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Upset Picks for Week 3 in NFL: Fading Flimsy 2-0 Teams

Eric Thompson

by Eric Thompson in NFL Football

Sep 21, 2019 · 7:00 AM PDT

Jimmy Garoppolo is a -6.5 point favorite against the Steelers this week. Will the 49ers keep rolling or come back down to earth? Photo by Casey McNeil (flickr) [CC License].
  • Entering Week 3, we’re starting to get a picture of the NFL landscape, but are teams like the Bills and 49ers as good as their record?
  • In what could be a preview of who will challenge New England for the AFC crown, the Ravens visit the Chiefs
  • Last week we went 1-1 in upset picks, up 3.88 units thanks to a big ‘ol bet on the Colts

Once again, the week opened with another Thursday night moneyline upset (Jacksonville +110). So while I appreciate that you’re checking in to see the live dogs in the NFL’s Week 3 slate, you really should just be blindly betting the first underdog of every week. But now that the opportunity has passed, it’s time to look ahead to Sunday.

This week has a lot of overvalued teams that need to be brought down a peg. Here’s a few I’m going against.

Cincinnati Bengals vs Buffalo Bills Odds

Team Spread Moneyline
Cincinnati Bengals +6 +230
Buffalo Bills -6 -270

*Odds taken 9/20/19

“The Buffalo Bills are 3-0,” is a phrase no one has said since 2011. Since then, the team has only mounted one three-game win streak in a season, period. So even though they’re touchdown favorites over the vulnerable-looking Bengals at home, it’s easy for me to imagine them finding a way to lose.

To their credit, the Bills looked great in a win over New Jersey Tech and even pulled one off against New Jersey State.

But now the Bills will be without rookie runner Devin Singletary, who has provided a spark to their run game in limited action.

Also,  Cincy is in a prime bounce-back spot. The last 10 teams that have lost by 24 points or more at home and hit the road the next week are a 8-2 ATS and 5-5 straight up.

A stat that will also apply to the next matchup: the last 10 times a 2-0 and 0-2 team faced off in Week 3, the winless team has gone 4-6 SU and 6-4 ATS.

Pick: 1 unit on the Bengals moneyline (+230)

Pittsburgh Steelers vs San Francisco 49ers Odds

Team Spread Moneyline
Pittsburgh Steelers +6.5 +250
Minnesota Vikings -6.5 -300

San Francisco is another suspect “Super Bowl contender” after their hot start. Jimmy Garoppolo hit some wide-open throws against Cincy, but there are still concerns about his turnovers.

San Fran’s strength remains their ground game, and stopping that is the one area the Steelers haven’t graded terribly this year, ranking 10th in run defensive DVOA. Offensively, Pittsburgh looked to get a little spark when Mason Rudolph took over last week.

Following the success of folk hero Gardner Minshew, I’m expecting more backup success from Rudolph. And there isn’t a much easier spot to make your first career start than San Fran. They’ve had a homefield disadvantage since moving to Levi’s Stadium, where they’re 15-25 ATS.

In the Kyle Shanahan era, they’re 6-10 ATS at home, including 0-4 as a favorite.

Pick: 1 unit on Steelers moneyline (+280)

Baltimore Ravens vs Kansas City Chiefs Odds

Team Spread Moneyline
Baltimore Ravens +5.5 +205
Kansas City Chiefs -5.5 -245

This pick is less of a fade of the Chiefs and more of a vote of confidence in the Ravens. The prevailing opinion is that while the Ravens offense is a lot of fun “who have they really beat?” As if the Raiders and Nick Foles-less Jags really put KC through the ringer. Are people forgetting that Lamar went into Arrowhead last year and nearly left with a W, save for some late Mahomes magic?

That still stands as Jackson’s only regular season loss as a starter. Now, he returns with an offense that is even more tailored to his strengths, which apparently… might be everything.

While the Ravens defense isn’t quite as fearsome as last season, they’re still a much better outfit than the Chiefs D. In a game that may see few stops for either side, I like the secondary with Earl Thomas to thwart a few of Mahomes’ deep balls.

Let’s ride with a Ravens team that can dominate time of possession if need be and take Baltimore for a big road win.

Pick: 1 unit on Ravens moneyline (+205)

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