NFL Picks Week #3 (2020 regular season)
NFL PICKS (WEEK #3)
BY PROFESSOR MJ
Written Thursday September 24th, 2020 at 11 a.m. Eastern Time (spreads/odds may have changed)
A lot of great matchups in Week #3 in the NFL:
Let’s hope the games live up to the hype!
Unlike the first two weeks, I do not have any 5-star or 4-star plays.
Still, I’ve got four recommended picks. Let me unveil them right away!
PICK #1 (3 STARS): NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS -6 VS LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
Cam Newton looks in great shape. He ran for 75 and 47 yards in his first two games as a Patriot, and has shown great accuracy as a passer. Also, the defense has done pretty well despite the numerous departures in the offseason. Overall, I have to admit New England is playing at a higher level than I expected.
The Patriots have done very well under Bill Belichick following a straight up loss. Coming off a tight loss in Seattle, I wouldn’t put money against them for sure, especially considering the Raiders will lose one full day of rest after playing the Monday nighter.
Also, keep in mind the Raiders will be traveling through three time zones, while playing a game that will feel like it’s 10 AM Las Vegas time. To be fair, such teams from the West Coast playing a 1 PM Eastern Time match went a perfect 2-0 last week (3-0 if you include Denver who went through two time zones). Still, we’re talking about a small sample size so I won’t worry about it too much.
The injuries on the offensive line for the Raiders are worrisome. Left guard Richie Incognito is out, which by itself is already a big blow. Right tackle Trent Brown, his backup Sam Young and Incognito’s backup Denzelle Good are all listed as questionable right now. Ouch. That could spell trouble for Derek Carr, who is not the most mobile quarterback in the league.
Finally, star running back Josh Jacobs is being bothered by a hip injury. I’m pretty sure he’ll take the field Sunday, but he’s not 100%.
Following a big upset in New Orleans on primetime television, I expect a bit of a letdown by Las Vegas. I’m taking New England to beat the 6-point spread here.
PICK #2 (3 STARS): DALLAS COWBOYS +5 AT SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
I am aware that Dallas has many key injuries and that Russell Wilson has played at a MVP level. However, we are still getting the Cowboys as 5-point underdogs with Prescott-Elliott-Cooper-Gallup-Lamb in the lineup, right? No matter what, these guys can certainly keep the game tight and won’t go down easily.
I also want to argue that the Cowboys offensive line is hurt, but the effect won’t be as bad when facing Seattle’s defensive line. L.J. Collier has 0 career sack. Poona Ford has picked up just half a sack in the NFL. Jarran Reed recorded 10.5 sacks in 2018, but had just five in his three other seasons combined! As for Benson Mayowa, he had seven sacks with the Raiders last year, but was it an outlier? He had a total of 13 sacks in his previous five seasons, despite playing a minimum of 12 games in each one.
Say what you want about this matchup, the Cowboys will make it tough on Seattle with such an explosive offense.
Quick remark: I spoke earlier about Russell Wilson playing like a MVP. Before the season began, I discussed six players whose MVP odds were too high, in my opinion. My top pick was Wilson at +1400 odds. According to BetOnline.ag, he is now the favorite to win the award with +325 odds. This bet is looking great so far! I also recommended Josh Allen at +6000 odds; right now he’s at +1400 odds. Again, we got a great bargain prior to the 2020 season! Finally, one of my long shots was Joe Burrow at +21,484 odds. After two good outings, the odds have now gone down significantly to +8,000. See the full article here.
PICK #3 (2 STARS): NEW YORK GIANTS +4 VS SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Once again I’m fading a West Coast team playing a 1 PM game, but to be honest it was not part of my decision process here. The Niners played the other team from New York last week, so based on what I read they stayed on the East Coast between the two matchups.
My main argument concerns the difference between the actual point spread versus what it was before the Week #2 games. A week ago, early lines had the 49ers as 6.5-point favorites at the Giants. Following what happened in Week #2, oddsmakers lowered the line from 6.5 to 4.
In my opinion, the drop is not big enough. The Giants lost Saquon Barkley and Sterling Shepard, which is pretty significant.
But you have certainly heard of the rash of injuries on San Francisco’s side. Jimmy Garoppolo, Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman, Deebo Samuel, Richard Sherman, Nick Bosa, Solomon Thomas and Dee Ford are all likely out. And linebacker Dre Greenlaw is uncertain to take the field. That’s unbelievable!
Nick Mullens is expected to be under center this weekend for the Niners. He’s an undrafted quarterback who has 13 career TD passes versus 11 interceptions. And he has minus-21 career rushing yards.
The Giants defense is not bad defending the run with players like Dalvin Tomlinson, Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence on the line. That matches up perfectly for a meeting against a team whose QB is an unproven passer. The Giants will dare the Niners to throw the ball, and I don’t trust Nick Mullens to become a superstar.
PICK #4 (1 STAR): CHICAGO BEARS +3 AT ATLANTA FALCONS
I don’t like this pick as much as I did earlier in the week since the line moved from 3.5 to 3. Half a point may not look super significant, but we’re talking about a move to the key number 3 (a win by a field goal).
Chicago is 2-0, while Atlanta is 0-2. Granted, the Bears faced two fairly weak opponents (the Lions and the Giants), while the Falcons played two tough ones (the Seahawks and the Cowboys).
Still, before the season began the Bears were expected to win 8 games versus 7.5 for the Falcons, according to odds on win totals. Based on the first two weeks, it seems right to view those squads as .500 teams. Since home-field advantage in front of empty stadiums should be worth around two points, I really liked the Bears +3.5. I am still picking them with the new +3 line, but I don’t like it as much.
Mitchell Trubisky is doing better than expected, and Chicago’s defense is playing well. Meanwhile, the Falcons offense is firing on all cylinders, but its defense cannot stop anyone.
The Bears don’t have any notable player on the injury list, except Khalil Mack. However, he is very likely to suit up this Sunday, which means the Bears will be playing with their full lineup.
The same cannot be said about the Falcons. My gosh, the injury list is a long one.
RT Kaleb McGary is very likely to miss the contest. The following players were listed as questionable as of Wednesday, which means they have a 50-50 chance of playing: LT Jake Matthews, DE Dante Fowler, safety Damontae Kazee, DE Takkarist McKinley, LB Foyesade Oluokun and DT Tyeler Davison.
And I’m also omitting a few rotational players, plus star wide receiver Julio Jones who is clearly hampered by a hamstring injury.
BRAND NEW: SUPER EARLY NFL PICKS FOR WEEK #4 (AND PLAYER PROPS)
I sent an email to the subscribers of my mailing list Wednesday September 23rd to suggest 3 picks for Week #4. Indeed, Bookmaker.eu and BetOnline.ag had already posted their very early lines.
According to my mantra, I’m looking to beat closing lines instead of focusing on trying to pick winners. If you consistently beat NFL closing lines, you will be a winner in the long run. Guaranteed. See my article that presented this betting strategy.
By signing up to my mailing list below, you’ll get:
- Super Early NFL Picks
- NFL Player Proposition Bets (I gave six free tips last week and they went 4-2, with both losses being very tight ones)
(Sports Betting Expert / University Professor / PhD in statistics)