Week 7 NFL Betting Predictions
Starting Bankroll: $3,995
So I am about even for the year (-$5). The money line has been my friend, as many of the games that I picked the favorite to cover haven’t really panned out. But I can pick underdogs like it’s nobody’s business, and I have a few really nice money lines in store this week. Aside from my early season challenges, I have been slowly climbing back, and I guarantee I will soon be in the black. You can read my Week 6 recap here. But I noted before the season started that it’s so hard to pick games in the early season because you don’t know what a team is made of due to pre-season. We now have 6 weeks of football behind us, and can start making more educated NFL betting picks. Get your wallet out, and head to the sports book, because I’m gonna make you rich!
San Francisco 49ers (ML +250) over Seattle Seahawks for $100
Value bet. So what is happening in Seattle? The Seattle Seahawks lost a home game in Week 6! To the Carolina Panthers??? Did the 12th man get released? Sure the Panthers are on a tear this year. I don’t know how they’re winning, but they are putting it together. I also don’t know what’s happening with the Seattle Seahawks. They have fallen hard from two straight Super Bowl appearances (where they won two years ago), to 2-4 record to start the season. I say it every week, but the loss of Dan Quinn as their defensive coordinator was obviously a tough hit for the Seahawks. Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers are 2-4, but have had a very tough schedule with losses against the Pittsburg Steelers, Arizona Cardinals, and Green Bay Packers. Colin Kaepernick finally looked good last week against the Baltimore Ravens, so maybe they’re turning their season around. So there is a value in the Niners as a 2.5 to 1 underdog. It’s not betting on the Niners to win, it’s betting on the Seahawks to lose.
Cleveland Browns (ML +210) over St. Louis Rams for $100
The Cleveland Browns took (an over-rated) 6-0 Denver Broncos team to overtime in Week 6, but lost. They didn’t lose to Peyton Manning’s Broncos…they lost to Aqib Talib’s Broncos. The Broncos defense has been ridiculous this year, and the Browns somehow managed 23 points against them. They’re playing a St. Louis Rams team that is 2-3, but can’t seem to figure out how to score this season. Even though the Rams are coming off a BYE, they just don’t look good. So we see more value in this week’s line. The Browns are 2 to 1 underdogs. I think the Browns have a better than 50/50 chance of winning this game, so there is huge value in that line.
Pittsburg Steelers (-2) over Kansas City Chiefs for $110
Lock of the Week
I will take almost any team that plays the Kansas City Chiefs this week. And this week it happens to be a team with or without Ben Roethlisberger. I don’t care if Big Ben plays. I don’t care if Archie Manning plays! But the Steelers now have Landry Jones – no, I don’t know who he is either. Actually, Landry Jones had a pretty good college career at Oklahoma, and got picked up by the Steelers in the 4th round of the 2013 draft (ok, so I had to look that up). If the Chiefs offense (if you want to call it that) without Jamaal Charles scores more than 6 points this Sunday against the Steelers defense, then it will be a minor miracle. Using that math, the Steelers only need a touchdown and a field goal to cover. I think they can manage that. They have Le’Veon Bell, who is the Steelers version of Jamaal Charles. Not only that, but regardless of who is under center for the Steelers, they still have a more complete offense than the Chiefs.
Atlanta Falcons (-4.5) over Tennessee Titans for $110
Despite losing last week to the (under-rated) New Orleans Saints in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome (that just doesn’t roll off the tongue), the Atlanta Falcons are an offensive force this year. They haven’t had to rely as much on the Matt Ryan to Julio Jones connection, because they have a stud running back named Devonta Freeman who is channeling his inner Forest Gump and just keeps running. Although Julio Jones has been pretty quiet, he is still very very dangerous. I had some high hopes in Marcus Mariota leading the Tennessee Titans this year, especially after that Week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he threw for 4 touchdown passes. Considering that was their only win of the season, and the Titans lost their next four games to some pretty lousy teams (Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, Buffalo Bills, and Miami Dolphins), I don’t give them much of a chance this week against the Falcons, even if they are playing at home. The Falcons are going to destroy that 4.5 point spread.
New Orleans Saints (ML +190) over Indianapolis Colts for $100
I think the New Orleans Saints finally turned a corner and are going to play like the Saints we expected for the rest of the season. They’re 2-4, but they are much better than that. They have Drew Brees, who is one of the greatest quarterbacks ever. They’re finding their stride. Meanwhile, the Indianapolis Colts are trying to figure out what happened against the New England Patriots in Week 6, and what is happening inside the head of their number 1 draft pick in Andrew Luck. Luck has not looked like the Andrew Luck of the past few seasons. And Chuck Pagano is coaching under the threat of being fired. More value in this game. The Saints are 2 to 1 underdogs in Indianapolis. I think the Saints will win this game straight up, so getting that 2 to1 value for my money is an easy call.
Dallas Cowboys (ML +150) over New York Giants for $100
Tony Romo is out. Dez Bryant is out. Matt Cassel is starting. Do any of these things worry the Dallas Cowboys in Week 7? No. You know why? Because they are playing the New York Giants, who are terrible. Did anyone watch the Giants play the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football? I’m sorry for everyone who did, because that wasn’t football that they played. It was an ugly game they called “a bunch of guys running around a field while on tv”. Either team could have lost that game, but somehow the Giants managed to play just a little worse than the Eagles. Any team in the league would have beaten the Giants or the Eagles on Monday night, so the Eagles are lucky they had the Giants on their schedule. So Matt Cassel is under center, and he’s no Tony Romo. But he’ll have all the time he wants against the Giants pass rush that doesn’t exist. And Eli Manning is going to get destroyed, because the Cowboys actually do have a pass rush. If the Cowboys don’t win this game by at least 2 touchdowns the Giants don’t lose this game by at least 2 touchdowns, then something is wrong with the world, and I quit making predictions. As 1.5 to 1 underdogs, taking the Cowboys is a tasty bet.
