The best bets on the gridiron for Week 3.
New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons (-3)
The Saints were predicted to go to the Super Bowl by many experts, but a loss to Tampa Bay and a narrow win over Cleveland, both at home, are highly concerning.
New Orleans’ defense has regressed dramatically from a year ago, as they’re ranked 30th in points allowed through two games. And their offensive playcalling has become far too one-dimensional, leading to the Saints being dead last in rushing yards per game despite having Alvin Kamara in the backfield. Drew Brees is doing everything he can, but he can’t help it if his wide receivers fumble twice in one contest, as Michael Thomas and Ted Ginn did last week.
The Falcons defense is nothing special, but they do an adequate job in preventing the “big play,” as they’re 10th in yards per play allowed. By contrast, the Saints are the worst in the league in that department. That could mean a highly-productive day is in store for Julio Jones. Lay the points with Atlanta. You can bet on Saints versus Falcons now at SugarHouse!
The pick: Falcons -3
Cincinnati Bengals at Carolina Panthers (-3)
The Bengals have begun 2018 with identical 34-23 wins, one at the Colts and one hosting the Ravens. Things will be a bit different in Charlotte though, as Joe Mixon is out after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery. That leaves backup Gio Bernard as the primary rushing option against Carolina’s stout front seven. If he can’t establish the run, that will force Andy Dalton to have to win the game through the air.
Cam Newton dropped over 300 passing yards on the Falcons last week and draws a soft matchup with the Bengals’ 30th-rated pass stoppers. The Panthers should be able to hog the ball on Sunday, as the Bengals are the worst team in the league at stopping offenses on third down (54 percent opponent conversion rate). Newton and Christian McCaffrey are terrific at converting those crucial third-and-shorts.
Carolina is 4-1 against the spread in their last five at home; go to the well once more.
The pick: Panthers -3
Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks (-1.5)
This is the Seahawks’ home opener, and while their particular home-field advantage is well-known, so is Seattle’s horrid offensive line.
Russell Wilson and company have struggled to produce consistently on offense, as Wilson has been sacked 12 times and Seahawks backs have rushed for just 138 yards through two games. The Cowboys pass rush, featuring Demarcus Lawrence, already has nine sacks on the season, which spells trouble for Seattle. Dallas’ defense is also third in points per game allowed and second in yards per game allowed so far.
Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott have been hamstrung by a banged-up offensive line, but Seattle’s defense is a shell of what it was a few years ago, so they should be productive on Sunday. Grab the points with the Cowboys and take a long look at the Under (41.5).
The pick: Cowboys +1.5