Two weeks into the NFL season, how’s this for a strange-but-true stat: There are more 2-0 teams in the much-maligned NFC South (three) than there are in the entire AFC (two).

Every weekend throughout the NFL season, Sports Handle will bring you five “Best Bets” from Action Network‘s experts, including their research and arguments for why each pick is a good bet. Among the favorite bets highlighted this week are road games for two of those three unlikely NFC South unbeatens. Both the Falcons and Saints are short underdogs against 1-1 NFC North teams as they try to not just cover the spread but win outright and improve to 3-0.

Our colleagues at Action Network also have their eyes (and wallets) on some of the NFL’s marquee teams, offering insights on how to bet on the Chiefs and Cowboys — as well as how to approach the Sunday night game between the Steelers and Raiders.

Falcons vs. Lions

Pick: Falcons +3.5
Book: FanDuel
Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET on FOX

Charlie Disturco: Atlanta is undefeated to start the season, but the odds appear to be giving them no respect for this Week 3 tilt at Ford Field. It isn’t a secret what the Falcons game plan is — they are going to run the football and dare you to stop it. The Falcons run the football at a 56.4% rate, which is the highest in the NFL.

Sunday presents a great opportunity to not only buy the Falcons, but to sell the injury-riddled Lions. James Houston and C.J. Gardner-Johnson both suffered long-term injuries and landed on the IR, while Kerby Joseph and Emmanuel Moseley both missed practice all week and are unlikely to play. 

Not only does that mean the Lions are left without two safeties, but they’re also without a backup cornerback. Oh, and on the offensive side of the ball? David Montgomery is doubtful and two starting linemen are out. Amon-Ra St. Brown and Josh Reynolds enter with injuries, but are expected to play.

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Despite a 2-0 start and no signs of slowing down, the Falcons continue to be undervalued in the market.

For more analysis on this game, check out the full article here on Action Network.

Saints vs. Packers

Pick: Packers -1.5
Book: FanDuel
Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET on FOX

Blake Krass: The Saints are off to a surprising 2-0 start thanks to their tough defensive play. Meanwhile, Jordan Love and the Packers have had an up-and-down start to the year, but are looking for a big performance in their first home game.

The Saints are undefeated in the Derek Carr era, but not in the fashion many fans probably hoped for. The biggest problem for the Saints offense has been converting red-zone trips into touchdowns. They are 29th in red-zone TD percentage at just 37.5%.

This is a favorable matchup for the Packers defense. Green Bay has held both Justin Fields and Desmond Ridder to relatively pedestrian performances this season, but it was exposed on the ground by Atlanta last week. Luckily for them, this is another week without Alvin Kamara for the Saints, and with other injuries, it appears that Taysom Hill and Tony Jones Jr. will be getting most of the carries — not exactly a daunting duo.

Under Matt LaFleur, the Packers are 21-13 (61.8%) ATS as home favorites, the second-best mark in the league since 2019.

Of course, Aaron Rodgers had a big part to play in that, but LaFleur deserves credit for how he handles these home games against inferior opponents. I expect Jordan Love to continue his success through the air and the Saints offense to struggle in the hostile environment.

For more analysis on this game, check out the full article here on Action Network.

Bears vs. Chiefs

Pick: Chiefs -12.5
Book: FanDuel
Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET on FOX

John LaFranca: Bears vs. Chiefs odds for their NFL Week 3 clash at Arrowhead Stadium show one of the largest spreads on the Sunday slate, with Kansas City as 12.5-point favorites. Patrick Mahomes is 6-9 against the spread in 15 career games when the Chiefs are favored by 10 or more points.

Dating back to last season, the Bears have lost 12 straight games, and they haven’t held a single opponent to 24 points or fewer during that span. Through the first two weeks, their defense has surrendered 6.0 yards per play, which is 31st in the league. They’ve been around league average against the run, but rank 30th in pass defense DVOA despite taking on the likes of Jordan Love and Baker Mayfield — both quarterbacks averaged greater than nine yards per pass attempt against Chicago.

The ability of the Chiefs’ defensive line to put pressure on Justin Fields could spell disaster for the Bears. Over their last 12 games (going back to last season), the Chiefs have shut down opposing passing attacks to the tune of 6.3 yards per pass attempt, which ranks them tops in the NFL over that span.

Don’t overthink it: The Bears have only covered the spread once in their last 10 games. If the Chiefs offense was humming coming into this matchup with this version of the Bears defense, the spread would be closer to 16.5 instead of 12.5.

For more analysis on this game, check out the full article here on Action Network.

Cowboys vs. Cardinals

Pick: Cowboys First Half -6.5
Book: Bet365
Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET on FOX

Ricky Henne: The entire country expects the Cowboys to maul the Cardinals, as 84% of the public and 69% of the money is on them to cover the spread of -12.5. Personally, I see easier paths to back Dallas.

On offense, the Cowboys are averaging a league-high 22.0 points in the first half, which is 3.5 points more than any other team. However, they’re averaging far less in the second (13.0) as they play more conservatively with a big lead.

The Cardinals offense has been a mess to start the year. They’ve scored only three touchdowns on offense and were shut out in the second half last week against a Giants defense giving up the most points per game (32.7). Now they face the Cowboys, who lead the league in defensive DVOA at 63.3% — 16 points more than the second-best team and 24.1 more than the third.

Most books have the first-half spread at 7.5, but you can find it as low at 6.5, albeit with more juice.

For more analysis on this game, check out the full article here on Action Network.

Steelers vs. Raiders

Pick: Under 43
Book: Bet365
Kickoff: 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC

Chris Raybon: Week 3 Sunday Night Football gives us a classic NFL rivalry game: Steelers vs. Raiders.

The Raiders are fresh off giving up 38 points to the Bills and have been a get-right spot for opposing offenses for the better part of two decades, failing to finish better than 20th in points allowed since the George W. Bush Administration.

With all of that said, the Steelers offense is a concern.

Since finishing the preseason with a perfect passer rating — leading the Steelers to five touchdowns in the five drives he played — reversion to the mean has been cruel to Kenny Pickett and company. Through two weeks, the Steelers offense is last in Expected Points Added per Play (-0.33, per, points per drive (0.80), red-zone trips (two), and PFF pass-blocking grade (25.2).

This matchup profiles as an under spot.

The Raiders are 29th in pace on offense and have yet to complete a pass longer than 23 yards. Defensively, they rank 11th in explosive pass rate allowed (9.3%) despite facing two quarterbacks who like to go downfield (Russell Wilson and Josh Allen). The Steelers have a struggling young quarterback on the road, and he will be down one of his top targets in Diontae Johnson (hamstring).

Per our Action Labs data, Steelers road unders are 49-23-1 (68%) since 2014, beating the closing line by an average of 3.43 points per game.

For more analysis on this game, check out the full article here on Action Network.

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