We are onto Week 7. It took a while to experience the first losing week. But eventually bad weeks happen. I was dead wrong in Detroit and Los Angeles last week. We happened to take mostly underdogs the week all the favorites and chalk won. It’s how we bounce back measures the resilience of success. Thankfully Tennessee brought us to 4-6 on the week. We keep moving forward.
A lot of teams are on buys this week, so the menu of betting options has dwindled a bit. But we have a few plays on the card to get us going.
So without further ado, here are your Week 7 picks.
As always, all point spreads are presented by DraftKings Sportsbook:
New York (J) at New England
Spread: New England (-6.5)
This is an interesting matchup. We get Bill Belichick against a backup quarterback once again. The NFL sith lord has a career 64 percent against the spread winning percentage against first and second year quarterbacks. Zach Wilson already got a taste of it, putting up a 37.0 QB rating in a 25-6 loss to New England in Week 2.
Here's what intriguing: New England closed as a 6 point favorite on the road to New York. Now they are listed at -6.5 at home? Did we downgrade New England that much over the last few weeks? New England has dropped their first four home games, but three of those loses came by on possession in the final minutes of the game. What would the line be in this game if New England beat Tampa Bay or Dallas?
I also think New York is getting a little bit too much love here. Zach Wilson still ranks 32nd in the NFL in QBR. He’s been worse than David Mills and Trevor Lawerence by a wide margin. Offensively New York ranks 32nd in offensive DVOA. They will be playing a New England defense that ranks ninth in scoring defense and 11th in DVOA. It’s really been a disappointing season for that unit under Bill Belichick’s standards. I think this is a perfect opportunity to get it right.
Offensively, New England has been mediocre due to conservative play calling. Rookie Mac Jones has completed at least 70 percent of his passes and has thrown for 7.0 yards per attempt. The problem is he only surpassed 25 pass attempts in one of those contests. The New York defense is slightly above average. I expect New England to take care of business at home after a devastating home loss.
The pick: New England -6.5
Atlanta at Miami
Spread: Atlanta (-2.5)
This game stinks out loud. It hasn’t been fun being an Atlanta or Miami football fan this season. Both teams are coming off a game in London where Atlanta beat New York two weeks ago, while Miami handed Jacksonville its first win. The NFL did Miami dirty by not giving them a bye week after the London game. They have lost five straight and haven’t looked great in any of them.
On top of that, Miami has been entrenched in trade rumors for Houston star quarterback Deshaun Watson who has yet to play this season due to almost two dozen sexual assault allegations. So I guess playing a football game is the best way to overcome that mess?
Tua has been put on the chopping block and for all the criticism he gets, Tua played well after his first game back from injury completing over 70 percent of his passes for 329 yards and two touchdowns. Tua will have a chance to build on that performance against an Atlanta defense that ranked 30th in the NFL in passing DVOA. Miami has been bad, but there isn’t a circumstance where Atlanta should be favored on the road.
Deshaun trade rumors motivate a young Tua. Miami’s offense starts to click against Atlanta and Miami gets pressure on an immobile Matt Ryan.
Miami breaks their losing skid this week.
The pick: Miami +2.5
Philadelphia at Las Vegas
Spread: Philadelphia (-2.5)
Las Vegas is in an interesting spot. Last week they overcame the adversity of their head coach Jon Gruden resigning and responded by dismantling Denver on the road. Neither the betting public or sharps gave this team a shot as the line rose from three to five by kickoff. Derek Carr connected with a couple of big plays to Henry Ruggs and the Vegas defense hit Denver quarterback Teddy Bridgewater 17 times. The silver and black benefitted from four turnovers including three Teddy Bridgewater interceptions, but were also very sharp in the passing game and were able to get chunk plays against the Denver secondary.
However things will be a little bit different this week. They have to go through an emotional roller coaster and have to play a Philly team that is hungry. The last five games Philly has played has been a gauntlet; San Francisco, Dallas, Kansas City, Carolina, and Tampa Bay. Philly has shown they have been able to win on the road, and has the advantage in the trenches on both sides of the ball. They also will get Lane Johnson back at left-tackle.
On the other side of the ball, the defensive line for Philly significantly upgrades what Las Vegas has out front. Jason Hargraves is a guy to watch for Philly, he already has six sacks on the season. Carr struggles significantly when he gets pressured in his face up the middle. On the back end, Philly has been very good eliminating the explosive pass play holding opponents passing offenses to just 6.4 yards per attempt.
This is a bad spot and bad matchup for the Las Vegas offense. Philly found a running game in Thursday’s matchup against Tampa, and hopefully the coaching staff chooses to implement it. We will take Philly to pull off the short road upset in this one. This one of my favorite plays of the slate.
