Beating the Spread: Week 7 Picks

Our Week 7 Beat the Spread column is ready to go for your consideration as you put in your weekly bets!

We reversed course this week with more green than red and had not one but TWO staffers go 5-0 with their picks from Week 6 as the new guys Justin and Brennan pulled off the feat.  Erik and I were both above .500 (4-1 and 3-2, respectively), so it was a good week all around.  Can we keep the momentum going into Week 7?

We have three games that have caused a divide among staffers this week as both sides of the Panthers/Giants, Dolphins/Falcons, and Rams/Lions games each have their supporters.  New England was nearly a clean sweep with three staffers backing the Pats and two of us like more underdogs than favorites this week.  Brennan went all-in with favorites, but he’s the leader in the clubhouse right now so he’s certainly doing something right.  Justin was the only staffer brave enough to pick any totals as we look ahead to Week 7.

Gamblers know that 60% is the magic number to come out ahead, so that’s the goal again this season.  We didn’t make it last year, which just motivates us, even more, this season.  Every week the four of us will pick five games against the spread or on the over/under.  We’ll track the picks every week and see where we end up.  Feel free to play along in the comments or find us on Twitter!

Let’s get to the lines and picks for Week 7!

 

The following lines were captured on Tuesday. Betting lines can vary by site and move throughout the week so check yours to make sure that you have similar information.

Week 7 Betting Lines
Away Home Line O/U
Chiefs Titans Chiefs -5.5 57
Football Team Packers Packers -9.5 49
Panthers Giants Panthers -3 43
Jets Patriots Patriots -7 42.5
Falcons Dolphins Falcons -2.5 47.5
Bengals Ravens Ravens -6 47
Lions Rams Rams -15 50.5
Eagles Raiders Raiders -3 49
Texans Cardinals Cardinals -17.5 47.5
Bears Buccaneers Buccaneers -12.5 47
Colts 49ers 49ers -4 44
Saints Seahawks Saints -5 43.5
Staff Picks

 

Analysis

 

Justin Dunbar: Justin puts together an article analyzing some of his picks in more detail.  Check out his Week 7 Betting Preview for more! Here are some snippets from his first two picks for this week.

All it takes is for a few failed red-zone conversions for Los Angeles, and this under isn’t even in question. I’m happy to fade Detroit’s offense any chance I can get, which is exactly what I’m doing here. DET/LAR Under 50.5

This is less about me being in favor of New Orleans, and more about me looking to pick against Seattle. That opportunity presents itself here, so why not capitalize on it? NO -5

With two above-averages in terms of yards/play (Bengals 14th, Ravens 4th), you’d expect this total to be higher, right? I get that these are two slow-paced offenses, yet the quality of them cannot be ignored. Currently, Joe Burrow and Lamar Jackson each rank in the top ten in PFF passing grade, and each averaging over 8.5 yards/pass attempt (Burrow 8.9, Jackson 8.7). With a very reasonable number, I’ll hedge my bets with two very talented quarterbacks. CIN/BAL Over 47

Did you see what happened the last time the Patriots faced the Jets? In all seriousness, I just don’t have any faith in the Jets’ offense. It’s the second-worst unit in terms of yards/play and has the fourth-lowest in terms of PFF offense grade. Despite his draft position, Zach Wilson has been the inferior rookie quarterback (57.5 PFF grade) to Mac Jones (78.3 PFF grade) this season. I get New York is coming off of a BYE, yet New England is simply the more functional organization, and there’s nothing to suggest that their historic ownage of the Jets is going to end this week. NE -7

Remember when Sam Darnold and the Panthers were ready to take the NFL by storm? Those were good times. Since starting 3-0, the Panthers have lost three straight games, while Darnold hasn’t eclipsed a 53.5 PFF passing grade during that span. Daniel Jones may not have a lot of support, but he’s the better quarterback in this matchup, and I’m not certain Carolina has the offensive advantage given Darnold’s limitations. In fact, head coach Matt Rhule’s comments this week make it likely that they’re going to become a run-oriented team, and if that’s the case, sign me up for the other side. With the better quarterback at home, you have to take the points with the Giants. NYG +3

