Week 3 BALLER Model: Best Bets to Cover the Spread (Fantasy Football)
A couple of weeks ago, I introduced BALLER*, a machine-learning betting model that predicts which team will cover the spread in each NFL game.
In its first two weeks, it went 10/19 (52.6%) on its selected ‘Best Picks’ (‘Best Picks’ are determined through a combination of model confidence and outside football intuition).
This is not an official Fantasy Footballers betting model* but hopefully a useful tool to make your decisions for fantasy and leans on certain spreads and who could cover. For the full array of betting material, find season-long and weekly props in the DFS Pass and tune in every week to the DFS & Betting Podcast.
In this article, I will break down the model’s best picks for Week 3 (eight games)–let’s dive in!
Week 3 BALLER’s Best Bets
Keep in mind a couple of key points with this model:
- It is still using data from last season to predict these games — it will be better adjusted to each team with more data from the 2023 season.
- It focuses on the spread of the home team.
- It is applied primarily on which team can cover the spread, NOT “use this xSpread” the model spits out.
New Orleans Saints (+1.5):
With BALLER’s most lopsided pick (biggest ‘Diff.’), the Saints are in prime position to cover against the Packers in Week 3. The model sets them as 8.4-point favorites, meaning it thinks they have a strong chance to cover the spread!
Pittsburgh Steelers (+2.5):
Coming off of a massive divisional win against Cleveland in Week 2, the Steelers are poised for another upset in Vegas. The Raiders have had issues winning the turnover battle, and against a hungry Pittsburgh defense, there is room for the Steel Curtain to cover.
Los Angeles Rams (+3.0):
The Rams have outplayed everyone’s expectations in the first two weeks, while the Bengals have done the opposite. While the Rams have averaged positive expected points added (EPA) per game, the Bengals have averaged close to -6 EPA/game to open the season. Look for the Rams to cover in this one.
Tennessee Titans (+3.5):
With the loss of Nick Chubb, the Browns’ offense might be in trouble. Their typical balanced offense will likely rely more on the pass in Week 3 against a strong Titans D-line, which puts pressure on a struggling Deshaun Watson. The BALLER model’s xSpread shows the Titans as favorites in this one–they are in a strong position to cover the spread!
Dallas Cowboys (-12.5):
The Cowboys have been immaculate through two weeks – the Cardinals, not so much. With a Cardinals offense that has averaged less than 300 yards in their last five games facing what may be the best defense in the league, there is no question the Cowboys can cover this massive spread.
New England Patriots (-2.5):
This is a must-win for Bill Belichick and the Patriots. After falling short in their first two games, they now face a QB-less Jets squad that is averaging -16 EPA/game. Look for the Pats to cover this 2.5-point spread.
Los Angeles Chargers (+1.0):
It is a bit surprising to see the Chargers as the underdog against the 0-2 Minnesota Vikings–their offense has been rolling, averaging 366 yards and three TDs in their last five games. Facing up against a struggling Minnesota defense should be just what they need to cover this 1.0-point spread.
Miami Dolphins (-6.5):
The red-hot Dolphins host the Denver Broncos and open as nearly one-TD favorites. Averaging 30 points this season compared to the Bronco’s 24.5, it is quite possible they’ll be able to run away with this one and cover the spread.
As always, feel free to reach out on Twitter if you have any questions!