After watching the Dolphins get blown out in their first two games of the season, it looks like oddsmakers are expecting more of the same this week when Miami travels to Dallas.
In the early odds for Week 3, the Dolphins have opened as a 20.5-point underdog to the Cowboys, which is mostly notable because it marks the first time in 32 years that the Cowboys have been favored by at least that many points.
That's right, not even the great Cowboys teams of the 1990s were ever favored by 20 or more points. From 1992 to 1995 -- when the Cowboys won three Super Bowls in four years -- the most Dallas was ever favored by in a game was 18 points.
The last time the Cowboys were favored by at least 20 points came in a game came during the strike-year of 1987 when Dallas was favored by 21.5 over Philadelphia. Although the Cowboys won handily, they didn't cover the spread in their 41-22 win.
Although the Dolphins are losing games by an average of 46 points this season, it might not be smart to bet against them. Since 1987, there have been 11 teams favored by 20 or more points, and although those 11 teams have gone 11-0 straight-up, they're just 2-9 against the spread (ATS), according to the odds database at Pro Football Reference.
The Cowboys are one of two teams favored to win by 17 or more points. To find out who the other big favorite is and where all the other point spreads landed this week, let's get to the odds.
NFL Week 3 early odds
(All lines from Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, all games on Sunday unless noted)
Opening line: Titans, -2.5 points
There's a lot of reasons to like the Titans in this game and a lot of it has to do with the fact that Tennessee has won four straight against Jacksonville and gone 4-0 ATS in those games. If you go even further back, the Titans are 7-1 both straight-up and ATS in their past eight games against the Jaguars. This will be the third time since 2016 that these two teams have played on a Thursday night. In the two prior games, not only did the Titans cover the spread, but they won by at last 14 points each time.
Opening line: Bills, -6 points
If you're looking for a team that somehow almost always manages to cover on the road, it's the Bengals. In their past 10 road games, the Bengals have gone 8-2 ATS, although that hasn't really translated to winning, as the Bengals are just 3-7 straight-up. That total includes the Bengals opener against the Seahawks where they lost 21-20 as a 9.5-point underdog. On the Bills' end, they went just 3-5 ATS in home games last year. They're also just 1-4 straight-up in their past five games against the Bengals.
Dolphins (0-2) at Cowboys (2-0)
Opening line: Cowboys, -20.5 points
This game marks just the second time in 30 years that the Dolphins have been an underdog of 20 or more points. In the only other game, the Dolphins lost 28-7, but covered the 22.5-point spread against the undefeated Patriots of 2007. One reason this point spread is so big is because the Dolphins are playing on the road, and they might be even worse on the road than they are at home, which probably doesn't seem possible to anyone who watched them play during the first two weeks of the season. In their past 15 road games, the Dolphins are 2-13 straight-up and just 3-12 ATS. As for the Cowboys, they're 8-1 straight-up at home since the beginning of the 2018 season (5-3 ATS).
Opening line: Packers, -7 points
Although the Packers are known for the home-field advantage that the frozen tundra gives them in winter months, it turns out they're actually tougher to beat in the fall. In their past 14 home games played in September, the Packers have gone 13-0-1 straight-up and 10-4 ATS, which includes winning and covering against the Vikings on Sunday. The Packers are also nearly unbeatable at home against AFC teams. Since 2011, the Packers have gone 13-3 straight-up and 9-7 ATS. As for the Broncos, if there's one team you should stay away from betting right now, it's probably them. Dating back to last season, Denver has lost six straight games and gone 1-5 ATS in those games.
Opening line: Colts, -3 points
If there's one team you should probably stay away from this week, it's the Atlanta Falcons, who seem to forget how to play football when they're playing against an AFC team. In their past 10 games against the AFC, the Falcons have gone 1-9 straight-up and 0-10 ATS. That is not a typo. They have not covered in any of their past 10 games against the AFC. On the flip side, the Colts are 4-1 both straight-up and ATS in their past five games against the NFC.
Opening line: Chiefs, -6.5 points
Although the Chiefs have been nearly unbeatable at home lately, they've had some trouble covering the spread. In their past 10 homes games, the Chiefs are 9-1 straight-up, but just 6-4 ATS. That total includes a game last season when the Chiefs didn't cover as a 6.5-point favorite in a 27-24 overtime win over Baltimore. As for the Ravens, they've been covering machines on the road. In their past 15 games away from Baltimore, the Ravens have gone 10-4-1 ATS, but just 7-8 straight-up.
Raiders (1-1) at Vikings (1-1)
Opening line: Vikings, -7.5 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 20 games against AFC teams and they've gone 15-5 ATS in those games (12-8 straight-up). As for the Raiders, they're just 4-10-1 ATS in their past 15 games against the NFC (5-10 straight-up). The only thing worse than the Raiders mark against the NFC is their record on the road. In their past 15 road games, the Raiders have gone 2-13 straight-up and 3-11-1 ATS.