 

Brennan Rampe: The Panthers lost a hard-fought thriller in overtime to the Vikings, despite a pretty poor performance from Sam Darnold and the offense. A Justin Jefferson fumble that was returned deep into Vikings territory and a blocked punt touchdown were the only things keeping them in the game. The Giants just had an embarrassing blowout loss to the Rams, and as if they weren’t banged up enough, they placed left tackle Andrew Thomas on IR. They can’t score points, and they can’t prevent their opponents from scoring points. They might have a top-five pick in the 2022 NFL Draft if their season continues like this. The Panthers have lost three in a row, but they should be able to cover here. Inside the Numbers: Carolina is 2-0 as away favorites under Matt Rhule. CAR -3

The Jets were on their BYE during Week 6, so the last time we saw them they lost to the Falcons in London. The Patriots lost in overtime to the Cowboys, but rookie Mac Jones has been the best-looking rookie quarterback so far. Conversely, Zach Wilson has struggled mightily. Last time these teams met in Week 2, Zach Wilson threw four interceptions. The Patriots have been winless at home this season, but this is the perfect opportunity to get their first home win. Wilson will struggle against Belichick’s defense again, while Jones might end up having his best game yet. The Patriots will beat the Jets and cover. Inside the Numbers: The Jets are 7-16 against the spread since 2018 as away underdogs. NE -7

The Falcons last played in Week 6, where they took care of business against the Jets in London. Meanwhile, the Dolphins just lost to the previously winless Jaguars in London and don’t have the benefit of a bye week. The Falcons will welcome back wide receiver Calvin Ridley after missing time due to a personal matter, which will help the offense. The Dolphins have had a disappointing season so far. After finishing 10-6 last year, they have started 1-5. The offense has been terrible, and the decision to draft Tua Tagovailoa over Justin Herbert is looking like a franchise-altering mistake. The defense, which was great a year ago, has struggled this year. The Falcons should beat the Dolphins by a field goal and cover. No Inside the Numbers on this one. Sorry about that.  ATL -2.5

The Ravens had a huge win against the Chargers on Sunday, blowing them out and improving to 5-1, giving them the best record in the AFC. It’s really impressive what they have been able to do, especially with all the injuries that happened in the preseason. The Bengals are 4-2 and second in the AFC North, and they have been impressive themselves. However, the Ravens will be their biggest test of the season. Lamar Jackson is 5-0 against the Bengals, making them the only team in the division that he is unbeaten against. The Ravens defense struggled through the first couple of games but has been good recently, and they just limited the Chargers to 6 points on Sunday. This is the most talented Bengals team Jackson has gone up against, but I still think the Ravens win by a touchdown. Inside the Numbers: Baltimore is 23-17 against the spread after a win since 2018, Lamar Jackson’s first season.  BAL -6

I’m sure Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff have been looking forward to this game. The Lions traded Stafford to the Rams in exchange for Goff, a 2021 third-round pick, and 2022 and 2023 first-round picks. The Rams are 5-1, while the Lions are 0-6, the only winless team left in the league. Dan Campbell called Goff out after the most recent loss, though there’s plenty of blame to go around. There is just a huge advantage in the roster and coaching here, and Sean McVay knows Jared Goff extremely well, so the defense should dominate. The offense should score over 30 points as well. Stafford will destroy his former team. This is a huge spread, but the Rams covered a double-digit spread last week, so they should do it again. Inside the Numbers: The Rams are 34-23 against the spread in conference games under Sean McVay. LAR -15

 

Erik Smith: I certainly think the Panthers are the better team in this matchup, but I’m not ready to back them as three-point favorites on the road just yet. Both Sam Darnold and Daniel Jones are prone to turn the ball over, both teams are likely missing their star running back, and both teams have passing games that aren’t firing on all cylinders. I like the Panthers’ coaching staff, but this is still a young team, and I would expect this game to remain close throughout. Give me the points, as I wouldn’t be all that shocked to see the Giants win this one. NYG +3

