NFL preseason Week 3 odds, schedule: More starters playing, bigger favorites, including Jets over Giants

The New York Giants' Alex Bachman (81) runs past Cincinnati Bengals' Allan George (42) for a touchdown during the second half of Sunday's preseason in East Rutherford, N.J. The Giants won 25-22. (AP Photo/John Munson)
PHOTOGRAPHER:
The New York Giants' Alex Bachman (81) runs past Cincinnati Bengals' Allan George (42) for a touchdown during the second half of Sunday's preseason in East Rutherford, N.J. The Giants won 25-22. (AP Photo/John Munson)

When the preseason used to be four games for each NFL team, the third game traditionally was the time to approximate a regular season lineup, at least for a quarter or two. Starting quarterbacks worked to be sharp, defenses wanted to see how their scheme worked and a real dress rehearsal broke out.

Now, in the second year with just three preseason games, tradition is changing. Some teams still play starters in the third preseason game — we will see more of the names you’re familiar with this week — because there’s a full two weeks until the start of the regular season. Some are using the second game as the new third game and will rest starters this week.

Some, like new Miami Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel, aren’t sure what to make of the new system yet. The Los Angeles Rams, in fact, didn’t play any starters in the preseason last year and went on to win the Super Bowl.

So what does that mean for the odds? Let’s have a look. The New York Jets are installed as 3-point favorites over the New York Giants on Sunday, mostly because Jets coach Robert Saleh has already hinted he’ll play many starters for a full half.

In fact, 12 out of 16 games in Week 3 have a spread of at least a field goal as of Tuesday afternoon at Caesars Sportsbook.

That follows a preseason Week 2 in which only half of the games opened with a spread of three points or greater but 12 of 16 ended up there, as more teams announced their intentions to play starters.

Contrast that to preseason Week 1 (and the HOF game). With few starters playing, only seven of 17 games had a spread larger than 2½ points. The more starters playing, the more variance is introduced and the higher the spreads go.

For the record, the favorites of 3+ have gone 10-9 against the spread this preseason.

NFL preseason Week 3 lines

THURSDAY, AUG. 25

Green Bay Packers at Kansas City Chiefs, 7 p.m. (NFL Network)

Line: Packers -3; Money line: Packers -160/Chiefs +140; O/U: 36

San Francisco 49ers at Houston Texans, 7:15 p.m. (Amazon Prime Video)

Line: 49ers -3; Money line: 49ers -170/Texans +145; O/U: 41½

FRIDAY, AUG. 26

Buffalo Bills at Carolina Panthers, 6 p.m.

Line: Panthers -6; Money line: Panthers -240/Bills +200; O/U: 42

Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys, 7 p.m. (NFL Network)

Line: Seahawks -3; Money line: Seahawks -160/Cowboys +140; O/U: 40

Los Angeles Chargers at New Orleans Saints, 7 p.m. (Fox-8, WAFB)

Line: Saints -3; Money line: Saints -160/Chargers +140; O/U: 36½

New England Patriots at Las Vegas Raiders, 7:15 p.m.

Line: Raiders -1; Money line: Raiders -120/Patriots +100; O/U: 37½

SATURDAY, AUG. 27

Jacksonville Jaguars at Atlanta Falcons, 2 p.m. (NFL Network)

Line: Falcons -4; Money line: Falcons -200/Jaguars +170; O/U: 36

Los Angeles Rams at Cincinnati Bengals, 5 p.m. (NFL Network)

Line: Bengals -2½; Money line: Bengals -135/Rams +115; O/U: 37½

Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns, 6 p.m.

Line: Browns -4½; Money line: Browns -210/Bears +175; O/U: 40½

Arizona Cardinals at Tennessee Titans, 6 p.m.

Line: Titans -3; Money line: Titans -160/Cardinals +140; O/U: 38

Philadelphia Eagles at Miami Dolphins, 6 p.m.

Line: Dolphins -2½; Money line: Dolphins -140/Eagles +120; O/U: 38

Washington Commanders at Baltimore Ravens, 6 p.m.

Line: Ravens -6; Money line: Ravens -280/Commanders +230; O/U: 39½

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Indianapolis Colts, 6:30 p.m.

Line: Colts -5½; Money line: Colts -240/Buccaneers +200; O/U: 40½

Minnesota Vikings at Denver Broncos, 8 p.m. (NFL Network)

Line: pick ’em; Money line: Vikings -120/Broncos +100; O/U: 38½

SUNDAY, AUG. 28

New York Giants at New York Jets, noon (NFL Network)

Line: Jets -3; Money line: Jets -160/Giants +140; O/U: 38

Detroit Lions at Pittsburgh Steelers, 3:30 p.m. (CBS)

Line: Steelers -4½; Money line: Steelers -200/Lions +170; O/U: 39

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