(Photo credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
The uncertainty is slowly melting away, and Week 3 is a good time to closely consider some heavy favorites.
Several teams with strong support as Super Bowl contenders are facing seemingly inferior opponents on Sunday and offer significant betting value.
Favorites got off to a strong start on Thursday with the 49ers easily handling the Giants as 10.5-point favorites.
Fans and bookmakers might be factoring too much of that uncertainty into these lines, but just to be sure we are going to make the numbers more palatable and use two games in a parlay.
We have a primary play, along with a pair of bonus bets for Week 2.
Bears at Chiefs, 4:25 p.m. ET Sunday
Cowboys at Cardinals, 4:25 p.m. ET Sunday
The lines: Cowboys -12.5, Chiefs -13
For all the worry about the Chiefs offensive shortcomings (no dependable receivers outside of Travis Kelce in addition to a stuttering running game), Kansas City has three of the very best players at their respective positions: quarterback Patrick Mahomes, tight end Kelce and defensive tackle Chris Jones.
Compounding the concern for Chicago Bears backers, this game is in Kansas City and the Bears are working overtime to redefine dysfunctional.
Chicago's defensive coordinator Alan Williams resigned this week and quarterback Justin Fields has two TD passes and two pick-6s. He has been sacked 10 times and enters the game without starting left tackle Braxton Jones (placed on injured reserve this week).
Mahomes is not satisfied with his team's progress and aims for a much better showing Sunday.
"You play bad and win, it's a lot better than playing bad and losing," Mahomes said. "So I was glad we were able to find a way to get a win at the end of the day, but a lot of stuff that we have to be better at."
Bears cornerback Josh Blackwell (hamstring) was limited at practice on Wednesday, while safety Eddie Jackson (foot) did not participate.
Granted, this is the NFL, and when it seems certain ...
Therefore, we'll take that 13-point spread and bring it down to 6.5.
Applying a similar logic to the Cowboys-Cardinals game, we see a championship-caliber Dallas defense facing an Arizona offense that ran out of fuel during a Week 2 upset attempt against the New York Giants last Sunday.
Cowboys game planners have plenty of video to parse, assuring that the Cardinals' offensive wrinkles won't be able to overcome a vast disparity in talent.
Dallas, with Super Bowl aspirations, can't afford to let up in the desert, seeking a workmanlike victory similar to its Week 2 throttling of the overmatched New York Jets. Without cornerback Trevon Diggs, who suffered a season-ending knee injury on Thursday, the Cowboys might be in an emotional slumber.
Moving the line from -12.5 down to -6.5 should be enough to carry the parlay.
The pick: Parlay the Cowboys -6.5 and the Chiefs -6.5 at a price of -111 (BetMGM as of Thursday afternoon).
Fans know that betting luck is a real concept, so why not apply luck as a handicapping tool?
Proactively wagering on the Action Network luck rankings narrowly beat the spread in nine games that fit their model (4-3-2 against the spread), but that moved unlucky teams to 100-57-6 (63.2%) ATS since the start of 2018.
By the Action Network definition: "Luck percentage represents the win probability swing between a team's expected winning percentage from their on-field performance and their actual winning percentage."
A game that fits the luck trend, along with a player prop to consider.
Patriots at Jets, 1 p.m. ET Sunday
The line: Patriots -2.5.
In their Week 1 and 2 defeats, the 0-2 Patriots' margins were not reflective of the expected outcome, according to the Action Network.
New England was able to move the ball against the Eagles as well as the Dolphins, but breakthrough plays eluded them.
No fewer than six drives into Dolphins territory failed to produce a touchdown, and the Patriots collected only three points from those six opportunities in a 24-17 loss.
The Jets' luck is awful, of course, given the injury to quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Their luck percentage, however, is rated No. 7, meaning they're a mediocre team despite being lucky; the Patriots are dead last at No. 32.
The pick: Patriots -2.5.
Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa passing yards
Miami took down a pretty good defense in Week 2, solving Patriots coach Bill Belichick's game plan in a 24-17 road victory.
The Dolphins' Week 3 opponent, Denver, surrendered 35 points in a home loss to the Washington Commanders and must play in hot, sticky Miami.
Dolphins star wide receiver Tyreek Hill was held to only 40 yards receiving while Tagovailoa still managed 249 yards through the air as the Patriots played three- and four-deep safety looks and invited Miami to run the ball.
All signs point to continued success, and the over/under of 262.5 yards for Tua seems too low.
The pick: Tagovailoa over 262.5 yards passing (available at BetMGM).
--Field Level Media