We’ve hit on several betting themes each week of the NFL season. Week 1 was about underdogs (12-4 ATS). Week 2 was “overreaction week,” where we looked to buy low on teams that looked bad in their opener and sell high on teams that looked good (Vikings covering +4 against the Cardinals and Colts covering +4 against the Rams both fit the bill).
Now, in Week 3, we look to buy low on winless teams. Simply put, public perceptions have already hardened, and if you’re 0-2, the public wants nothing to do with you. However, dogs that start 0-2 are actually smart bets to cover in Week 3. Over the past decade, they’ve gone 37-21 ATS (64%).
Without further ado, here are five NFL Week 3 games that pros are targeting:
New Orleans Saints at New England Patriots
Both of these teams are 1-1, but public perception may be skewed based on their Week 2 performances. The Saints (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS) got rolled by the Panthers 26-7, losing straight up as 3-point road favorites. On the other hand, the Patriots (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS) demolished the Jets 25-6, easily covering as 6-point road favorites. This line opened with New England as a 3-point home favorite. Typically, teams are awarded roughly 3 points for home-field advantage. So the oddsmakers are telling us that these teams are evenly matched and the game would likely be a pick ’em on a neutral field. The public is all over the Pats laying a short spread at home. However, this line has remained frozen at 3. Most shops are also juicing up the Saints +3 to -115, signaling New Orleans liability and a possible fall to 2.5. Short road dogs +6 or less are 9-1 ATS this season and 114-71 ATS (62%) since 2019. Sharps have also hit the Under, dropping the total from 43 to 42. Both teams are 2-0 to the Under this year.
Washington Football Team at Buffalo Bills
After losing their season openers, both of these teams rebounded with big Week 2 victories. Washington (1-1 SU, 0-2 ATS) snuck by the Giants 30-29 on “Thursday Night Football,” although they failed to cover as a 4-point home favorite. Meanwhile, the Bills (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS) crushed the Dolphins 35-0, easily covering as 3.5-point road favorites. This line opened with Buffalo as a 9.5-point home favorite. The public isn’t scared off by the big number and is rushing to the window to lay the points with the high-flying Bills. However, despite this lopsided action, we’ve seen Buffalo fall from -9.5 to -9. Some shops are even down to 8.5. This signals some sharp reverse-line movement on road dog Washington plus the points. Dogs with a line move in their favor are 67-45 ATS (59%) since last season. Dogs who failed to cover in their first two games have gone 52-32 ATS (62%) over the past decade. Washington also enjoys a rest advantage, having last played on Thursday, while the Bills played on Sunday. Wise guys are leaning Under here, as the total has fallen from 46.5 to 45.5. The forecast calls for 10-15 mph winds at Highmark Stadium. Tony Corrente, the lead ref, is 58% to the Under historically.
Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants
This is a battle of winless teams. The Falcons (0-2 SU, 0-2 ATS) just got destroyed by the Bucs 48-25, failing to cover as 13-point road dogs. Atlanta has been outscored 80-31 through two games. On the other hand, the Giants (0-2 SU, 1-1 ATS) battled hard on Thursday night but lost to Washington 30-29, although New York did manage to cover as a 4-point road dog. This line opened with the Giants as a 3-point home favorite. The public doesn’t know which bad team to back. However, some shops are juicing up the Falcons +3 slightly, signaling some Atlanta liability. Over the past decade, when 0-2 teams meet in Week 3, the dog is 10-6 ATS (63%). Also, teams off a blowout loss of 20 points or more (like Atlanta) are roughly 54% ATS the following game over the past decade. Short road dogs +6 or less are 9-1 ATS through two weeks this season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Los Angeles Rams
This possible NFC Championship Game preview will be by far the most popular and heavily bet game of the week. The Bucs (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS) are coming off a 48-25 shellacking of the Falcons, easily covering as 13-point home favorites. Meanwhile, the Rams (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS) edged the Colts 27-24 in Week 2, although they failed to cover as 4-point road favorites. This line opened with Los Angeles listed as a 1.5-point home favorite. Wise guys have pounced on Tom Brady and the Bucs as a short dog, steaming Tampa Bay from +1.5 to -1.5. Tampa Bay matches the classic “dog to favorite” line-move system that pros have leaned on for years. If you’re late to the party, the Bucs may be more appealing as a moneyline play (-120) instead of laying the small points. We could also be looking at a higher-scoring game here. The total opened at a super-high 54 and has been bet up to 55.5. Both teams are 2-0 to the Over this season.
Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers
This “Sunday Night Football” matchup features two of the leading contenders for the NFC crown. The Packers (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS) rebounded from a disappointing Week 1 loss to the Giants with a 35-17 beatdown of the Lions, easily covering as 11.5-point home favorites on Monday night. Meanwhile, the undefeated 49ers (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS) are coming off a 17-11 win over the Eagles, covering as 3-point road favorites. This line opened with the 49ers as 3.5-point home favorites. Some shops opened at 4 and immediately fell to 3.5. Many shops are juicing up the Packers +3.5 to -115, signaling a possible fall to the key number of 3. Bettors looking to back Green Bay would be wise to pounce on the hook before it falls. Prime-time dogs are 4-2 ATS this season and 31-21 ATS (60%) since 2020. It’s also been profitable to bet against teams making their home debut in Week 3. Doing so has resulted in a 30-13 ATS (70%) record over the past decade. We may also see some points in this one. The total opened at 48 and has been bet up to 49.5. Prime time Overs are 6-0 to the start this season.