Eli Manning of the Giants looks to pass against the...

Eli Manning of the Giants looks to pass against the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on Sept. 10, 2017m in Arlington, Texas. Credit: Getty Images / Ronald Martinez

If you’re a fan of the underdog story, then Week 3 was for you. Underdogs went a whopping 12-4 against the spread (ATS), with eight winning outright. There are more enticing point spreads this week, so ’dogs could rule again.

Through three wacky weeks, underdogs are 27-19-1 ATS.

My most confident picks ATS this week: Texans, Ravens, Panthers and 49ers. A few games you should stay away from: Bengals-Browns, Colts-Seahawks and Saints-Dolphins in London.

GIANTS (0-3) AT BUCS (1-1), 4:05 p.m.

TV: Ch. 5; Radio: WCBS (880)

Bucs by 3; O/U: 44.5

Are the Giants really going to start 0-4? With that defense? With all those playmakers on offense? Desperate times for desperate teams call for desperate play, so expect Big Blue’s best effort yet. Eli Manning and his receivers heated up in the fourth quarter in Philly, scoring 24 points, and that turnaround could carry over in Tampa Bay. The Bucs have playmakers on both sides of the ball, but they’re a bit of an enigma. They rolled in their delayed opener, then were never in last week’s loss in Minnesota as Case Keenum carved them up for 369 yards and three touchdowns. The Giants can force Jameis Winston into mistakes, and Manning & Co. will play like a team with its season on the line. 0-4geddaboutit: Giants win outright.

The pick: Giants

JAGUARS (2-1) AT JETS (1-2), 1 p.m.

TV: Ch. 2; Radio: ESPN (98.7)

Jaguars by 3; O/U: 38

The Jets go from hosting one Florida team looking ahead to London to another Florida team that just played there. The Jaguars’ 44-7 win over the Ravens was a big surprise, as was the Jets’ dominance of the Dolphins. If you like to play over/unders, this is a strong case for an under. Both defenses are strong, and a pick-6 or big turnover could decide the game. Jacksonville, aka Sacksonville, is better all-around, and its defense will do enough to win a 17-13, 20-16 type of game.

The pick: Jaguars


SAINTS (1-2) AT DOLPHINS (1-1), 9:30 a.m.

TV: Ch. 5

Saints by 3; O/U: 50.5

New Orleans avoided 0-3 with a big win at Carolina. Now, can the Saints’ defense from that game (13 points) instead of the first two games (65) show up? London games are so hard to predict, but Drew Brees and the re-energized Saints get the nod over Jay Cutler and a Miami squad that needed a last-second TD to avoid a shutout by the Jets. Unlike last week’s snoozefest, set the alarm for what should be a high-scoring, competitive game.

The pick: Saints



Steelers by 3; O/U: 42

This is one of the NFL’s best rivalries. Expect another close game between teams that don’t like each other. Pittsburgh, with all of its offensive weapons, has yet to fire on all cylinders, and this will be a tough spot to get on track. One, the Ravens are coming off an embarrassing loss in London, so expect them to show up in a big way. Second, they have won four of five against the Steelers, and the last four meetings in Baltimore. The defense gets back on track and takes out its London frustration on Big Ben.

The pick: Ravens

BILLS (2-1) AT FALCONS (3-0)

Falcons by 7.5; O/U: 48.5

Sean McDermott’s defensive approach is working in Buffalo, which is allowing a league-low 12.3 points per game. That number will go up after facing Matt Ryan, Devonta Freeman and a Falcons offense averaging 29 points. This could be close early, but Buffalo doesn’t have enough firepower to keep it inside the number.

The pick: Falcons

LIONS (2-1) AT VIKINGS (2-1)

Vikings by 2; O/U: 42.5

Went back and forth on this one, but the slight edge goes to a Vikings team that has outscored opponents 63-36 in two home games. Plus, they will be looking for revenge after the Lions swept them last season.

The pick: Vikings


Patriots by 9; O/U: 49

Gone are the days when the Pats are a no-brainer ATS pick at home. After barely escaping the Texans as a 13.5-point favorite, you can’t trust them at the moment with anything over a touchdown. Carolina’s top-ranked defense will keep this close, and rookie back Christian McCaffrey could be a handful for a struggling defense. The Pats already have given up 75 points in two home games after allowing just 124 all of last regular season.

