Beating the Spread: Week 3 Picks

Our Week 3 Beat the Spread column is ready to go for your consideration as you put in your weekly bets!

Welcome back to another week of Beating the Spread. As always, I’m Jake Roy and I’m joined by Brennan Rampe, and Tyler Gentile. We’ll be here every Friday throughout the season, posting our picks along with some analysis.

Another week in the books, and we can start to get a better idea of each team’s identities. With so few teams playing their starters in the preseason, some teams are still rounding into form, but the picture is beginning to get a little clearer. Tyler leads the way at 6-4, while Brennan and myself each find ourselves a couple of games under 50%. Plenty of season left to get those records and hopefully make some cash along the way.

You can play along in the comments or find us on Twitter (@Jake3Roy, @808Paperboi, @phdinnfl). Assuming -110 odds we need about 53% to break even, let’s see if we can hit that magic number for the season and come out with some profit. So, without further ado, here are the lines we’ll be using for Week 3!

 

Week 2 Betting Lines
Away Home Line O/U
Ravens Patriots Ravens -3.0 43.5
Lions Vikings Vikings -6.0 53.5
Saints Panthers Saints -3.0 40.5
Texans Bears Bears -3.0 40.5
Chiefs Colts Chiefs -6.5 49.5
Eagles Commanders Eagles -7.0 47.0
Bills Dolphins Bills -5.5 53.5
Bengals Jets Bengals -4.5 45
Raiders Titans Raiders -2.5 45.5
Jaguars Chargers Chargers -7.0 48.0
Falcons Seahawks Seahawks -2.5 41.5
Rams Cardinals Rams -3.5 49.0
Packers Buccaneers Buccaneers -2.0 41.5
49ers Broncos 49ers -1.5 45.0
Cowboys Giants Giants -2.5 39.5

 

Staff Picks
Jake Roy (@Jake3Roy) Brennan Rampe (@Phdinnfl) Tyler Gentile (@808PaperBoi)
Pick #1 Eagles/Commanders over 47.0 Ravens -3.0 Ravens -3.0
Pick #2 Patriots/Ravens under 43.5 Chiefs -6.5 Chiefs -6.5
Pick #3 Texans/Bears under 40.5 Bengals -4.5 Bengals -4.5
Pick #4 Bills -5.5 Rams -3.5 49ers -1.5
Pick #5 49ers/Broncos under 45.0 Packers +2.0 49ers/Broncos under 45.0
Record 4-6 4-6 6-4

 

Analysis

 

Jake Roy

 

I haven’t quite found my footing yet, going 2-3 each of the first two weeks but that’s never stopped me before. I’m going back to mostly totals this week, as I feel like I have a much better feel for them than spreads right now. Last week, I chose the Eagles and Vikings to go over on Monday night, forgetting that Kirk Cousins is useless on Monday night. This week, I’m taking the over in the Eagles game again, because I don’t learn from my mistakes. Jalen Hurts played some of the best football of his young career last week, showing his ability as a passer and using his legs as effectively as usual. On the other side, Carson Wentz plays football with reckless abandon. Every time he holds the ball for more than two seconds, you know something either incredible or tragic is going to happen. He’s not afraid to chuck the ball 50 yards downfield to no one in particular. I like the Eagles to win the game, a seven-point spread on the road is too rich for my blood with the possibility of a backdoor cover. I’ll take the over with some late points from Washington, much like last week. PHI/WAS over 43.5

It pains me to say this, but my beloved New England Patriots are boring. They play grind it out, run the ball, wear you down football. They’re not winning games in the 30s any time soon. Touchdown drives can be timed with a sundial and even those are hard to come by. They run the ball effectively, but running the ball isn’t the fastest way to score points. There’s also no significant red zone threat to finish drives. As a Patriots fan, it stinks. As an under bettor, it’s great. On the other side of the ball, the defense is solid, allowing just 13 offensive points in a week one “blowout” against the Dolphins. They want to beat you up, keep games close and win them at the end. Their opponents, the Ravens, are also a run-heavy team that keeps the clock moving. They have much more explosiveness on offense, with Rashod Bateman and Mark Andrews catching passes from the electric Lamar Jackson, but the Patriots have done a great job of limiting big plays and keeping points off the board. With the Patriots at home, I see another gritty, low-scoring affair. BAL/NE under 43.5

I apologize for taking so many unders. Rooting for the under is a drag, especially if you’re playing fantasy, but it tends to be the sharper side. Unders and underdogs are typically go-to’s for that reason. I’m going back to another under in Chicago on Sunday. The Bears haven’t played a game in normal conditions yet, but I don’t believe in Justin Fields whatsoever. For Houston, Davis Mills is the vanilla ice cream of quarterbacks. He’s there, he’s okay, but he doesn’t jump off the menu. Vanilla needs some toppings if it’s going to do any damage, and there’s not a lot there for Houston. Dameon Pierce has shown some promise as a runner and Brandin Cooks is always reliable. Past that, there isn’t much going on for the ice cream sundae that is the Houston Texans. The teams do move at a high pace, but they’re going nowhere. Give me another low-scoring game in Chicago this weekend. HOU/CHI under 40.5

