Patrick Mahomes took over Kansas City’s starting quarterback job back in 2018 and ever since then, the Chiefs haven’t really found themselves in the position of underdog, but that’s exactly what’s going to happen when they travel to Baltimore for “Monday Night Football.”
In the early odds for Week 3, the Ravens have opened as a three-point favorite at William Hill Sportsbook, marking just the seventh time that the Chiefs have been an underdog in a regular season game with Mahomes as their starter. Of course, most of those games came early in Mahomes’ career when oddsmakers just weren’t sure how good he was. Of the six previous games, five of them came during the first 11 weeks of the 2018 season and one of them came in the 2017 regular season finale, which was the first start of Mahomes’ career.
In the six games where Mahomes has been an underdog, the Chiefs have gone 4-2 straight-up and 5-0-1 against the spread (ATS). Basically, if you’ve bet on Mahomes as an underdog, you’ve never lost money. Mahomes is also 2-0 straight-up in two career head-to-head games against Lamar Jackson.
The Chiefs aren’t the only interesting underdog of Week 3. The 2-0 Bears are also an underdog, which is mostly notable because they’ll be traveling to Atlanta to play the winless Falcons. Although the Falcons are averaging 32 points per game over the first two weeks of the season, they still haven’t been able to pick up their first win. The oddsmakers at William Hill have opened the Bears as a three-point underdog.
Are there any other surprising underdogs this week?
Let’s get to the early odds and find out .
NFL Week 3 early odds
(All lines from William Hill Sportsbook, all games on Sunday unless noted)
Opening line: Jaguars, -2.5 points
The month of September has been an ugly one in recent years for the Dolphins. In their last seven games played during the month, the Dolphins have gone 0-7 straight-up and 1-6 ATS. Also, in their past 20 road games, the Dolphins are 3-17 straight-up and just 7-13 ATS. As for the Jaguars, they’ve somehow turned into a home lock on Thursdays. In their past four home TNF games, Jacksonville has gone 4-0 both straight-up and ATS, which includes a win last year when they beat the Titans 20-7 as a 1.5-point underdog.
Bears (2-0) at Falcons (0-2)
Opening line: Falcons, -3 points
If you like winning money, then you probably shouldn’t be betting on the Bears when they play away from Chicago. Since October of last year, the Bears are 1-6 ATS on the road, and although that’s bad, they have been slightly better straight-up, going 3-4. The Bears are also 3-17 straight-up in their past 20 games as a home underdog. As for the Falcons, despite their 0-2 start, they’re actually 5-1 ATS in their past six games dating back to last season, including Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys, when they covered as a 4.5-point underdog in a 40-39 loss. That’s probably not much of a consolation prize to the Falcons, though.
Opening line: Bills, -3 points
This game has suddenly turned into one of the most attractive match-ups on the Week 3 calendar. One reason you might want to think about betting the Rams in this game is because Sean McVay almost never loses to AFC teams during the regular season. Since hiring McVay in 2017, the Rams have gone 10-2 straight-up against AFC teams (7-4-1 ATS).
When it comes to traveling to the Eastern Time Zone, the Rams have had more success recently than almost any other west coast team in the NFL, and they proved it once again against Philadelphia on Sunday. Since McVay was hired in 2017, the Rams have gone 7-1 both straight-up and ATS in eastern time while averaging just over 33 points per game in those wins. The Rams have also been nearly unbeatable in the month of September under McVay, going 12-2 straight-up and 10-4 ATS. As for the Bills, they’re just 1-4 ATS in their past five home games against NFC teams (2-3 straight-up).
Washington (1-1) at Browns (1-1)
Opening line: Browns, -6.5 points
In one of the biggest surprises of Week 3, the Browns are favored to beat an NFC team, which is surprising, because they almost always seem to lose to NFC teams. Since the start of the 2016 season, the Browns are 2-14 straight-up and 4-12 ATS against the NFC. On the other hand, if there’s one time it seems safe to bet on the Browns, it’s when they’re a big favorite. Over the past six years, the Browns have been favored by six or more a total of six times and they’ve gone 6-0 straight-up and 4-2 ATS.
