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Unlike the trends from past NFL seasons, 2018 has been off to a blazing start by giving bettors several moments where they have had to patiently sit on the edge of their seats to find out whether their picks stole the show or if the opponents took over the crown of the game.
As we enter the third roaring week of the season, both pro and rookie bettors face burning questions as to which team’s colors will take over the stadium and which players will walk back with their heads down.
Will the Broncos consistency allow them to persevere over the commanding Ravens? Will the confident Rams charge to victory against their counterparts from Los Angeles? And what about the unconventional Tampa Bay Buccaneers who have opened this season with a bang by taking their opponents by surprise each time, including the defending champions, Philadelphia Eagles.
As we open the Pandora box of week 3’s best NFL bets by asking where analysts think each team is headed, one thing is for sure; this is going to be one rollercoaster of a season!
Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens (-3.5)
The Denver Broncos (2-0 SU, 0-1-1 ATS) look strong on paper after securing back-to-back victories that have given bettors some relief when it comes to placing their money on the team. However, a closer inspection suggests that these triumphs do not hold much weight when it comes to noting win margins, performance and most importantly, their opponents.
For instance, the three-point sluggish victory over Seattle on the home ground is not a big deal if you look at the limitations of the squad which is being coached by Pete Carroll.
Keeping this in view, Broncos’ showdown with the Baltimore Ravens (1-1 SU; 1-1 ATS) is the first thorn in the long road which lies ahead for them. The squad from Baltimore looks in promising shape following its 47-3 thrashing of the Buffalo Bills.
By averaging more than 30 points per game during seven battles against non-divisional AFC opponents which kick-started at the beginning of the 2016 season, the Ravens have the potential to clinch a comfortable win over the Broncos given the latter’s underwhelming performances in recent years.
At its core, this is a match where the underdogs go head-to-head against an unpredictable team whose Head Coach John Harbaugh is adamant on playing its game-changing quarterback Lamar Jackson as a habit.
Regardless of how the lineup works out in the end, the Ravens’ are a hot favorite to grab a victory over Denver. The favorite is 6-1 ATS in the last seven head-to-head meetings between these two teams, while at the same time, the Broncos are 1-5 ATS in the previous six trips to Baltimore. Look for these trends to continue and go with the Ravens to cover the spread.
Baltimore Ravens (-3.5)
Pittsburgh Steelers (-1.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
NFL Week 3 will sizzle with exciting action on Monday night when Pittsburgh marches on the Buccaneer’s home turf with hopes of bringing their opponents down from cloud nine following their two notable victories to start 2018.
Even though the Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1-1 SU; 0-2-0 ATS) have received their fair share of criticism from fans and the media alike for getting off to an abysmal start, their tendency to pick up the pace as the season marches ahead is something which is still keeping gamblers’ faith alive in what the team can achieve.
Helmed by the tenacity of Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0 SU; 2-0 ATS) have already secured victories against New Orleans and the Eagles by scores of 48-40 and 27-21 respectively, however, they cannot afford to rely on the QB alone if they are to destroy the Steelers who are hungry for a victory at this point.
While the last matchup between the teams, which took place in 2014, crowned the Buccaneers as champions, the Steelers hold an 8-2 win record against them. Furthermore, the Steelers are 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings with the Buccaneers. Even though the majority of the public is backing Tampa Bay, who are set the 1.5 point underdogs in this matchup, I am sticking to the veteran Steelers team and expecting them to cover the spread.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-1.5)
Los Angeles Chargers at Los Angeles Rams (-7)
The Los Angeles Chargers (1-1 SU; 1-1 ATS) are yet to display their mighty wrath this season while the Los Angeles Rams (2-0 SU; 2-0 ATS) who are 7 points favorites, continue to kick it up a notch each time they appear on the battlefield as evidence by their beatdown of Arizona and Oakland. In this ultimate fight for Los Angeles, the Rams are in the ideal position to thrash their crosstown rivals, given that they carry tremendous momentum into the upcoming game.
The Chargers have been majorly hit by Joey Bosa’s injury which could dampen their spirits further on the big day. To get a realistic chance at a win, the Chargers will have to strategize and hit back at the Rams offense or expect to meet a gloomy ending.
The Chargers have not been very successful in September, as they hold a 1-4-1 ATS record in their last six games played in September, while at the same time they are 1-6-1 ATS in their last eight games in Week 3. On the other side, the Rams cannot brag too much about their ATS score when it comes to their past Week 3 performances, as they own a 1-6 ATS record in Week 3. However, the money lies in the total points, as the over is 4-1 in the last five head-to-head meetings between the two LA teams. Also, the over is 7-1 in Rams last eight games after allowing less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game.
With all being said, my money goes on the over 48 points offered at -110.
Over 48 points (-110)
New England Patriots (-6.5) at Detroit Lions
The very explosive Detroit Lions team will look to avoid a 0-3 start on Sunday when they host the New England Patriots at the Ford Field. The Lions suffered a tough 30-27 loss to the 49ers in the previous week which was their 5th home loss out of their last eight games. Matthew Stafford is just not getting the kind of support from the offensive line he deserves, as his team has recorded only 69 yards rushing so far in the season. The Lions quarterback's numbers are solid as he is completing 61.6% of his passes for 633 yards. In addition, he has recorded four TDs and four interceptions, but all of this was not enough to avoid the two losses in the first two weeks.
The New England Patriots (1-1 SU; 1-1 ATS) are not looking very good defensively as they are allowing 25.5 points per game, 136 yards rushing, and 277 yards throwing. Still, the Pats ATS score in their last 18 road games speaks for itself as they are 14-4. Brady is recording 2 or more touchdown passes in 9 of his last 13 games, while this season he has collected 234 passing yards, and is still to throw an interception. The recent addition of Josh Gordon might have forced the oddsmakers to adjust the lines making the Pats 6.5 points dogs in this one, but still do not let yourself be fooled, as the Lions will not let this one slip away easily.
We all know that Bill Belichick likes to stick it to his former assistant coaches, as he owns a 12-6 SU and 11-7 ATS record against his former assistants. Although the Pats defensive line is not shinning at the moment, I am going with the visitors to cover the spread.
Week 3 Best Bet: New England Patriots -6.5 (-110)