Underdogs continued to do higher than anticipated throughout Week 2 of the 2021 NFL season. They went 9-7 in opposition to the unfold, logging their second straight profitable week after a record-setting Week 1.
Bettors that relied on the favorites early this season could also be annoyed, however fear not. With two weeks of knowledge now at our fingertips, it is simpler to spot traits and analyze which groups and gamers are overvalued and undervalued. And, after all, a few of these shut non-covers had been only a case of dangerous luck.
It’s vital not to overreact to outcomes following Week 1, and the identical will be mentioned after Week 2. Some groups match up effectively with their information whereas others are more pretender than contender. Once Week 3 passes, the panorama shall be simpler to analyze, however for now, pay much less consideration to the document and extra consideration to the personnel that every crew has obtainable.
That’s very true as accidents turn out to be larger offers throughout the NFL. Many quarterbacks went down in Week 2. Tyrod Taylor, Andy Dalton and Tua Tagovailoa have already been dominated out whereas Carson Wentz is coping with two ankle sprains. The well being of those quarterbacks may have a huge effect on the spreads of every sport.
While fading a backup quarterback will be enjoyable, do not simply do it haphazardly, particularly in opposition to the unfold. You have to decide your spots, and the best approach to do that’s to target inexperienced, uncooked backups; not savvy veterans who can hold good groups afloat.
Here’s a take a look at Sporting News’ best bets for Week 3 of the 2021 NFL season, together with picks in opposition to the unfold, moneyline bets, over/underneath wagers and a few participant props.
- NFL best bets Week 3
- Best NFL moneyline bets Week 3
- Best NFL over/underneath bets Week 3
- Best NFL participant prop bets Week 3
(All odds are courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook.)
Chargers (+6.5) at Chiefs
The Chiefs are nonetheless considered as the favourite to win the AFC, however they’ve hit a few bumps within the street to begin the season. Notably, their protection has been dangerous, and that is one thing of which the Chargers can take benefit.
Kansas City has allowed an NFL-high 469 whole yards per sport. Their 202 speeding yards allowed per sport additionally tops the NFL, although that quantity is skewed a bit by having performed Lamar Jackson and Nick Chubb.
It’s true that the Chiefs have performed formidable offenses in Weeks 1 and a couple of. The Browns and the Ravens each possess weapons on the bottom and stable teams of pass-catchers, however the Chargers boast a equally sturdy offense led by Justin Herbert.
Herbert threw for 337 yards in his first sport and 338 yards in his second. He has had a few turnovers however largely, he has helped the Chargers’ offense to hold buzzing. With Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Jared Cook and Austin Ekeler in tow, he has a variety of weapons that he can use to decide aside Kansas City’s protection.
It’s additionally value noting that current Chargers vs. Chiefs video games have been shut. Four of the final 5 video games have been determined by seven factors or fewer. Los Angeles simply at all times appears to discover a approach to keep in video games in opposition to Kansas City.
As such, we just like the Chargers right here to cowl. They could not win outright, however getting 6.5 factors with an offense this good is a danger value taking. We’ll even be positioned to earn a possible backdoor cowl if the Chiefs are main by two possessions late, so this looks like a stable worth.
Titans (-5.5) vs. Colts
The Colts are in dire straits on the quarterback place. Carson Wentz is coping with two sprained ankles and might not be prepared to play Sunday. If he cannot go, Jacob Eason will probably begin with Brett Hundley serving because the backup. Neither evokes a lot hope, even in opposition to a porous Tennessee protection.
The Titans lack expertise on protection and have allowed the third-most factors per sport within the NFL this season (34). However, they need to have extra success in opposition to Eason, who has solely thrown 5 profession passes of which one was intercepted, or Wentz on two dangerous ankles.
On the floor, 5.5 factors could seem to be lots for the Titans contemplating that the Colts hung with the Rams final week. That mentioned, current Colts vs. Titans video games have not actually been shut, because the winner has outscored the loser by a median of 12.9 factors over the past 10 video games. And solely two of these video games in whole had been determined by lower than a landing.
This all makes the Titans seem like an interesting guess, particularly since they might have the ability to tire out the Colts’ protection through the use of Derrick Henry. If they’ll do this, they need to have an opportunity to win by double digits. Betting on them to win by lower than a landing is an efficient worth.
