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VSIN’s NFL expert dives into some betting angles for two games on the Week 3 slate.
Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs: One of the two early lines that I liked this week was the Chargers +6.5 against the Chiefs. The number has since moved to +7 across the board and is drawing a large betting handle in Week 3.
The Chiefs simply have no interest in covering spreads, for whatever reason. Kansas City is winning games, but not by margin (1-9 against the spread in their past 10 regular-season games). One potential reason is that the Chiefs are atrocious defensively in the red zone. Opponents were 36-for-47 scoring touchdowns in the red zone against K.C. last season, and 8-for-8 in two games so far. That is an astronomical 80 percent success rate over the past 18 regular-season games for the opposition inside the 20.
To this point, the Chiefs have scored on 55.6 percent of their drives and opponents have scored on 50 percent. The Chiefs have allowed the most points per drive and scored the most points per drive.
The Chargers’ defense has played significantly better than that, while still scoring on 50 percent of drives. Los Angeles, unfortunately, is just 3-for-10 scoring touchdowns in the red zone, but this seems like a good opportunity to get on track in that department. Furthermore, we’ve all basically accepted that Brandon Staley is a massive improvement over Anthony Lynn, who was the coach last season when the Chargers took the Chiefs to overtime in Week 2 and had almost 500 yards of offense.
Justin Herbert and the Chargers marched up and down the field against the Cowboys, but had a touchdown taken off the board by a penalty and had a pick in the end zone. The Chiefs aren’t completely in rhythm yet and neither are the Chargers, but 7 points is a lot in what should be a back-and-forth battle.
Sprinkle in a little moneyline here with maybe an 80/20 or 85/15 split ATS/SU, as the Chargers certainly have a chance to win this game outright.
Pick: Chargers (+7) with a moneyline sprinkle.
Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns: Betting markets seem to prefer Justin Fields to Andy Dalton as the starter as evidenced by the line movement. Maybe there are some concerns about the Browns as well, who had issues putting away Houston last week. Ultimately, where I see value in Fields is the total.
Wind could be a factor and that should keep this total around where it is (45.5) or maybe even drive it lower, but the improvisation skills of a mobile quarterback are something I highly value in the NFL. Fields brings some good in that aspect. He also brings some bad in that a very efficient Browns offense may end up with some short fields. They should capitalize.
The Bears defense has allowed more than 6 yards per play thus far. The rush defense looks stout by the numbers, but the Rams and Bengals are poor rushing teams; the Browns are not. Baker Mayfield has thrown just nine incomplete passes this season and Cleveland has more than 7.2 YPP.
The Cleveland defense is still a work in progress for coordinator Joe Woods, who might not last the season if things don’t improve. For having all kinds of talent on the edge, the Browns have just three sacks and 16 pressures in two games. This game could be higher-scoring than people expect. With a very manageable total, the over is the pick here.
Pick: Over 45.5.