Published Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017 | 2 a.m.
Updated Friday, Sept. 22, 2017 | 12:08 p.m.
Week 3: Falcons at Lions
- Game of the Week: Falcons minus-3 at Lions (Poll consensus year to date: 1-1)
- Falcons minus-3 — 54.3%
- Lions plus-3 — 45.7%
This poll is closed, see Full Results »
Note: This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Week 3 will largely determine the early season success of home underdogs.
While nine teams combined took points at home in the NFL’s first two weeks, Week 3 will at least double that number. Ten games already feature home underdogs, with an 11th possibly looming.
There’s no line posted anywhere in town on Tampa Bay at Minnesota currently because of the uncertainty surrounding Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford’s knee injury. If Bradford misses a second straight game, the Buccaneers will surely come into U.S. Bank Stadium as the favorite.
Home underdogs saw mixed results in the first two weeks. They were profitable from a betting standpoint, 5-4 against the spread, but only two teams have pulled outright upsets so far.
The Lions defeated the Cardinals 35-23 as 2.5-point underdogs at Ford Field in Week 1, and the Broncos beat the Cowboys 42-17 with an identical spread last Sunday at Sports Authority Field.
Detroit has a chance to go for 2-for-2 in the role on Sunday when it gets 3 points on the betting line from visiting Atlanta in a 10 a.m. kickoff. Also on the early slate, Denver goes from home underdog to road favorite, laying 3 points at Buffalo.
Read below to find the blog’s picks on those games along with the rest of the Week 3 schedule. Lines are the best currently available in Las Vegas, with picks separated into three confidence categories. After going 8-8 last week, the overall record picking every game this season stands at 19-12. Check back later for an update when the spread for Tampa Bay at Minnesota posts.
Los Angeles Chargers plus-3.5 vs. Kansas City Chiefs Chargers arguably lost a second straight game where they outplayed the opposition, as two missed field goals by rookie Younghoe Koo doomed them to a 19-17 loss to the Dolphins as 3.5-point favorites. Their 0.8 yard per play differential is one of the best in the NFL, and an indicator that things are soon to turn around.
Buffalo Bills plus-3 vs. Denver Broncos Excitement on the Broncos in the betting market has gone overboard after two wins at home to start the season. The early line on this game last week was Buffalo minus-1.5, and the Bills did nothing to deserve losing four points in a hard-fought 9-3 loss at Carolina as 7-point underdogs.
Washington Redskins plus-3.5 vs. Oakland Raiders Must have an affection for home underdogs catching right around a field goal this week. Behind quarterback Kirk Cousins, Washington is the first opponent with enough of a vertical passing game to test an area that might be a weakness for Oakland.
Cincinnati Bengals plus-9.5 vs. Green Bay Packers New offensive coordinator Bill Lazor has more than a week to address the Bengals’ problems after a 13-9 loss to the Texans as 5-point favorites on Thursday Night Football. No bettors want to touch the Bengals, and that’s always when there’s most value available.
Seattle Seahawks plus-2.5 at Tennessee Titans Seahawks’ offense is bound to come alive sooner rather than later, and it might be this week, given the mediocrity of the Titans’ defense. A late kickoff should ease Seattle’s recurring troubles going to the East, where it’s lost four consecutive games both straight-up and against the spread.
San Francisco 49ers plus-2.5 vs. Los Angeles Rams Enthused by the strides the 49ers made from Week 1 to Week 2, especially on defense and in the running game. Under a promising first-year head coach like Kyle Shanahan, similar improvements can be expected throughout the season.
Carolina Panthers minus-6 vs. New Orleans Saints Despite optimism it would improve, New Orleans’ defense has somehow gotten worse this season in giving up a league-high 7.6 yards per play. Carolina leads the league in surrendering only 3.7 yards per play, and looks tough enough to slow New Orleans.
Jacksonville Jaguars plus-4 vs. Baltimore Ravens in London By losing standout offensive lineman Marshall Yanda last week, the Ravens bolstered their status as the most injured team in the NFL. It’s traumatic to back the Jaguars after their years of regularly failing to cover, but wins over the destitute Browns and Bengals shouldn’t merit the Ravens laying more than a field goal at a neutral site.
Cleveland Browns pick’em at Indianapolis Colts Browns haven’t been favored on the road — they’re minus-1 at most sports books in town — in three years. That must be ignored, however, considering their sizable coaching and health advantages.
New York Giants plus-6 at Philadelphia Eagles Point spread doubled following the Giants’ 24-10 loss to the Lions as 3-point favorites on Monday Night Football. There might not be a better opportunity to buy low on a team that came into the season as a popular playoff pick.
Minnesota Vikings plus-2.5 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Not ready to lay points on the road with the Buccaneers, which had a lot break their way in last week's 29-7 win over the Bears as 7-point favorites. Vikings are also a strong bet at home — 7-2 against the spread at U.S. Bank Stadium — which leaves Case Keenum filling in for Sam Bradford as the only reason for hesitance.
New York Jets plus-6 vs. Miami Dolphins Dolphins are battling against a hellacious travel schedule, having spent more than a week in Southern California before returning home because of Hurricane Irma, and now have a London trip on deck no less. They’re not a team worthy of reportedly drawing 90 percent of the early action.
Atlanta Falcons minus-3 at Detroit Lions Unlike the Lions’ first two opponents, the Falcons have an offensive line that isn’t going to wither against their Haloti Ngata and Ezekiel Ansah-led defensive line. The Lions shouldn’t be considered a contender until they take down a top team, as wins over the Cardinals and Giants don’t qualify with both teams appearing in stark decline.
New England Patriots minus-13 vs. Houston Texans New England has its issues, most notably in the secondary, but Houston doesn’t have the personnel to attack them. The Texans are 0-3 straight-up and against the spread under Bill O’Brien against the Patriots, losing by an average of 22 points.
Dallas Cowboys minus-3 at Arizona Cardinals Dallas’ offense struggled against a defense that’s on a historic run of dominance in Denver. Arizona’s offense struggled against two defenses that were among the NFL’s worst last season in Detroit and Indianapolis.
Chicago Bears plus-7.5 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Half-point hook makes the Bears the preferred side. They were terrible in a 29-7 loss at Tampa Bay as 7-point underdogs, but aren’t going to post a minus-3 turnover margin weekly.