Broncos (-10.5) vs. Jets
The Broncos are a crew to belief as soon as once more. The most important purpose for trusting Denver this time is not due to Teddy Bridgewater’s sterling 37-13-1 document in opposition to the unfold. It’s all about Vic Fangio in opposition to rookie quarterbacks.
Fangio may not fairly be Bill Belichick-level in opposition to rookies, however he has logged a 19-9 record in opposition to them since changing into a defensive coordinator in 1995. The contains wins over Peyton Manning, Donovan McNabb and Justin Herbert.
You do not have to look far for an much more current pattern both. Denver beat Trevor Lawrence’s Jaguars in Week 2 and lined a six-point unfold. They gained by 10 factors.
Fangio’s defenses have allowed 33 touchdowns whereas recording 26 interceptions in 28 video games in opposition to rookie quarterbacks. Zach Wilson simply confronted Belichick and the Patriots and threw 4 interceptions whereas scoring six factors. He could discover it tough to transfer the ball as soon as once more.
Trusting the Broncos to cowl a ten.5-point unfold could not sound thrilling in idea, however the Broncos ought to have defensive success in opposition to Wilson very like the Patriots did. And for the reason that Broncos have higher offensive weapons than the Patriots, they need to have the ability to win this one by double digits. The solely factor we should always have to fear about is a possible backdoor cowl.
Bengals moneyline (+146) at Steelers
Moneyline bets at all times carry with them some danger. This could also be one value taking, and it has every part to do with the Steelers’ harm state of affairs.
Ben Roethlisberger is coping with a pec harm. He could have the ability to play, however Mike Tomlin acknowledged that his preparation could be affected by the injury. If that is the case, he may begin off rusty. Or worse, he may play at lower than one hundred pc, which can impression his potential to throw downfield, which was already dwindling.
Beyond the 39-year-old quarterback’s harm issues, the Steelers’ protection might be lacking almost half of its regular starters. Two defensive linemen — Stephon Tuitt and Tyson Alualu — are undoubtedly going to be out of this sport. There are three extra key gamers that might be questionable in cornerback Joe Haden, linebacker Devin Bush and rush linebacker T.J. Watt.
Watt is the Steelers’ best defensive participant. He had 4 tackles, a sack and a pressured fumble earlier than leaving the Steelers’ loss to the Raiders. Las Vegas’ offense was predictably rather more efficient as soon as Watt exited the sport.
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So, what does all of this imply? Watch the Steelers’ accidents carefully this week. If Roethlisberger is banged up and Watt is unable to go, that may give the Bengals a respectable probability to win this sport. Cincinnati did not look nice in opposition to the Bears, however their subpar blocking will not be as a lot of an issue given the multitude of accidents Pittsburgh has on the line of defense.
If Watt performs, then taking the Bengals (+3) might be the higher transfer. But in the event you’re searching for an underdog moneyline to belief, the Bengals might be a sneaky-good possibility due to the Steelers’ accidents.
Seahawks moneyline (-120) at Vikings
This is decidedly much less dangerous than the Bengals decide, so in the event you’re searching for a protected moneyline guess, that is in all probability it. Both of the Seahawks and Vikings are coming off brutal losses through which their defenses failed to comprise the opposing offense.
The Seahawks allowed the Titans to come again utilizing the run and drop 36 on them. The Vikings intercepted Kyler Murray twice and misplaced by one level after lacking a game-winning area aim as time expired.
That mentioned, of the 2 groups, the Seahawks had the higher efficiency, and their offense matches up effectively in opposition to that of the Vikings.
Seattle could be very related to Arizona offensively. They have a dynamic quarterback who could make performs along with his arm and legs and a plethora of receiving weapons to target. The Vikings could not cease Murray and the Cardinals Sunday, and so they allowed 474 yards to Arizona. If not for a few second-half interceptions from Murray, together with a pick-six, the Cardinals may have scored much more.
That’s why Wilson and the Seahawks are a superb guess. Wilson merely would not flip the ball over. His 1.8 % interception proportion is tied for the third-lowest in NFL historical past, trailing solely Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes.
So, the Vikings may have hassle producing factors off turnovers as they did in opposition to the Cardinals. That makes the Seahawks a protected guess.
