Week 3 of the NFL preseason is the most important week for teams as they prepare for the regular season. It’s as close as it gets to a regular season week for teams in terms of preparation and repetition, and starters typically play into the third quarter.
Leading up to Week 3 of the NFL preseason, GetMoreSports will have odds, analysis, previews and predictions for each game. All spreads, totals and props are from BetDSI.com, and new members can receive a 100 percent welcome bonus of up to $500.
In the first two weeks of the preseason, proven starters across the league usually receive only limited reps. However, Week 3 is generally approached like it’s the regular season, and the first half is almost exclusively starters vs. starters.
Now, game plans are still vanilla because teams don’t want to waste anything on a preseason game. But the games allow coaches and general managers to see how certain players look in live situations.
Sports bettors have an opportunity to watch teams play a serious half of football before the regular season begins. Obviously, teams evolve throughout the year, and what you see in a preseason game isn’t necessarily indicative of what a team will look like in the regular season. Nonetheless, Week 3 of the preseason at least serves as a valuable tool for both the teams and bettors.
As always, it’s important for bettors to gather as much information as possible before placing any wagers. Perhaps Tom Brady is only playing the first half against the Carolina Panthers, but Cam Newton is expected to play into the third quarter. That kind of information would have a major impact on any wager being placed.
While the first half of Week 3 games will mostly involve starters, many teams will also try to get backups on the field against starters to see how they perform at the highest level. Injuries unfortunately happen every week, and depth is crucial for a team’s overall success throughout the year.
NFL Preseason Betting Strategies
Every NFL game in the preseason and the regular season will have a spread, moneyline, total, team totals and prop bets. BetDSI.com offers odds for those in each game.
The spread — also known as the line — lets bettors know which team is favored and which team is the underdog. We’ll use the nationally televised game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Cleveland Browns as an example for Week 3 of the preseason.
Cleveland — who went 4-0 in the preseason in 2017 — will likely be the underdog regardless of whether Carson Wentz is available to play for the Eagles. Let’s say oddsmakers establish Philadelphia as a 4.5-point favorite. That means if you wager on the Eagles, they would have to win by five points or more for you to win the bet.
If you take the Browns +4.5 (-110), you would need Cleveland to lose by four points or less or win the game outright. Each line will have a number beside the point spread. That number, -110 in this case, is called the vigorish. The vigorish is more commonly referred to as the “vig” or the “juice.”
If the vig is -110 and a bettor wants to place a bet to win $100, then the bettor has to risk $110 to win $100. The vig can only be lost. A bettor couldn’t win $110, but they can lose $100. The bettor could only win $100 if that was the amount wagered. The vig varies from game-to-game. Sometimes it will be -130 or higher, and sometimes it will be -105 or even. If it’s even, then a bettor can risk $100 to win $100.
If a bettor doesn’t want to wager on the spread, they place a bet on the moneyline. It’s an easier concept to understand, but it’s a riskier wager. If you bet on a team’s moneyline, you’re picking that team to win the game outright. They don’t have to win by a certain amount. All they have to do is win the game.
The aforementioned extra risk can make this a trickier proposition than it sounds. If the Eagles are a -4.5 favorite over Cleveland, they’ll likely be around -200 on the moneyline. If you take the Eagles -200 to win, you’d have to risk $200 to win $100. So if the Eagles lose, you’re out $200. And if they win, you would collect $100 plus the money back you risked.
If you took the Browns on the moneyline at +180, a $100 bet would profit $180. However, the Browns would have to win outright. A one-point loss would be a $100 loss for the bettor. It’s a much riskier bet than wagering on the spread in either direction, but the rewards are also improved.
In addition to wagering on teams, bettors can also choose to bet on totals for each game. The total is how many combined points each team scores.
For the preseason game between the Eagles and the Browns, let’s say the total is 37.5 (-110). If you take the over, you would need the Browns and Eagles to combine for over 37 points. If you take the under, you’re betting on those teams scoring less than 38 points.
The points can be scored by either team. If you take the over and the Eagles win 38-0, you still win the bet. If you take the under and the Eagles win 34-3, you win the bet.
Team totals are also an option for bettors. If Philadelphia’s team is 21, and you take the over, they would need to score more than 21 points for you to win. If Cleveland’s total is 16.5, you can bet whether or not they score more or less than 16.5 points.
Prop bets are another option for bettors. There might not be as many prop bets available for a preseason game, but there will still be opportunities for bettors.
Before each preseason and regular season, bettors can wager on whether players will accumulate certain stats throughout the game. For the Cleveland game, there might be a prop on the number of Baker Mayfield completions. If the number is 6.5 (-115), you can choose whether you think he will have more or less than 6.5 completions.
There are typically numerous props available for players, including but not limited to pass completions, touchdown passes, interceptions, rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
A popular prop bet that’s challenging but entertaining is the first person to score a touchdown. About 10-12 skill position players are listed from the combined starters, and you can pick any to score the first touchdown. Passing touchdowns don’t count for quarterbacks, but they do count for the receiver who catches the touchdown pass. However, rushing touchdowns do count for quarterbacks.
