Here’s a rundown of what bettors learned in Week 3 of the 2017 NFL season. Get your pad and paper ready, there will be a quiz coming up next Sunday.
Jaguars 44, Ravens 7
Line: Ravens -3
We learned to have the ‘over’ when the Jaguars kick off in London on our NFL picks. In five international matchups, the bet is a perfect 5-0. The average combined score is 54.6 points, far eclipsing a 43.3 total. At least one team has posted 30 points or more in every game. Scoring might be tough to come by in England’s native football, but not when the Jacksonville is in town representing the NFL.
Bears 23, Steelers 17
Line: Pittsburgh -7
We learned the Bears can hang with any team at Soldier Field. In our favorable lines article prior to the game, we noted Chicago, despite going 4-11 SU in its last 15 home games, had lost by more than 6 points twice. The pass defense flourishes in the Windy City, allowing just 211 yards per game through the air in this stretch. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, needs some sort of offensive reboot away from Heinz Field if they hope to challenge for a Super Bowl. The Steelers have scored 18, 17, 21, and 17 points in its last four road games dating back to last season’s playoffs.
Saints 34, Panthers 13
Line: Carolina -5.5
We learned the Panthers have serious issues on offense. Star quarterback Cam Newton is missing throws left and right. He is clearly not back to 100 percent health following offseason shoulder surgery. The fact Carolina could not score 20 points against a vulnerable Saints defense speaks volumes. New Orleans allows 28.8 points per game since the start of last season. It has held just two teams to a single touchdown in 18 games in this span.
Vikings 34, Buccaneers 17
Line: Pick 'em
We learned betting against the Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium will still burn you. Nearly 75 percent of spread tickets were on the Bucs with backup QB Case Keenum under center for Minnesota. Tampa opened -2.5 favorites, but sharp money moved the game to a pick ‘em at most books by kickoff. The wise guys know the deal: Minny is now 20-7 ATS at home under head coach Mike Zimmer.
Buffalo 26, Denver 16
Line: Broncos -3
If you haven’t learned yet, here’s a hint: respect new head coach Sean McDermott’s mastery of defense with the Bills, please. He’s been groomed by Ron Rivera since his early days as a scouting coordinator at the Eagles. His knowledge is vast. Buffalo has yielded 12, 9, and 16 points through its first three games. Tyrod Taylor isn’t the answer at quarterback, but that D will keep them competitive every week. If you’re not on them, don’t bet against them.
Eagles 27, Giants 24
Line: Philadelphia -5.5
We learned the NFC East is still the wackiest division in football. The Eagles led the Giants 14-0 through three-quarters before the two erupted for 37 points in the final period. Yes, I bet the ‘under,’ which lost. Odell Beckham reeled in a pair of touchdowns late. The Giants are now 8-1-1 ATS when the star receiver records two TD catches in a game.
Colts 31, Browns 28
Line: Cleveland -1
We learned the Browns still are not deserving of being road favorites in the NFL odds. Sunday was the first time since a 2014 matchup with the Jaguars Cleveland kicked off away chalk. The team has yet to win a game on the road when favored in the betting market since covering a 2.5-point spread in a 20-17 win over the Raiders in 2012. In fact, they only have two road favorite wins in the last decade. Crazy.
Falcons 30, Lions 26
Line: Atlanta -3
We learned the Falcons are not suffering a Super Bowl hangover. They are 3-0 after squaring off with a trio of NFC North contenders (Bears, Packers, and Lions). The offense picked up right where it left off, scoring 23, 34, and 30 points respectively to begin 2017. The Lions, meanwhile, are still the NFL’s heart-attack franchise. Thirteen of their last 19 games have been settled by a touchdown or less. As for the officiating in this game, we’ll leave that discussion for social media.
Patriots 36, Texans 33
Line: New England -13.5
We learned the ‘over’ is still an automatic play for games at Gillette Stadium. Since 2010, the bet has a winning record each season, going 46-23 overall after today’s 69 points. The Patriots average 31.8 points per game in this span, 32.3 with QB Tom Brady under center. The Texans put up 30 points for the first time sine a Week 17 victory over the Jaguars in 2015.
Jets 20, Dolphins 6
Line: Miami -5.5
We learned the Jets can win a game! No matter how bad on a team on paper, New York has won at least a pair of games against AFC East foes in every season but two since the abysmal 1995 and 1996 campaigns. The Jets went 4-28 SU in those years. They’re not that bad, are they?
Titans 33, Seahawks 27
Line: Tennessee -2.5
We learned Seattle’s offense must produce in the first half for the Seahawks to win. The defense does its part, but is worn out and tired at the end of games with QB Russell Wilson and company unable to pull their weight early. Get this, since 2015, Seattle is 4-14-1 SU and 2-16-1 ATS when either trailing or leading by a field goal or less at halftime. Super Bowl winners jump on opponents early, or find ways to come back and win late. Thus far, the Seahawks can do neither.
Packers 27, Bengals 24
Line: Green Bay -7
We learned Aaron Rodgers can still seemingly will his team to victory, and opponents need an efficient offense to challenge the Canton-bound quarterback at Lambeau Field. Rodgers rallied the Pack from a 21-7 halftime deficit to claim a 27-24 overtime victory over the Bengals. He is now 35-6 SU and 26-14-1 ATS as home chalk versus teams averaging less than 23 points per game. The Bengals showed some life on offense after installing Bill Lazor as coordinator during the week, but still came up short when it counted. Many visiting units do against Rodgers.
Chiefs 24, Chargers 10
Line: Kansas City -3
We learned the AFC West still has no answers for Andy Reid’s Chiefs. Kansas City is 13-1 SU and 10-4 ATS in its last 14 games against division opponents. Can we crown the franchise division winners already, please?
Redskins 27, Raiders 10
Line: Oakland -3.5
We learned the Redskins defense will not let a high-octane offense come to Washington D.C. and embarrass the team. The last five opponents entering FedExField averaging more than 25 points per game have put up scores of 10, 14, 14, 20, and 10. The Raiders posted 35.5 per tilt prior to Sunday night.