But why go together with the moneyline as an alternative of taking the Seahawks (-1.5)? Well, the Vikings offense may go blow-for-blow with the Seahawks, so this might find yourself being an in depth sport. We don’t desire to danger this changing into one other one-point sport, so we’re prepared to take a bit much less revenue to decide Seattle because the winner.
Panthers at Texans: UNDER 43.5 (-118)
The “Thursday Night Football” sport for Week 3 is shaping up to be a snoozer, a minimum of from a scoring standpoint. Davis Mills shall be quarterbacking the Texans. It would be the rookie’s first profession begin. That spells excellent news for the underneath.
Mills was a third-round decide within the 2021 NFL Draft. Since the 2016 draft, 18 quarterbacks drafted exterior of the primary spherical have began for NFL groups. The outcomes have not been nice, because the starters have averaged merely 17.2 factors per sport. Only seven of these quarterbacks have scored 20 or extra factors of their first begin.
The Panthers have the league’s best scoring protection. They are permitting solely 10.5 factors per sport, so it might be arduous for Mills to even strategy the 17.2 mark. He could also be held to single-digit scoring.
Meanwhile, Sam Darnold is not an elite scorer in his personal proper. In his final 16 begins, he has averaged 16 factors per sport. His efforts with the Panthers have been barely higher — he’s averaging 22.5 factors per sport with them — however even that quantity plus the typical rookie QB quantity checks in almost 4 factors underneath the purpose whole for this contest.
Unless Mills is best than anticipated or the Texans’ protection collapses, going underneath on this 43.5 whole appears to be the probably end result. If you are anxious in regards to the Panthers offense going off on this one, taking the Texans UNDER 16.5 (-102) could be a stable different.
Cardinals level whole: OVER 30.5 (-106)
The Cardinals’ offense has come out firing on all cylinders to begin the season. They scored 38 factors in opposition to the Titans in Week 1 and 34 in Week 2. Their 36 factors per sport are second-best within the NFL behind solely the Buccaneers.
The scary factor about that’s that the Cardinals might be scoring much more than that. They have posted a fair turnover margin by two video games, as they’ve pressured three turnovers whereas Murray has thrown three interceptions. If he can minimize down on these errors, that can give the Cardinals much more alternatives to generate factors and maintain drives.
The Cardinals are poised to do this in opposition to the Jaguars. Jacksonville has but to drive a turnover but has dedicated 5 of their very own. The Cardinals’ protection ought to put the offense in place to rating if they’ll make some opportunistic performs and drive turnovers.
Murray figures to be a troublesome matchup for the Jaguars, too. They confronted Tyrod Taylor within the season opener and had hassle containing his dual-threat potential. He threw for almost 300 yards and added 40 on the bottom. Murray has accounted for a median of 370 yards and 4.5 touchdowns per sport this season, so he alone may place the Cardinals to submit greater than 30 factors.
Arizona’s offense will be trusted once more on this favorable spot. Feel free to roll with them in opposition to one other weak protection that’s permitting 423.5 yards and 30 factors per sport.
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Player props shall be added all through the week main up to video games.
Christian McCaffrey speeding + receiving yards: OVER 132.5 (-114)
McCaffrey has recorded over 132.5 speeding and receiving yards in 15 of his final 20 video games relationship again to the start of 2019. He solely failed to do it 5 instances: twice in opposition to Tampa Bay, twice in opposition to New Orleans and as soon as in opposition to Washington.
What do all of these groups have in frequent? They have been among the league’s best run defenses over the past couple of seasons. As such, it is comprehensible that McCaffrey would wrestle in these matchups.
The Texans aren’t almost as threatening. They have carried out at a middle-of-the-road stage this season, however the Browns simply gashed them for 156 speeding yards and three touchdowns. They struggled to comprise Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, and they’ll wrestle once more versus McCaffrey.
McCaffrey is averaging almost 30 touches per sport. He simply wants to get a bit greater than 4 yards per contact if he will get that a lot work in opposition to the Texans. And in actuality, he it’ll in all probability take much less for him to surpass this whole, because the Texans had been one of many league’s worst run defenses final 12 months. Feel free to belief him on this favorable matchup.