Jets (0-1) at Patriots (2-0)
Opening line: Patriots, -17.5 points
This is a monstrous point spread, but if the Patriots have proven one thing over the past few years, it's that they're almost always a safe bet when hosting a divisional opponent. In their past 20 homes games against an AFC East team, the Patriots have gone 9-1 straight-up and 7-2-1 ATS. The Patriots have actually been favored by 17 or more points against the Jets twice in the past three years and they covered both times. The Patriots have gone 4-1 ATS in their past five games where they were favored by 17 or more, including Sunday's 43-0 win over the Dolphins.
Opening line: Eagles, -7.5 points
The Eagles homefield advantage hasn't really been much of an advantage for bettors lately. Since the beginning of the 2018 season, the Eagles are just 3-6 ATS in home games (6-3 straight-up). The Eagles are also an ugly 0-5 ATS in the the past five games they've played in the month of September (2-3 straight-up). On the other hand, the Lions have somehow turned into a somewhat safe bet. In their past 10 games dating back to last season, Detroit is 7-3 ATS. If you just look at road games, the Lions are 6-3 ATS since the beginning of last season (3-6 straight-up). Since drafting Matthew Stafford, the Lions have played in Philadelphia three times and they're 3-0 ATS in those games (2-1 straight-up).
Opening line: Panthers, -3.5 points
The Cardinals have been one of the worst home teams in the NFL, lately. Since the beginning of last season Arizona is just 1-7-1 straight-up in home games (5-4 ATS). Of course, if there's one team you should never bet on when they're playing on the road, it's the Panthers. In their past 10 road games, the Panthers have gone 2-8 both straight-up and ATS. It's also probably worth noting that the Panthers have lost eight straight games that Cam Newton has started. Basically, betting against Newton has become profitable, with the Panthers going just 1-7 ATS in his last eight starts.
Giants (0-2) at Buccaneers (1-1)
Opening line: Buccaneers, -6 points
These teams met in Week 11 last season, and ever since that game, the Bucs have somehow turned into a safe bet. In the eight games they've played since losing to the Giants last season, the Bucs have gone 6-2 ATS, but just 3-5 straight-up. As for the Giants, you might want to stay away from them, and that's because they've been horrible in September over the past few years. Including their loss on Sunday, the Giants are just 2-9 both straight-up and ATS in their past 11 September games.
Opening line: Chargers, -3 points
If there's been one lock in NFL history that has never failed, it's the Chargers over the Texans. These two teams have played a total of six times since Houston's expansion year of 2002 and the Chargers have gone 6-0 ATS in those games (5-1 straight-up). The Chargers have actually been pretty dominant at home since moving to Los Angeles, but they've had some trouble covering the spread. Since Week 7 in 2017, the Chargers are 11-3 straight-up in home games, but just 6-7-1 ATS.
Opening line: NO LINE
The reason there's no line on this game is because Ben Roethlisberger's health is up in the air. Big Ben left Sunday's game after suffering an elbow injury, and it's not clear if he's going to play against the 49ers. Of course, even if he does play, you might not want to bet on the Steelers. Since Mike Tomlin was hired in 2007, Big Ben has gone 0-5 both straight-up and ATS on the west coast. The only west coast win of Tomlin's head coaching career came in 2015 in a game that Big Ben didn't start. As for the 49ers, they're 4-1 ATS in their past five games against the AFC.
Saints (1-1) at Seahawks (2-0)
Opening line: NO LINE
This is the only other game with no line this week, and the reason there's no point spread here is because Drew Brees' health . The Saints quarterback left Sunday's game with a thumb injury and there's a chance he could miss substantial time. Of course, it might not matter if Brees plays and that's because the Seahawks are UNBEATABLE at home in September. Since Pete Carroll was hired in 2010, the Seahawks have gone 15-0 straight-up in September home games and 12-3 ATS.
Opening line: Rams, -3 points
The Rams have been one of the best road teams in the NFL under Sean McVay. Since hiring McVay in 2017, the Rams have gone 14-3 straight-up and 10-7 ATS in regular season road games. The Rams have also been absolutely dominant against AFC teams under McVay, going 8-0 straight-up and 5-2-1 ATS in his career. If there's one spot where McVay teams have struggled, it's in primetime. The Rams are just 1-4-1 ATS in night games under McVay (4-2 straight-up). As for the Browns, they've covered in four straight games against NFC teams (2-2 straight-up). The Browns are also 2-0 both straight-up and ATS in primetime games that Baker Mayfield has played in.
Opening line: Bears, -6.5 points
If there's one team you should stay far away from on Monday nights, it's the Washington Redskins. Since 2013, the Redskins have played on Monday a total of 11 times, and in those games, they've gone 1-10 both straight-up and ATS. On the other hand, the Bears have gone 4-1 ATS in their past five primetime games (3-2 straight-up). Although the Redskins have been horrible on Mondays, they've won seven straight games against the Bears dating back to 2004 (6-1 ATS).