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Looking to bounce back after a down week in Week 2.
Looking to bounce back after a down week in Week 2.
Photo by Jack Gorman

NFL Week 3 — This Weekend's Best Bets

The NFL and the NBA, the two most popular leagues in our sporting culture here in America, have some drastic differences in the way they do business, but one facet that is becoming more and more congruous between the two leagues is the amount of control star players are exerting over where they ply their trade. Even while under contract, like stars in the NBA, NFL marquee players are finding ways to maneuver their way onto other teams, teams for whom they WANT to play.

Antonio Brown is probably the poster child for this phenomenon in the NFL, as he basically acted like a complete malcontent in Pittsburgh and was rewarded with a trade to Oakland, and a brand new contract. In Oakland, he never got on the field, as he malcontented his way, once again, to a release from the team, and immediately signed with the New England Patriots, which is what he wanted all along.

The latest star player in the NFL to reportedly demand a trade is Jacksonville CB Jalen Ramsey, who got into a very public shouting match on the sidelines on Sunday with his head coach Doug Marrone during the Jags' 13-12 loss to the Texans. Like anything with any degree of unknown outcome, we now must gamble on where Ramsey ends up playing once the Jaguars inevitably capitulate to his demands. Here are the odds, according to betonline.ag:

Which team will Jalen Ramsey play with next?
Chiefs 5/2
Patriots 5/1
Raiders 6/1
Saints 9/1
Titans 9/1
Chargers 10/1
Cowboys 10/1
Eagles 10/1
Packers 10/1
Seahawks 10/1
49ers 10/1

The Raiders and Titans are the two teams for whom Ramsey has expressed a desire to play. I wouldn't sleep on the Seahawks either, who are still sitting on some extra draft equity from the Frank Clark trade, and might want to rekindle the magic of the Legion of Boom days in their secondary.

CHIEFS -6.5 over Ravens
This is the first real test for the Ravens, who scored 59 points against the Dolphins in Week 1 (which feels almost like it's irrelevant) and then struggled to put away the Cardinals at home in Week 2. The Chiefs are playing their first home game of 2019, having won and covered by 10.5 points in each of their first two road wins over Jacksonville and Oakland. The only regular season loss that Lamar Jackson has suffered as a starter was an overtime loss to the Chiefs in 2018, but this one will really tell us how far along Jackson has come in his overall game. The home crowd and step up in weight class for Baltimore equates to a Kansas City cover.

COWBOYS -21 over Dolphins
The Cowboys look like the best team in the NFC, two weeks in, and the Dolphins just traded their last coveted player in safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. All those first round picks they've piled up for their only good players aren't going to help the Dolphins on Sunday, as they look to pile up more negative margin on the already abysmal -92 total margin they've piled up this season. This one will be over at halftime, and the spread will be comfortably covered by late in the third quarter.

COLTS -1.5 over Falcons
This feels like a spread that is totally grounded in the sexiness of the teams. Despite being inconsistent and not all that good the last couple years, the Falcons are still viewed as a high flying offense, while the Colts, despite being a couple plays away from a 2-0 start (with both games on the road at the Chargers and at the Titans), are thought of as the team that Andrew Luck walked away from. The Colts are still a stellar overall roster, and Jacoby Brissett is more than serviceable as a starting QB. The Colts are just better, and with a spread under a field goal, we will taken them and run with it.

VIKINGS -9 over Raiders
A noon kickoff at home against a bad team from the opposite conference — it's about as low pressure a situation as you could ask for in the regular season in the NFL, which means it's tailor made for Kirk Cousins. Vikings by 21.

Texans +3.5 over CHARGERS
Yes, a best bet on the Texans! Here are the things I like about this matchup for the Texans — the Chargers are banged up on both sides of the ball, with injuries at tight end, wide receiver, their best RB holding out, and their top two safeties on injured reserve. Also, the Chargers are a team that will make enough silly mistakes to let decent teams hang around, and with Deshaun Watson at quarterback, the Texans have shown they can at least hang in games like this (until it's put on their defense to get a late stop). With that extra half point to get the spread to 3.5, that's enough for me.

Rams -3 over BROWNS
This begins a stretch of five straight games where the Browns play teams that have started the season 2-0. The Browns won their Monday night game against the Jets by 20 points, but that was against a third string QB, and Baker Mayfield struggled again. I think Wade Phillips will have a good game plan to fluster Mayfield, and the Rams overall talent will wear down the Browns by more than the field goal spread.

LAST WEEK: 2-4
SEASON NFL ATS RECORD: 7-5

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.

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