This next pick is almost entirely my gut. The Dolphins are getting way too much hype. Tua Tagovailoa played one really good quarter and they pulled off a miracle win. Relax, people. If the Ravens’ don’t get caught sleeping defensively, it’s a comfortable win for Baltimore and Mike McDaniel isn’t being dubbed the best coach of all time. The Bills, on the other hand, deserve some flowers. They played a nearly perfect game in their home opener against the Titans, scoring just about every time they had the ball. Josh Allen is unfair. He runs the ball as if the defense isn’t even there. The defense is playing lights out, injuries aside. I like the Bills to keep it rolling on the road, stomping all over the Miami hype. BUF -5.5

Last up on the docket we have the Broncos and 49ers on Sunday Night Football. The Broncos are yet to find their footing offensively, failing to reach 20 points in each of their first two games. Nathaniel Hackett has been a disaster at head coach thus far, so much so that the Broncos’ fans were sarcastically counting the play clock out loud during their week two contest with the Texans. The Broncos should figure it out on offense eventually, but this week isn’t that week. Both the defenses in this contest are near the top of the league, allowing just 13 points a game each. They’re also two of the slowest teams in the league in terms of offensive pace. The 49ers’ scoring couple increase with Jimmy Garoppolo under center, but we’ve seen enough of him to know what he is. I expect another boring Sunday night rock fight. SF/DEN under 45.0

 

Brennan Rampe

 

The Ravens seemed as if they were going to improve to 2-0 after being up 35-14 in the fourth quarter but then blew it in spectacular fashion, losing 42-38. That was an inexcusable performance from the Ravens’ defense, especially considering how much effort Baltimore put in to upgrade the defensive line and secondary. The Patriots won a defensive game against the Steelers 17-14 to improve to 1-1, but this offense is just average. They scored seven points in Week 1 and only 17 last week. This will be the home opener for the Patriots, but I think the Ravens are way more talented, and they will probably play angry after how last week ended. I like the Ravens to cover on the road. Inside the Numbers: Since 2019, the Ravens are 11-7 against the spread as road favorites. BAL -3.0

The Chiefs just barely defeated the Chargers on Thursday Night Football. Patrick Mahomes made his usual crazy plays when needed, and rookie cornerback Jaylen Watson had a 99-yard interception return touchdown which essentially won the game. They’ve had over a week to prepare for the Colts, who haven’t started off well at all. They’re coming off a  24-0 loss to their divisional rival Jaguars where Matt Ryan threw three interceptions. There are excuses as to why Indianapolis has played so poorly. Wide Receivers Michael Pittman Jr. and Alec Pierce didn’t play in the game against Jacksonville, and linebacker Shaquille Leonard, the leader of the defense, has missed the first two games. Even if all three of those guys play, I just think the Chiefs are better in nearly every way. They have a better quarterback, better weapons, and a better coach, Andy Reid.  Inside the Numbers: The Chiefs are 29-19 as away favorites against the spread under Andy Reid. KC -6.5

The Bengals, shockingly, are 0-2 to start the season. No one could have seen this coming. The so-called improved offensive line has given up 13 sacks in two games, and it looks like Joe Burrow could be in for another long year if this continues. Still, Cincinnati has fought until the very end in both losses, losing both games on last-second field goals. There is still hope, as the AFC North is a winnable division. That being said, this game is a must-win. The Jets beat the Browns in a wild upset. The Jets trailed 30-17 with two minutes left, but Joe Flacco threw a touchdown to Corey Davis, who was wide open. After that, the Jets recovered the onside kick and Flacco threw the game-winning touchdown to rookie wide receiver Garrett Wilson. It was an unbelievable comeback, but they were very lucky to win that game. The Bengals’ wide receivers will probably give the Jets secondary problems, and the Jets’ defensive line has decent players, but no game-wreckers. The Bengals have to win this game to save their season, and I think they will. Inside the Numbers: The Jets are 3-6 against the spread as home underdogs under Robert Saleh. CIN -4.5
The Rams beat the Falcons last week after getting destroyed by the Bills, but it was closer than it should have been. They were up 28-3 late in the game and almost blew it. The Cardinals were down big on the road against the Raiders but had a big comeback win in overtime. Both defenses have struggled to start the season. Since Sean McVay has been coach of the Rams, they have done exceptionally well against the Cardinals, as he has only lost to them once. Kyler Murray has really struggled against his divisional rival, as he is 1-6 against Los Angeles, including the playoff game from last season. The Rams are far better defensively than the Raiders and are much better coached as well. This game could potentially be a shootout, but I think the Rams will win by a touchdown. Inside the Numbers: The Rams are 19-13-1 against the spread against divisional opponents under Sean McVay. LAR -3.5 
The Buccaneers defeated their divisional rival Saints 20-10 last week, winning a defensive battle. Saints quarterback Jameis Winston threw three interceptions against his old team, one of which was returned for a touchdown. Tampa Bay is undefeated, but the offense hasn’t played very well to start the season. They have gone up against two talented defenses, and they’re about to play another one. The Packers also defeated a divisional rival, as they beat the Bears for the millionth time, winning 27-10. The running game, led by Aaron Jones, was very effective, and the wide receivers were a lot better than they were the prior week. The Buccaneers have a much better wide receiver group, but there’s a good chance they’ll be without many of them. Mike Evans is suspended one game for his role in the fight that broke out between the Buccaneers and Saints, and Chris Godwin and Julio Jones haven’t been practicing. The Packers ran into this team at a great moment, and I think they’ll get an upset on the road.  Inside the Numbers: The Packers are 8-4 against the spread as road underdogs under Matt LaFleur. GB +2.0

