NFL Preseason Week 3 Betting Picks: Best Values Thursday Night, Aug. 22
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We have six games on the schedule Thursday night with a couple of great NFL betting opportunities.
NFL preseason Week 3 will be the closest thing we see to a regular-season environment before NFL Week 1 kicks off on Sept. 5.
This week starters get the majority of their preseason reps, as Chris Gimino points in his Introduction to NFL Preseason DFS and Strategy:
Week 3: Starters play roughly 1/2 to almost 3/4 of the game for many teams.
Now let’s take a look at NFL preseason Week 3 betting picks for Thursday night.
NFL Preseason Week 3 Betting Picks
New York Giants vs. Cincinnati Bengals -3, O/U 42
The Giants have been the hottest offense in the preseason, putting up 31.5 points per game. Of course, that’s against the Jets and Bears’ reserves. Still, rookie Daniel Jones has impressed so far. With Giants head coach Pat Shurmur hinting that starters will play much like they have the first two games, we can expect plenty more from Jones in Cincinnati.
The Bengals’ first team has only played four series so far this preseason, in part, because the Bengals are already dealing with a string injuries to their offensive line and receiving corps. The starters will add to their reps against the Giants as Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said all healthy players would be ready for Thursday night’s game earlier this week, but don’t expect the same Marvin Lewis philosophy of using preseason Week 3 to play starters an entire half.
“We will not play (starters) the first half and into the third quarter like it has been done in the past,” Taylor told the media on Wednesday.
Despite Jones’s impressiveness, this game has moved from Bengals -1.5 to Bengals -3. I thought it would go the opposite way, but NFL preseason Week 3 bettors aren’t on the Jones bandwagon like I thought they’d be. Well, that means there’s plenty of room for me.
My Pick: Giants +3 (use our FanDuel Sportsbook promo code to get these odds)
Baltimore Ravens vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Carson Wentz impressed the stout defense of the Baltimore Ravens during the teams’ joint practices. Wentz completed 30-of-56 passes for 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. That likely doesn’t mean anything for tonight other than odds are Doug Pederson will continue to hold out Wentz and key starters from preseason action.
The Eagles know what they get with Wentz and their starting unit. What they don’t know is if they have a suitable backup in place if Wentz goes down now that Nick Foles is in Jacksonville. Philadelphia signed Josh McCown last week after two quarterbacks on their depth chart have already suffered injuries from preseason hits. Expect McCown to get most of the snaps tonight as he tries to adjust quickly before the regular season starts.
With the Eagles’ Thursday night plans pretty predictable, there’s no reason not to back the John Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens. Harbaugh is the most successful preseason coach in the NFL and this preseason matchup should be fairly easy. The one concern is that a 5-point spread is too many points for a preseason game. If that makes you feel uneasy, consider the fact that the Ravens have blown out their first two preseason opponents by a combined 42 points. Or take the moneyline, as we said to do earlier this week.
My Pick: Ravens -5 (use our William Hill promo code to get these odds)
Washington Redskins vs. Atlanta Falcons +3, O/U 41.5
Jay Gruden said rookie Dwayne Haskins is behind both Case Keenum and Colt McCoy in the Redskins’ quarterback competition. It may not take much to jump McCoy who, though most familiar with Gruden’s playbook, has been sidelined by a nagging leg injury. If McCoy is held out again, then it will be Keenum and Haskins splitting snaps against the Falcons.
Atlanta has been terrible in preseason games during head coach Dan Quinn’s tenure, which is why the Falcons are 3-point underdogs despite having the superior team. Julio Jones has implied that starters are expected to play around a half. If that’s the case, the Falcons could end their 11-game preseason losing streak. Considering Matt Ryan saw 31 snaps last week, I don’t expect him to be out there for more than a series or two in NFL preseason Week 3.
Don’t fall victim to FPS (Fancy Play Syndrome); go ahead and fade Quinn.
My Pick: Redskins -3
Carolina Panthers vs. New England Patriots -3, O/U 42
Cam Newton will make his preseason debut in New England, taking the field for the first time since having offseason shoulder surgery. Newton’s shoulder hindered the Panthers’ passing game most of last season, but it sounds like Newton is fully recovered. Newton isn’t the only Panther starter planning to see action. So too will Christian McCaffrey, Greg Olsen and Luke Kuechly. The one thing we don’t know is how long they’ll stay on the field. Don’t expect much more than three to four series for Newton.
In recent years, Brady has used the second or third week of the preseason to get in a full half of action. Brady didn’t play last week, so if history tells us anything, it means we’ll see a healthy dose of Brady against the Panthers. Of course, the Patriots might decide to go with a more conservative approach for their 42-year-old.
If it’s not Brady out there it will be Brian Hoyer and rookie Jarrett Stidham. Stidham has impressed the Patriots coaching staff and is putting pressure on Hoyer for the No. 2 spot on the depth chart. If Stidham continues to play at the level he’s shown through the first two weeks of the preseason he could find himself first in line if Brady suffers an injury during the regular season.
This is another spot where it’s essential to keep up with breaking news up until kickoff. Take the Panthers first half if it comes out that Brady is sitting. *For now, I’m putting my money on the Patriots backup quarterback competition by targeting the Patriots at halftime.
Green Bay Packers vs. Oakland Raiders +2.5, O/U 38.
Aaron Rodgers is one of 12 quarterbacks yet to play a snap in the preseason. Whether Rodgers will play in Week 3 of the preseason will be a game-time decision, said first-year head coach Matt LaFleur.
Mike Glennon and Nathan Peterman will play a lot against the Packers, according to Jon Gruden. The two quarterbacks have led Oakland to two preseason wins while competing for the backup job.
The main question here is will Rodgers play and how long will he play if he does get the start? Pay attention to this one up until LaFleur makes his decision. If news breaks that Rodgers will play a quarter or more, then back the Packers first half. Packers -2.5 is in play in that scenario as well.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Miami Dolphins -3, O/U 36.5
The Jacksonville Jaguars only scored 10 points in their first two preseason games, but the lack of scoring had nothing to do with Jaguars starting offense. Head coach Doug Marrone has held back all of the starters thus far, but that changes Thursday night. The Jaguars will use NFL preseason Week 3 to test out their new offense — one that will emphasize the passing game more than it has in past seaso — with $88 million quarterback Nick Foles.
The quarterback competition between Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen is still alive. Ryan Patrick leads the race, but Miami will use Ep. III of the competition to continue their evaluations. Neither quarterback could get into the endzone against Tampa Bay. Part of their struggles has been due to a lack of depth after several starters have sustained injuries during training camp.
It’s unclear whether Jaguars starters will play a few series or the entire half. I’ll likely pass on this one, but I lean towards backing the Jaguars in the first half and hoping the starters get extended reps.