NFL Week 3 2016: Sunday Game Betting – Previews and Predictions
Welcome back! I hope everyone had a great Week 2. I did pretty well with our picks last week, which can be viewed here.
I will start off by saying that I’m not betting every game that I go over in this article. It’s likely I will only be betting half the games on the slate, but sometimes more and sometimes less. There are some bets that I like more than others (which I will mention), but by no means am I advocating that you use bet every pick listed in this article.
Handicap the games yourself and if your conclusions line up with mine, then perhaps consider placing a wager. As always, line shopping is vital. The betting odds we will use for this article are will be from BetOnline (Full Review).
Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals -3 Total: 41
The Broncos head to Cincinnati after a 2-0 start. The Broncos defense dominated the Colts last week at Mile High, notching four sacks, and two defensive touchdowns via a fumble recovery and pick-six and winning by a score 34-20.
The Bengals lost to a division game last week to the visiting Steelers. Cincy’s defense did an admirable job against the high-powered Steelers offense, but couldn’t do much against their defense. Wide receiver A.J. Green was held to just two catches and the Bengals were defeated 24-16.
The odds haven’t changed much on this game since opening. About 70 percent over wagers are coming in on the Broncos and the over. Denver -3 is heavily juiced at most sportsbooks.
I don’t love any bet in this game, but Cincinnati is probably the side I would look at the most. If for some reason the odds fall to Bengals -2.5, then it’s time to pounce, but I find that extremely unlikely.
A good defense hasn’t truly tested Siemian. In Week 1, he faced the Panthers, who have an active unit, but an inexperienced secondary and that showed. Last week, he benefitted from two defensive touchdowns and faced a Colts defense that might be the worst in league with all of their injuries.
Pick: Bengals -3
Oakland Raiders at Tennessee Titans +1.5 Total: 46.5
Both the Titans and Raiders come into this game with a 1-1 record. After winning against the Saints in a shootout in Week 1, the Raiders lost at home to the visiting Falcons 35-28. So far, the revamped defense that we heard about all offseason has been far from even respectable.
Tennessee is lucky to have a win. They were thoroughly dominated by Minnesota in Week 1, but did win in dramatic fashion last week at Detroit. In a game that no one should remember, Mariota drove down the field late in the fourth quarter and threw a touchdown on 4th down to Andre Johnson, giving the Titans a 17-15 victory.
This game appears to have some reverse line movement. About 70 percent of wagers have come in on the Raiders in this game. The game opened as a pk, but despite most action being on the Oakland, the odds have moved in favor of the Titans. The total has also seen a drop even though most bettors bet the over after opening at 48. It’s now at 47 or 46.5.
It’s hard for me to have much of an opinion on this game other than the noticeable reverse line movement. I would stay away from the Raiders in this game, because there is likely something the sharps know that we don’t.
Perhaps, it’s that the Raiders defense is overrated and that the Titans offense will be able to move the ball. Tennessee has also played excellent defense through the first two weeks. Shaun Hill and the Vikings weren’t much of a test, but Detroit’s offense has been outstanding going back to last year.
Pick: Titans +1.5
Arizona Cardinals at Buffalo Bills +3.5 Total: 47
The Cardinals are fresh off a dominant against Tampa Bay at Sun Devil Stadium. The win puts their record at 1-1 after they lost to the Patriots in Week 1. Arizona routed Tampa Bay 40-7, in a game that was basically finished by the end of the third quarter.
It’s been a rough start to the year for the Bills. They have a 0-2 record after losing to the Jets in a shootout last Thursday by a score of 37-31. Worse, the health of their top receiver, Sammy Watkins is in flux.
Watkins is expected to play Sunday but has been limited all season with a foot injury, which was thought to be healed in the offseason. He is taking days off practice and will not be practicing in full for the near future and perhaps the entire season.
This is another case of reverse line movement. 80 percent of bets or more have come in on the Cardinals so far. The odds have moved from +5 to +3.5 for Buffalo. The total hasn’t moved since opening at 47 and action has been mostly split.
I love this spot for the Bills. Their defense is a middle of the road unit, but few people understand how tough it is to play at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The crowd is always amped and it’s a tough place for opposing teams to play.
It’s a classic let-down spot for the Cardinals after a huge victory last week. And, it’s an excellent bounce-back spot for the Bills. They always seem to play well at home and are coming off extended rest. They’re also playing for their season already at 0-2.
Pick: Bills +3.5
Baltimore Ravens at Jacksonville Jaguars +1.5 Total: 47
After falling behind early 20-2 in the first quarter against the Browns, the Ravens rallied at Cleveland to win 25-20. Yes, the Browns were shut out for three quarters after scoring 20 points in the first. The win improved Baltimore’s record to 2-0.
There was a lot of talk about an improved Jacksonville team this offseason. After two games and two losses, that talk looks a little silly. However, there are 14 games left. The Jaguars were blown out last weekend at San Diego, losing 38-14.