 

Tyler Gentile

 

Say a prayer for me. I took 4 road favorites.

If there were ever a trap line, it’s this, but I don’t believe in that mumbo-jumbo. The Ravens should be able to cover this number on the road. The updated line has crossed over to -2.5, and that is likely due to concerns over Lamar’s elbow along with the other lingering injuries Baltimore has to their secondary. They’ve already said Lamar is going to play, and I don’t anticipate he’ll be that limited. We all know how explosive he is. The main reason this is a play in my eyes comes down to how bad the Patriots’ offense is. Mac Jones is fine, but the cast around him is putrid. They don’t have the speed to beat the Ravens over the top the way Miami did with Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill. The loss to the Dolphins was an epic collapse, but they should be able to hold their ground against New England. Trap lines don’t exist, aliens do though. BAL -3

Betting against one of the best QB in the league, Joe Flacco?! It was a great comeback win over the Browns, but I don’t see it happening again for the Jets. The Bengals know it is time to wake up. Being 0-2 after playing the Steelers and a Dak-less Dallas squad is unacceptable, and they have the perfect opponent to right the ship. The Browns and Ravens don’t possess the receiver quality Cincy has, and the Ja’Marr Chase/Tee Higgins duo should go nuclear against the Jets secondary largely in part to a cleaner pocket for Burrow. The O-line won’t have to face TJ Watt (PIT 15th in pass-rush win rate) or Micah Parsons (DAL 5th in pass-rush win rate). They get the Jets who are 30th in pass-rush win rate. This updated line is up to -6 now, which obviously is a big difference from -4.5, but I still think Burrow and the Bengals can cover and win by a TD. CIN -4.5

The Colts also know it’s time to wake up after tying the Texans and being shut out by the Jaguars. Unlike the Bengals, however, they face one of the stiffest tests in the league playing the Chiefs. Although he is not coming off a bye, there is still ample time for Andy Reid to prepare following a TNF match. Reid has an insane 20-3 career record coming off a bye, so this also looks like a phenomenal teaser leg as well. The main calling card as to backing Kansas City this week though is Patrick Mahomes’ dominance against Gus Bradley’s defensive schemes. The Chiefs put up 41 and 47 points in the two games against Bradley’s defense in Las Vegas last year. Bradley is obviously working with a different squad this year, but the results have not been good in the early going. Indianapolis is allowing the 2nd highest completion percentage and that’s against the Texans and Jaguars. Another 40 burger for KC is definitely not out of the question, and my favorite wager of the week is easily the Chiefs team total over 27.5 at -115. It’s hard to have faith in the Colts’ offense going score for score against this offense even with Pittman back. They have failed to score in 7 of 9 quarters this year! KC -6.5

Even with the over in the TNF contest between PIT/CLE, prime-time unders have been money to start the year hitting in six of eight games. Unders are 22-11 across all games this year. Trends can be silly but Denver and Nathanial Hackett are even more so. Silly is putting it lightly – my Broncos are a trainwreck right now. They’ve struggled to get any going offensively scoring just one touchdown in each game, and that was against the Texans and the Seahawks! How are they going to score on this elite 49ers’ defense? The game management, play-calling, penalties…EVERYTHING IS A MESS IN DENVER. This feels like my diary. Justin Simmons is on the IR, and it doesn’t appear likely that Jerry Jeudy will play either. We didn’t get the full Trey Lance experience, but we’ve all seen Jimmy G lead this team to a Super Bowl, and know he is capable of running that offense. I hope I’m wrong and the Broncos eke out a win, but if it wasn’t clear already, I’ve lost all faith in this team, and it’s only week 2. 27-13 is my final score prediction here. SF -1.5, SF/DEN under 45.0

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

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