NFL Week 3 reactions and futures

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Week 3 turned out to be the first real blood bath of the season in survivor pools. The largest favorite of the week (Dallas), the most picked team (Jacksonville), and the Ravens all fell, creating chaos. The most interesting fact of the week comes from ATS land where the favorite won and covered or the dog won outright in every game this week. When playing underdogs, sprinkling part of a unit on the moneyline can be a very profitable move, and in Week 3, it paid off!

 

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Let’s look at the biggest two power rankings adjustments that I made from the games on Sunday:

Move them up: Buffalo Bills

Two AFC East teams could have made this spot. Miami hung a 70 spot and has the looks of a historic offense with a plethora of weapons at Mike McDaniel’s disposal. We discussed De’Von Achane and his combine-best 4.32 40-yard dash as an additional weapon on The Handle, but we never could have guessed he would explode onto the scene like he did in Week 3. Once Waddle returns, Miami and McDaniel will trot out three of the fastest players in the NFL.

All that being said, the biggest upgrade goes to Miami’s Week 4 opponent, the Buffalo Bills. Three weeks into the season, I now have them rated higher than before we kicked off mainly because of how this defense has played. Pass rush was a huge concern for this Bills team, but they responded in a big way in Week 3 with nine, yes nine, sacks and four interceptions this week. Now would be a great time for the NFL to start flexing games and giving us Dolphins vs. Bills in primetime instead of another Zach Wilson masterpiece.

Move them down: New Orleans Saints

One would expect either the Jaguars or the Cowboys to be here, but I did not punish either as heavily for the losses last week. Jacksonville could have been in this spot. They consistently shot themselves in the foot with special teams issues and turnovers and deserve a downgrade.

Dallas did not move as much in my rankings. I would have liked to see them pull out the win, but they were an unmotivated favorite who simply did not show up. Downgrading off those performances consistently will lead you to take incorrect numbers since the team we saw on Sunday was not a true representation of the Cowboys.

New Orleans did drop a full 1.5 points in my rankings this week. The 17-0 lead they had over the Packers team was not supported by the box score. They returned a punt for a TD and scored off a short field simply due to a trick play that misfired from Green Bay. After three quarters, the Yards per Play was nearly identical for both teams. This was an opportunity for New Orleans to really jump on Green Bay with Watson, Jones, Alexander, and two starting offensive linemen out and they simply could not capitalize. The loss of Carr compounds the downgrade, but Winston is not one of the larger drop-offs at backup in the NFL.

Early Week 4 plays

Make sure you are tuning into The Handle from 6-7 PST (9-10 EST) on Sundays. Matt Brown and I rip through the following week’s games and opening lines. The early plays did well again last week including a back door cover on the Rams and two additional lines that closed with close to two points in value.

Seattle’s win and cover got us off to a nice 2-0 start on the year on the early lines. This week, let’s lock in Cleveland –2.5 hosting Baltimore. The Ravens are beat up in the secondary, offensive line and wide receiver room heading into this game. As soon as the injury reports start coming in on Wednesday, I expect this line to continue to move in Cleveland’s favor with a possibility it closes on the other side of 3. The Browns’ defense has been better than advertised through three weeks with a bonified DPOY candidate in Miles Garrett and an improved secondary. While the loss of Chubb hurt, the stylistic change in the offense benefited Watson’s playing style in Week 3, and he responded with his best game as a Brown.

The bet: Browns -2.5

MVP Market

Tua Tagovailoa is all the rage in the MVP market, now sitting as a +380 favorite. That is just way too short three games into the season for a quarterback who has yet to play a full season healthy as a pro. Patrick Mahomes continues to sit in the number two position now at +550. I am not going to jump in quite yet, but if I did, it would be Josh Allen at +850. The separation between Tua and Allen is just too wide at this point. They face each other this week, and if the Bills win, and they are a field goal favorite at home, those odds will adjust. The quarterback on the number one seed in the AFC is a likely winner of this award, and Allen and the Bills would put themselves in a great position with a home win over the Dolphins.

Division Bets

It’s time to take the leap on Jacksonville. They looked awful last week making mistake after mistake on special teams and offense but drove the football consistently, and they have a win over the division-leading Colts on the road in the bag already. Their next two games are de facto home games in London vs. Atlanta and Buffalo. The second is a significant travel edge with the Bills flying in the week of the game and Jacksonville accustomed to the London time. While I fully expect to be quite frustrated with this team at multiple points in the season, they should not be plus money to win a weak division.

The Bet: Jags +125 to win the AFC South

Season Long Bets Recap:

Win Totals:

Titans u6.5 (bet after Week 1)

Jags +125 to win the AFC South (bet after Week 3)