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The NFL has reached Week 3 with nine teams sitting at 0-2, set to claw and fight in order to prevent themselves from falling into the 0-3 gauntlet.
Since 1979, when the NFL expanded, only six teams have gone on to make the playoffs after starting 0-3.
In this article, we’ll provide two player prop predictions and a pick for one of the desperate o-2 teams.
NFL Week 3 predictions: Player props
Note: The odds (American and decimal) for all three tips in this article were correct at the time of writing.
Tony Pollard anytime TD scorer @ -130 (1.77)
It’s time to bring out the Brinks truck for this bet. Don’t actually do that. Anything can happen in the NFL, and please gamble responsibly.
This bet is extremely eye-popping, thanks to the favorable odds. Many sportsbooks, such as DraftKings, feature Tony Pollard’s anytime touchdown odds at -170, which have 63% implied odds of him breaking the plane against the Cardinals. The -130 line on Caesars is a steal.
Through two games, Pollard has 16 rushing attempts inside the red zone, which ranks first in the NFL, five clear of Kyren Williams at No. 2.
Pollard has scored two touchdowns this season, with both of them coming in Week 1 against the Giants. He could’ve easily scored last week against the Jets, but Dallas opted for a 1-yard pass to Luke Schoonmaker instead.
The Jets also have a stouter rush defense and haven’t allowed a rushing touchdown. The Cardinals have struggled to stop running backs and have surrendered three touchdowns in two games to the position via the air and ground.
Arizona has also given up three rushing touchdowns (to QBs and RBs) through the first two weeks. The Giants scored two in last week’s 31-28 comeback win.
The Cowboys are 12.5-point favorites, and the game script favors Pollard continuing to be given the rock and receive red zone carries. Even in the Week 1 40-0 thrashing of the Giants, head coach Mike McCarthy kept his starters in during the fourth quarter (he honestly should’ve pulled them) and kept feeding Pollard.
FantasyPros’ total projections, which combine six sources such as ESPN, CBS, NFL.com, Numberfire, Fantasy Football Today and their own model, predicts Pollard to record 0.7 rushing touchdowns (70% chance) and 0.2 receiving touchdowns (20%).
Another reputable model from 4for4.com projects Pollard to have 0.926 (92.6%) rushing touchdowns and 0.222 (22.2%) receiving scores.
Jerome Ford over 44.5 rush yards @ -110 (1.91)
Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski emphatically stated that Jerome Ford is the team’s RB1 after being asked during a press conference earlier this week. It was an interesting question because Cleveland signed former running back Kareem Hunt after Nick Chubb went down with a season-ending knee injury.
Hunt will likely get reincorporated into the offense over the next few weeks, but this week is the best time to take advantage of Ford’s over 44.5 line, regardless of whether Hunt is active or not.
The -110 odds are a great price on Bet365 thanks to DraftKings setting them at -125, which gives 55.56% implied odds Ford hits the over.
Stefanski has shown over and over how much he loves to establish the run and game plan around it. In Week 1’s 24-3 win over Cincinnati, Cleveland ran the ball 40 times, which included 18 carries for Chubb and 15 for Ford.
The next week, in a narrow 26-22 defeat to the Steelers, the Browns ran it 35 times, which included 10 carries for Chubb before he got hurt and 16 totes for Ford.
Cleveland is a 3.5-point favorite over Tennessee this week, and if the game stays close or ends up being a blowout, the script once again favors Ford having plenty of opportunities to gain yardage.
Last week, he recorded 16 carries for 106 yards (6.6 yards per attempt). Tennessee ranks No. 2 in the NFL in opponents’ yards per rush attempt, but the volume Ford is slated to receive gives him a huge edge.
FantasyPros’ model projects Ford to record 58.5 rush yards, which is 14 more than the current line. Some sportsbooks are listing Ford at 45.5 for his total and at worse odds to hit the over, making the Bet365 over 44.5 rush yards wager even more enticing.
NFL Week 3 tip: Alternate spread bet
Note: Both spreads and alternate spreads include overtime on most books.
Patriots to cover (-2) alt spread vs. Jets @ -125 (1.80)
Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots are 0-2 for the first time since 2003. The last time they were 0-3 was in Belichick’s first season in 2000.
Now they’ll have an opportunity to bounce back against the Jets, who boast Zach Wilson as they’re starting quarterback. Their offense has been a mess with Wilson under center.
New York has only scored two offensive touchdowns this season (one each week) and has put up a total of 16 and 10 points (offensively) in their two games. A punt return touchdown allowed them to score 22 points as a team in their Week 1 overtime win over Buffalo.
New England hasn’t played badly. Turnovers have been the primary issue, and they narrowly lost to the reigning NFC Champion Eagles in Week 1, 25-20, and followed it with a tight 24-17 loss to a high-powered Dolphins offense.
Wilson isn’t anywhere near the talent level of Jalen Hurts or Tua Tagovailoa and is only starting because of Aaron Rodgers’ achilles injury. There’s a reason Wilson was demoted to third-string quarterback at one point last season.
The Jets have one of the best defenses in the league and should provide problems for Mac Jones. However, I don’t think it will be enough to hold off a desperate 0-2 team searching for their first win.
There are a few trends with 0-2 teams worthy of a look, highlighted by Brandon Anderson of the Action Network and Bet Labs.
- 0-2 ATS teams that lost by seven or less in Week 2 are 32-18 ATS (64%) in Week 3.
- Teams that are 0-2 since 2010 vs. teams 1-1 or better: 50-29-1 against the spread (63% ATS)
- Winless teams since 2005 have gone 82-63-4 (57%) against the spread in week 3 (per Bet Labs).
This game could easily be close, so buying the half-a-point (odds shift from -115 to -125) and taking it from -2.5 to -2 seems worth it.
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