The NFL is back and Mondays are no longer the worst day of the week. DraftKings Sportsbook is here to make this special night even more special. Check out the NFL best bets for the Week 3 double-dose of Monday Night Football matchups. The action kicks off with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosting the Philadelphia Eagles at 7:15 p.m. ET. The Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals follow at 8:15 p.m ET.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Philadelphia Eagles -5 (-110)
Both of these teams are 2-0, and the sentiment couldn’t be more different. The Bucs weren’t expected to compete this season. Their wins over the Vikings – last season’s No. 1 fraud – and the Bears – as bad as ever – aren’t much of a feather in the Buccaneer’s hat. Sure, a win is a win and a cover is a cover. The Bucs deserve credit, but not too much. No team deserves lavish praise after two weeks.
Baker Mayfield topped 300 yards passing in Week 2, but his Week 1 passing yards total was south of 200 yards against a weak Minnesota defense. Even the 300-yard game garners an asterisk because over half of that total went to one single receiver – Mike Evans. It was a great game for the Bucs’ veteran receiver, but there is a slight problem for the Bucs. If Evans is limited by the Eagles’ defense or heaven forbid, shutdown, then the Buccaneers do not stand a chance. Chris Godwin could step up, but RB Rachaad White and TE Cade Otton are not beating the defending NFC Champions.
On the other side of the field, the Eagles have a different perspective on their own performance. The Buccaneers have been pleasantly surprised. The Eagles have been surprised, but not pleasantly. Their performance through two weeks does not compare to their 2022 form. That’s fine. Teams are supposed to struggle during the first two weeks, especially teams with unreasonable expectations. Philadelphia’s defense features several rookies. The Eagles have a new offensive coordinator and new running back carrying the load. The latter seems to have adjusted. DeAndre Swift rushed 28 times for 175 yards and a touchdown in the Week 2 Thursday Night Football game against the aforementioned Vikings ‘defense. That implies that OC Brian Johnson is improving.
Truth be told, there aren’t many questions surrounding the Eagles. They’ll likely be the last undefeated team to lose. Their offense has been slightly shaky. The reasons above apply. Also, their starters didn’t take any snaps in the preseason. The rust has been shaken off and their defense will only get better. Monday Night Football is a wake-up call for the Buccaneers.
Los Angeles Rams vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals -3 (-108)
What is real? The Rams lost by one score to the 49ers, but were they ever really in the game? The Bengals are 0-2, but are they an 0-2 team? Schedules aren’t created equally. A two-game sample size is hard to trust. Before the opening kickoff of 2023, who was considered the better team? Should two weeks change perception? It has. There is optimism in the Rams camp, while Cincinnati suffers sour grapes.
Two weeks ago, the idea of Cincinnati, as less than a field goal favorite at home on Monday night against the Rams, seemed like a lock. It still seems like a lock barring one thing – Joe Burrow’s calf. The Bengals have adjusted their scheme around Burrow’s limitations. It didn’t work out against the Browns’ strong pass rush and disadvantageous weather in Week 1. Against the Ravens, Burrow and the Bengals were not elite but were productive. Can Aaron Donald and the Rams’ defense replicate the Browns’ formula? The Rams were decent against the pass in Week 2, but is Brock Purdy – Mr. Irrelevant – the litmus test? There are plenty of questions following the first two weeks of football, but the biggest of all is how should bettors react?
The Bengals’ rush defense has not looked great in the first two weeks, but the matchups were tough. Rams RB Kyren Williams and his above-average blocking aren’t necessarily a major concern. There’s strong hype around the Rams’ receivers Puka Nukua and Tutu Atwell. The numbers look good, but does the offense? The Rams beat Seattle and lost to San Francisco. Matthew Stafford is still a mistake-prone gunslinger. Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo is still a highly respected coach that will likely have a head coach job next season.
It’s simple. Overreact after two games or trust – as long as Burrow is healthy – that these teams are who we thought they were. The Bengals’ back is against the wall at home. The Rams are overly confident heading to Cincinnati for a Super Bowl rematch on Monday Night Football. The Bengals want revenge, and the rowdy crowd of 1980s Zubaz pants wearing fans will be on 10.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is greenflagradio2) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.