NFL Week 3 Predictions: Initial Vegas Odds, Lines, Spreads and Projections

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistSeptember 17, 2018

Minnesota Vikings' Kirk Cousins warms up before an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Jeffrey Phelps/Associated Press

Nine teams enter Week 3 of the National Football League season without a loss. 

All nine of the teams sitting at either 2-0 or 1-0-1 could leave Week 3 with an unblemished record, and that's a real possibility since seven of those franchises play at home. 

Only three of the 16 favorites in Week 3 are road teams, while a majority of the lines are six points or less. 

However, there is one line that sticks out immediately, and there's a good chance you will convince yourself to put money on a 16.5-point favorite come Sunday.


NFL Week 3 Schedule

Projected winners against the spread in bold.

Thursday, September 20 

New York Jets at Cleveland (-3) (Over/Under: 39.5) 


Sunday, September 23

Buffalo at Minnesota (-16.5) (O/U: 40.5) 

New York Giants at Houston (-3.5) 

San Francisco at Kansas City (-6) (O/U: 55) 

New Orleans at Atlanta (-3) (O/U: 53) 

Green Bay (-3) at Washington (O/U: 47.5) 

Indianapolis at Philadelphia (-6) (O/U: 47.5) 

Oakland at Miami (-3.5) (O/U: 43.5) 

Denver at Baltimore (-5) (O/U: 43) 

Cincinnati at Carolina (-3) (O/U: 43.5) 

Tennessee at Jacksonville (-6.5) (O/U: 39.5) 

Los Angeles Chargers at Los Angeles Rams (-6.5) (O/U: 48.5) 

Dallas at Seattle (-3) (O/U: 44.5) 

Chicago (-4) at Arizona 

New England (-6.5) at Detroit (O/U: 51.5) 


Monday, September 24

Pittsburgh (-2.5) at Tampa Bay (O/U: 52) 

Odds obtained from OddsShark.



Miami Quietly Moves To 3-0 

The Miami Dolphins have flown under the radar through two weeks, and they'll continue to stay out of the spotlight by reaching 3-0 in Week 3 with a home victory over the Oakland Raiders.

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has provided stability to the Miami offense, as he's completed 37 of his 51 passes and thrown a pair of touchdowns against Tennessee and the New York Jets. 

In addition to making his presence known in the passing game, the 30-year-old made a difference with his legs in Week 2, as he picked up 44 rushing yards on eight carries in the 20-12 win over the New York Jets. 

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 16:  Quarterback Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Miami Dolphins runs the ball against linebacker Jordan Jenkins #48 of the New York Jets during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium on September 16, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Je
Michael Owens/Getty Images

Miami's defense has been effective as well, as it forced three turnovers in each of the opening games, with five of the takeaways being interceptions. 

Linebacker Kiko Alonso has been the driving force of the defense with 19 tackles, 13 of which came against the Jets. 

If the Dolphins continue to get consistent play out of Tannehill and force a few turnovers out of the Raiders, they'll be one of the few undefeated teams left after Week 3. 

As long as the Dolphins limit their giveaways, which they've been unable to do in each of their victories, they should be able to avenge their loss to the Raiders from a year ago and send Jon Gruden's team to 0-3. 


Minnesota Covers Largest Spread of Season 

Yes, you read the spread for Minnesota's Week 3 home game with Buffalo properly. 

The Vikings opened as a 16.5-point favorite, and while in most cases the line would seem ridiculous, Mike Zimmer's team could easily cover against the struggling Buffalo Bills. 

The Bills, who were a 7.5-point underdog at home against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 2, are tied with Detroit for most points against at 78

Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers gashed the Bills for 256 yards, and he only missed four of his passes in the 31-20 victory at New Era Field. 

It won't get much better for Buffalo's defense in Week 3, as Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins and his arsenal of talented targets line up across from the Bills. 

Cousins is coming off a 425-yard passing performance in a 29-29 tie with Green Bay in which both Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs recorded over 100 receiving yards. 

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 09: Adam Thielen #19 of the Minnesota Vikings congratulates teammate Stefon Diggs #14 on a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during the game on September 9, 2018 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikin
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The Bills have been outscored 78-23, and in their only road trip of the early campaign in Week 1, they were far from competitive in a 47-3 defeat to the Baltimore Ravens. 

Given the output of the Vikings and Bills, it seems more ridiculous to bet on the Bills than to wager on the Vikings to cover.

The line may fluctuate by a point or two during the week, but the Vikings will be a heavy favorite regardless, and it would be silly to pass up the rare three-score favorite in this situation. 


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

Statistics obtained from ESPN.com


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