NFL Pick ’em Pool Picks Week 3: Expert tips on favorites, upsets to consider in confidence pools, office pools

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NFL Pick ’em Pool Picks Week 3: Expert tips on favorites, upsets to consider in confidence pools, office pools

The public has been taking a beating in NFL pick ’em contests through the first two weeks of the season, but our value picks have paid off early. Coming out of last week, picks we highlighted in this weekly article are 8-2, while the public went 4-6 on average in those same 10 games. We’ll do our best to continue warning you of potential upsets and over/undervalued favorites by highlighting five Week 3 NFL picks that could give you an edge in your confidence or pick ’em pools.

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Week 3 NFL Pick ’em Pool Picks: Tips, strategy

How we identify NFL Week 3 value picks

Making good predictions is only part of the story when it comes to maximizing your edge in football picks pools. You also need to consider how your opponents are expected to pick each game. After all, you can only rise in the standings if you score points that your opponents miss. Two general strategies can help achieve that goal:

  • Look for unpopular picks that might be worth an educated gamble
  • Avoid trendy upset picks that aren’t worth the risk

The picks listed below provide some of the best opportunities to differentiate your Week 3 picks by taking on little or no additional risk. However, that doesn’t mean you should pick all of them — the upset picks especially. Read our football pick ’em strategy to find out why.)

Note: Win odds and estimated pick popularity data below may change between publication time and kickoff time. If you want the latest numbers, our product updates multiple times per day.

Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Point Spread: -4.5

Pick Popularity: 66%

Category: Fairly valued favorite

For Week 3, we start off with one of the bigger value opportunities of the week. For the second week in a row, our biggest value favorite comes opposite the Steelers. The Browns are a 4.5-point favorite, but the public is picking six different teams favored by a field goal or less at a higher rate than it’s picking the Browns.

That should lead you to pencil in Cleveland to start your week in all pick ’em formats. Even in spread-based pools, Pittsburgh is one of only two underdogs drawing over half of the public’s picks this week, a rare case of the public being on an underdog.

It makes us wonder if anyone has actually watched Steelers QB Mitchell Trubisky play quarterback this year.

WEEK 3 DFS LINEUPS: FanDuel | DraftKings

Atlanta Falcons at Seattle Seahawks

Point Spread: +1.5

Pick Popularity: 28%

Category: Unpopular toss-up

For the second week in a row, one of our other biggest value plays is coming on the team playing Seattle. For the public, memories of Seattle beating Denver on the opening Monday Night Football game of the season are hard to shake, never mind the fact that Seattle got super lucky by recovering two Denver goal-line fumbles in that game. Seattle is 31st in total yards through two weeks, ahead of only Chicago.

Last year, Seattle ran a league-low 954 offensive plays, or about 56 per game. So far in 2022, the Seahawks have managed to make last year look like the Greatest Show on Turf, with a per-game average of only 48 offensive plays over the first two weeks.

Meanwhile, Atlanta has been a “bad-but-fun” team this season and has shown some signs of life. First the Falcons blew a late lead to the New Orleans Saints in Week 1. Then, after some early miscues, they nearly came back to beat the Rams on the road in Week 2, but a pass into the end zone was intercepted late.

The Seahawks are only a narrow favorite at home, but 72 percent of the public is picking Seattle in game winner-based pick ’em pools. That presents a solid value opportunity in a game that is likely to be closer than most people apparently think.

Football Picks From TeamRankings:

Pick ’em Pool Picks | Survivor Picks | NFL Betting Picks

Houston Texans at Chicago Bears

Point Spread: +3.0

Pick Popularity: 17%

Category: Value upset gamble in weekly contests

So far we have highlighted Week 3 value picks that go against teams ranked 30th and 31st in total yards, respectively, through two games. Guess who ranks dead last at 32nd? That would be the Bears, who are drawing an extreme 83 percent of the public’s picks in a game against the Texans.

The Bears have managed fewer than 200 total passing yards through two games in 2022. One conclusion here is that a segment of the public apparently loves bad offense, fullback dives, and turning the clock back to the 20’s—the 1920’s, that is.

Houston is not a great team by any means, but when the public is so heavily on one side in a relatively close matchup like this, it’s almost always worth the risk to pick the upset, especially in weekly prize contests.

WEEK 3 FANTASY PPR RANKINGS:

QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | D/STs | Kickers

Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions

Point Spread: -6.0

Popularity: 78%

Category: Large favorite at higher confidence points

We ordinarily might not highlight a team with 70-percent win odds and 78-percent pick popularity as a value pick to consider, but this isn’t a typical week. There are no big favorites in Week 3, and the Vikings are right in line with the Chargers, Chiefs, and Eagles for the highest win odds of the week. However, Minnesota is a far less popular pick, as the Chiefs (96-percent pick popularity) and Chargers (95 percent) are both being picked at much higher rates.

In fact, more pick ’em entries this week are picking a Lions-over-Vikings upset than are picking against the Chiefs, Chargers, and Eagles combined. As a result, you should avoid any inclination to pick an upset here. If you are in a confidence point pool, also consider playing Minnesota with very high confidence this week, which will be somewhat contrarian.

Green Bay Packers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Point Spread: +1.0

Popularity: 29%

Category: Unpopular toss-up

Yes, Tampa Bay is 2-0, but that record masks the fact that the Bucs’ offense so far has been disjointed because of injuries and personnel changes.

The Bucs have scored only one offensive touchdown in each of the first two games and gave up a pick-six in the fourth quarter against New Orleans. The team’s leading receiver, Mike Evans, is also suspended for this game after his hit on Saints CB Marshon Lattimore late in last week’s contest.

The Packers have a better chance of winning this game than the public is giving them. The betting line has been moving down, and by post time Green Bay was only a one-point underdog. Given that over 70 percent of a typical NFL pick ’em contest is currently picking the Bucs, there’s a good payoff here if those numbers hold and Green Bay wins.

MORE POOLGENIUS: Week 3 survivor pool advice

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Over the past eight years, our subscribers have reported winning prizes in season-long football pools more than three times as often as one would expect. So, if you learned something from this article, we encourage you to check it out.

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Good luck in your pools this week!