During the NFL season, Stadium sports betting analyst Nate Jacobson will break down every single point spread using lines as of Thursday morning. Here are his thoughts on the Week 7 slate.
Note: Nate will discuss all of his college football and NFL bets on the Sharp Lessons podcast that drops every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Subscribe on Spotify and Apple for episodes and follow Stadium Bets on Twitter for more sports betting content.
Sides I’m Considering
Giants (+3) over Panthers: After the Panthers started the season 3-0, I looked for opportunities to bet against them because of their weak opening schedule. Their rest advantage against the Cowboys in Week 4 held me back from fading them in that spot, but I was able to cash my bets on the Eagles and Vikings against Carolina.
Now the Panthers go on the road as a field goal favorite. I have been unimpressed by Sam Darnold during the last three games and don’t think Carolina should be this big of a favorite with how their quarterback has played. The Giants have a lot of injury questions on offense, which is largely why this number is where it’s at. I can see this being a low-scoring, ugly game, so I’ll consider the home underdog here as long as the line stays +3.
Washington (+7.5) over Packers: The reason this game is in this section is because Washington +10 was initially available when the number re-opened on Sunday night. The line moved down to +9.5 and then on Wednesday morning, a sizable wave of Washington support came in to push this number to what it is now.
The scheduling situation facing the Packers is what attracts me to the underdog. The Packers are coming off a win and cover as road favorites against a division rival in the Bears last week, and they have a big Thursday night game in Week 8 at the undefeated Cardinals. This feels like a game where the Packers do just enough to win, but fail to cover the spread with a big contest on deck. Washington has enough offensive weapons to cover this game late if they’re trailing against an average Packers defense. I like it at +7.5 or better.
Eagles (+3) over Raiders: Early Wednesday, Philadelphia was available at +3.5 before moving to +3. I’m not a huge fan of this Eagles team, but they are coming off an extended layoff because they played last Thursday, so that gives them some time to rest and get healthy on the offensive line.
The Raiders were very impressive in their first game after Jon Gruden’s resignation. The offense had 8.2 yards per play on the road against the Broncos, and they cruised to a victory as underdogs. The team looked extremely focused, but I believe that bump will only last a week. Not only is this week different with the Raiders being the favorite, but their home-field advantage won’t be as strong since a lot of Eagles fans should be making the trip to Las Vegas.
Buccaneers (-12) over Bears: I usually don’t like laying double digits in the NFL, but I’ll make an exception here. Two weeks ago, I made the mistake of taking the Dolphins at a similar point spread against the Buccaneers. I unfortunately didn’t account for the Dolphins’ offense not having the ability to exploit the Buccaneers’ secondary, which is the biggest weakness of the reigning Super Bowl champs. Prepare for deja vu in this week’s matchup since Justin Fields and the Bears’ passing game likely won’t be able to keep up with the Buccaneers.
Remember that the Buccaneers played at the Eagles last Thursday, so they possess a big rest advantage. It’s also worth noting the Bears upset the Buccaneers on a Thursday night last season (if you like betting on Tom Brady revenge angles).
Sides I Plan to Use in a Six-Point Teaser
Ravens (-6.5) over Bengals: At -6, the Ravens would’ve been a “side I’m considering.” I was very wrong about the Ravens last week against the Chargers, and it’s surprising that they have the AFC’s best record at 5-1 given all they’ve gone through. Now they welcome the Bengals into town for their third-straight home game.
The Bengals are an improved team, but just how much better are they? Last season, the Ravens were a 12.5-point favorite in this same matchup without fans. Has Cincinnati improved enough over the last 12 months to now be a less-than-a-touchdown underdog? Despite their 4-2 record, I don’t think so. If it got back to -6 or better, I would play the Ravens in a straight bet. Since it’s -6.5, I’d prefer teasing Baltimore down to -0.5 and pairing them with another side.
Dolphins (+2.5) over Falcons: Things can change in the NFL quickly, and there’s no better example than the Dolphins being a home underdog against the Falcons. The look-ahead line for this game was Dolphins -2.5 before their game against the Jaguars in London. With QB Tua Tagovailoa back in the lineup, Miami closed as a less-than-a-field-goal favorite against winless Jacksonville at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
After losing to Jacksonville, I get why the Dolphins aren’t the favorite anymore — but I’m not sure if the Falcons should nearly be a field goal road favorite after being idle last week during their bye. The travel/rest obviously favors Atlanta, but I believe that it’s factored too much into the line. I have these teams rated evenly, so there’s real line value on Miami. If it got to +3, the Dolphins would be a bet for me. If it stays at this price, I’ll look to tease the Dolphins to over a touchdown.
