Week 3 of the NFL season is always compelling due to the stakes attached. Undefeated teams can take a massive step forward to 3-0, and if 0-2 teams lose again, their chances of reaching the postseason become minuscule.
While all the teams try to reposition themselves, our mission is to find winners against the NFL odds. Primarily we are looking to find the best value on underdogs who have real chances to win outright.
This method gives up two opportunities to win, either with the outright upset or having the points and beating the spread. Here is what has caught our eye for Week 3.
Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs
Sunday, Sept. 22, 1 p.m. ET, CBS, Arrowhead Stadium
Line: Chiefs -6 1/2
This is the marquee matchup of the weekend, and there's an absorbing aspect to consider for those betting NFL football.
The Chiefs are 6 1/2-point home favorites against the Ravens just like they were a little more 10 months ago. In that contest, Kansas City won 27-24 but failed to cover the spread. This year, the Chiefs' offense is as explosive as it was last year, and though the defense is supposedly improved, it ranks 19th in total defense after two games.
Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson looks significantly better this year, having the confidence and trust of his coaches. With the Ravens' defense faster than it was a year ago, there is reason to believe an upset is possible.
Pick: Ravens +6 1/2 (-110)
Carolina Panthers at Arizona Cardinals
Sunday, Sept. 22, 4:05 p.m. ET, Fox, State Farm Stadium
Line: Panthers -2 1/2
Even before the news broke that Cam Newton might not play against Arizona, we had our eyes on the Cardinals.
Arizona might not have a victory yet this season, but it is 2-0 ATS. The Cardinals had chances to knock off both the Lions in overtime and the Ravens in the fourth quarter on the road.
Quarterback Kyler Murray is making rookie mistakes, but in his last 80 minutes of football, he has marched his team up and down the field and thrown for more than 500 yards. His only struggles have happened in the red zone; part of that is his lack of experience in the NFL, and part is questionable play calling by coach Kliff Kingsbury.
Newton played like his shoulder hurt him again last week in Carolina's loss to Tampa Bay, but it turns out the foot he injured in the preseason was hurt again. With a different throwing platform, Newton lacked the stability to throw the ball with accuracy.
Carolina is having issues on both sides of the ball and is 8-17 ATS off a home loss. Thus, we'll call for the Redbirds to win outright.
Pick: Cardinals +2 1/2 (-110)
Los Angeles Rams at Cleveland Browns
Sunday, Sept. 22, 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC, FirstEnergy Stadium
Line: Rams -3
To say this game is a big deal in Cleveland would be an understatement. This is the Browns' first "Sunday Night Football" appearance in 11 years. Fast-forward to the present, and Cleveland was the hottest futures bet to win the Super Bowl before the 2019 season.
Cleveland is still a young team, and its players can get carried away emotionally. The Browns suffered a meltdown in the loss to the Titans and did not play with poise against the Jets, winning by 20 in a game they should have won by 30 or more.
If the Browns just let their talent come through and avoid the silly stuff — with the help of a crazy Cleveland crowd — they can knock off the Rams. The keys are stuffing the Los Angeles running game, taking away receiver Cooper Kupp and establishing running back Nick Chubb early in the game.
If Cleveland accomplishes these three things, it will engineer the upset.
Pick: Browns +3 (-110)