It is Week 3 of the NFL season, and my computer model is back with another over/under best bet recommendation. We sit at 1-1 after a heartbreaking Week 2 loss that saw the total in the 49ers and Jets game go over 42.5 following a meaningless Sam Darnold touchdown pass with 1:33 left in the fourth quarter. Bookmark the PFN betting team here for all of our 100%, completely free content to help you achieve your maximum ROI during the 2020 NFL season.
NFL Week 3 Over/Under Best Bet: Washington Football Team vs. Cleveland Browns
Yes, another under play, making it three straight unders through Week 3. Maybe it is the villain in me, but I love targeting matchups with offenses lacking in efficiency early in the season. And when it comes to offensive efficiency, these two teams are cellar dwellers in 2020.
Furthermore, they have young and talented defenses that can fly all over the field and disrupt offenses regularly. The model projects this total in the high 30s, giving us tremendous value on the under at 44.5. Let’s dive into why this number is Week 3’s total best bet of the week.
Will the real Browns offense please stand up?
It was night and day for the Browns offense in Weeks 1 and 2. In Week 1, they looked hideous, scoring a total of six points against a very-talented Ravens defense. In Week 2, they seemed nearly flawless en route to 35 points against the hapless Bengals defense. Ultimately, this Browns offense is not as inept as they looked in Week 1, and not as good as they looked in Week 2.
That being said, I still believe this offense will rely first on the run game and set up their pass game through successfully running the ball. They ran all over the Bengals, and as a result, the Bengals were forced to stack the box, opening up plays like the play-action touchdown to Odell Beckham Jr. When they do not have success running the ball, Baker Mayfield has not shown the ability to take over the game on his own consistently through his first few years in the league.
Washington’s rebuild is built differently
We established that this Browns offense relies heavily on the run game for success. This plays right into the teeth of Washington, who have chosen to stray away from the traditional route of finding their quarterback of the future and have instead loaded up at defensive line and linebacker in the process of their rebuild. Chase Young is the apparent name we think of when we talk Washington’s defensive line, and he already looks like an All-Pro, but he is far from the only talented player in this unit.
Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne are super talented stalwarts on the interior of the defensive line for Washington. They will refuse to be bullied in the run game like the Bengals were by Cleveland in Week 2.
Montez Sweat and Ryan Kerrigan are both great complements to Young in the edge, and expect this unit to factor into both the run and pass games Sunday. The linebacking core anchored by Jon Bostic is solid enough to get to any backs that are lucky enough to get to the second level.
This Washington run defense is stout, allowing just 3.7 yards per rush to opposing running backs through two games in 2020. They will make enough plays in run defense to keep the Browns offense from moving the ball consistently, but the Browns will be steadfast in trying to establish the run because Baker cannot take over a game. The result is a constantly ticking clock, and no big splash plays on offense. This is a perfect recipe for the under.
Haskins struggles continue in Year 2
Remember what I said about Washington focusing their rebuild around the defensive line rather than the quarterback of the future? Yeah, Haskins has not looked like the type of quarterback that can lead a team to greatness through two weeks.
Please do not take this as me saying Haskins will never be good because he certainly has all the physical tools. He has had two coaching staffs and hardly any offseason, and the lack of continuity has not helped his development.
However, for the sake of betting this total, I do not have faith in Haskins’ ability to make the right read and move the ball consistently. While he has avoided an interception through two weeks, he has done it by completing just 56.25% of his passes on 6.26 yards per attempt. He does not take chances with the ball and is simply trying to get it to guys in space, and the defense can play closer to the line of scrimmage as a result.
Washington offense lacking around Haskins
Terry McLaurin was a rookie phenom and has not missed a beat in his sophomore season. However, he is the only Washington weapon that hasn’t underwhelmed in 2020. While Haskins may not be putting them in positions to succeed, the skill position players outside of McLaurin show no ability to transcend below average play at the quarterback position.
This was most evident when Cardinals Patrick Peterson locked down McLaurin through three quarters in Week 2, and the Washington offense was only able to muster three points in this time frame as a result.
To make things even worse offensively for the Redskins, they placed Pro Bowl guard Brandon Scherff on IR this week. Expect this to only further hamper the Washington run game that has averaged a paltry 3.3 yards per attempt so far this year.
Simply put, I do not see a lot of ways this team is going to move the ball consistently before garbage time, especially with the Browns expected to get some of their defensive stars back for Week 3.
Week 3 NFL Over/Under pick wrap-up
This pick passes both the eye test and the analytical model test. Cleveland will try to establish the run at all costs, and it will not come easily, allowing the clock to tick in the process. Washington will try to overcome their many inefficiencies on offense by getting McLaurin the ball.
However, the Browns will make someone else beat them, and frankly, I do not think anyone else on this offense at this moment can. Both defenses are loaded with talent, and both offenses have struggled to move the ball consistently. Don’t overthink it; play the under.
NFL Week 3 Over/Under Best Bet: Washington Football Team vs. Cleveland Browns u44.5 (-110) 3 units
Week 3 over/under best bets from the rest of the PFN betting team
George Templeton’s Best Bet: Chiefs-Ravens O 53.5 (-110) for 1 unit
Kansas City did struggle to score because the L.A. Chargers ran the ball and kept possession. Can the Ravens do that, and do they even want to? Baltimore’s offense is rolling nicely under the reigning MVP Lamar Jackson and can score just as quickly as Kansas City. Both defenses might be underrated, but it’s hard to see either consistently stopping these offenses.
Cowboys-Seahawks O 55.5 | -110 for 2U
Both these offenses are on fire, and both these defenses are allowing lots of yards and points. Russell Wilson has nine touchdown passes in two games, and Dak Prescott has 716 passing yards in two games. Seattle is dead last in pass defense, Dallas is 23rd. The quarterbacks will feast, and the scoreboard operator will be busy.
James Aguirre’s Best Bet: Dallas-Seattle O 55.5 l -115 for 1.15U
Last week’s Dallas and Atlanta Falcons over checked every box I look for when it comes to betting overs in the NFL: Pace, pass-heavy offense, location, and efficient pass offense/inefficient pass defense. This week’s Seattle and Dallas game doesn’t check all of the boxes, but it is still a terrific over spot.
The only checkmark it is missing is the game location. We don’t get the benefit of a dome, but there are still plenty of factors that point to an over:
- Both offenses are efficient and pass more than they run.
- Both defenses are very bad and can’t pressure the QB
- Seattle is one of the slower teams in the league in terms of pace, but Dallas has played at the fastest pace in the league (1st in total pace and situation neutral pace via Football Outsiders)
This is not a value play, as it is the highest over/under on the board. Despite that, the spot is too good in my opinion and I’m hopping on the over here.
Ben Rolfe’s Best Bet: Las Vegas Raiders over 20.5 | -104 for 1U
This Patriots defense is not the same as it was in the early part of the 2019 season. They are missing seemingly their entire linebacker core and a crucial player in Patrick Chung. Chung plays the role of “tight end buster” and his absence will be sorely felt this week with Darren Waller lining up against the Patriots. The Raiders are lacking some players on offense, but talent-wise they still have enough to go after a New England secondary that is lacking some key pieces.