Week 3 NFL Picks Against the Spread (Hanson)
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Here are my Week 3 NFL picks against the spread (ATS):
Baltimore Ravens +2.5 (over Houston Texans)
Even though the Ravens will be without running back Ray Rice, who is listed as doubtful on the injury report, Bernard Pierce is capable of handling the load. Pierce is averaging only 2.8 yards per carry this season, but he averaged 4.9 YPC last season.
On the other side, the Texans will be without left tackle Duane Brown, which means that Terrell Suggs and the Ravens should be able to apply more pressure on Texans quarterback Matt Schaub. I expect the Ravens to force the Texans, who are coming off final-play comebacks in back-to-back weeks, into several turnovers.
The Texans are 0-4 ATS in their last four road games while the Ravens are 5-1 ATS in their last six games.
Owners of one of the league's best home-field advantages, the Ravens are 34-7 at M&T Bank Stadium since 2008. Considering how difficult it is for the opposition to beat the Ravens in Baltimore, I'd gladly take the points here.
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Cincinnati Bengals +3 (over Green Bay Packers)
Leading one of the most explosive offenses in the league, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers leads the NFL in passing yards per game (406.5) and has a seven-to-one TD-to-INT ratio. The trio of Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and James Jones are one of the league's best.
The Bengals have one of the league's better defenses, however, and have not allowed a 300-yard passer in 17 consecutive games. In addition, they have a total of 53 sacks in their past 18 games going back to the start of last season. Meanwhile, Rodgers has been sacked 57 times during that span.
Not only are the Packers 1-4 ATS in their last five road games, but there is a lot to like about the Bengals getting points at home.
Pittsburgh Steelers +2.5 (over Chicago Bears)
The trend continues as I make it a clean sweep of AFC North home 'dogs.
Of my three picks, this is one in which I have the least confidence, but it's hard for me to imagine the Steelers starting the year 0-3.
The Steelers defense is still one of the league's better defenses as they rank in the top 10 in scoring and total defense. At a minimum, I expect them to keep this game close.
Although this pick is as much of a hunch as anything else, I see Big Ben leading the Steelers on a late fourth-quarter drive to get their first win of the season on Sunday Night Football.
Five of our contributors make three weekly picks ATS every week and they will be posted here.