Our Model’s Favorite Week 3 NFL Bets
We are two weeks into the NFL season, and pandemonium has broken loose with surprise teams winning, a rash of player injuries, and seemingly half the league’s coaches being fined for not wearing coronavirus masks! Our betting model predictions at SportsGrid have highlighted some games for Week 3 that may represent some value for bettors looking to have some action on the craziness that will surely ensue this weekend!
The SportsGrid betting model lists sides and over/unders on a five-star system, with five stars being the highest likelihood, down to a listing not having stars as games that are too close to call. This week we have a plethora of five-star games, which means there should be a lot of value to be had. I’ve highlighted five of them below.
Cowboys-Seahawks Under 55.5
The Cowboys and Seahawks are projected to score 55.5 total points this weekend, but the SportsGrid betting model shows that this is too high, even if it is the highest current total on the board. There are several matchup considerations here that make the under 55.5 attractive.
First, the Dallas offensive line is missing several players, and although the Seattle front-seven isn’t what it once was, they should be able to provide some pressure on Dak Prescott and stop Ezekiel Elliott from running all over them.
Seattle’s secondary is still amongst one of the league’s best and is formidable against Dallas’s trio of Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup. Dallas’s front-seven is also a bit injured, but their performance should be better than last week’s 39 point outing to the Falcons. If Dallas defensive coordinator Mike Nolan wants to keep his job, he’ll be all over the Dallas defense to make stops on Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson’s attempts at staying as the MVP front-runner.
The Seahawks don’t spread the passing game out either, with wide receivers Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf taking the lion’s share of Russ’s targets. If Dallas can shut down Lockett and Metcalf, they may be able to slow Wilson and Seattle, which would make the under attractive here.
Buccaneers-Broncos Under 43.5:
The Buccaneers and Broncos are projected to score 43.5 total points this weekend, but the SportsGrid betting model shows that the under is a five-star bet.
Let’s start with the obvious: Denver’s quarterback will either be Jeff Driskel or Blake Bortles for this game. Driskel is 1-9 in his career as a starter, and Bortles was run out of Jacksonville. Courtland Sutton of Denver, their alpha wide receiver, is hurt. The secondary and tertiary wide receivers, Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler are rookies. Philip Lindsay is hurt, so Melvin Gordon will have a tough time against Todd Bowles’ elite rushing defense, which is now joined by an ascendant secondary led by Carlton Davis.
It is going to be difficult for Denver to put up points at all in this matchup. The Bucs may be missing Chris Godwin, a budding star wide receiver who is still in the concussion protocol. The Buccaneers seemed happy to lean on running back Leonard Fournette once the game was in hand last week (they were up two touchdowns on Carolina going into halftime), and it seems like that may be the case as well this week. Under seems to be the correct play.
Patriots Moneyline -279
New England comes off a prime-time, last-second loss to Seattle while Las Vegas is coming off of opening their new home stadium in Las Vegas, upsetting New Orleans as 5.5-point underdogs. I should mention here that Bill Belichick is 46-14 as a coach after a loss, but other pertinent factors play into this.
First, New Orleans played without star wide receiver Michael Thomas and Drew Brees’ play the first two weeks of the season has people wondering if the Saints are in trouble. The Panthers, who they beat Week 1, are quietly tanking. The Patriots, off a loss, will be a much bigger issue for Jon Gruden and company, as a rejuvenated Cam Newton has the Patriots firing on all cylinders.
There’s also the Belichick factor of taking away the opponent’s best weapon, so the game plan of “throw the ball to Darren Waller and pray” may not work quite as well this time as Belichick schemes better than anybody to take opposing primary weapons out of play, and quarterback Derek Carr will have a much harder time with his short-yardage, dink-and-dunk passing he’s most known for.
Patriots-Raiders Under 48
The Patriots and Raiders are projected to score 48 total points this weekend, but the SportsGrid model finds a five-star bet in taking the under here. A large part of the reasoning is also covered in the New England Moneyline bet above, but other factors play in here as well: Las Vegas has to travel to the East Coast for a 1 p.m. start, which historically has been difficult for West Coast teams.
Further, that the Patriots are 6.5-point favorites here, so there is a chance that they try to take the air out of the ball if they go up 10+ points. The Patriots have turned into a very run-heavy team behind Newton, and the Raiders have leaned on running back Josh Jacobs with plenty of rushing volume in his career thus far. This lends itself to lower scoring games.
Titans-Vikings Under 47.5
The Titans and Vikings are projected to score 47.5 total points this weekend, but the SportsGrid betting model shows that a five-star bet would be to take the under here. The matchup here lends itself to the under for several reasons.
First, the games’ playing styles lend themselves to a slower game: both teams love to run the ball, and both teams are weak at stopping the run. The Vikings have been smashed in back to back weeks by Aaron Jones and Jonathan Taylor, and now have to face the man they call “Tractorcito.” The Vikings front-seven is no longer formidable, and their secondary is still very much a work in progress. So the Titans’ game plan should be no different than usual here, using Derrick Henry to rack up yardage to set up Ryan Tannehill’s passing game.
On the flipside, no team ran more often last season than Minnesota except for Baltimore, and with Kirk Cousins struggling mightily right now (he had a 0.0 passing rating into the third quarter in Week 2), it’s likely the Vikings try to lean on Dalvin Cook until they could build Cousins’ confidence back up. It bears mentioning that the Vikings have run the lowest amount of plays in the entire league thus far. For all of this, the Under seems like a safe bet.