NFL Week 3
After a 2-4 week 1 and a 3-3 week 2, we now sit at 5-7 on the season and are on pace to finally hit an above .500 week if our trend continues. I vented about some of my betting woes this season, mainly related to my weekly "locks," in a separate article earlier this week. You can read that here if you missed it:
As I alluded to in the above article, I would like to take the time to officially rename and rebrand my former Lock of the Week pick as the new Fade of the Week. To be clear, this is still going to be the bet I am most confident in each week. But given its record last season and its start to this one (0-2), I think it is simply cursed. So I'm telling you now: fade this pick! Put the deed to your house on it, because it has no chance of hitting.
So with that said, let's try to go 5-1 in week 3.
Kansas City Chiefs -6.5 vs. Los Angeles Chargers
I saw a stat earlier this week, courtesy of my traitorous villain of a roommate, Alex (who some may know from his work on this website), stating that teams who start the season 0-2 against the spread are a combined 26-12 against the spread in the last five seasons. There are five teams that have begun 0-2 against the spread in 2021, and one of them is the Kansas City Chiefs (another will be discussed later). The Chiefs are returning to Arrowhead Stadium after a brutal one-point loss in Baltimore, and Patrick Mahomes and company will be out for blood against their division rivals.
âTyreek Hill was held to only three catches for 14 yards on Monday night (I know this fact well because I have him on two of my fantasy teams), and the Chiefs still managed to put up 28 offensive points on a solid Raven defense. Go ahead and pencil in Hill for 150 receiving yards and two touchdowns, because there's no way he offers up a futile performance in back to back weeks. I like the Chargers this season, but they were entirely unimpressive last week at home against the Cowboys, who were missing about 9 starters on defense alone. Kansas City wins on Sunday by double digits and covers with ease.
New Orleans Saints at New England Patriots Under 42.5
The Saints had the most impressive win in my opinion in week 1, but they followed that performance up with a disaster of an affair against the Panthers last week. They were held to only 128 total yards on offense and managed only six first downs all game. They didn't look too much better on defense, but you can't fault the D for that when they're forced to be on the field for three-fourths of the game.
New England intercepted Zach Wilson FOUR times last week and won by a score of 25-6 despite being out-gained, out-possessed, and out-performed in nearly all other categories of the box score. The Patriots simply know how handicap an opposing offense, which is how they must win games right now until their own offense becomes more efficient under Mac Jones. This game could end up being 20-13 or something along those lines, and I think that score will favor the Pats. But it won't matter because we'll have made our money from the Under.
Cleveland Browns -6.5 vs. Chicago Bears
It's always tough for me to bet on a road favorite in the NFL, but I feel really comfortable with taking the Browns here as long as the line stays below 7. Cleveland did just place Jarvis Landry on IR, but O'Dell Beckham, Jr. practiced in full on Wednesday and looks like he'll be good to go for the first time since early last season. Even without OBJ, Baker Mayfield has been highly efficient so far this year and he has an excellent run game to rely on to set up the passing game.
More importantly, though, the Bears are starting rookie QB Justin Fields due to an injury to Andy Dalton. Fields came in and held the lead for Chicago in their game against Cincinnati last week, but he did all his damage with his legs. With his arm, he was a mere 6-for-13 with 60 yards, a pick, and a QBR of 4.4... That's really bad. He's not going to be able to run like he did last week against Cleveland's front seven, and I'm sure the Browns will be stacking the box and forcing him to prove he can throw the ball. I think the Browns cruise to a win here and could end up winning in a blowout, but the 6.5 points is all we'll need.
âWashington Football Team +7.5 at Buffalo Bills
Remember what I said about the teams who start the season 0-2 ATS? Well, Washington is another one of those teams, and I think the best one to bet on to cover outside of Kansas City. I know the football team lost to the Chargers in week 1 and just squeaked by the Giants last week, but they've had nearly 10 full days to rest up and prepare for Josh Allen and the Bills. And let me tell you this: Taylor Heinicke hasn't played a lot of games, but he'll keep his team in the game and give them a chance to win.
In the last two seasons, Heinicke has only lost by more than seven points once, and that was in the first round of last year's playoffs, when Washington lost by 8 to the eventual Super Bowl champs. The Bills have looked rather lethargic offensively to begin the year and I think their 35-0 win against the Dolphins last week was a little misleading and only allowed this line to get higher than it should. I have a lot of confidence that Washington's defense will settle in and force Allen into some mistakes. And if they can just contain Buffalo's big-play ability, Taylor Heinicke and Scary Terry McLaurin will keep them in a one-score game by the end.
Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys Under 52.5
This point total surprised me when I saw it. I get that you can't make full assumptions based on one game, but both of these teams struggled mightily to put points on the board in their week 2 games. The Cowboys won with a game-winning field goal to break a 17-all tie with the Chargers, and the Eagles only managed 11 points at home against the 49ers. I was impressed with Philly's offense in week 1, but last week's game made me think that performance in Atlanta wasn't a clear representation of how they would play going forward.
I could end up being very wrong about this one and one or both of these teams could explode for points when they kick off on Monday night. But after watching both of them play last week in full, it seems much more likely that this will be a game with some turnovers and missed red zone opportunities that will favor the Under.
Fade of the Week: Las Vegas Raiders -4.5 vs. Miami Dolphins
Here it is, the first official Fade of the Week pick. First off, I would like to apologize for Raiders fans for what I'm about to do to their team... But Derek Carr and the Vegas offense has looked fantastic since halftime of their opening game. Here's a stat that may surprise you: Carr is the league's leading passer in terms of yardage through two games, with his 817 yards leading the second place QB by over 100 yards. He's thrown four touchdowns passes and his lone interception was a ball that bounced off his receivers hands and into the arms of the defense. The Raiders followed up a Monday night comeback victory over the Ravens to knock off the Steelers in Pittsburgh. I think they'll continue to roll back home in Allegiant Stadium.
The Dolphins are coming off a 35-0 home loss to the Bills in a game in which Tua Tagovailoa exited with a rib injury. He's already been ruled out for this game, which will put the ball in Jacoby Brissett's hands. As a Colts fan, I really like Brissett on a personal level, but I have to admit that he's not the first guy that comes to mind when you think of which quarterback you'd want under center in the NFL. He played nearly the entirety of last week's game and only mustered 169 passing yards on 40 attempts, with no touchdowns and an interception. I find it impossible to believe that he's going to help the Dolphins keep this game close in Vegas. The Raiders are red hot, and Miami is fortunate to even have one win next to their name. I say Las Vegas easily defends their home turn by a touchdown or more.
I actually feel better about these picks than I have in either of the two previous weeks, so maybe we can turn our luck around this week. Let me know in the comments what bets you like the most for week 3 and which of my picks you agree or disagree with.
âWritten by Nick Swatson
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