NFL Week 3 early odds: Vikings open as monstrous favorites over hapless Bills

We're only two weeks into the NFL season and it looks like oddsmakers have already completely given up on the Buffalo Bills

For their Week 3 game in Minnesota, the Bills have opened up as a 16.5-point underdog. 

If that sounds like a monstrous point spread, that's because it is. This game will mark just the second time since 2014 that a team not named the Patriots was favored to win a game by 16 points or more. Besides New England, the Saints are the only other team that's been favored to win a game by that big of margin, and that came last year when New Orleans was favored by 16.5 points in a Week 15 game against the Jets. Although the Saints won that game 31-19, they didn't cover the point spread. 

The good news for the Vikings is that if history is any indication, they're basically a lock to win. Over the past 10 seasons, there have been 20 teams that have been favored to win by 16 or more points and those teams have gone 20-0 straight-up. However, covering the spread is a completely different story. 

In those 20 games, the favorite has gone just 8-11-1 against the spread (ATS). 

This game marks just the third time since 1990 that the Vikings have been favored by 16 or more points. In the two other games (2009 vs. Lions, 1998 vs. Bears), the Vikings went 2-0 straight-up and 1-0-1 ATS. On the Bills' end, this is the biggest point spread they've faced since 2007 when they were a 16.5-point underdog to the undefeated Patriots. The Bills ended up losing that game 38-7. 

This game is about as close as you can get to a worse-case scenario for the Bills. For one, their rookie quarterback (Josh Allen) will be making his first career road start. Not to mention, he'll be playing behind an offensive line that's already surrendered 11 sacks through two weeks. That number might double with the Bills going up against the Vikings defense. Maybe the Bills should start Nathan Peterman just to make sure Allen survives and doesn't have any crazy thoughts, like quitting the team at halftime

The Bills are the only double-digit underdog of Week 3. However, there are plenty of interesting point spreads, including two undefeated teams that are both underdogs this week. 

Alright, let's get to the Week 3 odds. 

NFL Week 3 early odds 

(All lines from Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, all games on Sunday unless noted)

Jets (1-1) at Browns (0-1-1), Thursday 

Opening line: Browns, -3 points

In 2017, betting on the Browns basically meant throwing your money away, and that's because Cleveland was an NFL-worst 4-12 against the spread. However, that's not the case this season. Through two weeks, the Browns are 2-0 ATS, which is tied for the best mark in the NFL. To cover this spread though, they're actually going to have to win, which they haven't done since December 2016. Betting on the Browns in primetime usually isn't a good idea, with the team going 0-3 both straight-up and ATS since 2015. The Jets have won five straight against the Browns, including two wins over Hue Jackson (2016 and 2017). If there's one thing weird about this game, it's the fact that the Browns are a favorite. This marks just the second time in 35 games that Cleveland has been favored. The last time it happened came in 2017 when the Browns lost 31-28 to the Colts as a 1-point favorite. 

Saints (1-1) at Falcons (1-1)

Opening line: Falcons, -3 points

The NFC South sent three teams to the playoffs in 2017, and shockingly, all three of those teams are tied for last place after two weeks, staring up at the 2-0 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Falcons have won three of the past four in this rivalry, including the past two games in Atlanta. This game will actually mark the Saints first road game of the season, which we're only noting because the Saints always seem to struggle in their road opener. Since 2011, the Saints have gone 1-6 both straight-up and ATS in their first road game. Road or not, betting on New Orleans has been a risky move this year, with the Saints 0-2 ATS through two weeks. 

49ers (1-1) at Chiefs (2-0)

Opening line: Chiefs, -5.5 points

If there's one person you don't want to bet against right now, it's probably Patrick Mahomes. Through the first two weeks of the season, Mahomes has thrown 10 touchdown passes, which is the most of any quarterback ever through two weeks. Mahomes and the Chiefs are 2-0 ATS, which is even more impressive when you consider that both games came on the road. This Week 3 game against the 49ers will be the Chiefs' home opener. The 49ers might not win this game, but it wouldn't be a shock to see them cover. In Kyle Shanahan's first season as coach last year, the Niners went 5-2 ATS as a road underdog. That being said, the 49ers haven't won in Kansas City since 1982 and they're just 3-12 straight-up in their past 15 games that kicked off at 1 p.m. ET.  

