The slate for Week 3 of the 2020 NFL season is awesome.
There are several intriguing matchups that could reveal a lot about teams’ potential (or lack thereof), and the weekend figures to finish with a bang, as the New Orleans Saints will host the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night while the Baltimore Ravens will welcome the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs on Monday night.
But we’re not here to simply sell you on the upcoming gridiron action. We’re here to win you some money. Or least we’ll try.
Every week this NFL season, we’ll have our “best-bet parlay,” in which we’ll provide our favorite picks. So, let’s get to it for Week 3.
For the sake of calculation and accounting, we?re just going to assume all spread and total bets are -110. All odds calculated via consensus data.
Los Angeles Rams vs. Buffalo Bills UNDER 46.5 points
Both teams lit up the scoreboard in Week 2, with the Rams scoring 37 points against the Philadelphia Eagles and the Bills hanging 31 on the Miami Dolphins. But keep in mind the opposition — neither Philadelphia nor Miami presents much resistance defensively — before expecting a shootout this week in Orchard Park.
As Sports Illustrated points out, Buffalo has played in nine games since the start of 2018 in which the total was set at 43 or higher. The under hit in all of them.
We’ll bank on that trend continuing despite the Bills’ new-look offense, as Buffalo’s defense will receive a boost if linebackers Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano return after missing Week 2. The Rams will be without rookie running back Cam Akers.
Tennessee Titans vs. Minnesota Vikings UNDER 49.5 points
The Vikings have been awful all around, whereas the Titans have been all over the map, first winning a 16-14 rock fight against the Denver Broncos and then holding off the Jacksonville Jaguars in a 33-30 track meet.
Still, given what we know about these teams’ past identities, it’s fair to assume each would like to lean on its ground game, in turn chewing up a significant amount of clock and limiting the number of scoring chances for both sides.
The Titans will be without their top receiver, A.J. Brown, perhaps providing extra motivation to feed running back Derrick Henry, while the Vikings should look to ride Dalvin Cook based on Kirk Cousins’ quarterback play through two weeks.
New York Giants (+3.5) vs. San Francisco 49ers
Where do we even begin with San Francisco’s injury report? The Niners are decimated on both sides, as they’ll be without Jimmy Garoppolo, Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Nick Bosa, Solomon Thomas, Dee Ford and Richard Sherman, among others.
Nick Mullens will start at quarterback against a Giants team that’s also without a few key players, including Saquon Barkley and Sterling Shepard. It’s impossible to feel good about laying points with San Francisco, all things considered, even if the defending NFC champions have more depth than most teams across the NFL.
Go ahead and consider the moneyline in favor of the G-Men, too, if you’re feeling froggy. For now, we’ll take the points, especially with it being a key number thanks to the half-point hook.
Carolina Panthers (+6.5) vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Justin Herbert looked really good against the Chiefs last week after being thrust into action once Chargers quarterback Tyrod Taylor was unable to go due to a punctured lung. (What a crazy story, by the way.) And the Panthers just lost their top playmaker, Christian McCaffrey.
But Los Angeles is such a hard team to back as a home favorite based on its recent track record, and laying a touchdown with a rookie quarterback seems ill-advised, especially with the Chargers already suffering a couple of notable injuries along the offensive line.
Payout: $100 to win $1,228
Season: 0-2 (down $200)