NFL Week 3 best bets: Fade injury-riddled Steelers as home favorites
Different week, same story: I went 2-1 on my NFL best bets for Week 2 after yet another mid-game quarterback injury. Still, the Panthers and Rams came through in a big way to bring us to 4-2 heading into Week 3.
I'm torn between laying the points or playing the over, with the Lions' putrid defense as my target for both wagers. Personally, I'm playing both, though the Ravens' porous defense thus far makes the over a more attractive play.
Detroit's defense was a disaster in 2020 and has been even worse through two weeks of this season, allowing 41 points and 442 yards to the 49ers in Week 1 and letting the Packers' offense run roughshod in a 35-point showing in Week 2. Baltimore should have no problem doing the same behind a potent rushing attack that will decimate the Lions' flimsy front.
Don't count out Jared Goff and Co. moving the ball against Baltimore's defense, which has allowed at least 33 points in each of its first two contests, largely due to a banged-up secondary. If this game gets out of hand - as this line suggests it will - garbage time could play a significant role here.
Pick: Over 50
When healthy, the Steelers are a borderline playoff team and a risky bet as a favorite. Entering this week, they're anything but healthy. Thursday's injury report of 10 players was headlined by Ben Roethlisberger, Diontae Johnson, and T.J. Watt, all of whom are questionable to play Sunday.
Johnson is the likeliest to miss this week, and his absence would be a major blow for an offense that already looks lethargic with a hobbled Roethlisberger. Pittsburgh's defense managed just one sack after Watt left last week's loss to the Raiders, and it'll need a stout pass rush to fluster the Bengals' offense.
Cincinnati's O-line was among its biggest concerns heading into the year, but so far it's held up with the seventh-best mark in ESPN's pass block win rate (64%). Joe Burrow has still been sacked an NFL-worst 10 times, but the Bengals' staff should devise ways to get the ball out quicker against the Steelers' shaky secondary.
Pick: Bengals +3
I initially jumped on the Bears at +7.5 - which you can still find at some shops - but I'll happily settle for +7 (even) in a matchup between two teams that are much closer than this line suggests.
The Bears hung with the Rams in Week 1 but were hamstrung by Andy Dalton's dink-and-dunk approach. It was a similar story last week when they forced four Bengals turnovers but turned them into just 13 total points - which includes Roquan Smith's pick-6. Justin Fields may not be fully ready for the big stage, but he'll bring dynamism and field-stretching ability to an otherwise talented offense desperately in need of both.
The Browns struggled to slow down the lowly Texans a week ago and are beatable downfield, as the Chiefs showed in Week 1. They also aren't built to blow teams out. Since the start of 2020, seven of their 12 regular-season victories have come by six points or fewer, and none exceeded a two-score margin. Expect Chicago to keep this one close in Fields' debut.
Pick: Bears +7