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NFL odds, picks and prop bets for Week 3
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NFL odds, picks and prop bets for Week 3

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NFL Insider Matt Erickson

Matt Erickson

The Justin Fields Era officially begins in Chicago on Sunday.

If we're being honest about it, Bears head coach Matt Nagy probably is thankful he can give Fields his first pro start in Week 3 because of Andy Dalton's day-to-day knee injury — and not because of mounting pressure from the fan base.

Nagy has said the reins are Dalton's when he's ready to come back, but we all know how promises like that can turn empty in a hurry in the NFL if the replacement has a hot hand. So the question will have to be: Who thinks Fields can find some success this week and wind up with that hot hand so he gets the start in Week 4 and beyond?

I was born in late 1975. In the 45 full Bears seasons I've been alive for, they've had only seven with one quarterback who started the full schedule. That's a horrifying statistic, and obviously 2021 won't be a season with just one QB starter, either.

But Cleveland is dealing with quite a few injury issues, and one of the Bears' typical problem areas — third down conversions — is a spot the Browns have struggled with this year. If Fields can get mobile in those third-down situations, he could rack up the rushing yards in a hurry — and keep the Bears right in this thing.

Frankly, the Bears' success against AFC North teams has me thinking Cinderella story for Fields in his first start — and an outright Bears upset. The Bears are +260 on the moneyline, which is a nice payday if they pull the upset. And if you're going to go that far with a moneyline bet on the Bears, you might as well pick them to win by a field goal — an alternate point spread bet on the Bears -2 pays at +310 — if you make a play on one, you might as well make a play on both. If nothing else, the 7-point spread for the Browns seems very much in the Bears' favor.

I'm sorry I can't be as confident in an upset for the Colts. They're allowing plenty of yards on the ground, and Titans running back Derrick Henry really got going in Week 2. He could have a big week again, as could Titans receiver Julio Jones. The Colts have done well in their trips to Nashville the past few years, but that stat comes crashing down this week.

In a bit of a statistical oddity, Week 3 gives us only one matchup between 2-0 teams and one matchup between winless teams. The 2-0 vs. 2-0 game is the Bucs vs. the Rams — and could be a preview of the NFC Championship game. It has shootout written all over it, so over 55 seems like a fun play — especially if you want to cheer for highlight-reel TDs in the late game after the Bears-Browns are done.

I like five outright upsets this week. Along with the Bears, I'm also picking the Saints, Bengals, Vikings and Eagles. You can't go chalk all the time.

BEARS (1-1) at Cleveland (1-1)

Time/TV: Noon Sunday, Fox

Line: Browns -7 (44.5)

Best prop bet: Justin Fields (CHI) to score a touchdown

MattE’s pick: Bears 26, Browns 23

COLTS (0-2) at Tennessee (1-1)

Time: Noon Sunday

Line: Titans -5.5 (48)

Best prop bet: Titans -13.5 alternate point spread (+240)

MattE’s pick: Titans 34, Colts 13

Baltimore (1-1) at Detroit (0-2)

Time: Noon Sunday

Line: Ravens -8 (50.5)

Best prop bet: T.J. Hockenson (DET) over 5.5 receptions

MattE’s pick: Ravens 27, Lions 20

Arizona (2-0) at Jacksonville (0-2)

Time: Noon Sunday

Line: Cardinals -8 (51.5)

Best prop bet: Kyler Murray (ARI) over 321.5 combined passing/rushing yards

MattE’s pick: Cardinals 37, Jaguars 16

Washington (1-1) at Buffalo (1-1)

Time: Noon Sunday

Line: Bills -7.5 (45.5)

Best prop bet: Stefon Diggs (BUF) with reception over 24.5 yards

MattE’s pick: Bills 28, Washington 17

New Orleans (1-1) at New England (1-1)

Time: Noon Sunday

Line: Patriots -3 (42.5)

Best prop bet: Alvin Kamara (NO) over 58.5 rushing yards

MattE’s pick: Saints 24, Patriots 20

L.A. Chargers (1-1) at Kansas City (1-1)

Time: Noon Sunday

Line: Chiefs -6.5 (54.5)

Best prop bet: Patrick Mahomes (KC) over 306.5 passing yards

MattE’s pick: Chiefs 34, Chargers 30

Atlanta (0-2) at N.Y. Giants (0-2)

Time: Noon Sunday

Line: Giants -3 (47.5)

Best prop bet: Saquon Barkley (NYG) over 61.5 rushing yards

MattE’s pick: Giants 28, Falcons 24

Cincinnati (1-1) at Pittsburgh (1-1)

Time: Noon Sunday

Line: Steelers -3 (43)

Best prop bet: Najee Harris (PIT) over 68.5 rushing yards

MattE’s pick: Bengals 26, Steelers 20

Miami (1-1) at Las Vegas (2-0)

Time/TV: 3:05 p.m. Sunday, CBS

Line: Raiders -3.5 (44)

Best prop bet: Jacoby Brissett (MIA) under 226.5 passing yards

MattE’s pick: Raiders 26, Dolphins 16

N.Y. Jets (0-2) at Denver (2-0)

Time: 3:05 p.m. Sunday

Line: Broncos -10.5 (42)

Best prop bet: Teddy Bridgewater (DEN) over 250.5 passing yards

MattE’s pick: Broncos 34, Jets 16

Tampa Bay (2-0) at L.A. Rams (2-0)

Time/TV: 3:25 p.m. Sunday, Fox

Line: Buccaneers -1.5 (55)

Best prop bet: Rob Gronkowski (TB) over 40.5 receiving yards

MattE’s pick: Buccaneers 34, Rams 31

Seattle (1-1) at Minnesota (0-2)

Time: 3:25 p.m. Sunday

Line: Seahawks -2 (55)

Best prop bet: Adam Thielen (MIN) over 68.5 receiving yards

MattE’s pick: Vikings 27, Seahawks 24

Green Bay (1-1) at San Francisco (2-0)

Time/TV: 7:20 p.m. Sunday, NBC

Line: 49ers -3 (50)

Best prop bet: Brandon Aiyuk (SF) to score a touchdown

MattE’s pick: 49ers 31, Packers 27

Philadelphia (1-1) at Dallas (1-1)

Time/TV: 7:15 p.m. Monday, ABC/ESPN

Line: Cowboys -3.5 (52)

Best prop bet: Tony Pollard (DAL) over 27.5 rushing yards

MattE’s pick: Eagles 27, Cowboys 24

Week 2 results: 9-7 straight up, 8-8 against the spread.

Season: 18-14 (.563) straight up, 15-17 (.469) against the spread.

Listed odds are from if available and may have changed by time of publication.

Matt Erickson is an award-winning journalist whose NFL picks have appeared in The Times since 2003. He also writes about the Oscars, food and travel for the paper and is an editor in USA Today's Sports Media Group.

Matt Erickson is an award-winning journalist whose NFL picks have appeared in The Times since 2003. He also writes about the Oscars, food and travel for the paper and is an editor in USA Today's Sports Media Group.


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