After underdogs had a field day to kick off the 2021 NFL betting season, favorites fought back a bit in Week 2. That said, plenty still failed to cover the point spread. Underdogs once again put together a winning week, going 9-7 ATS. A few favorites even lost outright, including one of those discussed in this very column last week. Given how well NFL betting underdogs have fared in the first two weeks, it’s only right to expect more surprise results in Week 3. The question is, just where will those outright upsets take place?
The following looks at three NFL betting favorites who are officially on upset alert ahead of their Week 3 matchups including the Kansas City Chiefs, Cleveland Browns and Dallas Cowboys.
**Author’s Note: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Seattle Seahawks are also on upset alert in Week 3. However, with those games having point spreads close to pick’em, they are not featured in this column.
3 Teams on Upset Alert for Week 2 | NFL Betting Picks
Chargers vs Chiefs (-6.5)
Nothing ever comes easy in games between division rivals. That is exactly what we have lined up this Sunday when the Los Angeles Chargers head to Arrowhead Stadium to face the Kansas City Chiefs. Both teams enter this matchup off of a loss. In fact, the two teams lost by a combined four points in Week 2. As the two-time AFC Champions, the Chiefs continue to be a favorite of the NFL betting public. However, Kansas City has struggled mightily against the spread going back to last season. Many betting sharps pegged them as a team primed for regression this season after they pulled out numerous close wins a year ago.
On the contrary, the Chargers were on the wrong end of several close finishes last season. The decision to hire Brandon Staley to take over as the franchise’s new head coach immediately lifted expectations. Many have felt that L.A. has had the talent to contend for several seasons now. Staley appears to already have had a positive effect on the defense. The Bolts have allowed just 18.0 points per game over their first two contests. That said, slowing down the loaded Chiefs offense will be a much tougher task. Sunday could prove to be a statement game for second-year Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert. Outperforming the top QB in the NFL today in Patrick Mahomes would be a major feather in Herbert’s cap.
Chargers vs Chiefs NFL Betting Picks
Since 2014, the Chiefs have won a whopping 12 of their 14 head-to-head matchups against the Chargers. However, they are just 3-2 SU and 1-3-1 ATS in the five most recent meetings. Herbert’s first career start came on a whim against Kansas City in Week 2 last season. After leading most of the way, the Chargers allowed Mahomes to lead a comeback effort and ultimately lost in overtime. With the AFC West looking like one of the best divisions in football, this game is crucial for both teams even in Week 3. The Chargers appear to have a defense capable of at least making life difficult for Mahomes and Co. In fact, given how K.C. has played defensively in their first two games, there is a real argument to be made that the Bolts are the more complete team.
Bears vs Browns (-7.5)
The Chicago Bears’ quarterback controversy took on an additional layer last week as veteran Andy Dalton suffered a knee injury in the team’s win over the Cincinnati Bengals. He is officially considered week-to-week, thus paving the way for rookie Justin Fields to make his first NFL start this Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. While ignorant Bears fans have been clamoring for the first-round pick to start for weeks, many NFL betting sharps are adamant that he is still too raw to lead the team at this juncture. If not for a defensive score, Chicago would have blown their lead last week as Fields struggled in relief of Dalton. Needless to say, he will have to be better for the Bears to spring an NFL betting picks upset.
While the argument for the Bears as underdogs isn’t exactly inspiring, the Browns haven’t exactly done anything in their first two games to say that they shouldn’t be on upset alert in this matchup. Cleveland had their hands full with the lowly Houston Texans on their home field in Week 2. It wasn’t until Tyrod Taylor was pulled from the game that the Browns were able to assert themselves as the better team. If Taylor was able to light up this Browns defense as he did in the first half, what’s to say Fields can’t do the same? In addition, Chicago’s run D is still among the best in the NFL. It’s hard to get excited about laying over a touchdown with Baker Mayfield regardless of how much talent surrounds him in the passing game.
Bears vs Browns NFL Betting Picks
I spoke with FlurrySports founder and fellow NFL betting analyst Zach Brunner about this Bears vs Browns Week 3 matchup. He offered up the perfectly scripted narrative as an additional argument for backing the underdog Bears. “Fields is going back to Ohio…I’m going to bet them to win outright right now since I know all of this shit is booked,” Brunner said. Indeed, it would be such a headline-grabber if Fields were to win his first NFL start in the same state where he starred in college.
Brunner wasn’t finished there with his narrative angle though. “Browns and [Kevin] Stefanski play the Vikings in Week 4. It writes itself,” he added. He does have a point. Cleveland may fall victim to the Justin Fields storyline on Sunday, but they’ll be on the positive side of the revenge narrative as they face their head coach’s former team next week. But for now, the Browns are firmly on upset alert.
Eagles vs Cowboys (-3.5)
As noted when we put the Kansas City Chiefs on upset blast earlier in this article, nothing is ever guaranteed against divisional opponents in the NFL. The Dallas Cowboys find themselves in the exact same situation this week as they host the NFC East rival Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football. Both teams come into the contest with 1-1 records, however, one could argue that the Eagles have been much more impressive in the first two weeks. Despite the fact that many NFL betting analysts picked Philly to finish last in the division, they blew out the Atlanta Falcons and really outplayed the talented San Francisco 49ers in Week 2 despite coming up just short on the scoreboard. The Eagles’ defense appears to be much improved from a year ago, and Jalen Hurts has been impressive as the team’s new starting QB.
Speaking of impressive defenses, the Cowboys deserve a lot of credit for holding the Chargers under 20 points last week. Even so, it still took a last-second 56-yard field goal from Greg Zuerlein for Dallas to escape SoCal with a win. The loss of star pass rusher Demarcus Lawrence is a major blow to a defense that is already weak. In addition, the Cowboys’ offensive line is no longer the feared unit of a few years ago. Dak Prescott has weapons galore in the offense, but will he have enough time to feed them against a solid Eagles defensive front?
Eagles vs Cowboys NFL Betting Picks
Recent history in this NFL betting rivalry favors the Cowboys. Dallas has won five of the last seven meetings and each of the last three on their home field. However, expectations remain too high for this Cowboys team given their deficiencies on defense. The Eagles have been impressive in their first two games and could very well go into Jerry’s World and spring an upset on Monday night.