The Patriots are missing a boatload of wideouts, and newly-arrived Reggie Wayne might not be ready in time to face the Panthers. We've all seen how difficult life can be for QB Tom Brady when he doesn't have anyone to throw at. On the other hand, they've got TE Scott Chandler now, so he and TE Rob Gronkowski can start causing the same kind of havoc the Pats used to wreak before Aaron Hernandez happened.

Free NFL Pick: Patriots +1 at Intertops

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Detroit at Jacksonville (8:00 p.m. ET, CBS)
If Brady has trouble succeeding without enough targets in front of him, what can we expect from Blake Bortles Friday night? Actually, Bortles faced the same issue last year during the regular season, and it was ugly, so we're pessimistic about Jacksonville's chances without TE Julius Thomas (broken hand) and wideouts Marqise Lee (strained hamstring) and Arrelious Benn (broken collarbone).

The Lions aren't hurting quite as badly, although stud WR Calvin Johnson is being held out of the preseason, just in case. There's a logjam of Detroit receivers looking for a job; Golden Tate is a lock, but it's a free-for-all after that. Perhaps that added level of competition will goose some extra effort from the Lions this week.

Free NFL Pick: Lions +2 (–105) at 5Dimes

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Tennessee at Kansas City (8:00 p.m. ET)
We gave this matchup the full preview treatment earlier this week, when the Chiefs were favored by five points. Now they're up as high as –6 as we go to press. That's about a 10-cent shift in NFL odds, according to Wizard of Odds, so nothing to sneeze at.

We happened to be on the Titans, so we'll take every extra half-point we can get. They've got some issues in the secondary with CBs Jason McCourty (groin) and Blidi Wreh-Wilson (ankle) on the shelf, but the Chiefs are in much worse shape with their offensive line in tatters.

Free NFL Pick: Titans +6 at Heritage

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