NFL Week 7 Betting Guide: Odds, Props and Picks
The Denver Broncos were just one-point favorites against the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday, but they would have covered a 34-point spread as they rolled to a 45-10 win in a game that was 35-3 at halftime.
Thankfully, numerous matchups on the rest of the Week 7 NFL slate look far more interesting, including battles between the No. 1 scoring defense and offense (the Baltimore Ravens and New Orleans Saints, respectively) and two AFC division leaders (the Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs).
We'll take a look at those two games and all of the others in this week's betting guide with some moneyline picks, picks against the spread, value bets and more.
Moneyline Picks and Picks Against the Spread
Denver Broncos at Arizona Cardinals: Cardinals (+1, +105)
Tennessee Titans vs. Los Angeles Chargers at Wembley Stadium, London: Chargers (-6.5, -280)
Buffalo Bills at Indianapolis Colts: Bills (+7.5, +265)
Carolina Panthers at Philadelphia Eagles: Panthers (+5, +200)
Cleveland Browns at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Browns (+3.5, +168)
Detroit Lions at Miami Dolphins: Dolphins (+3, +145)
Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars: Texans (+4, +175)
Minnesota Vikings at New York Jets: Vikings (-3.5, -190)
New England Patriots at Chicago Bears: Patriots (-2.5, -139)
New Orleans Saints at Baltimore Ravens: Saints (+2.5, +129)
Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins: Cowboys (EVEN, -107)
Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers: Rams (-10, -400)
Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs: Chiefs (-6, -245)
New York Giants at Atlanta Falcons: Falcons (-4, -195)
ML Season Record: 52-40-2
ATS Season Record: 41-47-6
Detroit Lions (-3) at Miami Dolphins
Can anyone get a good read on either of these teams?
The Detroit Lions lost their opener 48-17 to the New York Jets and gave the 1-5 San Francisco 49ers their only win. However, they crushed the New England Patriots 26-10 and beat the Green Bay Packers 31-23 in a game they were winning 24-0.
Their fifth game was a nail-biter with the Dallas Cowboys that could have gone either way, but running back Ezekiel Elliott torched Detroit for 240 yards from scrimmage.
The Miami Dolphins are 4-2 but have been outscored by 15 points overall. They would be 5-1 if they didn't blow a 17-0 lead to the Cincinnati Bengals in which the team gave up two defensive touchdowns in the fourth quarter. However, they just upset the Chicago Bears, who were playing fantastic defense before allowing 31 points Sunday.
The Dolphins are starting backup Brock Osweiler, who struggled in 2016 and 2017 (21 interceptions, 20 touchdowns, 58.2 percent completion rate). That being said, Osweiler just tossed three touchdowns alongside 380 passing yards against one of the better defenses in the league, so maybe something has changed. Regardless, this is a tough game to call against the spread or outright.
Dallas Cowboys (EVEN) at Washington Redskins
The Washington Redskins have some key offensive players on the injury report.
Wide receiver Paul Richardson is doubtful with knee and shoulder injuries, and wide receiver Jamison Crowder will miss his second straight game with an ankle sprain.
Lastly, running back Chris Thompson is questionable with a rib injury. He practiced on a limited basis Thursday and Friday.
If Richardson can't go and Thompson is out or limited, then Washington could be in some trouble Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, who have not allowed more than 24 points in a game. Linebackers Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith have come on strong to help a Demarcus Lawrence-led defense rank second in points allowed per game.
But Dallas has a few problems, even though Elliott is having another dominant season (752 yards from scrimmage, four touchdowns).
First, the Cowboys are 0-3 on the road and haven't scored more than 16 points in any of those contests.
Second, the pass game is still struggling: Only one player (wideout Cole Beasley) is averaging more than 30 receiving yards per game through six weeks. That could be a problem against a Washington defense that ranks sixth in yards allowed per pass attempt.
This is a hard game to gauge and one that's best to avoid.
Prop Bets You Can Take to the Bank
Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry Total Rushing Yards (Under 48.5): -110
Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry has a low bar to clear for this over/under total, but the game script may not be in his favor Sunday.
The Los Angeles Chargers are 6.5-point favorites against Tennessee, and if they take an early lead, the Titans may be forced to go to the pass more often early.
That would mean more time for Dion Lewis in the backfield. The ex-New England Patriot has caught 23 passes this season, while Henry has only four receptions.
Tennessee has scored just 12 points in its last two games, while the Chargers are 4-2 and riding a three-game win streak. L.A. may be in line for a blowout win, which means fewer opportunities for Henry.
Tennessee Titans QB Marcus Mariota Total Passing Yards (Over 202.5): -110
If the above game script rings true, then Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota may stay busy. He hasn't seen much success in the air this year (in fairness, he's battled through an elbow injury that forced him to miss one game and parts of two others), but Mariota can clear 202.5 passing yards thanks to his potential volume of passes.
The Chargers have allowed 261 yards per game this year, which ranks just 17th in the league. Mariota doesn't need to come close to that bar to cross the over/under total. He's also averaged 218.5 passing yards per game for his career, so he wouldn't even need to match his lifetime average to hit the over.
The Tennessee offense may not be particularly efficient Sunday, but Mariota could still throw for 203 passing yards or more.
Spreads to Bet
Carolina Panthers at Philadelphia Eagles: Panthers (+5)
Getting five points for the 3-2 Carolina Panthers is enticing, even if they are on the road against the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.
The Panthers are a solid team with wins over the 3-3 Dallas Cowboys and 4-2 Cincinnati Bengals on their resume. They also just brought back tight end Greg Olsen and linebacker Thomas Davis, who were out due to a foot injury and a suspension, respectively.
One has to wonder if the Panthers would still be getting 4.5 points if they finished off their last drive against the Washington Redskins last Sunday and scored a touchdown and extra point to win the game. Instead, they fell 23-17.
The Eagles have been up and down all year. They did just crush the New York Giants, but Big Blue is 1-5, and the Eagles couldn't stop running back Saquon Barkley, who amassed 229 yards from scrimmage. That may foreshadow issues with running back Christian McCaffrey, who isn't on Barkley's level but is also adept at rushing and receiving.
Furthermore, offensive tackle Lane Johnson is battling an ankle injury. He should be good to go for Sunday, but this could be a game where the Panthers pass rush gets going (their defensive line ranks 18th in adjusted sack rate after finishing third last year).
Picking a winner outright is a tough call, but take the Panthers plus the points.
Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars: Texans (+4)
AFC South offenses are missing in action right now, and two of them face off Sunday.
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles has been inconsistent: He's thrown for 376 or more yards three times and 176 or fewer yards three times. One of those better passing games comes with an asterisk as he had five turnovers in a 30-14 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. The Jags are also without running back Leonard Fournette, who is out with a hamstring injury.
The Houston Texans run game has not done well (just 3.9 yards per carry), and quarterback Deshaun Watson had taken more sacks (25) than anyone else in the league. That's not a good sign considering Watson's mobility helps him evade oncoming pass-rushers.
However, the best offensive player on either side is wideout DeAndre Hopkins, who has 44 catches for 657 yards and three scores. He has a tough matchup with the Jacksonville defense, but likewise, the Jags defense may not be able to slow him down much.
Ultimately, Houston has won three straight, while the Jags have lost their last two by a combined score of 70-21. The two teams are going in different directions, so back the Texans plus the four points.
New England Patriots at Chicago Bears: Patriots (-3 to 2.5)
If a game's spread moves off a total of three points, that's notable. It's the most common scoring deficit in league history, as noted by Eldorado. A half point in either direction perhaps symbolizes that sharp bettors have strong confidence in one side.
That may be the case in the New England Patriots at Chicago Bears matchup, as the Patriots are now favored by just 2.5 points after starting with a field-goal edge.
It's an interesting shift considering the Patriots' play over the last three weeks. New England is 3-0 since a rough 1-2 start with wins over the 4-2 Miami Dolphins and 5-1 Kansas City Chiefs. The Pats have also posted point totals of 38, 38 and 43 during those three weeks and recently added wide receiver Josh Gordon via trade, while wideout Julian Edelman returned following a suspension.
Meanwhile, the Bears defense is coming off an ugly performance, giving up 31 points to the Dolphins and backup quarterback Brock Osweiler. Chicago allowed touchdowns of 75 and 43 yards to wideout Albert Wilson, and Osweiler threw for 380 yards.
