I was very satisfied to go 5-2 last week. I lost my top pick on the Cowboys, but Sunday was a very good day that was highlighted by the Buccaneers and 49ers pulling off convincing wins.
I added the Broncos +10 to my contest picks late on Sunday morning because the betting market had Denver +7 against New England. While I originally had the Broncos in the “games I’ll likely avoid” category, I couldn’t pass up three points of line value. This just shows how my early opinions published in this article can change based on new developments, so follow me on Twitter for up-to-the-minute updates.
As always, I’ll use lines from the Las Vegas SuperContest, a popular football challenge hosted by the Westgate SuperBook. The point spreads for the contest come out Wednesday evening and are locked at those numbers for the rest of the week.
I’m in a contest where I pick seven sides a week using the SuperContest’s lines, so in this weekly breakdown I will unveil my first impressions of the games and point spreads. I hope this can be a guide for people who are in similar NFL pick’ems or looking to bet games.
Note: My picks could change based on information and any news that is not factored into the contest line. I will discuss and finalize these picks on a Periscope show I host called Weekend Warriors. The show will be live for an hour on Sunday at 11 a.m. ET and can be seen on Stadium’s Periscope channel or Stadium’s Twitter. After the show, I will tweet my seven picks for the contest from my Twitter.
Here are my thoughts for Week 7.
Sides I’ll likely use
Patriots (-2) over 49ers: So far this week, there isn’t much I like, but the Patriots as short favorites stand out in the slate. Before Week 6 was played, the Patriots were lined as a 5.5-point favorite in this game, but the odds went toward the 49ers after their impressive home win against the Rams in primetime and the Patriots lost a stinker to the Broncos. I get why the line has dropped, but I think under a field goal is too much of an adjustment. Yes, the Pats lost to the banged-up Broncos, but New England was overcoming COVID-19 issues and had to significantly adjust their normal practice routine. Not only will they have their traditional schedule this week; remember that Bill Belichick is also game-planning against a quarterback he’s very familiar with in Jimmy Garoppolo. As long as the Patriots are able to have a smooth week of practice, I like them in this game against a 49ers team that is still dealing with numerous injuries.
Picks I’m considering
Bengals (+3) over Browns: This is a game I have been eyeing since before the Week 6 slate was played. I was hoping for the Browns to beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh last week so I could bet against them this weekend in a potential letdown spot. Although that didn’t happen, the Browns are coming off a three-game stretch of big matchups against the Cowboys, Colts and Steelers, which means the Bengals could be able to catch them off guard in a divisional road matchup.
Cowboys (PK) over Washington: The Cowboys really let me down on Monday night, as I had a straight-up bet on them at +3 and tied them into several pending teasers. They lost 38-10 to the Cardinals and it became clear that the drop-off between Dak Prescott and Andy Dalton is more significant than I originally factored into my numbers. Regardless of the ugly result, the Cowboys are a better team than Washington and I can only look to the Dallas side.
Lions (+2.5) over Falcons: I will consider the Lions here because they would be my favorite teaser leg of the week — all the way to +8.5. This line re-opened on Sunday at Falcons -3, so I would’ve initially looked to bet the Lions getting a field goal, but it appears that number is gone. My biggest concern with betting the Lions is that maybe the Falcons will use the firing of Dan Quinn to rejuvenate the team and prove that last week’s win against the Vikings wasn’t just a one-week wonder for Atlanta.
Panthers (+7.5) over Saints: Panthers +6.5 is my number in this game, so I want to consider Carolina since I’m on the other side of a key number. But I am worried about the Saints coming off their bye and getting WR Michael Thomas back after a four-game absence. Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater also struggled last week, so maybe he’s due for regression after a strong start to the season. I’m going to trust my numbers in this game and hope for a big day from Bridgewater against his former team.
Cardinals (+3.5) over Seahawks: Two weeks ago, I didn’t pick against the Seahawks after fading them for the first four weeks of the year and, of course, they failed to cover for the first time this season (they did end up miraculously winning that game against Minnesota). As Seattle comes off their bye, I’m not locking in a pick on the Cardinals, but I would lean toward them at this number as I made the game Seahawks -2.
Buccaneers (-3.5) over Raiders: The Buccaneers were going to be in the “sides I’ll likely use” category when they were favored by -2.5 earlier on Wednesday. But news then came out of Las Vegas on Wednesday that offensive lineman Trent Brown was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list and all of Vegas’ starting offensive linemen were sent home from the facility, which obviously moved the line in the Buccaneers’ direction. It’s definitely a situation to monitor, but it’ll be Tampa Bay or “pass” for me.
Jaguars (+8) over Chargers: In each of Justin Herbert’s starts against the Chiefs, Buccaneers and Saints, he was an underdog of seven points or more. Los Angeles had a double-digit lead in all three of those games, but somehow went 0-3 straight-up in that stretch. Herbert’s other start was as a big favorite against the Panthers, and they lost that game in a close one. Those stats make me want to bet on Anthony Lynn and the Chargers in an underdog role, but stay away from them when they’re big favorites. This is a case where they are substantial favorites, and I could see the Jaguars staying within the number.
Bears (+6) over Rams: The betting market hasn’t bought into the 5-1 Bears, which is understandable based on who they have beaten. However, there are some things to like about the Bears with the defense reminiscent of their dominant 2018 unit and Nick Foles looking more competent than Mitch Trubisky. The Rams are 4-2, but all four of those wins are against NFC East teams. With how bad that division has fared this season, do the Rams deserve to be this big of a favorite on Monday? I’ll probably take a shot at the Bears +6, which would be more of a fade against the Rams.
Games I’ll likely avoid
Giants at Eagles (-4.5): Thursday night games are ones I avoid and this week is no exception. After opening at Eagles -6.5 and dropping to -3.5 earlier this week, this line has moved all over the place. At the current price, I have no opinion on either side.
Bills (-13) at Jets: I really wish the Bills were playing a better team this week. Coming off their rescheduled Monday matchup against the Chiefs, it would be a perfect time to fade Buffalo with their meeting against the Patriots right around the corner in Week 8. However, the 0-6 Jets are also 0-6 against the spread. I just don’t find anything appealing in this matchup.
Packers (-3.5) at Texans: I think this line is exactly where it should be. The Packers looked terrible last week against the Buccaneers once their offensive script wore off, only gaining 3.3 yards per play in the full game. The Texans were unlucky to lose to the Titans in Week 6, but now that Houston is 1-5, I would be concerned with backing them after their demoralizing overtime loss.
Chiefs (-9.5) at Broncos: I didn’t have much of an opinion on this game, so it’s a “stay away” for me with snow also expected in Denver on Sunday.
Steelers at Titans (-1): On Wednesday morning, the Steelers were a two-point favorite in this game, and I was planning on picking the Titans as underdogs and using them in teasers. The line then moved three points and now the Titans are a short favorite. I’m passing at the current price, but I could change my mind on this game depending on where the market number goes from here.