Patriots (-7) over Jets: It’s only Week 7, but we have a divisional rematch from a game that was played in Week 2. In that game, the Patriots closed -5.5 at the Jets and handily won, covering the game due to Zach Wilson’s turnovers. This line was -6.5 earlier this week, and I thought that spread was a little short based on the Week 2 closing number, as well as my low opinion on Wilson and the Jets. Now that the line’s at -7, I feel more comfortable teasing the Patriots down to -1, basically asking them just to win. New England is coming off a tough overtime loss to the Cowboys last week, while the Jets had a bye week, so that makes me a tad hesitant to lay it with the Patriots.
Broncos at Browns (-2): Just a few weeks ago this Thursday Night Football showdown looked fun, as the Broncos were 3-0 while the Browns appeared to be a true AFC contender. But both teams are now 3-3 and extremely banged-up. The most notable injury that impacts the point spread is Browns QB Baker Mayfield being out with a shoulder injury that will force Case Keenum into action.
It’s hard to figure out the drop-off between Mayfield and Keenum because Mayfield has played most of the season injured. Keep in mind that the Browns will also be without their talented running-back duo (and potentially their two starting offensive tackles). Keenum does have familiarity with Kevin Stefanski’s offense from his days with the Vikings, so he’s probably the most qualified backup quarterback to be put in this situation on the short week. The uncertainty surrounding both teams will likely keep me away, although the math says that the Broncos in a teaser is the right play.
Chiefs (-5.5) at Titans: This past Monday night, I held my nose and took the Titans at +6 an hour before they kicked off against the Bills. Even though the Bills beat the Chiefs the week before, I thought the number was too inflated for a home underdog. Now the Chiefs come into Nashville, and we have a similar number to what we saw when the Titans hosted the Bills.
While I can make the case for this line being too high, this is a much tougher situation for the Titans, who are coming off a short week and an emotional win in primetime. The Titans’ injury report is one to monitor as left tackle Taylor Lewan, WR Julio Jones and several members of the Titans’ secondary left the game with injuries. The DB situation for the Titans is especially troubling when you realize they’re matching up against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offense. The situation says Chiefs, but my numbers actually favor the Titans at the current odds, so I’d only take Kansas City if I was forced to bet it.
Lions at Rams (-14.5): After being included in the same trade, Jared Goff returns to LA looking for revenge, while Matthew Stafford aims for a win against the Lions franchise that drafted him. Both teams were part of blowouts last week, with the Lions losing to the Bengals at home and the Rams putting away the Giants early (despite a lot of betting support for New York leading up to kickoff). If I was forced to play it, I would take a shot with the Lions catching the points because you know they’ll play hard for 60 minutes and maybe get lucky with a back-door cover.
Texans at Cardinals (-17.5): The biggest spread of the week has the last unbeaten team in the NFL hosting one of the worst teams in football. The Cardinals are coming off an impressive win as a short underdog against the Browns and now are being asked to cover a monster number — with a huge game coming up against the Packers on Thursday in Week 8. The “look-ahead” angle for the Cardinals has me leaning toward the Texans, but I’m not sold on it.
Colts at 49ers (-4.5): I didn’t have much of an opinion on this game early in the week, as the 49ers dropped to as low as -3.5 in some spots. The 49ers are coming off a bye week and it was uncertain as to who would be their starting quarterback, but the early practice reports indicate that Jimmy Garoppolo will return, and as exciting as Trey Lance can be, Garoppolo is the better option if you want to win games right now. The 49ers are the way I’d look here, but I want final confirmation on who will start at quarterback for San Francisco.
Saints (-4.5) at Seahawks: This is a Monday night game that has lost a lot of appeal due to Geno Smith starting for Russell Wilson. The Seahawks lost in overtime and covered at the Steelers last Sunday night, and now Smith will be making his first home start this season against a Saints team off their bye. With Jameis Winston as quarterback, I have no interest in betting on the Saints as the favorite. He is too turnover prone, and Sean Payton neuters the offense when he’s under center. The Seahawks are the only side I could play in what I expect to be a low-scoring game.