This game opened as a pk. Betting action is right down the middle on sides and totals. The odds have moved for Baltimore, making the Jaguars small underdogs at +1.5. The total opened at 47.5 at most shops but is now at 47 points. The under is receiving about 70 percent of wagers.
Jacksonville is easily one of my favorite bets this week. I also like the over quite a bit in this one. Both of these teams can’t play a lick of defense. The Ravens barely beat the Browns last week and narrowly escaped with a win against Buffalo Week 1.
The Jaguars are not as bad as their start has indicated. They have one of the best assortment of skill players in the league with Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, and Julius Thomas. Bortles is the weak link in my eyes, but that won’t matter against a porous Baltimore secondary.
I think this one sails over the total, and the Jaguars get their first win.
Pick: Jaguars +1.5 and Over 47
Cleveland Browns at Miami Dolphins -9.5 Total 42
Cleveland has a 0-2 record. They blew a 20-2 lead to lose the Ravens last week 25-20. To make matters worse, they lost Robert Griffin III in Week 1 and then Josh McCown last week to injury.
This thrusts Cody Kessler into the starting role. The rookie signal caller comes out of USC and was drafted in the third round. Beat writers have expressed concern about his abilities. The Browns signed Charlie Whitehurst as a backup, but he could overtake Kessler as the starter is he fails to perform.
The Dolphins made a valiant comeback attempt to beat New England last week at Foxboro but ended up losing 31-24. Like the Browns, they are winless through two weeks. Miami trailed by 24 points to start the fourth quarter, but still managed to pull it within a touchdown.
About 70 percent of wagers have come in the Dolphins in this one. The odds have moved to -9.5 from a -7.5 opener. The total opened at 42.5 and is available there or at 42. Betting action there has been right down the middle.
I don’t love much in this game. If you love Miami, make sure to get them under 10 points. It seems likely that they will crush the Browns, but both of these teams I’m not totally sure about. By default, I typically lean towards teams with double-digit spread, especially early in the season. There’s a good chance this gets to +10 for the Browns by Sunday.
Pick: Browns +9.5
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers -7 Total: 46
After starting off the season with a win in a shootout against Indianapolis, the Lions disappointed in Week 2 with a loss to the Titans. Detroit’s offense struggled to score all game and ultimately lost the game when Marcus Mariota connected on 4th down to give the Titans a 17-15 lead late in the fourth quarter, one they would no relinquish.
The Packers also won their Week 1 contest at Jacksonville, but fell to division rival Minnesota is a tight game on Sunday Night Football. Green Bay was stifled all game by the Vikings defense. After Minnesota had taken a 17-14 lead in the fourth quarter, Aaron Rodgers threw an interception that would end the game.
Action on this game has been about 50/50 on both the side and total. The spread opened at -8.5 in favor of the Packers, but this has dropped to -7 at most sportsbooks. The total has moved from a 48-point opener to 46.
It’s tough to know what to expect from the Packers. Everyone expected the offense to rebound after it got Jordy Nelson back this year, but in two games that haven’t happened. Yes, it’s a small sample size, but something seems to be missing from this offense.
There’re reasons to like the Lions here, but this isn’t an easy matchup by any stretch. This whole game is difficult to judge. My favorite play is the under, but even that, I’m not probably staying away from this game altogether.
Pick: Under 46
Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers -7 Total: 43
Minnesota is 2-0 after beating the Packers last Sunday night. The Panthers lost in Week 1 to the Broncos, but rebounded in a big way with a home victory against the 49ers last week, winning 46-27 to bring them to an even 1-1 record on the year.
Sam Bradford impressed everyone national television last week, but he isn’t exactly stocked with weapons aside from Stefon Diggs. Adrian Peterson tore his meniscus in the previous week’s game and will be out an extended period after undergoing surgery. He will be replaced by the committee of Jerrick McKinnon and Matt Asiata.
The odds originally opened at -7.5 but are now at -7 at most sites. Betting action has been slightly in favor of Carolina. Betting on the total has been mostly even, and the odds haven’t moved off the opener of 43.
I was happy to cash with the Vikings against the Packers last week, but I feel they are being overrated in this spot. Let’s keep in mind that Bradford has been a below-average quarterback for his entire career and has just one true weapon in the passing game.
Minnesota’s defense is splendid, but these days it’s much easier to bottle up Aaron Rodgers and the Packers compared to Carolina and Cam Newton. I’ve mentioned the inexperience that Carolina has in the secondary, but I’m not worried about that in this matchup.
Pick: Panthers -7
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks -9.5 Total: 40
The 49ers head to Seattle to take on the Seahawks in a divisional contest where both teams come into the game with 1-1 records. The Seahawks lost a miserable game in Los Angeles last week, losing to the Rams 9-6.
