Week 3 NFL panel picks: Are Rams poised to upset Brady, Bucs?

Drew Livingstone and Cam Stewart handicap the huge Week 3 tilt between Tom Brady and the 2-0 Buccaneers and the 2-0 Rams, where they're both all in on Matt Stafford and the Rams exposing the champs a bit and bringing them back down to earth.

Throughout the 2021 season, a panel of Sportsnet’s NFL contributors will preview each week’s slate of games from a gambling perspective. Staff writer/host Donnovan Bennett, staff writers Emily Sadler and Mike Johnston, plus fantasy writers Andy McNamara and Matt Marchese will pick one FAVOURITE, one UNDERDOG, one OVER, one UNDER, including their personal LOCK, as they attempt to beat the odds

There are only six undefeated teams remaining as we enter Week 3 of the 2021 NFL season with the Buccaneers, Rams, 49ers, Raiders, Broncos and Panthers all starting off 2-0. More relevant to bettors: there are only five teams that remain undefeated against the spread as Las Vegas, Denver and Carolina also find themselves on that list along with Dallas and Houston.

Those lists are guaranteed to be whittled down this week with Panthers-Texans kicking off the week and the Bucs visiting the Rams Sunday afternoon.

Underdog bettors continued cashing in on early-season upsets and close games with dogs going 9-6-1 against the spread in Week 2 and another four dogs winning the games outright.

The Sportsnet.ca panel had a rough Week 2 (that’s putting it lightly) after going a combined 6-14, including 0-5 on their locks. There’s nowhere to go but up and Week 3 features a handful of tantalizing matchups.

Here are the Week 3 picks.

Donnovan Bennett, staff writer/host
2021 record: 3-5-0
Last week: 0-4-0
Locks: 0-2-0

🏈 Bears (+7) at Browns
🏈 Chiefs (-6.5) vs. Chargers
🏈 Buccaneers at Rams OVER 55.5
🔒 Saints at Patriots UNDER 42

My underdog pick is all about health. Chicago gets better with Andy Dalton out and Justin Fields in at quarterback. Cleveland has skill position health issues with Jarvis Landry now on IR and Odell Beckham Jr. yet to play a snap this season.

Emily Sadler, staff writer
2021 record: 5-3-0
Last week: 3-1-0
Locks: 1-1-0

🏈 Packers at 49ers OVER 49.5
🏈 Bengals at Steelers UNDER 44
🏈 Packers (+3) at 49ers
🔒 Cardinals (-7.5) at Jaguars

After getting two very different Packers performances these past two weeks, I anticipate we’ll get a more stable assessment of who this Green Bay team really is when they visit San Francisco… and they won’t be the underdogs for long. Meanwhile, in Jacksonville, I simply cannot see Trevor Lawrence keeping up with Kyler Murray’s dynamic offence – or keeping upright against Chandler Jones & Co. The Jaguars are simply outmatched in this one, making this an easy choice for my lock.

Mike Johnston, staff writer
2021 record: 3-5-0
Last week: 1-3-0
Locks: 1-1-0

🏈 Bengals (+4) at Steelers
🏈 Raiders (-3.5) vs. Dolphins
🏈 Bears at Browns UNDER 46.5
🔒 Colts at Titans OVER 48

Keeping things simple this week. Nothing fancy. Just a rudimentary scouting report based solely on the eye test and some basic math. I expect both Tennessee and Indy to have success running the ball and on play-action designs this weekend (how’s that for rudimentary scouting?!). Moreover, the Titans offence can surely score more than 28 on an underperforming Colts defence, while the Colts offence should be able to get to at least 20 regardless of which QB lines up under centre.

Andy McNamara, analyst/fantasy sports writer
2021 record: 3-5-0
Last week: 1-3-0
Locks: 1-1-0

🏈 Buccaneers at Rams OVER 55.5
🏈 Bears at Browns UNDER 46.5
🏈 Cardinals (-7.5) at Jaguars
🔒 Washington (+9) at Bills

Washington is no joke and quarterback Taylor Heinicke has proven more of a gamer than anticipated. WFT is a tough out with a stifling defence that will keep them in every matchup. Buffalo is the better team and I feel will ultimately prevail, but not by nine points. Bills win, Washington covers.

Matt Marchese, radio host/producer/fantasy football writer
2021 record: 2-6-0
Last week: 1-3-0
Locks: 0-2-0

🏈 Chargers at Chiefs OVER 55.5
🏈 Eagles at Cowboys UNDER 52
🏈 Rams (+1) vs. Bucs
🔒 Giants (-3) vs. Falcons

Crazy to think the Giants are even close to my lock of the week, but sometimes you have to trust the numbers. The Giants are 11-1-1 in their last 13 games against the spread following a Thursday night game. Daniel Jones is coming off a pretty good performance against a Washington defence that was supposed to be a force this year. Oh, and Atlanta stinks.

Here’s a bonus stat for you: The LA Rams are 7-1 against the spread in their last eight games against Tampa and they just happen to be a home underdog this week against Tom Brady and the Bucs.

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