Raiders (0-2) at Dolphins (2-0)

Opening line: Dolphins, -4.5 points

It's too bad the Raiders don't play all their games in Florida, because that's the one state in the Eastern Time Zone where they actually play well. Since the beginning of the 2013 season, the Raiders have played 16 games in eastern time. In those games, they've gone 2-11 outside of Florida, but 3-0 inside of Florida, including a 27-24 win over the Dolphins last season in a game where Oakland was a three-point favorite. However, you should probably think twice before betting against the Dolphins and that's because Ryan Tannehill has turned into a covering machine. Over his past 10 starts, Tannehill is 9-1 straight-up and 8-2 ATS, including 2-0 this year. On the flip side, since his rookie year in 2014, Derek Carr has covered more games as a road underdog (16-11) than any other quarterback in the NFL over that span. 

Bills (0-2) at Vikings (1-0-1)

Opening line: Vikings, -16.5 points

If there's one team you probably don't want to bet on right now, it's the Bills. Through two games, the Bills are 0-2 ATS and they haven't really come close to covering the spread. Bills quarterback Josh Allen will be making the first road start of his career and he'll be doing it against a Vikings defense that has been known to destroy quarterbacks. Not to mention, the Vikings have been one of the safest bets in the NFL under Mike Zimmer. Since he took over in 2014, the Vikings have gone 13-3 ATS against AFC teams, which is the best mark in the NFL over that span. The Vikings have also gone 25-10 ATS at home in that same timeframe, including the playoffs, which is also the best record in the NFL over that span. Oh, and the Bills are averaging just 4.3 points per game in their past three September road games. 

Colts (1-1) at Eagles (1-1)

Opening line: NO LINE

This is one of just two games in Week 3 that doesn't have an opening line and that's because oddsmakers aren't sure who's going to be playing quarterback for the Eagles. Although Nick Foles has been under center through the first two weeks, multiple reports have suggested that Carson Wentz could finally be cleared to play this week. No matter who the quarterback is, the Eagles could be a smart bet here. Not only are they 9-1 straight-up in their past 10 home games, but they're also 6-3 ATS against AFC teams since Doug Pederson took over as coach in 2016. Of course, betting against Andrew Luck might not be the best idea. Luck is 4-0 straight-up and 4-0 ATS in his past four games against the NFC and the impressive part is that the Colts were underdogs in all four of those games, including Indy's Week 2 win over the Redskins

Packers (1-0-1) at Redskins (1-1)

Opening line: Packers, -2.5 points

For the second straight week, we could be getting a daily dose of Aaron Rodgers health updates and that's because the Packers quarterback apparently has an injury that could take up to two months to heal. If Rodgers is practicing with an injured knee, there's always a chance he could experience a setback, which is why this will be a fascinating point spread to watch throughout the week. This game will actually serve as the Packers' road opener and let's just say, if there's one time to bet against the Packers' it's in their road openers. Since 2012, Green Bay has gone just 2-4 straight-up in their road opener. 

Bengals (2-0) at Panthers (1-1)

Opening line: Panthers, -3 points

After two weeks of the season, there are only seven teams left that are 2-0 ATS and the Bengals are one of them (The Bears could become the eighth team if they cover against the Seahawks on Monday). To get to 3-0, the Bengals are going to have to do something they've had some trouble with lately: Cover the spread against an NFC team. Since 2016, the Bengals have gone 3-5 ATS against the NFC and just 2-5-1 straight-up. On the flip side of that, the Panthers have gone 10-3 straight-up in their past 13 games against AFC teams, a record that includes five wins in a row. 

Titans (1-1) at Jaguars (2-0)

Opening line: NO LINE

There's no line for this game yet and that's because oddsmakers don't have any idea if Marcus Mariota is going to play. After injuring his elbow in Week 1, it looked like Mariota was going to play in Week 2, but then the Titans decided to hold him out and let Blaine Gabbert start in his place. No matter what the line is here, the Titans might be worth a bet and that's because they've been one of the best teams in the NFL at covering divisional games. Since beginning of the 2017 season, the Titans have gone 6-1 ATS, which is tied for the best divisional mark in the NFL over that span. The injury to Mariota isn't the only thing you should keep an eye on if you plan to bet this game. Jaguars running Leonard Fournette could be returning to the field after missing Week 2 due to a hamstring injury. 

