Putting a huge spread on an NFL game this early in the 2013 season is bold, but oddsmakers believe there are some prohibitive favorites in no danger of losing in Week 3.
If anything has proven true about this league, though, nothing is guaranteed, and even the most seemingly putrid teams can rise to the occasion to stun a heavy favorite on any given day.
According to the experts at Top Bet, there are three games in which the favorite should win by double digits.
Read on to find out which underdogs will cover and how close they might come to winning outright. That's followed by a complete list of NFL picks and spreads for this week.
Indianapolis Colts (+10) at San Francisco 49ers
Really? The Niners are coming off a second consecutive beatdown in Seattle and now they will suddenly bounce back against a fellow reigning playoff team?
It all seems unlikely. Indy is coming off its own difficult loss at home to the Miami Dolphins, but there isn't much shame in that since the Dolphins look to be a legitimate playoff contender.
The intrigue won't be in short supply when Colts quarterback Andrew Luck takes on a team coached by his former Stanford mentor Jim Harbaugh.
B/R expert Matt Bowen believes the Colts will attempt to get Luck out of the pocket in an effort to alleviate the pressure applied on him by Aldon Smith and the other stunts the Niners pull up front.
While a mobile but pass-first quarterback like Luck should give San Francisco problems, Harbaugh should know his tendencies better than anyone else in assisting with the defensive game plan.
Look for Colin Kaepernick's ability to run the ball to resurface against a relatively slow Colts linebacker corps, and for Anquan Boldin to get back on track after a quiet one-catch outing in Week 2.
This will be closer than the experts think, though, given Luck's demonstrated comeback ability and a likely hangover suffered by the Niners after this past Sunday's 29-3 humiliation.
Prediction: 49ers 34, Colts 27
Seattle Seahawks (-19.5) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
In just about every power ranking this week, you're likely to see the Seahawks at the No. 1 spot and the Jaguars as the cellar dweller. Such is the case in the latest from B/R expert Matt Miller.
Chad Henne filled in for Blaine Gabbert under center last week in Oakland, but the Jacksonville offense wasn't much better. A garbage-time touchdown in the final few minutes gave the Jags their first offensive touchdown of 2013.
That's not going to cut it against the Seahawks, who will likely not allow Henne to throw for more than the average of 113 yards per contest they're currently yielding.
Lockdown corner Richard Sherman played a monster game against the Niners, and is making the argument against him as the best at his position increasingly null and void. Yes, that includes Darrelle Revis.
Topbet lists the Jags as 19.5-point underdogs, which is the 10th-largest spread in NFL history, per Fox Sports.
The Jags are 19.5-point underdogs to Seattle this week, making them the 10th biggest underdog in NFL HISTORY. http://t.co/bElKrBi6Wd— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLONFOX) September 17, 2013
This game is at CenturyLink Field, where the Seahawks have won nine games in a row.
Barring a turnover-fest from Seattle or a miraculous performance from Jags RB Maurice Jones-Drew, this is going to be just as much of a rout as it's projected to be.
Prediction: Seahawks 38, Jaguars 6
Oakland Raiders (+15.5) at Denver Broncos
The formula for success is pretty simple in the Raiders' daunting AFC West opener in Denver: Run the ball.
B/R's Ian Kenyon points out the explosiveness McFadden and Pryor have generated with respect to runs of 20 yards or more, of which they've combined for seven already.
Darren McFadden (4) and Terrelle Pryor (3) lead the NFL in 20+ yard runs. Oakland's backfield doing work.— Ian Kenyon (@IanKenyonNFL) September 17, 2013
That can help compensate for myriad other shortcomings, and it also allows the defense to rest up quite a bit.
Which team is least likely to cover?
If McFadden and Pryor can keep the ball away from Manning, it is feasible that the Raiders could hang tough in prime time.
Unfortunately, it won't be nearly enough when Manning has the likes of Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Wes Welker and Julius Thomas to throw to, along with Knowshon Moreno emerging as a viable starter at running back.
The Broncos simply have too many weapons, but this shouldn't be the Monday night blowout many would have anticipated before the season began.
Prediction: Broncos 41, Raiders 31
|Away Team||Home Team||Pick (Spread)|
|Kansas City Chiefs||Philadelphia Eagles||Chiefs (+3)|
|San Diego Chargers||Tennessee Titans||Chargers (+3)|
|Cleveland Browns||Minnesota Vikings||Vikings (-6.5)|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||New England Patriots||Buccaneers (+7)|
|Houston Texans||Baltimore Ravens||Texans (-2.5)|
|St. Louis Rams||Dallas Cowboys||Rams (+4)|
|Arizona Cardinals||New Orleans Saints||Saints (-7)|
|Detroit Lions||Washington Redskins||Redskins (-1.5)|
|Green Bay Packers||Cincinnati Bengals||Packers (-3)|
|New York Giants||Carolina Panthers||Panthers (-1)|
|Atlanta Falcons||Miami Dolphins||Dolphins (-1)|
|Indianapolis Colts||San Francisco 49ers||Colts (+10)|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||Seattle Seahawks||Seahawks (-19.5)|
|Buffalo Bills||New York Jets||Bills (+1.5)|
|Chicago Bears||Pittsburgh Steelers||Bears (-2.5)|
|Oakland Raiders||Denver Broncos||Raiders (+15.5)|
Source: Odds are courtesy of Top Bet