Another popular prop bet it first person to score a touchdown. Several players from each team are listed, and there’s also the option for betting on the field. First touchdown bets don’t include quarterbacks throwing for touchdowns, but rushing touchdowns do count for quarterbacks.
Additionally, a bettor can also take the field to score first. That bet would win if the fullback scored the first touchdown or some other player not listed.
NFL Preseason Week 3 Games of the Week
The nationally televised games for NFL preseason Week 3 include Eagles at Browns, Lions at Buccaneers, Saints at Chargers and Bengals at Bills.
New Orleans and Los Angeles is an intriguing matchup as Drew Brees faces his former team. Both he and Philip Rivers are two of the oldest quarterbacks in the league, but they’re also still among the best.
The Texans and the Rams is another fun game that includes some of the best defensive players in the league. Aaron Donald, J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and Ndamukong Suh should wreak havoc on Jared Goff and Deshaun Watson.
An under-the-radar game is San Francisco at Indianapolis. Andrew Luck missed all of last season. If he’s going to be good to go this fall, the Colts will likely want to see him in the third week of the preseason. Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers finished the 2017 on a six-game winning streak. Can he make the leap to become an elite quarterback?
Atlanta at Jacksonville pits one of the best offenses in the league against one of the best defenses. Both teams are among the favorites to make the playoffs and possibly make a Super Bowl run.
NFL Preseason Betting Strategy
If bettors are unsure if certain starters will play into the second half, they do have the option of betting on the first half of a preseason or regular season game. Lines, totals and team totals are available for the first half, and that could be an option if bettors don’t want to risk wagering on the entire game when backups start playing.
Game plans usually aren’t too complex, but coaches can open up the playbook a little more for Week 3 of the preseason. Quarterbacks with new receiving corps might play a little longer to resolve any chemistry issues. Even if Tom Brady only plays a half, he might throw over 20 passes simply because he isn’t familiar with many of his targets.
Players with an injury history probably won’t see as much playing time. Nor will players that will receive a heavy workload in the regular season (Le’Veon Bell, for example). As always, it’s important to read as much information as possible to determine who is expected to play the most.
2018 NFL Preseason Week 3 Betting Odds and Schedule
Thursday, Aug. 23
Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns (-2) (FOX, 8 p.m.) Total: 42
Friday, Aug. 24
New York Giants (+1) at New York Jets (7:30 p.m.)
Denver Broncos (+3) at Washington Redskins (7:30 p.m.)
New England Patriots (+2.5) at Carolina Panthers (7:30 p.m.)
Detroit Lions at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2) (CBS, 8 p.m.) Total: 44.5
Through two preseason games under new head coach Matt Patricia, the Detroit Lions are winless and have looked inept offensively, something the team will look to fix in Week 3. Matthew Stafford only threw five passes in Week 2, and he and the rest of the Lions starters will see more playing time against the Bucs.
Losing in the preseason isn’t necessarily a sign of things to come in the regular season. For the Lions and Patricia, it’s an opportunity to evaluate personnel in live situations. Lions fans don’t need to panic, but this game against Tampa is a very important matchup for the starters.
Tampa is 2-0 in the preseason after a 30-14 victory over the Tennessee Titans, and Jameis Winston looked sharp in the outing. He completed 13 of 18 passes for 226 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Winston is suspended for the first three games of the regular season, so it will be up to veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick to lead the team.
Fitzpatrick will receive the majority of the reps and he wasn’t very sharp in the Week 2 win over the Titans. He completed only five of 13 passes for 46 yards, and the offense operated much more smoothly with Winston under center.
The Bucs will sorely miss Winston during the first three weeks as they play the Saints, Eagles and Steelers. Those would be challenging games even with Winston, but they will be even tougher with Fitzpatrick. This Week 3 preseason game against the Lions will be pivotal for Fitzpatrick and the Tampa receiving corps as they attempt to develop chemistry.
Starters won’t play the whole game, but expect to see players fully engaged in the first half of this matchup. It won’t matter who wins or loses, but both coaches will want to see starters treat this like a regular season contest.
Seattle Seahawks (+3.5) at Minnesota Vikings (8 p.m.)
Green Bay Packers (+3) at Oakland Raiders (10:30 p.m.)
Saturday, Aug. 25
Houston Texans (+2.5) at Los Angeles Rams (4 p.m.)
Tennessee Titans (+4) at Pittsburgh Steelers (4 p.m.)
San Francisco 49ers (+1.5) at Indianapolis Colts (4:30 p.m.)
Baltimore Ravens (No Line) at Miami Dolphins (7 p.m.)
Atlanta Falcons (+1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (7 p.m.)
Sunday, Aug. 26
For more NFL Preseason Betting information, check out our preseason betting guides: