OK, now the wheels are turning.
NFL Week 3 odds are on the board as the 2023 season picks up steam. And with two weeks of results under our belts, NFL bettors know just enough to be dangerous. This is a good time to remember the betting basics.
Whether you’re wagering on Week 3 or Week 13, however, Rule No. 1 remains the same: Sift through NFL odds to get the best number for your opinion.
That means jumping on early spreads and Over/Under totals before they adjust or waiting out the market moves before buying back the other side. That’s what I do every Sunday night with my “Bet Now, Bet Later” lines.
Here are my NFL picks to bet on now, and a couple of lines to watch as the week unfolds.
Week 3 bet now, bet later picks
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.
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New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers (-10): Bet Now
The New York Giants saved face in Arizona with a comeback win over the Cardinals, but now face an abrupt turnaround in Week 3. New York stays on the West Coast for a Thursday Night Football showing in San Francisco against the 49ers.
This spread opened as low as Niners -9.5 and quickly jumped to -10 when odds hit the board Sunday night. That number has continued to climb with some operators jumping the key number of -10 and going to -10.5.
Boosting this line move is not only a massive gap in quality between these teams, but an injury to Giants star RB Saquon Barkley, who left with an ankle injury late into Week’s 2 comeback win over the Cardinals. Barkley was helped off the field and seen smashing his helmet but was limping around the sideline after going out.
New York has three days to get healed up and prepare for one of the most dangerous teams on both sides of the ball. The 49ers rank fourth in EPA per play and No. 3 in EPA allowed per play after two weeks. The Giants, on the other hand, are 23rd and 27th respectively in those advanced metrics.
If you’re siding with San Francisco, go get the -10 now and avoid the half-point hook.
Best odds to bet 49ers -10 right now
Los Angeles Rams at Cincinnati Bengals (-6.5): Bet Later
The Cincinnati Bengals are 0-2. So what?
We’ve been here before. In fact, Cincy has sat with this same record heading into Week 3 in two of the past three seasons (and needed a Week 1 OT win to avoid a 0-2 start in 2021). Given that, the Bengals aren’t pushing the panic button. Yet.
Joe Burrow limped around the field in the loss to Baltimore and reaggravated his calf injury suffered in the offseason. He told reporters he’s day-to-day, but the Week 3 schedule could do the hobbled QB a favor. Cincinnati is at home for a Monday Night Football meeting with the Los Angeles Rams, giving Burrow an extra day to heal up. And boy do the Bengals need it.
This once-mighty offense sits 26th in EPA per play (ahead of Week 2 primetime games) and Burrow is buried among the basement QBs in many advanced passing metrics, including 28th in CPOE (completion percentage over expectation).
The Rams have a loyal following in the betting community after starting the 2023 campaign 2-0 ATS. That’s thanks to a “meaningless” field goal as time expired to backdoor the butt off 49ers fans in Week 2. C’mon Sean McVay, you knew what was at stake.
This spread opened as high as Bengals -7 and has sunk to as low as -6 at select books. Most of the market is gripping to that half-point hook at Cincinnati -6.5, but given the sentiment of the involved teams and Burrow’s day-to-day status, could we see a move to Cincinnati -5.5?
If so, there could be value to buy back the Bengals under the key number. Start following all those Cincinnati beat reporters to get the most up-to-date news on Burrow’s calf.
Los Angeles Chargers at Minnesota Vikings (Over 51.5): Bet Now
The Over might be an automatic play in Los Angeles Chargers games until this defense gets its shit together.
Los Angeles’ stop unit ruined what should have been a Week 2 win in Tennessee, but instead gave up home run plays and made countless bonehead penalties on crucial downs that gifted the Titans points. The Bolts lost 27-24 in overtime, topping the closing total of 45.5 points before the added frame.
The call to fire head coach Brandon Staley started right away Sunday afternoon. I think we’ll likely see defensive coordinator Derrick Ansley sacrificed in place of Staley. Regardless, there are big issues with the stop unit ranked dead last in EPA after two weeks of football.
The Minnesota Vikings are 0-2 but still pack a punch on offense. Minnesota has produced yardage totals of 374 and 369 through two games but turnovers have plagued point production. The Vikes did put up 28 points on a very good Eagles defense last Thursday and now have a mini bye to straighten out the kinks.
I expect another high-scoring shootout inside the fast track of U.S. Bank Stadium, so grab the Over with the lowest total you can and enjoy the ride.
Best odds to bet Over 51.5 right now
Dallas Cowboys at Arizona Cardinals (Over 43.5): Bet Later
This total opened as high as 44.5 points and dipped to 43.5 with some early Under money for Week 3. At first glance, we see a dangerous Dallas Cowboys defense dominating another dog-shit offense, especially with the Cowboys checking the Jets to 10 points after shutting out the Giants in Week 1.
However, I believe there could be more points on the board in Week 3. That doesn’t mean the Dallas defense will bend, it means we will get more from the Cowboys’ offense.
So far, this new playbook under Brian Schottenheimer hasn’t really been tested. Dallas has held big leads and leaned into the ground game to kill clock, handing off 74 times in those wins. Dak Prescott was more active in Week 2, connecting on 28 of 31 throws, but the Cowboys finished 2 for 6 in the red zone.
The Arizona Cardinals’ defense doesn’t come close to the quality of the Jets stop unit, which did its best to bend but not break while playing more than 42 minutes on Sunday. Arizona buckled like a discount lawn chair against the Giants in Week 2, surrendering 31 straight points in the second half.
Hell, if this total dips any further, Dallas may pull out the Over on its own. But before we pull the trigger, let’s wait and see if this slims any further. The 44.5-point totals are turning to 44 and those could continue to drop as the media hypes up the Cowboys stop unit.
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