Quarterback Russell Wilson did not look like himself last week after suffering a high ankle sprain in Week 1. Running back Thomas Rawls is also questionable to play after missing several practices this week. This would thrust Christine Michael into an every down role. It’s not much of a downgrade at all, as Michael has been the better back so far.
Shockingly, the public has been betting the 49ers this week pretty heavily, with 60 percent of wagers coming in on SF. This has seen the line drop from a -10 at open to -9.5 and -9. The total opened at 42 points but is now at 40.5 across the board.
This seems like a dream spot for Seattle. They’re not quite at full strength, especially offensively, but this defense is going to put a hurting on a 49ers offense that is devoid of talent. Gabbert is far from even a decent option at quarterback, and they true receiving threats in this offense.
Seattle will be eager to make a statement after losing to the lowly Rams last week. They should easily handle the 49ers and win by double-digits.
Pick: Seahawks -9.5
Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers -5.5 Total: 42
Fresh off a victory against the Seahawks, the Rams head to Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers were impressive Week 1, beating the Falcons 31-24 in Atlanta. They quickly were brought back down to earth at Arizona, where they were blown out by the Cardinals 40-7.
Almost 70 percent of wagers have come in on Tampa Bay since the odds opened at -3.5 Presently, every sportsbook online has the odds at -5.5 or -5. The total has seen the same amount of wagers come in on the under. However, the odds haven’t moved at most sports off the 42 opener.
I would have liked to have gotten this one when it opened, but the odds changed rather quickly. This is a classic letdown spot for the Rams and an ideal bounce-back spot for Tampa Bay. The home team has so much more talent than the visiting team, it’s ridiculous. Bet with confidence on Tampa.
Pick: Buccaneers -5.5
Pittsburgh Steelers at Philadelphia Eagles +3.5 Total: 46.5
Aside from New England, the Steelers look like one of the scariest teams in the NFL. They are 2-0 after taking care of the division rival Bengalis in Cincinnati last week. It wasn’t the high-scoring game most of us expected, but they did win convincingly 24-16.
Betting action in this game has been massive in Pittsburgh. Over 70 percent of bets have come in on the Steelers, but the opening line of -3.5 has not moved. The total also hasn’t moved off the original number of 46.5 points, despite 80 percent of bets coming in on the over.
I’ll make this one short and sweet. The Steelers defense isn’t anything special but did stall the passing attacks of the Redskins and Bengals so far. I doubt there’s much the Eagles can do that they haven’t seen before.
They’re also facing a rookie quarterback in Wentz who has faced two horrible defenses in his first two starts, the Browns, and the Bears. I know this one seems too easy, but I can’t lay off Pittsburgh at -3.5
Pick: Steelers -3.5
New York Jets at Kansas City Chiefs -3 Total: 42
The Jets head to Arrowhead after an extended period of rest after playing on Thursday Night in Week 2. They’re now 1-1 after winning a shootout with the Buffalo Bills 37-31. Matt Forte led the way with 100 yards rushing and three touchdowns on the ground.
The Chiefs are not the same team they were last season, particularly defensively. They rallied to beat San Diego in Week 1 but looked pitiful on offense at Houston last week. They managed just one touchdown on offense and won the game 19-12 to bring their record to 1-1.
The Jets are getting 60 percent of wagers since the odds opened at -3.5, but the odds moved to -3. The total has dropped quite a bit. It opened at 44 points and is now at 42 points.
I lean slightly towards KC in this one, but the best play in this game is the under. Brandon Marshall may be out for the Jets, and both of these teams prefer a slow grind it out pace. The field position game will be on full display in this one. Neither team will start throwing until they absolutely must.
The Chiefs and Jets defense has plenty of holes, but Kansas City always plays much better at home and New York is coming off an extended rest.
Pick: Under 42
San Diego Chargers at Indianapolis Colts -2.5 Total: 51
This game easily has the highest total of Sunday, with only the Falcons and Saints besting it with a 53.5 total. The Chargers are coming off a blowout victory over the Jaguars in San Diego last week which brought their record to 1-1. The Colts are 0-2 after two tough losses against Detroit and at Denver last week.
The total opened at 50.5 points and has moved to 51 at most shops. Betting action on the total has been about 50/50. The Colts have received most of the bets so far. The odds are now at -2 and -2.5.
This one should be interesting. Indianapolis has a lot of players missing that will likely come down to game time decisions. The Chargers also will also likely be without Antonio Gates and lost Danny Woodhead last week to a torn ACL.
Not one of my favorite plays this week, but I lean towards San Diego because I have no faith in Chuck Pagano as a coach. He’s a terrible coach and is not capable of making in-game adjustments. Furthermore, the Colts injuries on the offensive line and in the secondary will be tough to overcome.
Pick: Chargers +2.5
Check back later this week for our Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football preview and prediction. Free of charge, as always! Good luck in Week 3!