• Week 3's afternoon slate features a pivotal Saints-Falcons showdown in the NFC South and the first Rams-Chargers matchup since both teams moved to Los Angeles. Who holds an edge against the spread?
By Scott Gramling
September 21, 2018

Hopefully the Browns' comeback win against the Jets is foreshadowing an exciting week of football. Here are all of our picks against the spread for Week 3's Sunday afternoon action.

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New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons (-3)

1:00 p.m. ET

The Saints defense was embarrassed by the Buccaneers in Week 1, then in Week 2 the team needed four missed kicks from Zane Gonzalez to hold off the Browns and sneak away with a 21-18 victory. There appears to be enough talent on both sides of the ball for New Orleans to play like the title contender they were last season, and the Saints did turn things around after an 0-2 start last season. Atlanta’s offense looked sharp in a 31-24 win over Carolina last Sunday. The Falcons defense, however, clearly missed safety Keanu Neal and linebacker Deion Jones, both of whom were placed on injured reserve after Week 1.

Betting Trend: Atlanta is 2-8-1 against the spread in home games off a home win since the start of 2008.

Pick: Saints (+3)

Confidence Level: Moderate (on a scale of Low/Moderate/High/Very High/Extremely High)

San Francisco 49ers at Kansas City Chiefs (-6.5)

1:00 p.m. ET

As productive as Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has been in throwing 10 touchdowns over the season’s first two weeks, Kansas City’s defense has allowed 1,016 total yards, by far the most in the NFL. In what figures to be a shootout, special teams could be an X-factor in Kansas City’s favor—the Chiefs are averaging a league-best 37 yards per punt return with star wideout Tyreek Hill often scaring opponents into kicking short and out-of-bounds.

Betting Trend: Kansas City is 10-1 against the spread since the start of 2016 when coming off a game in which it allowed 400 or more total yards.

Pick: Chiefs (-6.5)

Confidence Level: Low

Oakland Raiders at Miami Dolphins (-3)

1:00 p.m. ET

The Raiders got their passing game going in Week 2, with Derek Carr throwing for 288 yards with only three incompletions. Although Miami’s secondary has been solid over the team’s first two games, those games have been against the weak passing games of the Titans and Jets. Protecting a 20-point halftime lead, the Dolphins offense did very little in the second half of their Week 2 victory in New York.

Betting Trend: Oakland is 11-5-2 against the spread in games where the line is between +3 and -3 since the start of the 2016 season.

Pick: Raiders (+3)

Confidence Level: Moderate

Buffalo Bills at Minnesota Vikings (-16.5)

1:00 p.m. ET

Buffalo has been outscored 54-6 in the first halves of the blowout losses they’ve suffered the past two weeks. While the anemic offense may get even worse as running back LeSean McCoy deals with cracked rib cartilage, the state of the Buffalo defense is best summed up by veteran cornerback Vontae Davis’s retirement at halftime of last Sunday’s home loss to the Chargers. Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins has been impressive in his first two starts as a Viking, throwing for three fourth-quarter touchdowns in a tie at Green Bay in Week 2.

Betting Trend: Minnesota is 13-3 against the spread in non-conference games since the start of the 2014 season.

Pick: Vikings (-16.5)

Confidence Level: High

Indianapolis Colts at Philadelphia Eagles (-6.5)

1:00 p.m. ET

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz returns nine months after tearing his ACL. While much of his supporting cast has been decimated by injuries, Wentz's presence should help Philadelphia’s offense become more productive than it’s been through the season’s first two weeks with Nick Foles under center. Philly’s league-best run defense has allowed only 117 rushing yards through two games, and the Eagles pass rush should be able to generate pressure on Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.

Betting Trend: The Eagles are 13-5 against the spread in games played on a grass field since the start of last season.

Pick: Eagles (-6.5)

Confidence Level: High

Green Bay Packers (-3) at Washington Redskins

1:00 p.m. ET

The Redskins followed up their Week 1 win in Arizona with a dud of a performance at home against Indianapolis, losing 21-9. While the Green Bay defense has its faults, it has more talent than Indy’s and should match up well with a Washington offense that’s short on explosiveness. Considering that there were more than 20,000 empty seats at FedEx Field this past Sunday, Washington doesn’t boast much of a home-field advantage.

Betting Trend: Washington is 1-9-1 against the spread at home off a home loss since 2008.

Pick: Packers (-3)

Confidence Level: Moderate

Cincinnati Bengals at Carolina Panthers (-3)

1:00 p.m. ET

The Bengals scored 28 first-half points against the Ravens in the Week 2 Thursday night game, with Cincy’s revamped offensive line paying dividends. The loss of starting running back Joe Mixon to a knee injury suffered against Baltimore is likely to limit what the Bengals’ ground game can do in Carolina. Panthers quarterback Cam Newton leads Carolina in rushing yards (100) and nearly led his team to a comeback victory in the Panthers’ Week 2 31-24 loss in Atlanta.

