NFL
September 24, 2020
BY Bryan Zarpentine

5 Best NFL Bets: Week 3

Two weeks into the NFL season and we’re starting to see which teams are good and which ones are not so good. Appropriately enough, there are 11 teams that are 2-0 while 11 other teams are 0-2, leaving the remaining 10 teams in the middle at 1-1.

Through two weeks, it’s still not that easy to judge teams with so little information, which is why betting on NFL games early in the season can be a bad idea. Nevertheless, we continue to try to put forth the best options available. Despite going 4-6 over the first two weeks, we're feeling a big bounce back in Week 3. 

Denver Broncos +6 vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Broncos have lost two games against a pair of good teams, but it's been by a total of just seven points. Based on that, a six-point spread seems a little high, especially with the Bucs going on the road and having to deal with the thin Denver air. Granted, Tom Brady has plenty of experience playing big games in Denver, but he’s not necessarily had a ton of success in those games. The Bucs offense still hasn't clicked, either. 

Obviously, the Broncos losing Drew Lock and Courtland Sutton last week throws a wrench into their plans. But Jeff Driskel made enough plays to keep the Broncos in the game against a strong Pittsburgh defense last week. While the Tampa Bay defense is very good, it's not at the same level as Pittsburgh’s swarming defense. Keep in mind that the Bucs still have plenty of flaws outside of Brady, which should help the Broncos keep this game close and perhaps even steal a win at home.

Cleveland Browns -7 vs Washington Football Team

It became clear last week that Washington’s Week 1 surprise win over the Eagles was more about Philadelphia’s problems rather than anything Washington did right. The Washington Football Team was down 27-3 last week before the offense was able to put a decent drive together. By that point, the Arizona defense was no longer playing with the same intensity, so we can pump the brakes on any momentum carrying over into Week 3. Also, Dwayne Haskins was sacked four times, and losing Brandon Scherff will only make it easier for the Browns to pressure the quarterback.

To be fair, we still need to take Baker Mayfield’s performance last week with a grain of salt. His wildly inconsistent play could be a problem against a ferocious Washington defensive line. However, the backfield tandem of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt looks like it could be something special and carry the Cleveland offense all season.

While the Washington defense did some nice things in Week 1, there’s only so long they can hold on if the offense isn’t going to produce much. Look for the Browns to wear down Washington with their two running backs and pull away late to cover.

San Francisco 49ers -4 at New York Giants

It’s unlikely Jimmy Garoppolo will play this week after suffering a high ankle sprain against the New York Jets in Week 2. However, the 49ers are still in good shape, as they are more talented than the Giants in most areas. Plus, Nick Mullens wasn’t half-bad as a backup in 2018 and the 49ers will still be able to lean on their offensive line and running game. Keep in mind that the 49ers have stayed on the East Coast since beating the Jets last week, so playing an early game won’t bother them, not that it bothered them last week, either.

The Giants have a laundry list of problems of their own. Even with Devonta Freeman coming aboard to help replace Saquon Barkley, New York’s offensive line hasn’t provided much running room early in the season. Daniel Jones has been sacked seven times in two games with constant pressure contributing to his three interceptions. There’s no reason to believe the Giants will suddenly start to run the ball effectively or keep Jones safe in the pocket. Even without Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas, the San Francisco defensive line can be disruptive, keeping the Giants to a low point total and allowing the 49ers to cover four points.

Cincinnati Bengals +5 at Philadelphia Eagles

How can the oddsmakers still have faith in the Eagles? They have been dreadful on both sides of the ball for six consecutive quarters. The injuries to the offensive line in the lead up to the season have been far more impactful than anyone could have guessed. Carson Wentz has already been sacked eight times and thrown four picks because he’s getting harassed in the pocket. Even with Miles Sanders returning last week, the Eagles scored a measly 19 points, which further points to issues with the offensive line holding back the Philadelphia offense.

Plus, the Philadelphia defense isn’t playing much better. They couldn’t even hold a 17-0 lead over Washington in Week 1. Also, the Bengals haven’t been that bad, getting outscored by eight points in their two losses. Despite A.J. Green starting a little slow out of the gate after sitting out 2019, Joe Burrow has found some other targets who he trusts. With the way the Eagles defended the run last week, Joe Mixon has a chance to get going this week, which will make a huge difference for the Cincinnati offense.

Even if the Eagles win this game, assume that they’re going to win ugly, making it a stretch that they can cover the five-point spread.

New York Jets +10.5 at Indianapolis Colts

Teams are never as bad as they seem to be when they’re at their worst. That even applies to the Jets, who could not have looked much worse in the first two weeks if they tried. Surely, the Jets will be a little better this week as the desperation of being 0-2 starts to hit them. Perhaps more importantly, 10.5 points is always a big spread in the NFL. Think about how badly the Bills dominated the Jets in Week 1 and how they still lost by 10 points.

Also, are we sure we’re sold on the Colts after one win? After all, this team lost in Week 1 to Jacksonville, who was supposed to be terrible. The Colts are averaging less than four yards per carry on the ground and their leading receiver is a tight end. Those are both red flags for a double-digit favorite.

Philip Rivers has thrown three interceptions in his first two games. That was a problem for him last season and could be a hindrance for such a big favorite. Nobody is saying the Jets will win the game. But they’ll be desperate to do something this week while we may be overreacting to the Colts a little, which should make for a close game.

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