Los Angeles Rams @ San Francisco 49ers
Current Pinnacle spread: LAR -3
Current Pinnacle total: 40
My projected spread: LAR -0.4
My projected total: 42.4
Thursday Night Football kicks off Week 3 with a game that may make your eyes bleed. Both offenses aren’t expected to light up the scoreboard, the 49ers are still looking for their first trip to the end zone this year, and both quarterbacks aren’t exactly guys you would draft for you fantasy team. With that being said, I do think this is a little bit of an overreaction to the 49ers early offensive struggles. There is no way that you can convince me that the Rams are six points better on a neutral field than the 49ers as that is what the current line implies. The 49ers did go up against two good defenses in the first two weeks of the season (Panthers and Seahawks) and that has led to the inflation of this line. Yes, the 49ers offense is still bad but the Rams front seven, outside of Aaron Donald, is vulnerable. As for the Rams, Jared Goff has looked much better since his rookie season but I’m still not high on him. I have seen a lot of improvement from last year where he was absolutely horrible which is a good sign. His night and day transformation should take some pressure off of Todd Gurley and the run game (although it hasn’t yet this season) and I think they should be able to move the ball against a bad 49ers defense. As I said earlier, I think the side and total have value because of an overreaction to the 49ers offense. Take the dog and the over for some mid-week action.
Baltimore Ravens @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Current Pinnacle spread: BAL -3.5
Current Pinnacle total: 39.5
My projected spread: BAL -3.5
My projected total: 39.8
As you can see, there isn’t much value at the current numbers. This game is being played in London so we could see a sloppy game, which wouldn’t be surprising considering who these two teams are. Baltimore’s defense has been stellar through the first two weeks, albeit against two bad offenses (Bengals and Browns), and they get another bad offense this week. Baltimore’s defense should have no problem shutting down Leonard Fournette in the run game and that will only put more pressure on Blake Bortles and the passing game, which is never a good thing. Unfortunately, Baltimore’s offense isn’t explosive and should keep this game close as they won’t be able to pull away. Jacksonville’s defense, with Jalen Ramsey playing, should play well enough to get their team a W but I don’t think the offense will be able to move the ball well enough to get it done.
Cleveland Browns @ Indianapolis Colts
Current Pinnacle spread: CLE -1.5
Current Pinnacle total: 41
My projected spread: CLE -0.5
My projected total: 40.4
DeShone Kizer has shown some promise but the rookie quarterback has made plenty of mistakes through two career games. He holds on to the ball too long which results in taking too many sacks (behind a good offensive line) and he has been careless with the football (four interceptions in two games). This will most likely be a common theme for the Browns all season. The offense will show some flashes but there will always be growing pains and times where they shoot themselves in the foot. Luckily for the offense, however, they play the Colts. The Colts are projected as the second worst team in the NFL (Jets being the only team worse) with Jacoby Brissett at quarterback. The Browns defense has been a bright spot for them this year and I expect another good game from the unit on Sunday. There seems to be no value on the board, as I don’t care to hold Colts +1.5. The ML has a little bit of value but I have no interest of backing the Colts this week.
New York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles
Current Pinnacle spread: PHI -6
Current Pinnacle total: 42.5
My projected spread: PHI -6.8
My projected total: 40.0
The Eagles come into this game with a good defensive front seven. The Giants come in with, maybe, the worst offensive line in the NFL. Want to guess how this plays out? I project the Giants offense to struggle again in Week 3 after two poor performances in Week’s 1 and 2. Odell Beckham Jr. is back again this week but should be closer to 100% so maybe that can take some pressure off of Eli Manning and this offense. But Eli should have defenders in his face all game and that will most likely lead to bad throws or him just spiking the ball into his running back’s feet. I don’t like the side in this game as much as I like the total because I don’t know how much a healthy OBJ will help the Giants O and I still don’t have much trust in Carson Wentz. Wentz has been better this year but he is still an inaccurate thrower that makes too many questionable decisions. The Giants defense is good and should be able to slow down the Philadelphia offense (assuming Janoris Jenkins plays) which should lead to a low scoring battle. Take the under.
Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets
Current Pinnacle spread: MIA -6
Current Pinnacle total: 42.5
My projected spread: MIA -2.9
My projected total: 44.8
Barring any injury news, this will be an ugly game to have action on. I simply believe this to be an overreaction to the Jets being bad through two weeks and the Dolphins beating the Chargers on the road. The Dolphins got outplayed last week and despite finding themselves up two in the final minute, they needed a missed field goal to hold on to the win. If you just looked at the box score, you would have said the Chargers won and probably won by a good margin. I am not at all impressed with the Dolphins and I still think they’re not a good team with Jay Cutler running the offense. The Jets defense has the ability to make anyone look good, though, so Cutler should be able to move the ball and put up some points but I do expect the Jets to do the same. The Dolphins defense isn’t very good (they gave up 6.8 YPP last week against the Chargers) and even if the Jets aren’t a good offensive team, I do think they should have some success on the offensive side of the ball in this game. The Jets did move the ball a little against the Raiders last week (also not a good defensive unit) so I expect them to do the same against the Dolphins. Take the dog and the over in this one.
Denver Broncos @ Buffalo Bills
Current Pinnacle spread: DEN -3
Current Pinnacle total: 40
My projected spread: DEN -2
My projected total: 38.8
The Denver Broncos destroyed the Dallas Cowboys last week as they seem to have resurrected the running game with C.J. Anderson and Trevor Siemian has played well enough to get them to a 2-0 start. The offense has been a pleasant surprise to start this season but you can’t talk about the Broncos without giving credit to the defense. This unit is the backbone of this team and they are really, really good. After shutting down Ezekiel Elliott, worst statistical game of his young career, last week, the defense will have their hands full with LeSean McCoy. McCoy didn’t have a good week running the ball against the Panthers last week which led to little success, unfortunately, the Bills offense will have a tough time finding success this week as well. The Broncos defense, despite shutting down Elliott last week, weakness is on the ground, however. The Bills will need to get McCoy going to open up the passing game, against a great secondary, if they hope to pull off the upset. The Broncos offense, after playing surprisingly well the first two weeks, will go up against a solid Bills defense that could cause some problems. Marcell Dareus is looking more and more like he won’t play on Sunday and depending on his status, the Bills side doesn’t look as good anymore. There is some slight value but losing Dareus worries me that the Broncos will score a little more than anticipated. The better play for me is the under. I do expect both defenses to have success and limit scoring.
Bills +3 (if Dareus plays)
New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers
Current Pinnacle spread: -5.5
Current Pinnacle total: 46.5
My projected spread: CAR -4.7
My projected total: 48.6
This is one of the tougher games for me to get a read on for this weekend. As for the side, there is some value on the Saints but I don’t know how much. The difference between 5.5 and 4.7 isn’t great as not many games seem to land on a five point margin of victory. When looking at these teams, one thing we know for sure is that the Saints defense is horrible. They’re the worst defense in the NFL and it might not be close. They’re so bad that I really think it hurts their offense, which is good, as well. First, the defense has given up long, sustained scoring drives which has given Drew Brees and the offense less time and plays on the field. Second, the defense seems to be giving up points every possession which gives Brees and co. almost no room for error to claw their way back into the game. I don’t think they match up well this week with the Panthers at all. The Panthers, through two weeks, have ran a considerable amount of more plays than their opponent on offense. This means that the Panthers offense are having longer drives (which haven’t resulted for many points so far) which are consuming clock and that their defense is holding opposing offenses to short drives. How this hurts the Saints offense? The Panthers could very well have a couple of long scoring drives that keeps Drew Brees off the field and shortens the game. If Brees can’t score on a drive or goes three and out after a long scoring drive by the Panthers offense, then the Panthers could very well come back on the field for another long scoring drive. All of the sudden, Drew Brees has been on the field for a couple of plays and the Panthers are up 10-0 after the first quarter. For the side, I think the value has come and gone at most shops but if you can get a +6, I would take the Saints. The over has some value as well but as I stated earlier, long drives by the Panthers could doom that play. I lean towards the over but will wait to see if the line drops any further.
NO +6 (not a play at +5.5)
Lean Over 46.5 (stronger play if total drops to 46)
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Chicago Bears
Current Pinnacle spread: PIT -7
Current Pinnacle total: 44
My projected spread: PIT -5.9
My projected total: 44.0
I hit the total right on the head in the game but the side shows a good bit of value. I really like the Chicago Bears this week. This line, most likely, is an overreaction to the Bears getting blown out against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week. But if we remember, the Bears were at home in Week 1 against the Atlanta Falcons, and were stopped on 4th Down, going for the win, inside the Falcons 10 yard line. The Bears aren’t a very good team but they do have a good offensive line and a defense that can get some stops (see Week 1 against Atlanta). The Steelers on the other hand, beat the Sam Bradford-less Vikings in Week 2 pretty easily, which didn’t really show us much. The defense has been impressive so far, even with it being against a rookie and Case Keenum, and they get another below average quarterback in Mike Glennon this week. But the reason I like the Bears this week has to do with the Steelers offense. As we have watched for a couple of years now, Ben Roethlisberger isn’t anywhere as effective on the road as he is on the road. Add that to an offense that has looked just ok to start the season, I think the Bears can keep this one within a touchdown. The Steelers offense may finally get it going this week but I like my chances for them to be a little sluggish again on the road and with the Ravens on deck. The Bears do have a couple starters that are questionable for this game so that is something to keep an eye on today and tomorrow. But for now, the value lines with the underdog.
