NFL Week 3 best bets: Spread, moneyline, total, and teaser

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The only thing we can expect from Week 3 is that the NFL's razor-thin margins will continue to leave almost every bet in the balance. Thursday night's late touchdown in Cleveland showed what can happen when a team repeatedly kicks itself out of any chance of winning. The final score can fall any which way, so getting the best of the number is the only way to give yourself a long-term edge.

Part of becoming a better bettor is tracking your results to figure out what type of bet is working for you over a considerable sample size.

BET TYPE LAST WEEK SEASON (units)
ATS trio 1-2 (-1.2) 4-2 (+1.8)
ML upset +1.9 1-1 (+0.9)
Totals -1.1 0-2 (-2.2)
Teasers +1 1-1 (-0.2)
SEASON +/- +0.6 +0.3

Of course, we're too early in the season to glean anything from on- or off-field statistics, but we'll try our best to carry over our success against the spread from the round-robin moneyline parlay plays with minimal overlap on the bets.

Best bets ATS

Vikings -6

This is the place for our top favorite bet of the week. Here, the line moving under a full touchdown is too much of an adjustment given the Lions haven't played a road game yet.

The Vikings can be excused for running into a prime-time buzzsaw in Philadelphia as Kirk Cousins returns to more comfortable confines. Minnesota shows more of its revamped offense and Dalvin Cook has a big day as the Lions can't keep up. If we were still alive in survivor, this is where we'd risk it all.

Buccaneers -1

Speaking of risking it all, Tom Brady is getting discounted after the Buccaneers opened as 3-point favorites only to see the Packers take money. Grabbing the full field goal is understandable, but the low total suggests this game will be more about running the football and defense. That sounds strange given that Aaron Rodgers is on the other side from Brady.

But the Bucs' offensive line issues can be masked in the run game the same way the Bears were able to bully Green Bay. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay's run defense won't be trampled like Chicago's was last Sunday.

Broncos +2

We know what we're getting with Jimmy Garoppolo. Since when is betting on Jimmy G as a road favorite against a good pass rush a reliable bet? Someone thinks it is since the favorite has flipped after another week of Nathaniel Hackett mockery.

Neither of these teams has built an impressive resume this season, and Kyle Shanahan's decision-making hasn't been historically solid, either. The Broncos ride a better mile-high environment Sunday night to something of a statement win.

Moneyline upset of the week

Our defined parameter for this section is underdogs paying at least +150.

Colts (+200)

The Colts were the last cut from our round-robin underdog moneyline parlay, which might have been a mistake after the Steelers could only cash first-half moneyline tickets Thursday night.

It looks like Matt Ryan will have his two biggest wide receiver targets back for Indy's first home game this season. Michael Pittman, who made nine catches for 121 yards in Week 1, can play the role the Chargers' Mike Williams did against the Chiefs last week.

Defensively, maybe the Colts can use their game plan from 2020 where they held Kansas City to 13 points at Arrowhead Stadium. A returning Shaquille Leonard - who practiced this week - would help.

It's possible the Chiefs have their best game of the early season ready for Indianapolis, but the market has overreacted to their win against the banged-up Cardinals and an escape act against Los Angeles.

Best total bet

Ravens / Patriots over 44.5

This comes down to believing the Ravens' offense will be its usual explosive self while the defense will continue to have communication issues. Mac Jones hasn't been lighting it up, but look for the Patriots to open things up in their home opener. With a total in the mid-40s, each team can get into the 20s comfortably in a close game. If the short spread isn't in play late, it's because one team ran away from the other.

Best 6-point teaser

Texans +8.5 / Titans +8

With a total under 40, I'll dare the Bears to win a game comfortably despite not being sure they're the better team. The Raiders have a better chance of winning big in Tennessee, but I have a hunch that the Titans will give a desperation-level effort that's been their calling card in the Mike Vrabel era. Does that mean a win? Maybe not, but the Raiders couldn't close last week against a club that was pronounced dead before Week 2.

Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there’s a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.

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NFL Week 3 best bets: Spread, moneyline, total, and teaser
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