Jimmy Garoppolo is back under center for the 49ers, who are 1.5-point favorites on the road against the Broncos this weekend.
Jimmy Garoppolo is back under center for the 49ers, who are 1.5-point favorites on the road against the Broncos this weekend.

NFL Week 3 Picks, Predictions and Best Bets

It’s time for more NFL best bets with Week 3 coming up. I went 3-1 last week, which was much needed after going 0-3 in Week 1. My only loss in Week 2 was trusting Jameis Winston against the Buccaneers. Two of my four losses thus far have been a result of my misplaced faith in the Saints.

Here’s what I’ve got in mind this weekend. Fingers crossed I can make it two winning weeks in a row.

Leans:

1. Lions +6.0 at Vikings

My gut tells me I need to stay away from this game. I’ve seen some of my peers in the betting space eager to bet on Minnesota in an expected bounce-back effort following Monday’s dumpster fire of a performance in Philadelphia. However, I’m wary of ever betting against these pesky Lions. In fact, I think six points is entirely too many.

Detroit’s offense ranks second in points and fourth in total yards through two weeks with a rushing attack that ranks first in yards per attempt. That offensive line is one of the best in football, and the Vikings are allowing 5.3 yards per rush attempt on defense. That’s a huge edge for a team getting six points.

The Lions defense totaled five sacks last Sunday against the Commanders, including 3.0 by Aidan Hutchinson. That feels like another edge for Detroit after we saw Kirk Cousins under siege all night on Monday.

The only reason I am not making this an official play is because I entered the season as a big believer in Minnesota, and we can’t forget about them handling the Packers in Week 1.

2. Eagles -6.5 at Commanders

This just has Carson Wentz backdoor cover written all over it, and I’m still jaded by the same thing happening to the Eagles in Week 1 against the Lions. I had Philadelphia -4 in my best bets on that opening Sunday. Darius Slay being banged up is added incentive for me to stay away, even though the Eagles are unequivocally the better team.

3. Texans +2.5 at Bears

Houston could very easily be 2-0 at this point if not for squandering a 20-3 lead in Week 1 against the Colts and missing an opportunity to steal a road win against the Broncos last Sunday. Damien Pierce quietly posted 69 yards on 15 carries against the Broncos, which leads me to believe his true coming out party could come against a Chicago team that just got torched by Aaron Jones last Sunday.

4. Jaguars +7.0 at Chargers

The Chargers are a team that plays with their food, which makes me wary of them keeping the foot on the gas long enough to cover a seven-point spread. On the other side, I don’t want to overreact to Jacksonville’s dominant win over Indianapolis because maybe the Colts truly are that bad. I lean Jaguars with an emerging Trevor Lawrence and an underrated defense.

Best Bets:

(season record: 3-4)

1. Bengals -5.0 at Jets

Only the Colts have been a bigger disappointment so far this season. Cincinnati can’t block anybody as Joe Burrow has already been sacked 13 times this season. The Bengals rank 30th in ESPN’s pass block win rate metric. Thankfully the Jets rank in the middle of the pack (16th) in pass rush win rate. New York’s epic comeback against Cleveland was as fluky as it was impressive. We’ve seen the Jets get blown out at home once already this season, and there’s no reason why an 0-2 Bengals team should be complacent enough to let them hang around in this one.

2. Ravens -2.5 at Patriots

This is an auto-play for me with one team I’m high on against a team I am ready to fade all season. Did the Ravens secondary get torched last weekend? Absolutely. Are Nelson Agholor and Jakobi Meyers comparable to Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill? Absolutely not. With respect to New England’s defense that has been solid through two weeks, I’ll put my faith and hard-earned money is Lamar Jackson’s hands instead.

3. Raiders -2.0 at Titans

The Raiders collapse against the Cardinals should scare me away from trusting them on the road. However, I think the Titans are that bad. After losing to the Giants at home in Week 1, Tennessee didn’t even look deserving of sharing a football field with the Bills. Surely this doesn’t get home without immense sweating. I’m calling it now: Derek Carr will throw a second-half pick-six with the Raiders up two scores. This pick is more based on faith that Las Vegas will figure it out (Carr has been below average and Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones have combined for just one sack so far) rather than hard data that says the Raiders have been markedly better than the Titans.

4. 49ers -1.5 at Broncos

Put simply, I think San Francisco is just a comprehensively better team than Denver. The Broncos passing game is Courtland Sutton or bust with the occasional dump-off to Javonte Williams following the Jerry Jeudy injury. Jimmy Garoppolo being back under center for the 49ers removes the week-to-week volatility that comes with playing a first-year starter.