NFL

NFL Week 3 betting tips: Back the Titans and Buccaneers this weekend, take the over in the Steelers Texans clash

September 24, 2020

WEEK Three of the NFL 2020 is upon us and while nobody is reasonably expecting a repeat of the Cowboys' and Falcons' probable game of the season from Week 2, there are plenty of reasons to be excited about this week's match-ups. With several teams already digging deep into their reserves as the injuries mount out, and plenty of upsets already in the book, value is out there if you can spot it. Here to help you decide is NFL braodcaster and journalist, Nat Coombs.
 

Minnesota Vikings vs Tennesse Titans

Sunday September 27, 18:00 GMT
 

If the Titans were the surprise package of the 2019 season, then their QB Ryan Tannehill was the surprise package of the Titans. Fallen from grace in Miami, Tannehill bounced into Tennessee as a backup, won the starting job from Marcus Mariota early on in the season and guided his new team to the AFC Championship, taking down both New England and Baltimore in the playoffs.

In the off-season, the Titans re-upped his deal to the tune of $118 million, and then doubled down with RB Derrick Henry extended on a 4-year, £50 million deal. Henry is still the focal point of the offense, but Tannehill adds more than just a perfunctory game management. His passer rating last season was 117.5 with a completion rate of over 70% but his YPA (yards per pass attempt) was 9.59 – one of the highest in the league.

Tannehill has continued from where he left off – again completing over 70% of his passes, and in the first two games has thrown for six TDs and no interceptions, whilst Henry is still second on the rushing charts, averaging 100 YPG, despite averaging just 3.6 yards per carry.

They go against one of the weakest defenses in the NFL right now, with a raw secondary that’s boasting the unenviable second highest EPA (Expected Points Added) per pass play in the league according to Pro Football Focus. Opposing Henry will often mean eight men in the box, which Tannehill can exploit, and the Vikings have lost LB Anthony Barr to injury which will impact how effective they are in limiting the run.

Minnesota’s offense is struggling too, though the match-up between Dalvin Cook and a Titans D that’s struggled against the run so far (allowing 5.1 yards per carry) will be key. Whilst the Titans may well be without star wideout AJ Brown who has an injured knee, Corey Davis and TE Jonnu Smith demonstrated against the Jaguars last week that they can step in contribute, and Henry is due a big game, and the line is crucially under the key number three, so I’m taking Tennessee -2.5.

Match odds: Vikings (23/20) Titans (3/4)
Handicap: Vikings +2.5 (10/11) Titans -2.5 (10/11)
Total points: Over 48.5 (10/11) Under 48.5 (10/11)
Tip: Titans -2.5 (10/11)

 

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Houston Texans

Sunday September 27, 18:00 GMT
 

Pittsburgh have started the season strongly and their impressive pass rush goes up against Houston, one of the more porous offensive lines in the game. Deshawn Watson, despite the limited protection, is one of those rare QBs that can keep plays alive and weave something out of nothing, and they had some success with the passing game in the Week 2 loss to Baltimore, with Brandin Cooks snagging some big grabs, just shy of 100 yards.

David Johnson looked good in the Week 1 defeat to Kansas City, and with those two match-ups (Ravens and Chiefs), Houston has undoubtedly had the hardest start to the season out of all the AFC teams. Falling to 0-3 is a deep hole to climb out of, even with an extended playoffs this year, so they’ll take the game to the Steelers, and land some blows.

Conversely, Pittsburgh will exploit the Houston secondary, with Ju-Ju Smith Schuster, Chase Claypool and leading receiver Diontae Johnson benefiting from the return of Big Ben at QB. I like the over 45 points play in this one.

Match odds: Steelers (12/25) Texans (9/5)
Handicap: Steelers -4 (10/11) Texans +4 (10/11
Total points: Over 45 (10/11) Under 45 (10/11)
Tip: Over 45 total points (10/11)
 

For all NFL Week 3 betting markets, click here

 

Denver Broncos vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Sunday September 27, 21:25 GMT
 

Denver go into their game against Tampa Bay without starting QB Drew Lock, leading receiver Courtland Sutton, RB Philip Lindsay and starting corner AJ Bouye, which adds up to a whole lot of trouble against a Bucs team that’s strong defensively, and that offensively is dangerous, if not yet fully cohesive.

RB Leonard Fournette took a more active role in week two against Carolina (two TDs, 103 yards, plus four catches out of the backfield) and his tag team partner Ronald Jones ran in another. They should also welcome back elite WR Chris Godwin who missed last week’s win over the Panthers, and if he starts, will line up opposite Mike Evans who torched Carolina for 104 yards and a TD.

Tom Brady has notched up another game with his new side, as he acclimatises to the Bruce Arians offense, with talk of his inability to throw a deep ball exaggerated. Pressure will be on Broncos rookie QB Jeff Driskell, and fellow rookie WR Jerry Jeudy, who’s a complete player, but was also banged up last weekend (ribs) and has had limited practice. This all adds up to a tough day for Denver, so take the Bucs -6 as they play here. The Tampa team total of over 24.5 looks interesting too.

Match odds: Broncos (43/20) Buccaneers (2/5)
Handicap: Broncos +6 (10/11) Buccaneers -6 (10/11)
Total points: Over 43.5 (10/11) Under 43.5 (10/11)
Tip: Buccaneers -6 (10/11), Buccaneers team total over 24.5 (19/20)

Check out the Nat Coombs Show podcast on ESPN right here.