As for Washington, its 1-12 straight-up in the past 13 games where it has been an underdog of six or more points (6-7 ATS). Washington is also 0-4 ATS in its past four games against AFC teams (1-3 straight-up).
Titans (2-0) at Vikings (0-2)
Opening line: Titans, -1.5 points
Since hiring Mike Zimmer in 2014, the Vikings have been a solid bet against AFC teams. During Zimmer’s time as coach, the Vikings have had 24 games against AFC teams and they’ve gone 17-7 ATS in those games (15-9 straight-up). They’re also 8-2 straight-up in home games against AFC teams since the start of the 2015 season (7-3 ATS). The Vikings are also 5-1 ATS in their past six games as a home underdog.
As for the Titans, they’re 6-2 straight-up (5-3 ATS) in their past eight games against NFC teams. The Titans are also a road favorite, which is something that happened five times last season. In those five games, Tennessee went 4-1 straight-up and 3-2 ATS.
Opening line: 49ers, -4 points
This game will mark the 13th time since 2018 that the Giants have been a home underdog, and if the first 12 games are any indication, that’s definitely not a good thing for New York. In those 12 games, the Giants have gone 1-11 both straight-up and ATS. As for the 49ers, they’re actually going to be playing at MetLife Stadium for the second straight week, so this is probably going to feel like a home game for them, too. Although the 49ers are favored, you’ll definitely want to monitor their injury situation between now and kickoff, and that’s because they could be missing multiple key players on Sunday, including Jimmy Garoppolo, Raheem Mostert, Nick Bosa, Richard Sherman, Deebo Samuel and George Kittle.
Opening line: Eagles, -6.5 points
The Bengals have lost 14 straight road games, which is probably going to make it tempting to bet against them, but keep in mind that they’ve gone 9-5 ATS in those games, including Thursday’s loss to Cleveland, where they covered as a 5.5-point underdog in a 35-30 loss. In another twist, the Bengals are 0-10 straight-up in the past 10 games where they’ve been an underdog of six or more, but 6-4 ATS. One other thing about the Bengals: They’re 1-5 both straight-up and ATS in their past six games against the NFC.
As for the Eagles, they’re 13-2 straight-up in the past 15 games where they’ve been favored by six or more points (8-7 ATS). The scary thing about the Eagles though is that they’ve struggled to cover at home, where they’ve gone 5-10 ATS in their past 15 games.
Opening line: Chargers, -6.5 points (odds via VegasInsider.com)
If there’s one team you should never bet on when they’re playing on the road, it’s the Panthers. In their past six road games, the Panthers have gone 0-6 straight-up and 1-5 ATS, including Sunday’s loss to the Buccaneers. As for the Chargers, they’re 10-1 straight-up in their past 11 games against the NFC (7-4 ATS). However, before you bet on them in this game, you’ll probably want to wait and see who the starting quarterback will be. Rookie Justin Herbert got the start in Week 2 due to an injury to Tyrod Taylor, but L.A. coach Anthony Lynn said on Sunday that Taylor will start if he’s healthy.
Opening line: Cardinals, -5.5 points
If you’re thinking about betting the Cardinals to win, that might not be such a great idea, and that’s because they’re just 4-12-1 straight-up in home games since the start of the 2018 season (8-9 ATS). On the other hand, betting against the Cardinals means betting on the Lions, which isn’t such a great idea either. Not only have the Lions gone 0-5 ATS in their past five road games, but they’re 2-11 straight-up in their past 13 games away from Detroit. These two teams played in Week 1 of the 2019 season and ended up tying in a game where the Lions were a 2.5-point favorite.
Opening line: Steelers, -6 points
When the Steelers are favored big at home, they almost always win, but they don’t always cover. Since the beginning of the 2015 season, the Steelers are 14-1 straight-up, but just 9-6 ATS in home games where they were favored by six or more. As for the Texans, they’ve lost 12 straight times in games where they were an underdog of six or more, including Sunday’s loss to the Ravens. In those 12 losses, they’ve gone 4-8 ATS.
Opening line: Colts, -9.5 points
Not only have the Jets been a disaster this year, but they’re also generally a disaster whenever they play on the road. In their past 15 games played away from MetLife Stadium, the Jets are 3-12 straight-up and 5-10 ATS. The Jets are also 2-18 straight-up in the past 20 games where they were an underdog of seven or more points (7-12-1 ATS). As for the Colts, they tend to struggle against the spread when they’re favored big at home. Since the start of the 2015 season, the Colts are 2-5 ATS when favored by seven or more at Lucas Oil Stadium (5-2 straight-up).
Buccaneers (1-1) at Broncos (0-2)
Opening line: Buccaneers, -6 points
It’s not often that the Broncos open as a home underdog, but when they do, they tend to cover. Since the start of the 2015 season, the Broncos have only been an underdog a total of 16 times in Denver. In those 16 games, they’ve gone 11-5 ATS. They’ve also gone 8-8 straight-up, which is actually pretty impressive for an underdog. On the other hand, the Broncos haven’t had much success against NFC teams, going 3-8 straight-up in their past 11 games (5-5-1 ATS). One thing that’s still unclear about this game is who the Broncos quarterback will be. Drew Lock is usually the starter, but he left with an injury during Sunday’s game against the Steelers. If Lock can’t play, then the job will go to Jeff Driskell. As for the Buccaneers, Tampa is 2-0 both straight-up and ATS as a road favorite under Bruce Arians.
Opening line: Patriots, -5.5 points
Putting the Raiders in a game that kicks off at 1 p.m. ET doesn’t usually end up working out so well for the Raiders. Including their win over the Panthers in Week 1, the Raiders are just 2-8 straight-up and ATS in their past 10 games played that kicked off at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT. Also, over the past 15 years, the Raiders are winless against the Patriots (0-5 straight-up, 1-4 ATS). As for the Patriots, this will be a rare 1 p.m. game for them, which isn’t good news for the Raiders, because the Patriots seem to thrive in 1 p.m. ET kickoffs. In their past 20 games that kicked off at 1 p.m. ET, the Patriots are 17-3 straight-up and 14-6 ATS. According to Teamrankings.com, the Patriots are 23-12 ATS after a loss, which is the best mark of any team in the NFL over the past 10 years.
Cowboys (1-1) at Seahawks (2-0)
Opening line: Seahawks, -4
Since it’s still September, we’re going to go ahead and mention this again: Pete Carroll doesn’t lose at home during the first month of the season. Since Carroll was hired in 2010, the Seahawks have gone 16-1 straight-up in September home games and 13-4 ATS, including Sunday’s win over the Patriots. As for the Cowboys, they’ve lost four straight on the road and they’ve only averaged just 14.8 points per game in those losses. The Cowboys have also gone just 2-6 ATS In their past eight games overall, including 0-2 this season.
Opening line: Saints, -4 points
The Saints have been nearly unstoppable in primetime games, going 8-1 straight-up since the start of the 2018 season and that number will jump to 9-1 if they beat the Raiders on Monday. If you just count home games in primetime, the Saints have won five straight while going 4-1 ATS in those wins. The Saints are also 7-1 both straight-up and ATS in home games where they’re favored by six or less points. As for the Packers, they’re 3-7-1 ATS in primetime games since the start of the 2018 season. Of course, betting against this Packers team might not be so smart, and that’s because Green Bay is 15-3 straight-up and 12-6 ATS since the start of the 2019 season.
Chiefs (2-0) at Ravens (2-0), Monday
Opening line: Ravens, -3 points
If there’s one team you don’t want to face at home in primetime, it’s the Baltimore Ravens. Since the start of the 2011 season, Baltimore is 12-0 straight-up and 8-4 ATS in primetime home games. The Ravens are also 5-1 ATS in their past six home games and 12-1 straight-up in their past 13 games played in Baltimore. The Ravens have also covered in 11 of their past 12 regular season games overall. Of course, the Chiefs are on an equally impressive streak. Not only have they won 11 straight games dating back to last season, but they’ve also gone 10-1 ATS in those games.
As for primetime games, the Chiefs are 4-1 both straight-up and ATS in their past five. However, if there’s one time when Mahomes seems beatable, it’s definitely in primetime. The Chiefs quarterback is just 4-4 straight-up in his past eight late night starts (4-3-1 ATS).