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DraftKings is offering up a new free-to-enter pool for the 2022 NFL season. It runs for the first 17 weeks of the season, and users are allowed to pick their five favorite spreads each week. You’re also allowed one self-appointed bye week, meaning each player will pick 80 games by the end of Week 17. The players who do the best will have a chance to take home part of a $100,000 prize pool, plus millions in bonus prizes.
Let’s take a look at my five favorite picks for NFL Week 3.
The Pick: Bengals (-4.5)
The Bengals couldn’t have gotten off to a much worse start this season. The defending AFC champs opened up the year with a loss to the Texans, and they followed that up with a loss to the Cooper Rush-led Cowboys.
Their biggest issue has been their revamped offensive line, which looks an awful lot like the previous version. Joe Burrow has been sacked 13 times through the first two weeks after taking a league-leading 51 sacks in 2021-22.
However, the Cowboys and Steelers both have excellent pass rushes. This week’s matchup vs. the Jets should be much friendlier. They have just three sacks so far this season, so Burrow should have much more time to take advantage of his elite pass-catchers. Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins can do some significant damage against a Jets squad that ranks 32nd in Football Outsiders pass defense DVOA.
We’re also getting a bit of spread value here. This line has moved to Bengals -6.0 on DraftKings Sportsbook, but we can still grab them at -4.5 in this pool.
The Pick: Texans (+2.5)
When two bad teams are matching up, I’m almost always going to be interested in grabbing the points. This matchup definitely qualifies.
The Bears’ offense has been borderline anemic through the first two weeks. They’ve run the ball on nearly 65% of their offensive plays, which is not the way to build an efficient scoring attack in 2022. However, it makes sense with Justin Fields at quarterback. He’s shown zero progression as a passer in his second professional season, completing just 53.6% of his passes while averaging 5.0 adjusted yards per attempt.
On the other side, Davis Mills has at least shown some promise for the Texans. He wasn’t great last week vs. the Broncos, but he managed 240 yards and two touchdowns in a Week 1 tie vs. the Colts. Rookie running back Dameon Pierce has also been very impressive to start his NFL career, and he averaged 4.6 yards per attempt last week vs. the Broncos. The Bears rank just 27th in rush defense DVOA this season, so he could be looking at a strong performance this week.
Until the Bears’ offense shows some signs of life, I can’t back them as favorites against anyone.
The Pick: Jaguars (+7.5)
This pick is entirely dependent on the status of Justin Herbert. He’s officially questionable for this contest, but DK Sportsbook is treating him like he won’t play. This line has dropped to Jaguars +3.0 on DraftKings Sportsbook, so it’s basically impossible to pass up the Jaguars at +7.5. The Jags have been frisky to start the year, and they actually rank second in total DVOA. They haven’t played a particularly tough schedule, but things don’t figure to get any tougher if Chase Daniels is at quarterback for the Chargers. I’m happy to grab the points if Herbert is unavailable.
The Pick: Rams (-3.5)
These two teams are coming off wildly different results last week. The Rams nearly blew a 28-3 lead against the Falcons, and they needed a late Marcus Mariota interception to seal the deal. That wasn’t an ideal result after getting whooped by the Bills at home in Week 1.
On the other side, the Cardinals engineered a massive comeback against the Raiders. Kyler Murray seemingly remembered he was the best athlete on the field in the fourth quarter, and he used his legs and arm to secure an overtime victory.
While both fourth quarters are fresh in bettor’s minds, it’s worth remembering the first three as well. The Rams built a huge lead before taking their foot off the gas, while the Cardinals put themselves in a massive hole for the second straight week. With that in mind, I think the Rams are probably a bit undervalued at the moment, while the Cardinals are a bit overvalued.
The Rams have also historically dominated this series. They won the final two meetings last year by a combined score of 64-34, and Murray is 1-5 against the spread vs. the Rams for his career. The Cardinals are also 0-6 against the spread in their last six home games, so the trends give a clear edge to the Rams in this spot.
The Pick: Falcons (+1.5)
This is another game where I’m simply taking the points between two bad teams. Both of these teams have shown some fight to start the year, with the Falcons suffering two close losses and the Seahawks upsetting the Broncos in Week 1.
While the Seahawks technically have the better record, I don’t think they’re the better team. No team has been outgained by more yards per game through the first two weeks, and they also have the third-worst point differential. They’ve played a tough schedule, but so have the Falcons. Their offense has been solid to start the year, racking up the ninth most points per game. Rookie receiver Drake London looks like a future star, while Marcus Mariota has held his own at quarterback. The team hasn’t even gotten any production yet from Kyle Pitts, who is probably their best player.
I like the Falcons to put some points on the board in this matchup, and if they do that, I don’t think the Seahawks can keep up.
Year-to-Date Results: 9-1 (5-0 last week)
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