NFL Week 7 Betting Preview & Picks
Following a perfect Sunday, I’ve turned my last two picks for 4for4.com into losers. The Packers didn’t come close to covering as a 9-point home favorite on Monday night versus the 49ers and my Cardinals pick was dead in the water as soon as the Broncos turned a tipped pass into a pick-six on the first possession of the game Thursday night.
Losing streaks happen. I wasn’t going to hit 79 percent against the spread all year and at 23-8-1 ATS, I’m still thrilled with record year-to-date. Let’s try to get back on track Sunday. Here’s what I’m thinking…
459 Carolina Panthers at 460 Philadelphia Eagles
- Spread: Eagles -4.5
- O/U: 44.5
- Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
The Eagles opened as 4-point favorites but the line climbed to 5 midweek and is now back down to 4.5 currently. As for the total, it opened at 45 but was dropped to 44.5.
While 54 percent of the betting tickets for this matchup are on the Eagles, 63 percent of the money wagered is on the Panthers. There is also a small split on the total, with 66 percent of the betting tickets on the over but 51 percent of the money is on the under.
Tight end Greg Olsen (foot) was limited this week in practice but Ron Rivera said the team would mange his practice reps all season so this isn’t surprising. Defensively, the Panthers could be without starting cornerback Donte Jackson (groin).
On the other side, the Eagles are dealing with injuries to cornerback Jalen Mills (hamstring), right tackle Lane Johnson (ankle), cornerback Sidney Jones (hamstring), defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (calf) and running back Darren Sproles (hamstring).
I like to find teams that bounce back following a loss and the Panthers qualify. They’re a perfect 5-0 against the spread in their last five games coming off a loss and while their performance last week in Washington was disappointing, they still out-gained the Redskins 350-288. They also drove deep into Washington territory with only a couple minutes remaining in the game down six points before stalling at the Redskins’ 16-yard-line. If they don’t turn the ball over three times, perhaps the Panthers win.
That said, if they had won, it’s unlikely we’re getting 4.5 points from oddsmakers this week. The Eagles are starting to find their groove again but they’re still dealing with a ton of injuries and despite thrashing the Giants last Thursday night, New York still out-gained Philly 401-379 (with Eli Manning under center, no less).
Both teams are fairly even in terms of this matchup. They both own top-10 run defenses, both teams will struggle in the secondary, and both teams can be inconsistent offensively.
But where I see the Panthers holding an edge is their pass rush versus the Eagles’ offensive line. Johnson is banged-up and might not play, while left tackle Jason Peters has struggled recently. The Panthers are pressuring opposing quarterbacks on more than 50 percent of dropbacks this season and if they harass Carson Wentz Sunday as the Titans did a few weeks ago, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Carolina win outright.
Pick: Panthers +4.5
453 New England Patriots at 454 Chicago Bears
- Spread: Bears +3
- O/U: 48.5
- Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
The Bears opened as 2.5-point home underdogs but the line was bet up to 3.5, then back down to three, which is where the number currently sits at most sportsbooks. As for the total, it opened at 50 but was bet down to 48.5.
The Patriots are drawing 76 percent of the betting tickets and 64 percent of the money. The over, meanwhile, is drawing 61 percent of the betting tickets but 79 percent of the money is on the under.
Outside of right tackle Marcus Cannon (head), the Patriots are relatively healthy entering Sunday. The Bears, however, are dealing with injuries to Allen Robinson (groin) and Khalil Mack (ankle), neither of which practiced on Thursday. Cornerback Prince Amukamara (hamstring) and left guard Eric Kush (neck) might not play either.
The favorite is 5-1 against the spread in the last six meetings between these two teams two teams. The over is also 4-1 in the last five meetings between these two teams.
You either believe in the Bears as a legit playoff contender or you don’t. After writing about how I thought Chicago would be the most improved team in the league this year, I believe in the Bears. They force turnovers (2.8 takeaways per game leads the NFL), they generate pressure (their 3.6 sacks per game ranks third in the league), and they have the top-rated pass defense in terms of Football Outsiders DVOA metric.
Now, the Mack injury is concerning but he should play. If he does, I expect Bears DC Vic Fangio to dial up plenty of pressure on Tom Brady, which is vital when facing the most dangerous quarterback in the league. I’m also willing to give Chicago’s defense a mulligan for falling apart in the second half last week against Brock Osweiler. That heat in South Beach is no joke. The Bears wore down and they lost in overtime. It is what it is.
Offensively for the Bears, Matt Nagy is a disciple of Andy Reid, who orchestrated a 40-point effort last Sunday night in Foxborough with Patrick Mahomes. Reid also helped Alex Smith and the Chiefs pull off an upset Week 1 against Bill Belichick’s team a year ago. Who did the Patriots lose to in the Super Bowl last year? The Eagles and Doug Pederson, another Reid disciple.
I’m not suggesting that Nagy is Reid or Pederson from a play-calling standpoint but there is something to this system giving Belichick’s defenses trouble. Plus, it was evident a week ago that New England is slow defensively, especially at linebacker. I fully expect Nagy to get Taylor Gabriel and Tarik Cohen the ball in open space to help exploit the Pats’ lack of speed defensively.
Pick: Bears +3
471 Dallas Cowboys at 472 Washington Redskins
- Spread: Redskins -1
- O/U: 41.5
- Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
The Redskins opened as two-point home favorites but the line was dropped to one at most books. The total also dropped, moving from 42 down to 41.5.
While only 51 percent of the betting tickets are on the Redskins, 62 percent of the money is on Washington. As for the total, 72 percent of the betting tickets and 80 percent of the money is on the over.
Cowboys receiver Tavon Austin is out with a groin injury while cornerback Chidobe Awuzie is questionable with an ankle injury. For the Redskins, receiver Jameson Crowder (ankle) is out and Paul Richardson (shoulder/knee) is doubtful. Meanwhile, running backs Adrian Peterson (shoulder/ankle) and Chris Thompson (rib/knee) are both questionable but should play.
The over is 5-0 in the last five meetings between these two teams. The Cowboys are also 4-0 against the number in their last four games in Washington, while the road team is 7-1 ATS in their last eight meetings and the underdog is 30-10 against the number in the last 40 meetings in this series.
There’s value in this line and I think it’s because the Cowboys routed the Jaguars by scoring 40 points a week ago. But that was in Dallas, where the Cowboys have played much better at this season than on the road. It’s been a similar story with the Redskins, who beat the Packers and Panthers at home but were destroyed on Monday night by the Saints in New Orleans. (In hindsight, nobody was beating Drew Brees that night).
Up until that 40-point outburst versus the Jaguars last week, the Cowboys hadn’t done much offensively. They rank 25th in offensive DVOA and have zero weapons in the passing game outside the numbers. What they do well is get the ball into the hands of Ezekiel Elliott but the Redskins own the No. 6 run defense in the league, holding opponents to just 90.2 YPG. In their three road games this season, the Cowboys scored 8, 13 and 16 points. They can’t move the ball away from their home digs.
I’m getting the better team at home and I only have to lay a field goal. I love the Redskins in this spot.
Pick: Redskins -1
ATS Season Records
- Week 1: 5-0
- Week 2: 3-2
- Week 3: 4-1
- Week 4: 3-1-1
- Week 5: 3-2
- Week 6: 4-1
- Week 7: 0-1
- Overall: 23-8-1
Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images.