Perhaps sharp bettors feel Chicago's performance was an anomaly, or that the Patriots' offense may come back to Earth following three great weeks. Or maybe they think edge-rusher Khalil Mack (five sacks in five games) could single-handedly win this game. Regardless of the reasoning, this game is one to watch on Sunday.
Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs: Chiefs (58.5 O/U to 58 O/U)
The lack of movement on the over/under for the Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs game is noteworthy. The game started with a massive total of 58.5 points, but it's only budged by a half point since the open.
That could foreshadow another shootout involving the Chiefs, whose offense has posted no fewer than 23 points in any game. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes has thrown for 18 touchdowns, running back Kareem Hunt has 627 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns, and wideout Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce have combined for 67 catches, 1,035 yards and nine touchdowns through the air. Football Outsiders ranks the Chiefs No. 2 in overall offensive efficiency and No. 1 in the pass game.
The Bengals offense is excellent as well. Of note, Joe Mixon (4.7 yards per carry) could do damage against a Chiefs run defense that allows a league-high 5.4 yards per carry. In the pass game, quarterback Andy Dalton has two great weapons in wideouts A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd, who have 70 catches, 949 yards and nine touchdowns between them.
The large total makes sense, and the game could easily go over.
Tennessee Titans vs. Los Angeles Chargers at Wembley Stadium, London: Under 45 Points
The Tennessee Titans have managed just four field goals in their last two games combined. Granted, they played tough defenses (the Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens), but the Titans offense ranks fourth-worst in defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA), per Football Outsiders.
They face the Los Angeles Chargers, whose defense has come to life in the past two games in holding the Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders to 24 combined points. The pass rush is also doing well, having sacked Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield five times last Sunday.
Per Football Outsiders, the Titans have allowed an adjusted sack rate of 11.0 percent, second-worst in the NFL. Quarterback Marcus Mariota was also just sacked 11 times against Baltimore on Sunday. Could he be under duress again?
The Chargers defense has the clear edge over Tennessee. While the Bolts offense is posting the fifth-most points per game in the NFL and should find some success here, the Titans defense has been stingy, as it ranks No. 3 in points per game allowed. Take the under here with confidence.
New York Giants at Atlanta Falcons: Over 54 Points
The New York Giants rank last in the NFL in sacks. Although they've played all but one game sans pass-rushing linebacker Olivier Vernon, the Giants still need to be more productive.
If that trend continues Monday against the Atlanta Falcons, then quarterback Matt Ryan should have plenty of time to find his pass-catchers, specifically superstar wideout Julio Jones. The eighth-year pro has been sensational with 44 catches and 708 yards.
On the other side, the Giants' pass game has largely struggled, but running back Saquon Barkley (second-most yards from scrimmage in the NFL) will be an issue for the Falcons defense.
Atlanta should get back defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, who returned to practice Thursday after missing two games. However, the Falcons have allowed the fourth-most yards per carry in the league. Atlanta is also without two starting safeties (Ricardo Allen and Keanu Neal) and linebacker Deion Jones.
Both teams will have trouble stopping the other, as the Giants can't rush the passer and a short-handed Atlanta defense has struggled. Despite the high point total, take the over.
Cleveland Browns (+168) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are last in points per game, yards per play and net passing yards per attempt allowed. They just fired defensive coordinator Mike Smith in an effort to shore up the defense, but how much can a change in leadership matter when the personnel is the same?
NFL analyst Brian Baldinger noted that point in his "Baldy's Breakdowns" series. He showed a clip where three Buccaneers failed to stop Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Mohamed Sanu from scoring after he caught a ball at the 20-yard line. Perhaps Smith could have done a better job, but can a significant level of improvement be expected?
On the other sideline, the Cleveland Browns defense was bad last week in a 38-14 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. However, they have loads of talent thanks to defensive end Myles Garrett (five sacks), cornerback Denzel Ward (three interceptions) and others. They are tied for 11th in yards allowed per play.
Two other factors in Cleveland's favor: The Bucs can't run the ball efficiently (third-fewest yards per carry in the league), and Browns tight end David Njoku may have a huge game (Tampa has allowed the most yards per game to tight ends, per Football Outsiders). Betting $100 to win $171 seems like a good value.
New Orleans Saints (+129) at Baltimore Ravens
The New Orleans Saints have the league's No. 1 scoring offense, while the Baltimore Ravens have the NFL's No. 1 scoring defense.
