We’re only three weeks into the 2020 season, but it looks like the NFL is going to be fairly wide open this season.
Well, at least from a betting standpoint.
Even the Kansas City Chiefs, the likely consensus pick as the league’s top team entering Week 4, has an against-the-spread loss on the campaign. Only three teams — the Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks — currently have an unblemished ATS record.
With this in mind, you probably shouldn’t shy away from underdogs. Here are three you should consider putting action in this weekend.
(All lines provided via consensus data.)
(+4.5) Cleveland Browns at Dallas Cowboys
Don’t look now, but the Browns could start to take off. Yes, their victories came against the Cincinnati Bengals and Washington Football Team, but back-to-back wins might be all a team this talented needs to get into a groove.
Cleveland will try to make it three straight Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, who are coming off a tight loss to the Seattle Seahawks. The Cowboys only have one win on the campaign, and they failed to cover the spread at home against the winless Atlanta Falcons.
Dak Prescott and Co. have looked good since their season-opening dud against the Los Angeles Rams, but Dallas’ defense remains a concern. America’s Team ranks 23rd in rushing yards allowed per game and 28th in passing yards allowed per game. They haven’t done it consistently over the past two seasons, but the Browns have more than enough offensive weapons to give a defense serious trouble.
Given the way things currently are going in Dallas, we wouldn’t be totally shocked if Cleveland won this one straight up.
(+7) Los Angeles Chargers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom Brady and Co. appear to be coming into their own, but notching their third straight win Sunday won’t be easy.
The 1-2 Chargers have found themselves in dog fights in each of their first three games this season. The Bolts, most notably, took the reigning Super Bowl champions to overtime in Week 2, and they fell just short against the Carolina Panthers last week. Rookie quarterback Justin Herbert showcased poise and comfortability in both of those contests.
The reason LA has been competitive early? The defense. The pass defense, which currently ranks ninth-best in the NFL, has been particularly sharp, even in the absence of star safety Derwin James. The unit should make life pretty difficult for Brady, especially considering he won’t have Pro Bowl wideout Chris Godwin at his disposal in Week 4.
We’re expecting this tilt to be close, so we’re taking the Chargers and the points.
New Orleans Saints at (+4) Detroit Lions
This one admittedly is a roll of the dice, but life is too short to not take risks every one in a while.
It would have been fairly inconceivable before the start of their season, but the Saints and Lions will enter their Week 4 matchup with the same record. It’s also worth noting one team looked pretty impressive in its lone win thus far, while the other — not so much.
The Cardinals were rolling entering Week 3 and the Lions came into Arizona and scored an upset win. Detroit clearly received a boost via the return of top wideout Kenny Golladay, who found the end zone in his first game of the season. The Lions’ defense also gave Kyler Murray and the Cards’ loaded offense a good amount of trouble.
The Saints, who are 1-2 ATS this season, seemingly took advantage of an out-of-sync, new-look Bucs team in Week 1 before falling to the Las Vegas Raiders and Packers. Drew Brees largely has looked like a shell of himself through three weeks, though Michael Thomas’ absence surely has contributed to the quarterback’s lackluster play.
Even if Thomas suits up Sunday, he might not be 100 percent. A win over New Orleans also could help out Matt Patricia as he looks to keep his job beyond this season.