Betting Trend: Carolina is 20-3 against the spread when coming off a road loss since the start of the 2011 season.

Pick: Panthers (-3)

Confidence Level: Very High

Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars (-6.5)

1:00 p.m. ET

Tennessee held on for a 20-17 victory over Houston last week, relying on a long fake-punt touchdown to offset their inept offensive attack (they tallied just 217 total yards apart from that trick play). Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles racked up 377 yards and four touchdowns in a Week 2 win over the Patriots, making good decisions and accurate throws behind an offensive line that has allowed only one sack in more than 80 dropbacks so far in 2018. The questions here include whether the Jaguars will suffer a letdown after such a big win and whether the Jacksonville offense will remain aggressive with its passing game. When these teams played in Jacksonville last September, the Titans won 37-16.

Betting Trend: The home team is 7-3-2 against the spread in games Tennessee has played against Jacksonville since the start of 2012.

Pick: Titans (+6.5)

Confidence Level: Low

Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens (-5.5)

1:00 p.m. ET

Although the Broncos have started the 2018 season with back-to-back victories, the team hasn’t been particularly impressive during its 2-0 start. Denver’s first win was a three-point home victory over a Seattle squad that has played poorly on the road during the first month of the season under head coach Pete Carroll and appeared to have a lot of weaknesses heading into this season. The Broncos then escaped this past Sunday with a one-point home win over an Oakland team that had been coming off a short week following a 20-point home loss to the Rams in the late Week 1 Monday night game. Baltimore gets additional rest heading into this one after having lost in Cincinnati last Thursday. The Ravens have won six of their past seven home games against non-divisional AFC opponents since the start of the 2016 season, and they’ve averaged more than 30 points per game over those seven contests while allowing an average of fewer than 11 points per game.

Betting Trend: Denver is 1-6-1 against the spread as an underdog of between 3½ and 9½ points since the start of the 2014 season.

Pick: Ravens (-5.5)

Confidence Level: Extremely High

New York Giants at Houston Texans (-6)

1:00 p.m. ET

The Giants offense has floundered through two games, with quarterback Eli Manning absorbing six sacks and New York managing a mere three points over the first 58 minutes of Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys. With the offensive line struggling and receivers unable to create separation, the key to success for the Giants in this one figures to be finding a way to keep Houston’s formidable defensive front from constantly pressuring Manning. Although Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson has yet to show the level of explosiveness he did as a rookie last season, wideouts DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller each surpassed 100 receiving yards in a 20-17 loss in Tennessee.

Betting Trend: The Giants are 1-6 against the spread as a road underdog of between 3½ and 7 points since the start of 2016.

Pick: Texans (-6)

Confidence Level: Low

Los Angeles Chargers at Los Angeles Rams (-7)

4:05 p.m. ET

After losing by 10 to the Chiefs at home to start the season, the Chargers dominated the lowly Bills in a Week 2 blowout. The offense faces a much tougher test in Week 3 against a Rams team that has allowed only 13 points this season—every NFL team has allowed more than twice that amount. In fact, since allowing a touchdown on the opening drive of its season, the Rams defense has allowed only two field goals since. With Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa sidelined by a foot injury, the Bolts run the risk of being overmatched by a superior Rams offense.

Betting Trend: The Rams are 7-3 against the spread in the first half of the season since the start of 2017.

Pick: Rams (-7)

Confidence Level: High

Chicago Bears (-5.5) at Arizona Cardinals

4:25 p.m. ET

Chicago’s defense has been among the NFL’s best through two games, holding its two opponents to 154 total first-half yards and tallying a league-best 10 sacks. Arizona’s offense, meanwhile, has managed only six points and 19 first downs, both league-worst marks by a wide margin. The Bears offense hasn’t been a whole lot better, as its average yards per play of just 4.4 yards is better than only the Cardinals and Bills.

Betting System: Teams coming off back-to-back games of scoring fewer than 10 points are 14-3 against the spread since the start of the 2014 season.

Pick: Cardinals (+5.5)

Confidence Level: Very High

Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks (-1.5)

4:25 p.m. ET

The Cowboys defense dominated the Giants last week, sacking Eli Manning six times. Dallas gets another chance to feast on a weak offensive line and a quarterback with a tendency to hold onto the ball too long in Seattle’s Russell Wilson, who has taken a league-high 12 sacks this season. The Cowboys offense gained just 232 total yards in Week 1 and after a long touchdown on the third play from scrimmage last week tallied only 223 total yards in the game’s final 58 minutes. Though Seattle’s defense is a shell of its former self, it should be able to hold up in their hostile home environment.

Betting Trend: Seattle is 11-2 against the spread at home in September games under head coach Pete Carroll.

Pick: Seahawks (-1.5)

Confidence Level: Moderate

Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)