Week 3 NFL Underdogs: Teams To Consider Betting Against The Spread

Written By Eli Hershkovich on September 26, 2021

With the Panthers taking on the Texans Thursday night, let’s break down which Week 3 NFL underdogs are worth betting.

Week 2 of the NFL season is regarded as the best time to capitalize on overreactions, but that doesn’t mean the betting market won’t continue to do the same. As bettors, we have a tendency to gravitate towards what we just witnessed. That can contribute towards driving up the favorite.

I’m not an advocate of trends, but teams that start 0-2 against the spread are 26-12 ATS in Week 3 over the past five seasons. That’s more so in relation to the market overreacting.

You can also check out my NFL Week 3 picks, which will be updated with each bet I place.

Week 3 NFL Underdogs

Carolina Panthers at Houston Texans

With Tyrod Taylor (hamstring) on injured reserve, there’s no chance I’m backing rookie Davis Mills against the Panthers defense. Carolina is allowing the fewest expected points per play (EPA/play), and while Phil Snow’s defense might eventually regress, it won’t happen this week.

Conclusion: Pass

Washington Football Team at Buffalo Bills

Despite an epic outright win over the Giants in Week 2, the Football Team has failed to cover in either of its first two games. Nevertheless, the Bills are as low as a 7.5-point favorite after the line opened at -9.5.

Although the line might be a little inflated, hovering around a key number, trusting Washington’s defense isn’t how I want to spend my Sunday.

Conclusion: Pass

Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns

If you plan on backing the Browns, keep in mind: Justin Fields making his first career NFL start is already baked into the spread. If bettors drive Cleveland’s side up at all, there could be some value in Chicago.

Underdog Angle: Bears +7.5 (-110) or better

Best Current Line: Bears

Baltimore Ravens at Detroit Lions

Check out my NFL Week 3 bets for a full breakdown of this game.

Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans

Despite the Titans covering (+6.5) and winning outright against the Seahawks in Week 2, they were heavily outgained in net yards per play (YPP; 7.6-6.4). Betting the Colts is a no-no, though, given Carson Wentz’s ankle injuries.

Conclusion: Pass

Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs

There’s a deep-dive on the Chiefs’ defensive woes in my advanced defensive statistics story, but ultimately, I need +7 or better to back Justin Herbert & Co. Thanks to KC’s issues on that side of the ball, I don’t think it gets there.

Conclusion: Pass

New Orleans Saints at New England Patriots

Here’s our first prime example of two-way overreaction. New Orleans was +1 on the look-ahead line.

Jameis Winston and the Saints’ offense posted just 3.0 YPP versus the Panthers while Bill Belichick tormented Jets rookie Zach Wilson. Still, New Orleans was without seven offensive coaches because of a COVID breakout.

Personally, I’d need the Saints at a better price to make this bet.

Underdog Angle: Saints +3 (-110) or better

Best Current Line:

Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants

This game is also featured in my NFL Week 3 best bets column.

Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers

With Ben Roethlisberger’s pectoral injury, the Steelers are as low as 3-point home favorites against the Bengals. Still, this spread screams square dog of the week. Expect Joe Burrow’s struggles to continue against Pittsburgh’s elite defense.

Conclusion: Pass

Arizona Cardinals at Jacksonville Jaguars

This line has been tugging at me all week.

The Cardinals have dominated a pair of subpar defenses (Titans, Vikings), and they’re also yielding the 12th-highest dropback success rate (SR). But it’s difficult to have faith in a pair of rookies (Trevor Lawrence and Urban Meyer).

Conclusion: Pass

New York Jets at Denver Broncos

Even with a slightly inflated line, betting on the aforementioned Wilson against an elite defensive schemer in Vic Fangio screams disaster. The value might still lie with the under.

Conclusion: Pass

Miami Dolphins at Las Vegas Raiders

Derek Carr (ankle) is expected to suit up while his counterpart Tua Tagovailoa (fractured ribs) will miss this one. The Raiders’ defensive production has been impressive, but a full week of practice for backup Jacoby Brissett should give the Dolphins’ attack (NFL’s lowest EPA/dropback) a much different look come Sunday.

Underdog Angle: Dolphins +4 (-110) or better

Best Current Line: Dolphins

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Los Angeles Rams

Don’t be fooled by the line movement. Regression could be in store for the Rams’ defense after facing two mediocre offenses (Bears, Colts) to begin the season. Even though there’s surely public money on Tom Brady, I wouldn’t steer towards the home underdog.

Conclusion: Pass

Seattle Seahawks at Minnesota Vikings

If the Seahawks hung on against the Titans in Week 2, we might be talking about betting the Vikings at +3 or better. Unfortunately, the number will never climb that high now.

Conclusion: Pass

Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers

I put San Francisco in the top 5 of my power rankings this week. Despite the Packers’ offense returning to normalcy and the 49ers’ injuries, I’m staying away.

Conclusion: Pass

Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys

Given Philadelphia lost arguably two of its best players to the IR (DE Brandon Graham, OL Brandon Brooks), there’s reason for concern against Dallas. However, the Cowboys benefited from the Chargers’ 10 offensive penalties for 80 yards in Week 2. Top-tier wideout Amari Cooper (ribs) could also miss this game.

Ultimately, I need to monitor the injury report before betting this game to consider the birds among Week 3 NFL underdogs.

Potential Underdog Angle: Eagles +4 or better

Best Current Line: Eagles

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Written by
Eli Hershkovich

Eli Hershkovich is a lead sports betting writer with TheLines and Catena Media, formerly with Audacy and The Action Network. His goal is to provide you with data and information to lead you to winning bets. Eli is an avid college basketball gambler — among many other sports — and still hasn't forgiven Virginia for ruining his 2018-2019 Texas Tech futures.

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