Atlanta Falcons @ Detroit Lions
Current Pinnacle spread: ATL -3
Current Pinnacle total: 50.5
My projected spread: ATL -1.6
My projected total: 54.5
The Atlanta Falcons are coming off an impressive win against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football. They have to travel to Detroit this week and face an undefeated Lions squad. As much as I am not a fan of the Lions, they did beat a solid Arizona Cardinals team and took care of the Giants last week so I guess they are taking care of business. I do think we looked passed how they looked on Monday Night Football against the Giants because the Giants looked so bad yet again. The Lions didn’t necessarily dominate that game but they did do enough to win. I do see value with the Lions getting a field goal this week as the Falcons defense isn’t great and I think Matthew Stafford can put up some points with the weapons that he has at WR. The Falcons are gonna get their points as I do project them as a top offense in the NFL but the Lions should be able to score enough at home to keep this game within the number. The play I like more, though, is the over. As I said, I expect both offenses to take advantage of inferior defenses and we could see the scoreboard being lit up repeatedly on Sunday.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Minnesota Vikings
There currently is no line out on this game yet as we wait for the status of Sam Bradford. Bradford did practice again Thursday so it seems he may play but as we saw last week, he wasn’t able to go on Sunday. I will post some thoughts to Twitter once this line is released and Bradford’s status is clear.
Houston Texans @ New England Patriots
Current Pinnacle spread: NE -13.5
Current Pinnacle total: 44
My projected spread: NE -12.3
My projected total: 43.7
This game will be hard to judge until we hear more news about the injuries for Houston. I did downgrade them and the projected line above reflects that. The only play I will have on this game, which will depend on injuries, will be Houston +13.5. The Texans have a really good defense and I think they will be able to, at the least, slow down Tom Brady and the New England offense. Houston should be able to generate some pass rush and force Brady into some quick, short throws that keep explosive plays to a minimum. Jonathan Joseph’s status will be huge for this defense as if he misses this game, the Houston pass defense takes a hit and will probably lose any value of a play. Houston will most likely struggle to score, as DeShaun Watson continues to struggle making accurate throws but I do think the Houston run game could have some success against a suspect Patriots front seven. Bill O’Brien should be trying to control the game with the running game and keep Tom Brady off the field for as much as possible. If the Texans can have any success, expect them to stay within the number.
Texans +13.5 (hold off for injury news)
Seattle Seahawks @ Tennessee Titans
Current Pinnacle spread: TEN -3
Current Pinnacle total: 42.5
My projected spread: TEN -0.8
My projected total: 39.9
Masked by the horrible offense of the New York Giants, the Seahawks offense has kind of got a pass from the media through the first two weeks. The Seahawks have the same problem as the Giants; offensive line play. Seattle struggled to move the ball against a below average 49ers defense (3.9 YPP) and only gained 4.6 yards per pass attempt. The Tennessee front seven should be able to get to Russell Wilson and cause the offense to fail to generate sustained drives. Tennessee’s weakness on defense is the passing game and it doesn’t look like the Seattle offensive line will give Wilson enough time to beat Tennessee down the field with his handful of vertical weapons. Even with the Seattle offense being a big concern, I do think Seattle is a good play this week. Seattle’s defense has been really good through two weeks and should be able to slow down Marcus Mariota and the Titans’ offense. Mariota did struggle throwing the ball against Oakland in Week 1 but bounced back nicely against Jacksonville last week. Seattle isn’t Jacksonville. I expect Seattle to keep the passing game in check and force Mariota to hand the ball of to DeMarcus Murray (didn’t practice Thursday) and Derrick Henry a lot. This should shorten the game and keep the game close for Seattle within the number. As for the total, I really like the under. Seattle’s offense should struggle again while Tennessee’s offense should be slowed down by a stellar Seattle defense. Expect a low scoring game in this one.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Green Bay Packers
Current Pinnacle spread: GB -8.5
Current Pinnacle total: 46.5
My projected spread: GB -8.7
My projected total: 45.1
Both of these teams enter with injury concerns as Tyler Eifert has already been ruled out for the Bengals and both starting tackles, David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga, are questionable for Green Bay. I don’t see much value on the current line and with the current injury statuses, I don’t think I could make a play anyway. The Bengals do break out a new offensive coordinator as that is something to watch. There is some slight value to the under but with a new offensive coordinator and so many injury questions, I think it is best to stay away until more information is released.
