Week 3 of the NFL season represents a great opportunity to wager. It’s early enough in the season that the oddsmakers still aren’t 100 percent sure on how to evaluate each team, but late enough to apply valuable lessons learned from the first fortnight of football.
Preseason mantras such as “fade the Raiders” and “never trust Philip Rivers” have been thrown out the window, as unexpected teams are covering the spread and remaining quite competitive this year.
If you haven’t been keeping up with the action and aren’t sure which way to lean in Week 3, fret not as I have you covered. Here are the latest lines and picks for every game against the spread, plus a breakdown of three can’t-miss contests you’ll want to bet big on.
BALTIMORE RAVENS (+2.5) over Houston Texans
The Ravens are a great team to back against the spread in Week 3, as they are getting points at home. This isn’t a scrub team that projects to finish outside the playoffs, but rather a proud defending Super Bowl champion.
While the Texans are powerful on offense, their defense has been suspect at best, and it recently took overtime for this squad to vanquish the Tennessee Titans. Week 1 wasn’t anymore convincing, as a late rally was needed to overcome the San Diego Chargers.
That would allow the Ravens to focus on shutting down the run and making the Texans a one-dimensional team. It’s hard to imagine Houston winning on the road in that situation, and it’s exactly why you should take the points here and get paid.
Chicago Bears (-2) over PITTSBURGH STEELERS
The Bears are going to put the nail in the coffin of the Steelers’ 2013 campaign.
After getting destroyed in back-to-back contests, it’s time for the public and oddsmakers to stop giving so much respect to this group. This isn’t a team that has the personnel or skill to flip a switch and turn everything around for a playoff run.
In fact, Pittsburgh is in grave danger of an 0-4 start going into a Week 5 bye and could be in line for one of the worst seasons in franchise history. This historically rich organization hasn’t won less than five games since the disastrous 1-13 1969 campaign, which should be especially concerning for the players and coaches on this team.
It may take an 0-3 start to give head coach Mike Tomlin and the rest of this roster the kick in the butt they need to get going. Until that happens, expect the Bears to trounce through a Steelers squad with a shaky receiving corps, a beatable offensive line and no running game.
Even though the game is on the road, Chicago has the weapons and defense to lock down the opponent and coax yet another anemic performance from the Pittsburgh offense.
CINCINNATI BENGALS (+3) over Green Bay Packers
The Bengals continue to add weapons to their arsenal, using Monday Night Football as a platform to show the world that second-round pick Giovani Bernard is soon going to emerge as an elite running back.
Bernard gashed the Steelers for 60 yards and a touchdown on the ground, while also catching a pass for a 27-yard gain and another score.
He projects to complement the receiving corps in Cincinnati well, as quarterback Andy Dalton spread the ball out in a well-rounded passing attack on Monday Night Football.
Players such as Jermaine Gresham, Tyler Eifert and Mohamed Sanu all project to be big contributors this season and should help superstar A.J. Green continue to become a top receiver in the league.
It appears that the Bengals have enough weapons to hang with the Packers in what should be an offensive shootout next Sunday, although the Cincy defense should be able to get some crucial stops when it counts.
Factor in home-field advantage and you have the recipe for an "upset" (if you can call it that) when a good team is getting points from the oddsmakers. This line is as sure a thing as there is on the board in Week 3, so don’t be afraid to bet on this game big.