NFL Week 3: NFL Picks For Patriots vs. Texans, Panthers vs. Vikings & Cowboys vs. Bears

The NFL 2016 season is starting strong, and the schedule for Week 3 certainly provides some exciting games with opportune picks. Whether you are a casual fan or a sports bettor, looking at the current odds can give you insight into a game and help you choose the smartest NFL picks. Football Locks provides all of the current NFL odds and lines.

New England Patriots vs. Houston Texans

Thursday Night Football heats up this week as two 2-0 teams face-off; the Houston Texans travel to New England to take on the Patriots. A general rule with betting on the NFL is to always back the Patriots. Literally, if all you did was take the spread and pick the Patriots the last few seasons, your wallet would be thicker. Even with backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo on the shelf, and a questionable Rob Gronkowski, don't rule this team out for Week 3 — they still have Bill Belichick.

Week 3 NFL Picks Patriots Texans
Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots [Image by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images]

The Texans look strong this season despite a few kinks to work out. Quarterback Brock Osweiler has had as many touchdown passes (three) as he has interceptions, but he still has been able to lead Houston to two victories. DeAndre Hopkins has looked impressive as usual, and so has the Texans' defense led by superstar J.J. Watt. So far, third-string quarterback Jacoby Brissett will be filling in for the injured Garoppolo; J.J. Watt could be trouble for the inexperienced Brissett.

NFL Pick For Texans vs. Patriots.

The current line has the Texans favored at -1.5. The spread initially started at -2.5 points for Houston, but it has dropped some most likely because of a majority of bettors backing the Patriots. Bill Belichick is arguably the greatest NFL coach of all-time. Even without key players, he has shown us time-and-time again that his team has a winning formula that rarely fails.

Until proven otherwise, anytime the Patriots are at home and getting the chalk they are the smart NFL pick.

Carolina Panthers vs. Minnesota Vikings

The 1-1 Panthers host the 2-0 Vikings Sunday at 1:00 p.m. EST. The start to the NFL season was rough for the Panthers as they lost to the Broncos in a Super Bowl rematch. Carolina bounced back in Week 2, however, when they beat the San Francisco 49ers 46-27. They still looked a bit sloppy in that game, as they gave up 27 points, and four turnovers, to a troubled San Francisco team.

The Vikings defense looked phenomenal last week and they should hold up well against Carolina. When Panthers' quarterback Teddy Bridgewater got injured, many speculated that it spelled doom for the Vikings — then they got Sam Bradford. Bradford performed well last week in an impressive victory over the Packers, and he's just getting started.

NFL Week 3 NFL Picks Vikings Panthers
Sam Bradford of the Minnesota Vikings [Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images]

NFL Pick For Panthers vs. Vikings

The line for this game has the Panthers favored by seven. Seven points is a lot to give up in any NFL match-up, much less with an inconsistent Carolina team and a solid Vikings team. Carolina may win this game but by a large deficit is doubtful. Taking the points and the Vikings is the smart NFL pick.

Chicago Bears vs. Dallas Cowboys

If you're not a sports bettor or a fan of Chicago or Dallas, than the NFL Sunday Night Football game may leave you with little reason to watch. The Bears are possibly the worst team in the NFL since the start of the preseason. Chicago is 0-2 this season, and they head to Dallas to take on the 1-1 Cowboys.

It's been a long time since the Cowboys have won a home game, but that should come to an end on Sunday. Thus far, quarterback Dak Prescott has done well filling in for the injured Tony Romo. The Bears' quarterback Jay Cutler continues to be a disappointment, and that is likely to continue in this game.

NFL Pick For Bears vs. Cowboys

The spread has Dallas favored by seven, and deservedly so. Earlier this week the spread started out at -5, but it went up a bit, most likely because of some heavy bets backing Dallas. Seven points still shouldn't scare anyone off; the Bears lost by more than that amount against the Texans and the Eagles. This is not as much as a pick for Dallas as it is fading Chicago; taking the points and backing the Cowboys at home is the smart NFL pick.

Week 3 of the NFL is providing plenty of games for some strong picks; for those wanting more action, ESPN provides the full NFL schedule.

[Featured Image by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images]