NFL week 3 offers a dynamic mix of tight betting lines and big-point spreads as well, navigating through which can test even the most savvy bettor to find where the smart picks are.

NFL Week 3 – Sunday Night Football Smart Money Picks

Fortune favours the brave, so they say. So join us as we rundown through some choice Sunday Night Football games and try to identify the best NFL picks for the games.

Houston Texans (-2.5) at Baltimore Ravens (+2.5)

Image previewAnalysis: Before getting to nitty- gritty details, it should be pointed out that this spread opened at -1. Now it’s moved up to -2.5. But it doesn’t change much, really. All in all, this should be a slugfest, a tight defensive battle that will end on an equally tight score.

Much is being made about the Super Bowl champions not getting enough respect in this game by being tipped at the disadvantage overall – listed at +115 on the NFL odds boards to win outright and at +2.5 on the spread. But those that are of that opinion are simply overrating the Ravens (1-1, 1-0). They aren’t as good as their Super Bowl credentials suggest. Not at all. Simply put, Flacco is without the weapons he enjoyed last year – especially Anquan Boldin without whom he can do less damage against the opposition. Texans defense, which boasts J.J. Watt and Brian Cushing, has to have the edge over a Ravens offense that fails to excite much tempo on the field, no?

Much is being made about the Texans having to twice comeback from behind to win. Point is they did it and got the crucial W with a 31-28 win over the Chargers and a 30-24 win in OT over the Titans. Granted, last week’s game was a case of the walking wounded for the Texans (2-0, 1-0) and they could be without their beloved left tackle Duane Brown for the Ravens game – what could be a problem against their solid defense. But if Brown does miss week 3 Ryan Harris would step in for him reportedly and he is with some starting experience from his days with the Broncos.

Winning is winning, even if it is ugly. Good teams know how to win and the Texans (listed at -135 to win straight up) have shown us just how good they can be in the face of adversity and when the chips are down. While Baltimore Ravens are at home and could very well defy the odds and turn this market on its head, we’re going to stick with the bookies here and take the road Texans to win straight up and cover for our NFL picks.

Free Picks: Texans -2.5 at bet365

Arizona Cardinals (+7.0) at New Orleans Saints (-7.0)

New Orleans Saints (2-0, 1-0 home) consistently get underrated at home where they are 17-5 ATS in their last 22 home games. A seven-point spread – if we take away the typical three-point value assigned to home edge – means that the Saints are only four-points better than the Cardinals. Now while the Cardinals are a physical team with a very physical defense at the Superdome the Saints have to be considered better than the 4-point difference. This is Drew Brees’ stomping ground and his offense will surely harass even a respectable Cardinals defense. Don’t forget as well that the Saints’ defense has been revamped by Rob Ryan and have played a significant role in the 2-0 start on the season.

 Free Picks: New Orleans Straight up and to cover

Indianapolis Colts (+10.0) at San Francisco 49ers (-10.0)

After the forgettable routing in the Emerald City it’s hard to imagine the San Francisco 49ers losing at home. They have a point to prove, critics to silence. Now a 10-point spread is quite large, one of the larger ones this week but the 49ers are a side that can get the ball rolling. They are that good. Forget last week’s debacle. And if things go their way, they could run up the scoreboard just because they can and that makes the 49ers the smart pick here. Now much is being made of the Colts’ acquisition of Trent Richardson – which is a good move, make no mistake – but the Colts are still with overrated Andrew Luck and several key positions short of talent. Hard to imagine the Colts would roll into San Fran to do any damage. It’s just a shame for Richardson that his debut will be in San Francisco, when the 49ers are chomping for retribution.

Free Picks: San Francisco Straight up and to cover.