NFL Week 3 Picks: Predictions for Each Game's Odds and Over-Under Lines

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistSeptember 19, 2018

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen catches a pass during warmups before an NFL preseason football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
Bruce Kluckhohn/Associated Press

With the exception of one outlier, the odds for Week 3 of the NFL season are the tightest they've been early in the 2018 campaign.

Twelve of the 16 favorites are home teams and all but one spread is less than seven points. 

However, the outlier stands out right away when you glance at the odds sheet, as the Minnesota Vikings are 17-point favorites against the Buffalo Bills. 

There's more difference in the over/under lines for Week 3, as they range from 37.5 to 56, and while the largest over/under, which is set for San Francisco's trip to Kansas City, seems high, there's a chance it will be hit, as well as the other over/under marks of 50 points or more.


NFL Week 3 Odds

Predicted winners against the spread in bold

Thursday, September 20

New York Jets at Cleveland (-3) (Over/Under: 39) 


Sunday, September 23

Buffalo at Minnesota (-17) (Over/Under: 41) 

Cincinnati at Carolina (-3) (Over/Under: 43.5) 

Denver at Baltimore (-5) (Over/Under: 43) 

Green Bay (-3) at Washington (Over/Under: 46) 

Indianapolis at Philadelphia (-6) (Over/Under: 47.5) 

New York Giants at Houston (-6) (Over/Under: 41.5) 

New Orleans at Atlanta (-3) (Over/Under: 53) 

Oakland at Miami (-3) (Over/Under: 44) 

San Francisco at Kansas City (-6.5) (Over/Under: 56) 

Tennessee at Jacksonville (-6.5) (Over/Under: 39.5) 

Los Angeles Chargers at Los Angeles Rams (-6.5) (Over/Under: 48) 

Chicago (-4) at Arizona (Over/Under: 37.5) 

Dallas at Seattle (-3) (Over/Under: 44.5) 

New England (-6.5) at Detroit (Over/Under: 51.5) 


Monday, September 24

Pittsburgh (-2) at Tampa Bay (Over/Under: 53.5) 

Odds obtained from OddsShark


Minnesota Hits Over On Its Own 

If you're a Buffalo Bills fan, you might want to skip this prediction, or maybe you've already come to terms with the grim reality your team faces in Week 3 and potentially the rest of the season. 

Buffalo gave up 47 points on the road in Week 1 against Baltimore, and its Week 3 trip to Minnesota isn't expected to be much better. 

The Vikings have a chance to eclipse the over/under mark of 41 points by themselves given how poorly the Bills defense has played through two weeks. 

The Bills rank 18th in total yards conceded, but they sit on top of the NFL alongside the Detroit Lions in points against with 78. 

Minnesota's offensive skill players come into Week 3 with high rankings in important statistical categories, including quarterback Kirk Cousins sitting fifth in passing yards with 669. 

Jeffrey Phelps/Associated Press

Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen rank in the top 25 in targets and are both in the top 20 in receiving yards. 

Although Dalvin Cook has 78 rushing yards on 26 carries, he's going to make an impact on the contest, especially if the Vikings break out to an early lead. 

If the Bills commit too much attention to the Vikings' passing game, which is likely to happen after Cousins gashes them for a few long gains, Cook should have plenty of holes to run through. 

At minimum, the Vikings will score 30 points, which has been eclipsed by both the Ravens and Chargers against the Bills, and there's a good chance the offensive momentum keeps up in the second half and the Bills leave Minneapolis in the driver's seat for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft. 


Pittsburgh Is Week 3's Least Convincing Favorite

How the Pittsburgh Steelers are favored to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the road Monday night is befuddling. 

The two teams enter Monday on opposite ends of the spectrum, as the Bucs are the unexpected feel-good story of the NFL season and the Steelers are a train wreck. 

The spread looks more ridiculous when you consider the quality of the teams Tampa Bay defeated in the first two weeks. 

It's not like the Bucs won over Arizona and Buffalo, they beat two playoff contenders in New Orleans and Philadelphia. 

Ryan Fitzpatrick looks unstoppable under center, and he has plenty of offensive weapons at his disposal in Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and O.J. Howard.

Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

Regardless of what happens with Antonio Brown throughout the week, the Steelers have plenty of on-field problems to solve, starting with their defense. 

The Steelers have the eighth-worst total defense, the third-worst rushing defense and the fifth-worst scoring defense. 

Even if Ben Roethlisberger produces his best game of the season, the Steelers' defense isn't trusted at this point to make stops and prevent a shootout from breaking out. 

If a high-scoring affair occurs Monday, the Bucs, who are 2-0 against the spread, could easily keep up with the Steelers and cover on their way to 3-0.  

If Pittsburgh's defense actually appears Monday, it could be a different story for the Bucs, and the FitzMagic might run out right before Jameis Winston's suspension ends.   


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

Statistics obtained from Pro Football Reference


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