Week 3 round-robin underdog parlay: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
The Bills weren't vulnerable in Week 2, but luckily, every other one of our five underdogs came through. Three outright winners, plus the Cardinals, who built a significant 17-point lead, and we're 2-for-2 for as high as +7.5 units before factoring in an 8-2 record against the spread.
There hasn't been a touchdown underdog to win outright yet this season. With the way the matchups fall in Week 3, we'll need a shocker or two just to have something to work with.
How it works
We parlay five underdogs together - which we also 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'll 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, you'll be diving into a gold doubloon silo like a young Scrooge McDuck.
Who to play
Commanders (+250) over Bills
We'll take another shot at Buffalo with a team that's starting to put the pieces together thanks to Sam Howell and offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy. The Commanders seem to have found a quarterback willing to test defenses deep who can also buy time in the pocket without turning the ball over. Each game Howell plays should make him more comfortable running an offense operated by the former Chiefs assistant.
The Commanders' defense saw Chase Young return last week, strengthening a ferocious front seven that should trouble the Bills' offensive line. As a result, we could see the version of Josh Allen that turns the ball over at the wrong time.
Broncos (+230) over Dolphins
Just because the Broncos lost their first two at home doesn't mean all hope is lost. The Dolphins' home-field advantage should be limited after Miami played on the road in comfortable conditions the first two weeks.
For all the heat Russell Wilson has caught, the Broncos' offense has been far more efficient than it was last season. Sean Payton is making the appropriate adjustments to keep that side improving.
This becomes very interesting if Jaylen Waddle, who suffered a concussion, can't go, as it would allow Denver to roll its coverage toward Tyreek Hill and rely on a run defense that has allowed just 3.5 yards per rush.
Texans (+325) over Jaguars
Since the start of 2022, the Jaguars are 0-3 as home favorites against the spread, with outright losses to the Texans and Giants and a close win over the Titans in Week 18 last year. They haven't shown they can blow out inferior teams, evidenced by their Week 1 escape in Indianapolis, so expect a close game. Jacksonville was also 0-for-3 in the red zone last week. The Texans were beaten early by Anthony Richardson's legs and will be relieved that they don't have to plan for a speedy quarterback.
Houston's rough start has seen its rating drop, but the team should see the return of cornerstone left tackle Laremy Tunsil. That would help C.J. Stroud, who was sacked six times last week, one of which resulted in a fumble that put the Colts in the driver's seat, up 14-0. Stroud had some success while trailing, racking up almost 400 yards, and a healthier line should free up Dameon Pierce, who is in need of a breakout game and goes against a team that allowed 5.8 yards per carry to Isiah Pacheco last week.
Panthers (+240) over Seahawks
Bryce Young has been ruled out and this line has crept up from -4 to the verge of -7 with the looming involvement of Andy Dalton. The moneyline has gone with it. However, considering this is an exercise in finding value in the odds, is Carolina really less likely to win with Dalton at the helm than with a rookie on the road?
The Panthers' defense held up OK without Jaycee Horn on Monday, allowing just 4.6 yards per play against a veteran offensive line. Brian Burns and Derrick Brown could be missing again this week. Meanwhile, the Seahawks forced just one punt in Detroit, so this could be the best the Panthers' offense has looked all season.
Buccaneers (+180) over Eagles
James Bradberry and Reed Blankenship might return, but the Eagles appeared lost in defensive coverage without Nakobe Dean communicating their defense last Thursday. Baker Mayfield has actually been one of the NFL's top-rated quarterbacks through two weeks, and against the Bears, he was 12-of-15 for 207 yards when pressured.
Minnesota presented a soft box that allowed D'Andre Swift to run up the middle at will. That's not something Philadelphia can rely on with Vita Vea clogging up the middle. Meanwhile, the Bucs deployed a spy on Justin Fields, dissuading him from running more than four times.
How the odds look this week:
Who are your five underdogs for a football-betting lottery ticket?
Matt Russell is the lead betting analyst for theScore. If there's a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on social media @mrussauthentic.