Chicago Bears at Washington Redskins: 2019 Week 3 NFL Pick

Chicago Bears (1-1) at Washington Redskins (0-2)

This was the toughest game of the week for me to decide. The Bears did well against bad teams last year, going 10-3 with an average margin of victory of 13.6 points per game, but they lost a pair of key contributors in the secondary this off-season (safety Adrian Amos and cornerback Bryce Callahan) and quarterback Mitchell Trubisky seems to be regressing in his third season in the league. Last week, they barely won in Denver in a game in which they lost the first down rate battle. They haven’t faced the easiest schedule, but it’s very concerning that their offense has put together just one touchdown drive in two games. 

This week, the Redskins are a step down in competition, but I only have this line calculated at Chicago -5.5, so we’re not getting much line value with them at Chicago -4 and the Bears are also in a potential look ahead spot with the Vikings on deck. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see them look past the lowly Redskins a little bit, but the Redskins are getting healthier on defense with defensive end Jonathan Allen and cornerback Fabian Moreau set to return from injury and are fully capable of giving the Bears a game if the Bears don’t bring their best effort. I’m taking the Bears for pick ‘em purposes, but I can’t be confident in them at all.

Chicago Bears 21 Washington Redskins 16

Pick against the spread: Chicago -4

Confidence: None

New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks: 2019 Week 3 NFL Pick

New Orleans Saints (1-1) at Seattle Seahawks (2-0)

The Seahawks are 2-0, but they’ve been far from impressive, winning those two games by a combined 3 points, despite facing a Bengals team that was demolished the following week by the 49ers and a Steelers team that lost starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to an injury in the first half. In first down rate differential, the Seahawks are at an even +0.00%. Their good luck continues as they now get to face a Saints team that is without starting quarterback Drew Brees for 6 weeks, but the Seahawks could still have a hard time covering as 4.5 point home favorites.

The Saints still have a strong supporting cast around the quarterback and a pair of backup quarterbacks in Teddy Bridgewater and Taysom Hill that Sean Payton and the coaching staff like and can build a game plan around. Even without Brees, I have the Saints ranked just behind the Seahawks in my roster rankings, so we’re getting some line value with the Saints at +4.5. There’s not enough here to bet the Saints confidently, but they should be the right side.

Seattle Seahawks 23 New Orleans Saints 20

Pick against the spread: New Orleans +4.5

Confidence: Low

Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles: 2019 Week 3 NFL Pick

Detroit Lions (1-0-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (1-1)

The Eagles are in a tough spot this week. Not only do they have to play again in 4 days on Thursday Night Football, a spot favorites tend to struggle in (55-76 ATS since 2012), but they have to play one of the top teams in the conference, the Green Bay Packers. They could easily not give their best effort this week against the Lions. However, I can’t take the Lions with any confidence because we’re not getting any line value with them. This line has been pushed down to Philadelphia -5, likely because the Eagles will be without wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery, but wide receiver was the one spot the Eagles could afford to have injuries. 

Even without their top-2, the Eagles have a capable trio of Nelson Agholor, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, and Mack Collins and they also still have talented tight end Zach Ertz and possibly talented backup tight end Dallas Goedert, who was able to return to practice on Friday after suffering an injury last week as well. More concerning are the Eagles’ injuries at defensive tackle, where Malik Jackson and Timmy Jernigan have gone down for the season, but even without them I actually have this line calculated at Philadelphia -6.5. 

The Lions have their own injury concerns, with linebacker Jarrad Davis, defensive end Da’Shawn Hand, left tackle Taylor Decker, and cornerback Rashaan Melvin all questionable and the Eagles had one of the deepest rosters in the league coming into the season, so they’re still one of the best teams in the league despite being banged up. I’m taking the Lions because I’m not expecting the Eagles’ best effort in a bad spot, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them cover this spread regardless. Five points is not enough cushion to be confident in Detroit.