This could be a game where both sides have decent performances but neither dominates. However, the Saints defense might have a slight edge against the Ravens offense.
First, Baltimore can't run the ball efficiently right now. The team is managing just 3.4 yards per carry, which is the second-worst mark in the league. Meanwhile, the Saints are giving up only 3.1 yards per carry, which is No. 1 in football.
As well, the Ravens' pass game is hit or miss. Wide receiver John Brown is the team's biggest weapon with 21 receptions for 424 yards and three touchdowns. However, top Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore is back after suffering a concussion in his last game. He should help slow down the Ravens' pass attack.
Furthermore, the Saints defense has allowed just 37 points after giving up 96 in the first three contests. It may have turned things around after a rough start and could lead the team to a win Sunday.
Indianapolis Colts (-315) over Buffalo Bills
The best defense in football since Week 3 resides in Western New York.
Since halftime of Week 2 versus the Los Angeles Chargers, the Buffalo Bills defense has allowed just 56 points. Their last two opponents (the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans) have combined for one touchdown. Buffalo also held Minnesota to six points on the road.
The Bills now head to Indianapolis and face a Colts team that ranks fifth-worst in the league in yards per play. Indianapolis also has the fourth-most turnovers with 13 (eight interceptions, five fumbles). Meanwhile, Buffalo is sixth in takeaways with 12 (five interceptions, seven fumbles).
Buffalo will be without quarterback Josh Allen as he recovers from an elbow injury, meaning that 35-year-old veteran Derek Anderson will be making his fifth career start since 2011. He isn't mobile like Allen, but he's less turnover-prone than the team's other option, Nathan Peterman, who has nine picks and three touchdowns in six career games.
As long as Anderson doesn't turn the ball over, the Bills could win a low-scoring game. As is, betting $315 to win $100 by backing a 1-5 Colts team doesn't seem like a good bet.
Los Angeles Rams (-400) over San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers may be 1-5 and playing without their starting quarterback (Jimmy Garoppolo) and running back (Jerrick McKinnon), but they've hung tough of late.
They nearly beat the Green Bay Packers in Lambeau Field before losing 33-30 on a game-ending field goal, and they stuck with the now 4-2 Los Angeles Chargers before falling 29-27.
The 49ers have a tough task when they face the undefeated Los Angeles Rams, who may be the most well-rounded team in football. However, L.A. will be missing wide receiver Cooper Kupp as the second-year pro battles a knee injury.
San Francisco may also have an edge in the ground game, as the Rams run defense is 26th in DVOA and running back yards allowed per carry, per Football Outsiders. The 49ers' running back committee, which is led by Matt Breida (6.8 yards per rush attempt), can take advantage.
Look for the Rams to win, but the 49ers may keep this one close if the ground game gets going. Also, betting $400 to win $100 isn't a good proposition, especially when the favorite is facing a hungry home underdog that won't quit.
Lock of the Week: Vikings (-3.5, -190) over New York Jets
The New York Jets may be without three key members of their secondary for Sunday's home game against the Minnesota Vikings. Cornerback Buster Skrine and safety Marcus Maye are out, and cornerback Trumaine Johnson is doubtful.
Therefore, Vikings wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs may produce monster games, leading to a comfortable win.
Thielen has more than 100 receiving yards in each of his first six games. Diggs has 40 catches for 435 yards and three scores. Both have established excellent rapport with quarterback Kirk Cousins, who has a 73.7 percent completion rate in his last five games.
On defense, the Vikings have shored up of late. They only allowed 10 points and 268 net yards to the Arizona Cardinals last Sunday. Granted, Arizona has scored the second-fewest points per game in the league, but that outing followed up an evening where Minnesota held the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles to 14 points on the road before a last-minute touchdown and extra point made the score 23-21.
Minnesota will be missing running back Dalvin Cook, but that doesn't matter much considering the Vikings are set up for success through the pass game. The New York Jets offense has scored 69 combined points in their last two games, but they'll have to go without wideouts Quincy Enunwa (ankle injury) and perhaps Terrelle Pryor (doubtful with a groin injury) on Sunday.
Given the Vikings' pass-game success coupled with the Jets' injuries, look for Minnesota to win and cover here.