The pick: Panthers


TITANS (2-1) AT TEXANS (1-2)

Titans by 2; O/U: 44

The Texans were one first down and a couple of defensive stops away from pulling off the upset at New England. Deshaun Watson — my new favorite player after he donated his first game check to three NRG Stadium cafeteria workers affected by Hurricane Harvey — played at home in Week 1, but this will be his first start there. The Texans haven’t played in Houston since the opener, a bad loss when most everyone expected them to help heal a hurting city. Don’t think for a second J.J. Watt & Co. forgot about that defeat. They’ll be more motivated than ever to get a home win. With the rookie quarterback extending drives with his feet, and Watt and Jadeveon Clowney chasing Marcus Mariota, look for Houston to make it six of seven against Tennessee. The Texans haven’t lost at home to the Titans since the regular-season finale in 2011. This is a great spot to take a home team getting points a week after they were oh-so-close to beating the defending Super Bowl champs.

The pick: Texans

RAMS (2-1) AT COWBOYS (2-1)

Cowboys by 6; O/U: 47.5

Dallas bounced back Monday night, but don’t expect the Cowboys to just roll over the Rams. Yes, L.A.’s defense is struggling (139 rushing yards per game), so Ezekiel Elliott could have a big game. But the Rams have bought into Sean McVay’s system, averaging an NFL-best 35.7 points. Jared Goff, Sammy Watkins and the Rams will score on a banged-up secondary. Expect a down-to-the-wire, high-scoring game.

The pick: Rams


Bengals by 3; O/U: 41.5

This is the epitome of a “stay-away game.” Let Ohioans worry about which team will start 0-4. The Bengals improved at Green Bay last week but still bungled away a 14-point halftime lead. Cincy has won five in a row against Cleveland, but this could finally be the underdogs’ day in the Dawg Pound.

The pick: Browns



Broncos by 3; O/U: 46

TV: Ch. 2

This AFC West battle is one of the week’s best games. Both are coming off surprising road losses, so expect stronger performances in what should be a close one. Denver has to get the edge at home after how good it looked there the first two weeks.

The pick: Broncos


Chargers by 1; O/U: 47.5

The Chargers must’ve kicked themselves watching the tape of the Eagles’ winning 61-yard field goal last week. They can’t catch a break, but this could finally be their week. Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa can get to Carson Wentz, and Philip Rivers should have success against a banged-up secondary. L.A. avoids losing three in a row in its new stadium.

The pick: Chargers

49ERS (0-3) AT CARDINALS (1-2)

Cardinals by 6.5; O/U: 44.5

San Francisco will be in this game, so take the points. After the 49ers put up 39 last Thursday night, expect a young team on extended rest to play with more confidence and test a veteran team on short rest. The 49ers’ line could give Carson Palmer fits.

The pick: 49ers



Seahawks by 13; O/U: 41

TV: Ch. 4, 8:30 p.m.

Something just isn’t right about Seattle. In a similar spot Week 2, in its home opener to boot, the Seahawks almost lost to the 49ers before eking out a 12-9 win. This is just too many points to give with such an inconsistent offense.

The pick: Colts



Chiefs by 7; O/U: 49.5

TV: ESPN, 8:30 p.m.

The Chiefs are playing like the best team in the NFL. As good as the Redskins looked dominating the Raiders, it’s hard to see a prime-time repeat — especially in hostile Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs have too many weapons on offense, so lay the points. They have scored a 50-plus-yard touchdown in nine straight regular-season games, a record. Look for Kareem Hunt or Tyreek Hill to extend the streak.

The pick: Chiefs

Staff picks and standings (best bets in bold)


17-29-1 overall, 0-3 best bets

Last week: 5-11

Giants Jaguars Saints Ravens

Falcons Vikings Panthers Texans

Rams Browns Broncos Chargers

49ers Colts Chiefs


22-24-1 overall, 1-2 best bets

Last week: 6-10

Giants Jaguars Saints Ravens

Falcons Vikings Patriots Titans

Cowboys Browns Raiders Chargers

49ers Colts Redskins


20-26-1 overall, 0-3 best bets

Last week: 7-9

Giants Jaguars Saints Steelers

Falcons Lions Patriots Texans

Cowboys Browns Raiders Eagles

49ers Seahawks Chiefs


13-19 overall, 1-1 best bets

Last week: 4-12

Giants Jets Dolphins Steelers

Falcons Vikings Patriots Titans

Rams Browns Broncos Eagles

Cardinals Seahawks Chiefs

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