Philadelphia Eagles 24 Detroit Lions 20

Pick against the spread: Detroit +5

Confidence: None

Denver Broncos at Green Bay Packers: 2019 Week 3 NFL Pick

Denver Broncos (0-2) at Green Bay Packers (2-0)

The Packers have started the season 2-0, beating a pair of fellow playoff contenders in their division in the Bears and Vikings, and, perhaps most impressively, they’ve done it without getting a great performance from their offense. While their defense ranks 2nd in the league in first down rate allowed through two weeks at 26.61%, their offense ranks just 29th at 29.37%. You have to figure this offense isn’t going to be this bad all season and it’s great to see their revamped defense get off to such a great start. 

With the Saints losing Drew Brees to injury and the Eagles suffering several key losses as well, the Packers now rank 2nd in my roster rankings behind the Patriots, so we’re getting good line value with them as only 7-point favorites at home against a mediocre Broncos team. I have this line calculated at Green Bay -11 and that’s even before taking into account that the Packers are 39-19 ATS at home in games Aaron Rodgers has started and finished since 2011. 

This would be a bigger play if the Packers didn’t have to play again in 4 days. Favorites are 55-76 ATS since 2012 before Thursday Night Football and the Packers have a particularly important game on deck against the Eagles, so they might not play their best game this week. Even still, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them win by multiple scores at home against by far the easiest opponent they’ve faced this season and there’s too much value with the Packers to not place a bet on them at home.

Green Bay Packers 23 Denver Broncos 13

Pick against the spread: Green Bay -7

Confidence: Medium

Los Angeles Rams at Cleveland Browns: 2019 Week 3 NFL Pick

Los Angeles Rams (2-0) at Cleveland Browns (1-1)

I was strongly considering betting on the Browns earlier this week, but then the injuries kept piling up. All in all, the Browns are expected to be without starting safeties Damarious Randall and Morgan Burnett, right tackle Chris Hubbard, tight end David Njoku, linebacker Christian Kirksey and they could be without 3rd receiver Rashard Higgins and their two starting cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams. On the other side, the Rams’ only concern is right guard Austin Blythe, who left last week’s game against the Saints with an ankle injury and could only get in a limited practice on Friday. 

Blythe being out would be a significant loss for the Rams, who already had lost a pair of 2018 starting offensive linemen this off-season. The Rams are 2-0, but they’ve also played about one quarter out of eight against a team starting a healthy starting quarterback and their win against the Panthers came by 3 in a game in which the Rams recovered all 4 fumbles in the game. If the Browns were close to full strength, they could easily pull the upset, but I can’t take the Browns with them being this banged up, even if the line has shifted to Cleveland +3.5.

Even as 3.5-point home underdogs, we’re only getting a little bit of line value with the Browns and that little line value would disappear if both Ward and Williams were to also miss this game, a strong possibility given that neither player practiced on Friday. I’m taking the Browns for pick ‘em purposes, but this is a no confidence pick, as the Rams get to face get another opponent that is far from 100% and could have too big of a talent advantage for the Browns to keep it close.

Los Angeles Rams 26 Cleveland Browns 23

Pick against the spread: Cleveland +3.5

Confidence: None

New York Giants at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 2019 Week 3 NFL Pick

New York Giants (0-2) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1)

The Buccaneers pulled the upset win in Carolina last week on Thursday Night Football, but that was more about the struggles of Cam Newton and the Panthers’ offense. Clearly playing at less than 100% through a foot injury, Newton was wildly inaccurate last week, constantly missing receivers that would come open against the Buccaneers’ defense. He did not look comfortable planting and throwing on his injured foot and did not take off and run at all either. And despite that, the Panthers still had a chance to win the game at the end, so I think the Buccaneers are a little overrated coming off of that win.

The Buccaneers are also in a bad spot this week, with a much tougher game on deck in Los Angeles against the Rams, a game in which they will almost definitely be big underdogs. Favorites of 6+ are just 33-62 ATS since 2008 before being underdogs of 6+ the following week. On the other side, the Giants are expected to be home favorites next week against the Redskins. Underdogs are 96-56 ATS since 2014 before being favorites when their opponent will next be underdogs. We’re not getting great line value with the Giants (I have this line calculated at Tampa Bay -5) and I’m not sure how Daniel Jones will perform in his first career start, but the Buccaneers are unlikely to give their best effort against an underwhelming opponent with a much tougher game on deck, so I like the Giants chances of covering as 6-point underdogs.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27 New York Giants 24

Pick against the spread: NY Giants +6

Confidence: Medium