Originally posted by sundown316
3...exd4 is OK,but I think Nimzovitch's 3...Nf6 is much sharper for Black. The main line runs: 4.dxe5 Nxe4;5.Bc4(threat Qd5)5...c6(stopping Qd5 and threatening d5)6.exd6 Nxd6(best of the 3 captures as it protects f7 and hits the B at c4. I've used Philador's many times as Black-it is a good counter-punching defense,and it avoids all the theory of the Lopez,Italian,et al.
Interesting comment. You imply a good point that 3 . . . exd4 may not be the Black move, and instead Black may do 3 . . . Nf6. I do need to be more prepared as White for the Black 3 . . . Nf6 you mention. As an aside, you indicate White 4.exd4 (position below) as the main line in reply to Black 3 . . . Nf6.
However, the database I use has 4.Nc3 (position below) (not 4.dxe5 you indicate) as White's most common reply to 3 . . . Nf6. And I like the looks of 4.Nc3.
Many of the variations with 3 . . . Nf6 have greater win percentages for White, though the ultimate move order (position below) you give (and explain well) has a greater win percentage for black. And it doesn't look the greatest for White, as you indicate. Thanks for your comment.
Back to the beginning, below are some of my notes. For 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4,
3 . . . exd4 as the first choice at 4736 games,
3 . . . Nf6 (you mention) as the second choice at 1801 games, and
3. . . Nd7 as the third choice at 1685 games.
The win percentages are about the same for all three moves.
The MCO also addresses these three moves (and as Black's top three moves). Stating that 3 . . Nf6 (cols. 1-2) and 3 . . Nd7 (col. 3) are the two options for Black in "maintaining the e5 strongpoint." Firmian comments that "Nimzovich's 3 . . . Nf6 [avoids for Black] some of the sharper lines White has against 3 . . . Nd7."
As for 3 . . . exd4, the MCO notes that Black gives up the center and this can lead to "sharp positions" after White retakes with Nxd4 (col. 4) or Qxd4 (col. 5), "where castling on opposite wings is common." The MCO further indicates that instead of White recapturing, "White can play slowly and safely with 3 Bc4 (col. 6) though this gives him little chance for the advantage."
In all, Firmian asserts all six columns end in equality except the column 3 with 3 . . . Nd7 as a "slight edge" for white, and the column 4 with 3 . . . exd4 4.Nxd4 "slightly favor[s] Black."