If you went to sleep early on Monday night, you saw on Tuesday morning that the Green Bay Packers won 35-17 and figured they’re back. You might have even cashed a bet on the Packers -11.5.
Maybe they are. But it depends how much you trust what you saw in the second half, when compared to their first six quarters.
At halftime of Monday night, the Packers were 0-1 and trailing at home to the lowly Detroit Lions. The defense had shown practically nothing to that point. The offense was still far off its 2020 level. It was concerning.
Then things turned in the second half. The defense shut down Detroit. The offense hit some big plays on some impressive Aaron Rodgers passes. This is the Packers team we were waiting for.
It’s good the Packers turned it around, because it’s not like Week 3 will be easy.
The Packers will travel to face the San Francisco 49ers in a fun Sunday night matchup. The 49ers, who are 2-0 with two road wins, are 3.5-point favorites at BetMGM.
The 49ers have their own issues, despite the strong start. Their running back room is a mess, since Eli Mitchell, Trey Sermon and JaMycal Hasty are all dealing with injuries. Raheem Mostert is out for the season. Those are the only running backs San Francisco has used all season. Hasty has been ruled out, and the 49ers are waiting on Sermon and Mitchell.
The 49ers’ running back situation matters, but as of now I’ll take the 49ers on Sunday night. They’ve looked good on both sides of the ball and I trust them to be very good this season. I’m not sure the Packers have it all figured out yet, but we should find out a lot more about them in Week 3.
Here are the rest of the against the spread picks for Week 3, with spreads from BetMGM:
Panthers (-8) over Texans
It’s probably a mistake to keep underestimating the Texans, who have played pretty well this season. But I really like what I see from this Panthers team. Their defense is especially intriguing. It will give Texans rookie starting QB Davis Mills some problems.
Washington (+8) over Bills
I’ll keep hoping we see the dominant WFT defense soon. The pieces are all there, it just hasn’t happened yet. A very good defensive team should be able to cover a spread this high, but how good is this WFT defense?
Bears (+7) over Browns
Just a little too high on the spread. The Bears looked better in Week 2. Justin Fields will start and he can do enough to keep Chicago in the game. The Browns might become a little too predictable on offense if their receivers don’t start to get healthy.
Lions (+8) over Ravens
The Lions have had flashes of decent play. They did lead 17-14 at Lambeau Field on Monday night. I don’t necessarily trust Detroit, but it’s a big number and the Ravens defense hasn’t shown up quite yet.
Colts (+5.5) over Titans
You generally want to be on the same side as a desperate team. And the Colts have to know that if they’re 0-3, with a loss to the Titans, the season is getting away from them in a hurry. The Colts didn’t play poorly in either loss this season, but they didn’t play well and a few ill-timed mistakes ruined them. This will be their best effort, and we’ll see how good that is. This pick does assume Carson Wentz will play (and the line should be different if he doesn’t).
Chargers (+6.5) over Chiefs
The Chiefs are on an 1-11-1 stretch against the spread. Despite that streak, it’s still the Chiefs and this line seems inflated to me. The Chargers are quite capable. This should be a fun game, and I think the Chargers keep it close.
Patriots (-2.5) over Saints
The Saints take over as the hardest team in the NFL to figure out. They had one A+ performance and an F performance. What comes next? I do trust Bill Belichick to see what bothered Jameis Winston last week and incorporate it, while adding his own confusing twists.
Giants (-2.5) over Falcons
The Giants are OK. Not good but not terrible. The Falcons? They might be terrible. Other than a short second-half spurt against the Buccaneers when they got back in the game, the Falcons have been really bad this season. I’m not sure why I’d trust them going on the road again this week.
Steelers (-3) over Bengals
The Bengals are capable of scoring, but we saw the Bears defense give them problems for most of Week 2. It might be best to fade the Bengals on the road, and it’s a little odd the Bengals are getting just 3 points after the Raiders got 5.5 or 6, depending on when you bet them. I don’t know that the Bengals offensive line can protect Burrow in this one.
Cardinals (-7.5) over Jaguars
We’ve gotten to the “let’s keep picking against the Jaguars until they give us a reason not to” segment of the weekly picks post.
Jets (+10.5) over Broncos
It’s scary to take the Jets, who can’t protect Zach Wilson and are facing another aggressive defense. But it’s not a smart investment to take too many double-digit NFL favorites. And it’s not like the Broncos are certified elite yet after beating the Giants and Jaguars.
Raiders (-4) over Dolphins
Tua Tagovailoa won’t play, and that’s a blow to Miami. It’s time to take the Raiders seriously. They have two quality wins already and Jon Gruden’s teams have started fast. Whether we’re be betting this team in December remains to be seen, but they’re a good play for now.
Rams (+1) over Buccaneers
Someone has to slow down Tom Brady, right? The Buccaneers didn’t cover in Week 1 and they were leading by only three in the fourth quarter against the Falcons last week before pulling away. Nothing to be worried about, but it’s no gimme they’ll cover as a road favorite at a really good Rams team.
Vikings (+1.5) over Seahawks
The Vikings could easily be 2-0, or at least 1-0-1, and we’d think of them in a much different way. One last-second missed field goal shouldn’t change how we think about a team, but it does. Now we have to ask, are the Vikings going to let two close losses to start the season lead to a downward spiral, or will they rebound? I’ll bet on the latter.
Eagles (+4) over Cowboys
The Cowboys haven’t been a great bet as a favorite the past few years. This seems like a good spot to bet against them too, with the Eagles motivated to bounce back coming off a rough loss.
Last week: 12-4
Season to date: 18-14