The New England Patriots haven’t lost a home primetime game to an AFC team in eight years, but don’t tell that to oddsmakers, who have installed the Pats as an early underdog in Week 3.
The opening line for the Patriots game against the Houston Texans on Thursday has Houston favored by 2.5 points.
Of course, there’s a good reason for that: The Patriots are down not only Tom Brady , but Tom Brady’s backup this week.
Jimmy Garoppolo likely won’t be playing after injuring his shoulder against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, which means if you bet on the Patriots, you’re putting your money on a third-round rookie quarterback against the Texans defense.
J.J. Watt , meet Jacoby Brissett . Jacoby, meet J.J.
If Garoppolo ends up starting, that’s almost worse, because it means the Texans defense will get to chase around a gimpy quarterback for 60 minutes. The Texans sacked Alex Smith four times in Week 2, which means whoever starts at quarterback for the Patriots is probably going to get beat up.
Anyway, if you’re looking for advice on any of your NFL picks this week, make sure to check out SportsLine.com. Our experts over there dominated their picks against the spread in Week 2, with the top experts going 13-2.
Alright, I’m done pitching SportsLine. Let’s take an early look at the Week 3 odds.
NFL Week 3 Odds
Texans at Patriots (Opening line: Texans, -2.5)
Current line: Texans (-2.5). You’ll want to keep an eye on this line because it could making some major moves this week if Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder) officially gets ruled out for the game and Jacoby Brissett has to make his first career start. That being said, even if Brissett starts, don’t count out the Patriots. Despite being a 9.5-point underdog in Week 1, New England was able to go into Arizona and win. Also, the Patriots haven’t lost a home primetime game to an AFC team since 2008 (11-0). Oh, and one more thing: The Patriots are 28-0 straight up at home since 2009 against non-divisional AFC teams.
Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals (Opening line: Bengals, -3.5)
Current line: Bengals (-3). The last time these two teams played, the Bengals went into Denver on a Monday night and almost pulled out a win despite the fact that they were starting their backup quarterback ( AJ McCarron ). The Bengals are an AFC-best 10-4 ATS against AFC teams since the beginning of 2015. It’s probably also worth mentioning the fact that this Sunday will mark Cincy’s home opener. The Bengals are 4-0 in home openers since 2012.
Oakland Raiders at Tennessee Titans (Opening line: Pick’em)
Current line: Titans (-1). The Raiders defense has completely fallen apart through two weeks. Oakland gave up more t han 500 yards in each of their first two games, becoming the first team since 1967 to allow that kind of yardage through the first two weeks. On the other hand, there are a few reasons to like the Raiders. For one, they won in Tennessee last year, and two, the Titans were 0-3 ATS coming off a win in 2015.
Arizona Cardinals at Buffalo Bills (Opening line: Cardinals, -6.5)
Current line: Cardinals (-4.5). The upheaval in Buffalo didn’t scare any bettors away from the Bills, as this line has made the biggest jump of any game so far in Week 3. The Bills offense could have a different look on Sunday thanks to the firing of offensive coordinator Greg Roman. As for Arizona, they’re just 2-2 in road games against AFC teams over the past two seasons. Also, the Cardinals haven’t won in Buffalo since 1971.
Baltimore Ravens at Jacksonville Jaguars (Opening line: Pick’em)
Current line: Ravens (-1). The early money is on the Ravens in this game, and that’s likely because everyone just got done watching the Jaguars’ disastrous 38-14 loss in San Diego. Even though the Ravens struggled to a 5-11 record last year, they were still impressive in one aspect of the spread: Baltimore has gone 4-2 ATS coming off a win since the beginning of 2015. On the other hand, the Jaguars did beat the Ravens in Baltimore in 2015 (22-20).
Cleveland Browns at Dolphins (Opening line: Dolphins, -7)
Current line: Dolphins (-7). If you like the Dolphins in this game, you should probably jump on them now. Browns quarterback Josh McCown was banged up against the Ravens on Sunday, and there’s a chance that he might not be able to play against Miami. If McCown can’t go, that means third-string quarterback Cody Kessler would be making his first career start on the road in the Dolphins’ home opener. That could get ugly.
Washington Redskins at New York Giants (Opening line: Giants, -4)
Current line: Giants (-4). It’s only been two weeks and it looks like the mutiny against Kirk Cousins is already starting in Washington. Playing in New York, where the Redskins haven’t won since 2011, probably isn’t going to help things. Over the past three seasons, the Giants have beaten the Redskins by 11 or more points in games that were played in New York.
