Picking NFL games so far in the early season hasn’t been as challenging for me as in years past. I went 9-7 against the spread last week for a season record of 29-18-1, which is good by any standards. My straight-up record is 33-14-1.
On the Pick-Six Podcast, where we pick our best bets every week, I went 4-2 this past week and I am a sizzling 13-3 with my best bets. That includes a loss with the over in the Ravens-Chiefs game by a half a point in a game that had no business going under.
Let’s keep up the hot start and I offer one big tip as we head to Week 4: Play the overs. Until they can show me otherwise, the NFL defenses stink this year.
All odds are via William Hill Sportsbook.
Denver Broncos at New York Jets (PICK)
This is the dog game of the week, and it happens to be one that is on national television. Oh, boy. One of these 0-3 teams is a likely winner — there could be a tie — but who will it be? I’ll go with the home team to wake up as Sam Darnold plays well and new Broncos starter Brett Rypien does not.
Pick: Jets 24, Broncos 17
Arizona Cardinals (-3.5) at Carolina Panthers
The Cardinals are coming off a bad loss, and now must take a long trip to the East Coast. The Panthers have played much better on defense than expected, but I think Kyler Murray will get back on track here and have a big day. Cardinals take it.
Pick: Cardinals 35, Panthers 23
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Indianapolis Colts (-2.5) at Chicago Bears
This will be Nick Foles in as the starter for the Bears, which should help the offense. But the Colts defense has played well the past two weeks, which will make it a challenge. Look for the Colts to win a tight road game.
Pick: Colts 28, Bears 21
The Bengals tied last week at Philadelphia, which is a victory of sorts. But this is a good chance to get a real win. The Jaguars are having issues on defense, which should make for a big game for Joe Burrow. Bengals win it.
Pick: Bengals 33, Jaguars 27
Cleveland Browns at Dallas Cowboys (-4.5)
The Cowboys are back home, but they better hope their defense shows up. It’s been awful. The Browns can run the ball, which could be a problem. Even so, look for Dak Prescott to get the Cowboys another home victory.
Pick: Cowboys 35, Browns 23
New Orleans Saints at Detroit Lions (+4)
The Saints didn’t look good in losing at home to the Packers, especially on defense. This is a tough road game to try and turn it around. Matthew Stafford played well last week, and I think he will in this one. But the Saints will score as well. They win a tight, high-scoring game.
Pick: Saints 31, Lions 30
Minnesota Vikings at Houston Texans (OFF)
This is a game matching two 0-3 teams, but one has looked far worse than the other. That’s the Vikings. Last time out on the road they were dominated by the Colts. The Texans have played a brutal schedule, and they will take it out on the Colts.
Pick: Texans 34, Vikings 21
Seattle Seahawks (-6.5) at Miami Dolphins
This is the longest trip in the NFL, which is always a challenge. Miami is also rested after playing Thursday. Big edge to the Dolphins. But that’s it. They won’t be able to slow Russell Wilson. The Seahawks keep rolling.
Pick: Seahawks 37, Dolphins 23
Pittsburgh Steelers (OFF) at Tennessee Titans
The Titans COVID-19 situation bears watching to see if this game is played. If it is, it’s a game between two 3-0 teams, one with a good defense in Pittsburgh and the other with a bad defense in the Titans. Tennessee has won three close games, and this will also be a close one. One difference: Steelers take it behind a late field goal.
Pick: Steelers 27, Titans 24
Los Angeles Chargers (+7.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This is a long trip for the Chargers, and the question is who will be playing quarterback. It won’t matter. Tampa Bay is playing well on defense and they will shut down the Chargers offense. Tom Brady will play well enough against a good Chargers defense.
Pick: Bucs 28, Chargers 21
Baltimore Ravens (-13) at Washington Football Team
Pick: Ravens 34, Washington Football Team 17
New York Giants at Los Angeles Rams (-13)
The Rams are home after two long road trips, which should be a comfort of sorts. The Giants are the team taking the long trip. They also aren’t playing well. The Rams are playing well and that shows up. Blowout.
Pick: Rams 36, Giants 17
New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs (-7)
It’s always a treat when these two get together, even if Tom Brady isn’t a part of it anymore. The Chiefs are coming off an impressive showing at Baltimore and I think that carries over here. New England is great taking away one thing on offense, but this is an offense with many. Chiefs take it.
Pick: Chiefs 37, Patriots 24
Buffalo Bills at Las Vegas Raiders (+3)
The Bills are riding high behind Josh Allen, but this is a long trip against a team coming off a loss. This is a be-careful game for the Bills. But I think Allen will win a shootout with Derek Carr as the Bills stay undefeated.
Pick: Bills 33, Raiders 31
The Eagles haven’t played well yet. Carson Wentz is struggling in a big way. Can he turn it around here? It won’t be easy, even against a banged-up 49ers team. The 49ers take it in a close one.
Pick: 49ers 26, Eagles 21
Atlanta Falcons at Green Bay Packers (-7.5)
The Falcons are coming off two major chokes in their past two games. They haven’t looked good on defense at all. The Packers are rolling on offense with Aaron Rodgers and I expect that to stay that way. Packers big.
Pick: Packers 34, Falcons 26