The pick: Philadelphia +2.5
Houston at Cardinals
Spread: Arizona (-18.5)
The Cardinals will extend their winning streak against Houston on Sunday. That sentence was declarative on purpose. Arizona is going to win the game, the question is how do they do it?
Last week we saw Houston lose their fifth game in a row falling to Indianapolis 31-3. Davis Mills remains the starting quarterback and he ranks 31st in the NFL in QBR. Arizona is touted because of their explosive offense, but what’s flying under the radar is how their defense has been playing. Arizona ranks second in the NFL in DVOA and have faced pretty tough competition facing top 10 offenses in Cleveland, Tennessee, and Los Angeles. They will be facing a Houston offense that ranks 31st in offensive DVOA and ranks last in the NFL in yards per drive. I simply don’t see a path to how Houston can move the ball in this one. We have to be aware of Mills' tendency to throw the ball over.
On the other side, this is a sandwich game for Arizona coming off an emotional road win against Cleveland and then a primetime Thursday matchup against Green Bay is looming. Odds are once Arizona gets a comfortable lead they are going to be conservative. Kyler Murray has run for just seven yards in just two games, and I doubt Kingsbury is going to run him in this spot. Pace wise, Arizona is ranked 24th in the NFL in pace averaging 28.2 seconds between plays. Then Houston is ranked 19th averaging 28.19 seconds per play.
All of this screams under 47.5 to me. I don’t think Houston is going to score much and we are going to get a conservative ball control offense from Arizona. This game is not worth watching, turn it to another game and cash your under at the end of the game.
The pick: under 47.5
Detroit at Los Angeles
Spread: Los Angeles (-15.5)
We have a rare opportunity of getting a double revenge game in this one. Matt Stafford is facing his former team and Detroit quarterback Jared Goff is facing his former squad. When we get a double revenge spot, we are automatically taking the over.
However there is legit promise to this bet. Each quarterback is in a far different situation they envisioned they would be in at the end of last year. Matt Stafford is flourishing in Los Angeles quarterbacking the No. 1 passing offense in pro football, while Jared Goff leads an 0-6 Detroit team. Detroit has been pretty competent offensively in games where they have been a touchdown underdog or more. Detroit scored 33 against San Francisco, 17 against Green Bay, and 17 at home against Baltimore. Jared Goff is familiar with the Los Angeles defense, and the way Detroit operates offensively they can move the ball against Los Angeles matchup zone cover 4 scheme. Los Angeles invites teams to run the ball playing light boxes. Detroit used 21 and 12 formation more than any other team. Los Angeles is allowing opponents to average 4.6 yards per rush. Goff can use the quick passing game to move the football.
On the opposite side, Detroit is missing two starters in their secondary against the best passing offensive team in the NFL. Los Angeles is averaging a ridiculous 8.8 yards per attempt through the air. Detroit ranks 25th overall in passing DVOA. This is a revenge game for Stafford and he is in a position to put up huge numbers. LA is going to put up at least 35 and all we need from Detroit is to get 17. Goff gets a favorable garbage time touchdown late, and the over hits.
The pick: Over 50.5
New Orleans at Seattle (Monday Night)
Spread: New Orleans (-4.5)
My favorite wager I have ever had was the 2012 Orange Bowl where Geno Smith’s West Virginia Mountaineers put up a 77 spot on the Clemson Tigers as a three point underdog. The game was absolutely electric, I remember the Mountaineers scored on every damn possession. Now nearly 10 years later, Geno Smith is quarterbacking in one of my favorite spots on Monday night. So more college football nostalgia about the glory days of West Virginia football.
Smith has played admirably in two games of action. He drove down the field to score a touchdown in his first drive off the bench against Los Angeles. He played well enough to get Seattle to overtime on the road against Pittsburgh where he threw for 209 yards and a touchdown. There’s this whole narrative that Seattle is nothing without Russell Wilson. You know the team is hearing the noises of a national talk radio host. Playing a potential playoff team at home on Monday Night Football is a great way to relinquish the noise. New Orleans is coming in with a winning record right off a bye. I still don’t know the identity of New Orleans with Jameis Winston. They only average 24 pass attempts a game, rank 29th in completion percentage, and rank 29th in overall interception percentage despite the low volume. This is great for a Seattle defense that struggles against the pass and his stout against the run. In addition, Seattle ranks first in defensive efficiency while in the red zone.
On the other hand, Seattle is going to have a tough time moving the ball on New Orleans defense that ranks 4th in scoring. But teams have been able to move the ball on them. Seattle ranks 6th in yards per play and Smith is pretty decent in the passing game. I love the home underdog in this spot in primetime. Take the Hawks at home.
Follow Austin on Twitter @AMontgomeryLive
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