Wait until injury news becomes more clear
Kansas City Chiefs @ Los Angeles Chargers
Current Pinnacle spread: KC -3
Current Pinnacle total: 47.5
My projected spread: KC -0.9
My projected total: 46.1
The Los Angeles Chargers, a team I was on high on before the season started, has sputtered out to an 0-2 start. It may look like a horrible start, and it is, but if we look a little closer we see that the Chargers are possibly two made field goals from being 2-0. If both of those kicks go in and they win in OT at Denver, there is no way they are 3 point underdogs to the Kansas City Chiefs. I think the Chargers side offers up some value as I do think their offense will move the ball on the Chiefs defense. The Chargers took it to the Dolphins defense last week but just couldn’t end up converting those yards into points. I will note that this will be the third time in three weeks that I will be against Alex Smith. The first two didn’t go so well for me. Alex Smith has played really well so far this season and much to my surprise, he has done it by throwing the ball down the field. Didn’t think I would ever be saying that multiple weeks in a row but here we are. If Smith continues throwing the ball down the field successfully without turning it over, the Chiefs are going to be a tough out in the AFC. But I’m not quite a believer yet. I think Smith comes back to earth this week and the Chargers are able to cover this game. Speaking of Smith coming back to earth, I think the under has some value too. The Chiefs offense won’t be as explosive if Smith doesn’t push the ball down the field which could mean to some drives with no points scored.
Oakland Raiders @ Washington Redskins
Current Pinnacle spread: OAK -3
Current Pinnacle total: 55
My projected spread: OAK -2.6
My projected total: 51.7
The Sunday Night Football game should be one with a lot of points scored for the second straight week but instead of being on the over for the second week in a row, I will be on the under as I think this number has gotten out of hand. The total opened 53 at Pinnacle and has risen now to 55. I understand why the money is coming in on the over because both teams are perceived to have good offenses. However, I think the Redskins offense isn’t what it was last year. Kirk Cousins is a fine quarterback but losing DeSean Jackson to Tampa Bay this offseason has been a big loss. Cousins has no deep threat to open up space underneath. So instead, Washington is forced to short passes and they can’t go anywhere fast. Their most explosive player is Chris Thompson, their second string running back, who scored two touchdowns last week but doesn’t get a ton of snaps because he isn’t a between the tackles runner. Oakland’s defense isn’t great by any means but I do think Khalil Mack and others get some pressure on Cousins to force some short, quick throws and keep big plays to a minimum. I do think the side is properly priced, so I would stay away from it. But if you need some action come Sunday night and you can’t stomach the under, I would have to go with the Redskins.
Dallas Cowboys @ Arizona Cardinals
Current Pinnacle spread: DAL -3
Current Pinnacle total: 46.5
My projected spread: ARI -1.3
My projected total: 47.3
The Monday Night Football game is the only game of this week that I don’t think the line makes any sense. Yes, the Cardinals lost David Johnson. Yes, Carson Palmer looks, and most likely is, washed up. But I can’t justify the Cowboys laying three points on the road. I just can’t find a way to see where the Cowboys are favored by six points on a neutral field. I may still have Carson Palmer overvalued but even still, this game should be no more than a pick ’em. The Cowboys offense will most certainly have a little bit of a bounce back after their horrible showing against Denver but Arizona has a good defense as well. The Cardinals defense should be able to slow down the Cowboys offense as Dak Prescott hasn’t looked sharp through the first two weeks. With the Cowboys being slowed down on offense and Carson Palmer able to move the ball on a beat up Cowboys defense, I think the Cardinals stay within the number and probably win outright. This is by far my strongest play of Week 3. As for the total, I would most likely stay away. There is slight value to the over but I would just invest in the Cardinals and if that loses, this most likely goes down a lot different than my model projects.
Thanks for reading. Check out my Twitter @amock419 for any updates and check out my NFL and College Football projections at the link in my Twitter profile or here.