Broncos (2-0) at Ravens (1-1)

Opening line: Ravens, -5.5 points

At 2-0 on the season, the Broncos might seem like a safe bet, but that simply hasn't been the case this year: Denver is the only 2-0 team that hasn't covered the spread yet. The Broncos are 0-1-1 ATS, a record might not improve this week, and that's mainly because the Broncos have done a horrible job of covering as a road underdog over the past few years. Since 2016, the Broncos are 2-7 ATS as a road underdog, which is tied with the Cardinals for the worst mark in the NFL. The Broncos have actually been pretty horrid on the road no matter what the situation. The team has gone 1-9 straight-up and 2-8 ATS in their past 10 road games. Of course, if you like the Ravens, you might not want to bet on them to cover the spread. Since 2014, the Ravens have been favored by five or more points a total of 18 times and they've gone just 6-12 ATS (11-7 straight-up). 

Giants (0-2) at Texans (0-2)

Opening line: Texans, -3.5 points

There are only six teams left in the NFL that are 0-2 ATS this year and these are two of them, so you might want to think twice before betting on this game. If you're looking for a reason to take the Texans, then you'll like the fact that Bill O'Brien is 6-2 both straight-up and ATS against NFC teams at home since taking over as coach in 2014. The Texans also have never started a season 0-3 under O'Brien (The Texans haven't started 0-3 since 2008). You know what, the safest bet in this game might just be the under and that's because the under has hit in eight of the Giants' past nine games.   

Chargers (1-1) at Rams (2-0)

Opening line: Rams, -7 points

The battle for Los Angeles officially kicks off this week with the Rams hosting the Chargers and if Sean McVay's career is any indication, it might be smart to take the Rams in this one. Since taking over as coach in 2017, McVay's Rams have been favored by five or more points a total of six times and in those games, they've gone 6-0 straight-up and 5-1 ATS. McVay is also 5-0 all-time against AFC teams (4-1 ATS). As for the Chargers, this will mark the first time since 2015 that L.A. has been an underdog of seven or more points. In 2015, the Chargers went 3-0 ATS in three such games, but 0-3 straight-up. 

Bears (0-1) at Cardinals (0-2)

Opening line: Bears, -4.5 points

This game marks the first time since 2012 that the Bears have been a road favorite of four or more points. Coincidentally, the last time it happened also came against the Cardinals in a game the Bears covered with a 28-13 win. As for the Cardinals, if there's one team that hasn't come close to covering the spread this year, it's Arizona. They lost 24-6 in Week 1 as a two-point favorite, then followed that up in Week 2 with a 34-0 loss as a 12.5-point underdog. How bad is it do score just six points through two weeks? This bad: The Cardinals are the first team to pull that off since 2006. 

Cowboys (1-1) at Seahawks (0-1)

Opening line: Seahawks, -3 points

If there's one lock in the NFL, it's betting on the Seahawks to win their home opener, and unfortunately for the Cowboys, this will be Seattle's home opener. Since 2009, the Seahawks have gone 9-0 straight-up in home openers and 7-2 ATS. The crazy thing is that's arguably not even the impressive part. The impressive part is that Pete Carroll has NEVER lost a September home game since taking over as coach in 2010. During Carroll's career, the Seahawks have gone 13-0 straight-up in September and 11-2 ATS. Of course, the Cowboys won't be intimidated. Since Dak Prescott's rookie year in 2016, the Cowboys have gone 12-5 in road games and 10-6-1 ATS in those same games. 

Patriots (1-1) at Lions (0-2)

Opening line: Patriots, -7 points

If there's any team you want to bet on after a loss, it's the New England Patriots. Since the beginning of the 2016 season, the Patriots have gone 5-0 both straight-up and ATS following a loss. If you need a another reason to take the Patriots, then just consider the fact that they're 8-2 straight-up (7-3 ATS) in their past 10 appearances on Sunday Night Football. Bill Belichick will also be coaching against one of his former assistants, which is something that never seems to work out too well for the former assistant. 

Steelers (0-1-1) at Buccaneers (2-0), Monday

Opening line: Steelers, -3 points

After leading the Buccaneers to two upset wins through the first two weeks, Tampa now needs Ryan Fitzpatrick to do the impossible: Beat the Steelers in primetime. In their past 10 night games, the Steelers are 10-0 straight-up and 7-3 ATS. On the other hand, the Buccaneers have been known to struggle under the lights. In their past 10 night games, the Bucs are just 3-7 straight-up and 5-5 ATS. Basically, if the Bucs pull off a win, we should seriously think about changing Fitzpatrick's nickname from Fitzmagic to Fitzmiracle. 

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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