The Patriots beat the Jets by 19 already this year, and now the game takes place in New England, so a seven-point spread seems awfully manageable. The Jets are still a ways away from figuring out this offense, and New England is notoriously difficult for rookie quarterbacks. I’d expect the Pats to ground and pound this one to an easy win. NE -7

I know the Dolphins just lost to the Jaguars, but I have a hard time seeing them as much worse than the Falcons, so I’ll gladly grab the points here. Two struggling defenses, two uninspiring offenses, I’ll take the home team as the Dolphins desperately attempt to salvage a lost season. MIA +2.5

San Francisco feels like a team still living off of its preseason hype, as their only wins this year have come over the Lions and Eagles. Meanwhile, the Colts have begun to right the ship, with a heartbreaking loss in Baltimore and a dominating performance over a team that they should dominate in the Texans over the past two games. I still have some questions about Carson Wentz at quarterback, but I have questions about Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback as well, so this game feels closer than a four-point spread. I expect Indy to hang around in this game even on the road, and an upset win wouldn’t surprise me. IND +4

I know the Seahawks put up a valiant effort last week against the Steelers with Geno Smith at quarterback, but Smith is still a limited player, and Ben Roethlisberger certainty did his part to aid in the Seahawks making a game of it. The Saints can shut down this running game, and for all of Jameis Winston’s faults, I do like him more than Roethlisberger at this stage in their respective careers. I expect the Saints to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, and a big win looks entirely possible. NO -5

 

Bryan Sweet: Remember when the Packers were a doomed franchise and the rift between Aaron Rodgers and the organization was unresolvable?  Yeah, nobody else does either.  After getting beat down by the Saints in Week 1, the Packers have reeled off five straight wins and now gets a home date with the Washington Football Team who are reportedly not enamored with their QB situation as they have been mentioned as a third team in a deal that would send Deshaun Watson to Miami and Tua Tagovailoa to Washington.  Green Bay should extend their streak to six wins in an easy victory this week. GB -9.5

If I’m picking against one team that might be out on their current QB, why not double-dip?  For weeks, Miami has been linked to Deshaun Watson and those rumors resurfaced this week.  Miami is on the opposite end of the spectrum as the Packers as they are losers of five straight including a loss in London to the previously winless Jaguars last week.  Miami’s losses have all come by more than three points, so getting their opponent below that magical number seems like free money.  ATL -2.5

Tennessee thoroughly impressed me with their primetime victory over the Bills last week and established themselves as one of the frontrunners in the AFC.  Derrick Henry is a man among boys every time he steps on the field and the Chiefs have been susceptible to strong run games this season.  It’s hard to discount Patrick Mahomes and that potent offense, but things just haven’t looked quite right with Kansas City through six weeks.  Kansas City has let teams hang around this season and I can see a slim Chiefs victory but I can also see another convincing win for the Titans.  In a game like this, give me the points.   TEN +5.5

Jared Goff and Matthew Stafford were involved in a somewhat surprising trade before the season and the two teams seem to be headed in opposite directions.  Detroit has been snakebit by long FGs, losing two games on last-second kicks of 50+ yards and the Rams are already halfway to their win total from last season through six games.  I don’t think the Lions get their first win this week, but I can see a scenario in which Goff looks to make a statement to the team that gave up on him.  Despite a lackluster performance last week against Cincinnati and the myriad of injuries that have beset this team, I think Detroit keeps it within two TDs, so I’ll take the underdog here.  DET +15

Despite starting the season with a 2-4 record, the Colts have been very close to being 4-2 with a close loss to the Rams and an OT defeat at the hands of the Ravens both games that could have gone the other way.  Carson Wentz has shown he is more than capable of leading this team to victories and will get a chance to show what he’s made of in a matchup with a good 49er defense.  The 49ers have struggled with turnovers, sitting at -7 for the season, but look to have Jimmy Garoppolo back this week.  I trust the Colts’ offense more than the 49er offense this week and I think they come away with a hard-fought victory.   IND +4

 


What are your favorite picks of the week? Put in your comments below to play along. We’ll be updating our records all season!

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)

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