Starting Bankroll: $3,655
So, last week kind of stunk. Hopefully you didn’t take my picks to the window at the Sportsbook, but if you did, hopefully you picked the opposite of me. The games I felt the best about were the ones that I not only lost, and the games I was on the fence about (see my 49ers homer pick) turned out just fine. Hoping to turn it back around and get back in the black after Week 7. My main problem for the first third of the season is not letting go of my preseason opinions about how good or bad a team really is. Turns out the Jets aren’t that bad, but Washington is. Six games (for most teams) can really give you a sense about how good or bad they are and I/we need not base our picks on preconceived notions, but actually off of their body of work. Without further ado, Week 7.
San Francisco 49ers (+6.5) over Seattle Seahawks for $110
Last week, my homer picked worked out for me as the Niners not only covered the spread, but won the game outright. I’m not ready to anoint Colin Kaepernick as the league MVP, but the Kaepernick we saw in Weeks 5 and 6 was much different than Weeks 2 through 4. He is more confident, playing his style of game instead of changing his game to fit a particular offense. Kind of like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. As long as first-year head coach Jim Tomsula let him create plays and take chances, the 49ers will be competitive. The defense isn’t that bad despite all the turnover from last years roster and the offense boast a handful of exciting, playmakers. I think the short week favors the 49ers as they played and won at home last week, allowing them to stay as rested as possible instead having to travel following a soul-crushing loss against the Panthers, like the Seahawks did. I’m not sold on San Francisco winning the game outright, but I feel a close one tonight. Maybe decided on the last drive and that 6.5 points is just too much, despite Seattle having more success against San Fran over the last couple seasons. This year, it just doesn’t feel like the Seahawks team that absolutely dominated other teams on both sides of the ball over the last few years. I think they are a beatable team and look mortal. Would you be surprised to see tomorrow’s headline read “Seahawks drop fifth game, fall to last place in NFC West?” I wouldn’t.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-2) over Kansas City Chiefs for $220
I’m not going to lie, I thought the Steelers were only as good as Roethlisberger plays. That is clearly not the case. Not only did they beat NFC powerhouse Arizona by double digits, they did it with their third-string quarterback. I had initially planned on picking against Pittsburgh while he was injured, then flip it back once he was healthy. Turns out they are more than Big Ben, but have an extremely powerful offense with any quarterback under center. Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown and freshly un-suspended Martavis Bryant are all electric playmakers who merit double-teams. The problem is, you can’t double all three, so pick your poison. The Chiefs aren’t very good. They were never an offensive dynamo and that was before Jamal Charles torn his fragile ACL. With talk of Roethlisberger potentially returning, this looks like a better bet, but I wouldn’t shy away even if Landry Jones is leading Pittsburgh. If Roethlisberger returns, the line will jump up to around a touchdown, so I’m jumping in now before that can happen. I’m not sure how Kansas City plans on putting up points, so the pressure isn’t on Jones or a less than 100% Big Ben to lead the Steelers to victory, but it is on Alex Smith to find a way to get the ball in the end zone.
Atlanta Falcons (-4.5) over Tennessee Titans for $110
No Marcus Mariotta for Tennessee. Extra preparation after playing last Thursday for Atlanta and an extra chip on their shoulder after finally getting a loss on the season. Atlanta will use this as an excuse to pummel Tennessee and remind everyone that they are still contenders. Good luck Zach Mettenberger, you will need it.
Indianapolis Colts (-4.5) over New Orleans Saints for $110
Let’s call last week a building block for the Colts. Andrew Luck is healing and playing more like 2014 Andrew Luck and they managed to cover the spread against the Patriots. Both of those are not insignificant. It is not a shocking statement when I say that the Colts are really only going to be as good as Luck plays. When he is on his game, they can compete with any team, when he is not, they lose to the Bills and Jets. He has been injured and ineffective for most of the season, but if he turns it around, they can be a danger in January. But, let’s focus on this week. The Saints somehow beat the Falcons last week, but this Saints team isn’t one that goes on winning streaks. The Colts won three in a row before last week’s loss to New England and find themselves on top of the weak AFC South division. It is theirs to lose, but they need to hammer home easy wins like this week at home.
Philadelphia Eagles ML +150 over Carolina Panthers for $100
Call this one a hunch. The Panthers are beating their chests, proclaiming themselves as world beaters and Super Bowl challengers. I’m not sure they are there yet, but this game looks like a trap game. High off a great win against Seattle, they are prime candidates for a fall this week, like Atlanta last week. Philadelphia is actually playing semi-decent football lately. They’ve won two in a row, including last weeks win over division rival New York Giants. They are tied atop the NFC East and a win over a contender like Carolina will boost their resume. Don’t take this one to the bank just yet, like I said, it more of a hunch than anything, so I might as well throw the 3-point spread away and take the money line for the extra odds…just in case I’m right.
Arizona Cardinals (-8) over Baltimore Ravens for $110
The Ravens aren’t good. Their defense is terrible, specifically the pass defense, allowing nearly 300 yards passing on average. Enter Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald and the rest of the Cardinals offense, still stinging from being upset in Pittsburgh last week. Palmer will systematically destroy the Ravens secondary. I’m looking at Arizona to put up 40+ points at home against the Ravens, so Joe Flacco better play like an elite quarterback this week if they want to stay in the game. I just don’t see it. The 8 points is the only thing keeping me from doubling my bet, as I always worry about the garbage time touchdown to cover a big spread (see New England/Indianapolis last week), but I would be surprise if the game is that close late in the game.