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (Opening line: Packers, -8)
Current line: Packers (-8). The Packers are 24-1 straight up at home against the Lions since 1992. However, we should probably point out that Detroit’s lone win in that span came last year. This Sunday’s game will be the Packers’ home opener, which is usually a good thing for quarterback Aaron Rodgers . Since Rodgers took over as quarterback in 2008, the Packers are 7-1 in home openers, with those seven wins coming by an average of 11.6 points.
Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers (Opening line: Panthers, -6.5)
Current line: Panthers (-6.5). Three weeks after losing Teddy Bridgewater for the season, the Vikings could be dealing with another serious injury: Adrian Peterson injured his knee on Sunday night against the Packers. Of course, even if Peterson’s out, if might not matter. The Vikings offense was able to succeed without him thanks to Sam Bradford , who threw for 286 yards and two touchdowns. This will be an interesting line to watch over the course of the week, because it’s not often you get 6.5 points when you bet on a 2-0 team that has one of the best defenses in the NFL.
49ers at Seattle Seahawks (Opening line: Seahawks, -11)
Current line: Seahawks (-10). The fact that this line has already gone down a point doesn’t seem that shocking when you consider that the Seahawks are only averaging 8.5 points per game. If Seattle can’t even score 10 points, how are they going to beat someone by 10? On the other hand, the Seahawks are 4-0 in their past four meetings with the Niners, and all four wins have come by 10 or more points. Also worth noting: The Seahawks are 12-6 ATS coming off a loss during Russell Wilson ‘s career.
Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Opening line: Bucs, -3.5)
Current line: Buccaneers (-4). The Rams have been pretty atrocious on the road over the past few years. Since 2013, the team has gone a combined 7-18 straight up and 8-16-1 ATS (the worst in the NFL in that span). On the other hand, the only division that the Rams have done well against under Jeff Fisher is the NFC South. Since 2012, the Rams have gone 5-2 against the division. One other note: The last time the “Los Angeles” Rams played in Tampa came in December 1994, when the Rams topped the Bucs 24-14.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Philadelphia Eagles (Opening line: Steelers, -5.5)
Current line: Steelers (-5). If there’s one thing that doesn’t phase the Steelers, it’s going on the road against an NFC team. Since December 2013, the Steelers are 5-1 on the road against NFC teams and have also gone 5-1 ATS in that span.
New York Jets at Kansas City Chiefs (Opening line: Chiefs, -4)
Current line: Chiefs (-3). This line has already moved down a full point, and that’s probably because most people are expecting the Jets’ defense to tee off on the Chiefs’ offensive line. Alex Smith has basically spent the first two weeks of the season running for his life. The Chiefs quarterback has been sacked seven times already this season. The Jets defense has also been good, racking up seven sacks in their Week 1 loss to Cincinnati. One thing to keep in mind though: The Jets haven’t won at Arrowhead Stadium since 1998.
San Diego Chargers at Indianapolis Colts (Opening line: Colts, -3)
Current line: Colts (-2.5). If the last two seasons are any indication, you might want to bet on the Colts here. The Colts started 0-2 in both 2014 and 2015, and then came out firing in Week 3. In both seasons, the Colts picked up their first win of the season in Week 3, and in those two wins, Indy averaged a ridiculous 39.5 points per game. On the other hand, if you don’t trust the Colts, you might want to bet on the Chargers to cover the spread in the first half. Through two weeks, San Diego has outscored its opponents 42-3 in the first half.
Chicago Bears at Dallas Cowboys (Opening line: Cowboys, -4)
Current line: Cowboys (-4). Most people probably want to see what the Bears do against the Eagles on Monday night before betting this game. If Chicago falls flat on its face, which isn’t out of the question, this line could shoot up another point. For one, the Bears will be coming off a short week, and two, Dak Prescott looks a lot more comfortable running the Cowboys offense. That being said, the Cowboys have struggled with NFC North teams recently. Since 2010, Dallas is just 3-9 against the division.
Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints (Opening line: Saints, -3.5)
Current lines: Saints (-3). Drew Brees at home in a primetime game is pretty much the closest thing you can get to a lock in the NFL. Since 2010, Brees and the Saints are 14-2 straight up in home primetime games. Of course, the bad news here is that those two losses both happened in the past two seasons. The opposite of a lock is Matt Ryan playing on the road in primetime. Since 2008, the Falcons are 1-5 in that exact situation. The Falcons don’t seem to handle winning well, either. Over the past two seasons, they’re 5-9 ATS when coming off a win.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / NFL Week 3 early odds: Patriots are home dogs, Packers favored big