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NFL Upset Picks for Week 3 – Best Underdogs to Bet

Eric Thompson

by Eric Thompson in NFL Football

Sep 25, 2021 · 6:32 AM PDT

Aaron Rodgers throwing pass as defender chases him
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) passes in front of San Francisco 49ers defensive end Arik Armstead (91) during the second half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
  • Will the Green Bay Packers knock the San Francisco 49ers from the undefeated ranks?
  • Last week’s picks went 2-1, winning us 2.9 units and bringing our season total to +7.9 units (4-1 overall)
  • Will the Minnesota Vikings escape from the winless group against the Seattle Seahawks? See below for our upset picks

Winners again in Week 2, it’s clear that our upset picks are just unbeatable this year. One week is an aberration, but two? That’s all the sample size we need. We’re going to win for 18 straight weeks baby!

In case the sarcasm didn’t come across there, obviously this gravy train will stop at some point. And that’s sort of the  theme for our latest picks after scouring the Week 3 NFL odds. Some of the teams that are still undefeated are going to see that worm turn soon, we’re just hoping to catch it at the right time, starting with a team we faded last week, to no success.

NFL Week 3 Upset Picks

Matchup Spread Moneyline Pick Units
Green Bay Packers vs San Francisco 49ers SF -3.5 +170 Packers 1
Seattle Seahawks vs Minnesota Vikings SEA -2 +110 Vikings 1.25
Arizona Cardinals vs Jacksonville Jaguars ARZ -7.5 +300 Jaguars 0.75

Odds taken Sept. 24 from DraftKings

Packers Pounce on 49ers

San Francisco has pulled out a pair of one score wins over so-so competition, and each result has left questions about one side of the ball. Last week’s 17-11 win over the Eagles raised some concerns about the offense, which is not what you want heading into a primetime matchup with the Green Bay Packers. Especially when the 49ers are favored by three.

Green Bay bounced back from their Week 1 loss with a classic offensive performance, as Aaron Rodgers was on point. He’ll look to keep that up against a 49ers secondary that is still an area of concern.

Downfield shots like that have not really been a part of Kyle Shanahan’s passing attack through two weeks, prompting some outside calls for Trey Lance already. If San Francisco is going to keep pace with this Packers offense, Jimmy Garoppolo might need to do more than just dump offs, especially as the Niners backfield depth continues to thin.

San Francisco’s run game and pass rush has largely been the Packers’ undoing in the past. Green Bay’s offensive line is  banged up heading into this one, so I understand why the Niners are favored here. But still, c’mon! It’s Rodgers, getting points going against his hometown team. The Packers are 5-3 straight up as road underdogs under Matt LaFleur. Don’t overthink this.

Can Bad Luck Vikes Get Right?

No 0-2 team deserves that record less than the Minnesota Vikings. Despite piling up over 400 yards of offense in back-to-back weeks, they’ve been unable to pull out a win. Now, with their playoff chances already hanging in the balance, Minnesota welcomes the Seattle Seahawks to town, who are favored by two.

Seattle will also be looking to avenge a disappointing loss to Tennessee last week to keep pace in the loaded NFC West. But if we’re ranking desperation this week, the Vikes win in a landslide. After all, Russell Wilson has never lost to Minnesota and Pete Carroll is 8-1 against them.

This game could also go a long way in determining Mike Zimmer’s future with the team. Minnesota’s defense has not been good for a year and a half now, so it will be a challenge to stop Wilson. But Zimmer should at least be able to put his players in position to stop these easy downfield shots.

Offensively, Minnesota can follow a similar script for success to the one Tennessee had last week, using a heavy dose of Dalvin Cook and working Kirk Cousins and these talented to receivers in the play action game. This game should be another shootout for the Vikings, but as the home team for the first time this year, maybe they’ll see a lucky bounce go their way this time around. After all, Minnesota hasn’t lost a home opener in front of fans since Zimmer’s first year as coach.

Cards Can’t Be Trusted

This week looks like an absolute lock for Arizona, as they’re favored by 7.5 points in Jacksonville. But be careful: this is exactly the spot where Kliff Kingsbury’s Cardinals have earned their reputation as an erratic and unpredictable team.

Last season, the Cards also opened on a two-game winning streak before losing to the lowly Lions and Panthers in back-to-back weeks. A three-game win-streak in the middle of the season was halted by a loss to Miami as six-point favorites. Their push for the playoffs was blown up by another loss as touchdown favorites to the 49ers’ backups.

All told, Arizona was only 5-5 straight up last season as a favorite. Just when you start buying the hype with this bunch, they give you a reason to bail. Until they prove otherwise, I’d be wary of backing them against the Jaguars.

Sure their offense looks great, but it’d be hard to argue they’ve improved from last year. The plan is still the same: Kyler Murray, please do amazing things.

The Cards’ backyard football approach is fun, but it’s not a sustainable across a whole year, especially when your QB is 5’10” and barely cracks 200 lbs. At some point, Kingsbury will actually need to call an effective offense.

The Jaguars have looked miserable in this young season but there’s one reason to be optimistic about their chances this week: a young generational QB who isn’t afraid to sling it. Trevor Lawrence continues to push the ball downfield, despite drops by his receivers and five interceptions. If you’re looking for the less talented offense to pull off the upset, a young QB willing to go bombs away is not a bad way to get it done. Especially against an Arizona secondary that still has some work to do.

A trip to the Rams follows this game for Arizona, making it a classic lookahead spot.

Also, the Jags have lost 17 in a row. They’re due.

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