NFL Week 3 round-robin underdog moneyline parlay: Enjoy discomfort
You saw it: The Chargers were heading for a go-ahead touchdown, but a 99-yard pick-6 turned the game around despite L.A. looking like the better team.
You saw it: After botching every high-leverage play, the Falcons (+450) came one end-zone throw away from taking a lead inside the two-minute warning.
Had any of those games fallen a different way, we'd be celebrating our value-based gambit after the Cowboys and Cardinals came through. Thankfully, all five underdogs covered the spread, and at 9-1 ATS this season, no tears need to be shed over giving up one unit after we've had some close calls.
How it works
We parlay five underdogs together - whom we bet against the spread - in 10 different three-team parlays. Using every combination of a three-team parlay is called a round robin, so we're going to use a total of 1.1 units to make 11 different bets: 10 three-team parlays and one five-team parlay, each for .1 units. You'll likely double your money if three teams pull off the upset. If four teams win, you're connecting on four separate parlays and will be very pleased with the return. If all five teams win, as they did for us in Week 1 last season, you'll be diving into a gold doubloon silo like a young Scrooge McDuck.
Who to play
For the second straight week, we're using a road 'dog on Thursday night.
The concern about the Steelers' offense being unable to keep pace with the Browns' may be valid. However, since the last time these teams met on a Thursday - when Myles Garrett walloped Mason Rudolph with his own helmet - here are the yards gained in each matchup:
It's less about the six straight games where Pittsburgh outgained Cleveland and more about the fact that neither team has cracked 400 yards - the exception being the Steelers' playoff loss in 2021. This game should be close, and the Browns' defense isn't all that the football community made it cracked up to be.
Josh Allen is 7-1 against the Dolphins in his career, but there are some polluted stats in more recent games - namely, a Week 17 matchup in 2020 and an early injury to Tua Tagovailoa last year. However, this rebuilt Miami team makes a big difference, and the South Florida heat provides a home-field advantage that can affect the Bills, who've had two comfy atmospheres to start the season.
Buffalo has gotten by despite not having Tre'Davious White back and starting a rookie at corner because the Rams didn't have a second option to Cooper Kupp and the Titans didn't really have a first option on the outside. Now the Bills' secondary gets a new challenge: Accounting for both Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.
Justin Fields has completed 15 forward passes this season, and the Bears are giving a full field goal against a competitive side. The Texans' run defense has been middle of the road, but facing the Colts' and Broncos' run games should mean we grade them on a curve. Meanwhile, teams have gashed Chicago on the ground, so Houston can have its offense loosened up for both Dameon Pierce and Davis Mills via play-action.
The Eagles bandwagon is as full as can be after an impressive win at home on Monday night in an electric environment. However, the Vikings were given every opportunity to get back into that game but refused to convert their chances. Coming off short rest, Philly could sleep through a mid-afternoon game in a reputedly lame environment.
If you're worried about Carson Wentz, the Commanders faced the Eagles with Taylor Heinicke and Garrett Gilbert last season, so at least it's an upgrade. I wouldn't want Wentz in front of a Philly crowd that had ample vitriol for Jalen Reagor, but Washington's offense has been solid so far, making the team worth a shot as the home 'dog at +250.
One prominent offshore sportsbook doesn't have this game available to bet. The ones that do - including theScore Bet - have this lined at -7, which is a number between what it would be with a healthy Justin Herbert and what it would be if Chase Daniel has to start Sunday.
Maybe Herbert doesn't go - in which case, you're getting value - but even if he can play, his rib injury won't disappear this week. That hurts his preparation and regular focus, and there's a possibility he'll be unable to finish the game. Even if he's fine, there's no ruling out the Chargers dropping this contest, with all things equal, against a team evidently good enough to pitch a shutout last week.
Here's how the odds look this week:
Who are your five underdogs for a football betting lottery ticket?
Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there’s a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.