Would you rather? Breaking down Week 3 NFL betting lines

·6-min read

Week 3 of the NFL season is here already, meaning it's time for the third installment of "Would You Rather?" We're taking a look at six games this upcoming weekend with similar spreads while going over why we'd lean toward one side over the other. All lines are as of Friday morning at BetMGM.

Would you rather take 1 point with the Rams or 1.5 points with the Vikings?

The Los Angeles Rams are 1-point underdogs at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers while the Minnesota Vikings are getting 1.5 points at home against the Seattle Seahawks. Which small home dog are you backing?

Pete: Minnesota is 0-2, but they could just as easily be 2-0 or at the very least 1-0-1. The almighty kicker struck last weekend to prevent them from getting in the win column. Seattle blew their game against Tennessee last weekend, highlighting the fact that they are an inconsistent and maddening group. I like the Vikings to win this game outright as 0-3 would mean that Mike Zimmer should probably start updating his resume. Minnesota is currently +105 on the moneyline.

CINCINNATI, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 12: Justin Jefferson #18 of the Minnesota Vikings runs with the ball against the  Cincinnati Bengals   at Paul Brown Stadium on September 12, 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Justin Jefferson of the Minnesota Vikings runs with the ball against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The Rams have a chance as well, but the Buccaneers' offense is firing on all cylinders and the Rams defense isn't quite what it was last year. This game should be a shootout and I've learned to stop fading Tom Brady. I'll go with the Vikings here. 

Greg: This is so interesting because you never really know exactly what you’re going to get out of the Vikings or Seahawks, and then you do know what you’ll get out of the Rams, but will that be enough against what may be the best team in the NFL?

I have to admit how surprised I was at the pressure Atlanta was able to get on Tom Brady last week. If the Bucs miss their blocking assignments against the Rams, it could be one of those games where they keep showing replays of Brady chewing out teammates on the sidelines.

For the Vikings side, they’re about as close to a carbon copy of the Tennessee Titans as you’ll find. A runaway train running back, two superstar receivers, an underrated quarterback, and then a “maybe we’ll get 'em next time” defense.

This is impossible, Pete! It’s like one of those Magic Eye pictures but instead of letting your eyes diverge, you have to let your brain diverge. OK, I see it clearly now. The Rams. Stafford can put up points against that Bucs secondary and the Rams defense gets one stop more than Tampa.

Would you rather lay 7.5 points with Arizona or lay 8 points with Baltimore?

The Arizona Cardinals are laying 7.5-points on the road against the winless Jaguars while the Baltimore Ravens are laying 8 points in Detroit against the winless Lions. Which large road favorite are you rolling with?

Pete: Letdown spots are often considered in college sports, but it's not often a factor when handicapping the NFL. The theory is that these are human beings and when they emotionally get up for an event, a lull is expected in the future. For Baltimore, this is a potential letdown spot after they finally conquered the Kansas City Chiefs. We saw how excited John Harbaugh and Lamar Jackson were after that win. How mentally sharp are they for a trip to Detroit where they are prohibitive favorites? Then again, will Detroit be able to stop the run at all? It might not matter. 

I swear, I hate Jacksonville and picking them again makes me sick. However, Arizona has a weak secondary and maybe first overall pick and prospect of the decade Trevor Lawrence shows out for the first time in this spot. Nobody expected Arizona to look this good, so I'm doing some mental gymnastics to go with the Jaguars here.

Greg: Another week, another Jaguars “Would you rather?” Fridays are like Mondays to me now. You’ve got me Garfield’n over here.

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 19: Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Jacksonville Jaguars looks to pass during the game against the Denver Broncos at TIAA Bank Field on September 19, 2021 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Trevor Lawrence of the Jacksonville Jaguars looks to pass against the Denver Broncos in Week 2. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Is this Kyler Murray’s final form? Sure, his performances have been against bad defenses but sheesh. This is his last cakewalk before the schedule starts to tighten up and the Jags don’t have the personnel to slow him down. On the other hand, Trevor Lawrence is a YOLO quarterback and Arizona’s is the kind of secondary he could catch a heater against. At some point we’ll see the unanimous No. 1 pick. If it’s this game, we could have a fun little shootout.

I think the Lions have a better chance of keeping their contest close, though. Jared Goff hasn’t been the world’s worst QB, they’ve been effective when they get D’Andre Swift involved in the passing game, and they’re catching Lamar Jackson coming off a stomach bug.

Would you rather lay 2.5 points with the New York Giants or the New England Patriots?

The New York Giants are favorites for the first time this season, as they're giving 2.5-points to the Atlanta Falcons at home. The New England Patriots are 2.5-point home favorites against the New Orleans Saints. Which small home favorite are you backing?

Pete: I'm going to go with the Giants here. Looking at their upcoming schedule, if not now, then when? Daniel Jones isn't very good, but I think he should be able to move the ball against this putrid Falcons defense. James Bradberry should be able to slow down Calvin Ridley as well on the defensive side. I don't think the Falcons are good at all.

On the other side, despite their poor performance last week, I think the Saints should still be a solid team. Mac Jones has looked fine, dumping the ball off and taking what the defense gives him. However going into the year, I didn't expect New England to be a 3-0 team. I'd rather fade the Falcons than fade the Saints. 

Greg: If you’re ever feeling too happy and you need something to bring you down, take a look at the Falcons’ salary cap situation. They’re like the anti-Moneyball. Hollywood should make that film, but in black-and-white with an existential, bleak Andrei Tarkovsky vibe. This is the perfect get-right spot for Saquon and I think we could see the Giants roll them coming off three extra days’ rest.

I’ve been caping for the Patriots since before the preseason, but I’m leery of the Saints here, even after getting drilled in Carolina and even though they’re without their starting center and a couple of key defensive players. You know what, I just talked myself back into the Patriots. I love how Mac Jones has looked and it sounds like Trent Brown may be back at right tackle, which would be huge for Damien Harris and that running game. I’ll take my chances against Jameis with baby Belichick and the Pats D.

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