Welcome to the Week 7 edition of our NFL Bets of the Week column. Here, I’ll strive to identify a handful of games per week I feel have profit potential at DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, and FoxBet Sportsbook.
Depending on the circumstance, I’ll hone in on moneylines, point spreads, or projected totals. Sometimes I may even touch on multiple metrics for one game. We’ll strive for quality over quantity here as well — the focus will only be on spots that seem to truly be advantageous. Then, I’ll take you on a fairly deep dive as to why.
Let’s take a quick look at how things went in Week 6. Follow that up with a leap into a trio of interesting scenarios for Week 7.
Recapping Week 6
Week 6 winners: Falcons -3.5/ Falcons moneyline/ Dolphins +3/ Bills +9.5
Week 6 losers: None
Season record to date:
ATS: 11-4 (.733)
Moneyline: 5-3 (.625)
Week 7 NFL Betting Picks
Buffalo Bills (2-4) at Indianapolis Colts (1-5)
DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Colts -7.5
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds: Colts -7.5
888 Sportsbook Odds: Colts -7.5
Over/Under Total: 43.0
The return of Andrew Luck after he missed all of last season hasn’t exactly been a cure-all for the Colts. While the former Pro Bowler has proven the fitness of his surgically repaired shoulder, a mostly lackluster running game and key injuries to T.Y. Hilton and Jack Doyle have led to a 1-5 record. Indianapolis thus enters the Week 7 matchup versus the Bills in must-win mode. However, they’ll encounter an underrated Buffalo defense that’s already racked up the third-most sacks (19) and allowed the third-lowest YPA (6.7). They’ve been equally stout on the ground as well, yielding the eighth-fewest rushing yards per contest (92.5).
Then, the Colts are averaging the third-lowest YPA (6.2), as Luck has often stuck to keeping his throws close to the line of scrimmage. That’s partly influenced by the two-game absence of Hilton (hamstring). However, it’s worth noting Hilton averaged between 9.2 and 11.9 yards per catch over his first three games. The speedy receiver is due to return for the Week 7 matchup. Yet, Bills shutdown corner Tre’Davious White has the ability to limit Hilton’s impact on the game.
Before Marlon Mack’s surprising 89-yard tally in Week 6 against the Jets, the Colts’ running game was also one of the league’s worst. They’re still averaging just 83.2 rushing yards per contest following that performance. The one-dimensional nature of their offense has helped lead to Luck throwing the second-most interceptions (eight) on the season. In turn, Buffalo has snagged five picks thus far and is tied with several teams for fifth-fewest passing touchdowns allowed (nine).
The Bills have also been slowing the pace down on teams recently. They’ve given up the ninth-fewest plays per game (61.3) over the last three weeks. That should help against a Colts squad that’s playing at the third-fastest pace in the league (70.5 plays per game), including a league-high 80 plays per contest at home.
For their part, Buffalo has played at a snail’s clip of 60.3 plays per game. But the fits-and-starts nature of Buffalo’s offense has often been due to rookie quarterback Josh Allen’s inaccuracy. Allen is out with an elbow injury for Sunday’s game. Veteran Derek Anderson will get the start and has the potential to lead the Bills on some sustained drives. A Colts defense that’s allowing the second-highest completion percentage (73.1) and the seventh-most passing yards per game (280) should help in that regard.
By the Numbers: The Bills are 2-1 versus the spread over their last three games as a road underdog. Buffalo is also 2-1 versus the number after a loss, besting the spread by an average of 13.7 points.
The Colts are 0-2 against the number as a home favorite. They are also 0-4 versus the spread in conference games thus far in 2018 and 1-3 against the number after a loss.
The Final Word: Another week and another large spread for the Bills. They were on their way to comfortably covering a 9.5-point number versus the Texans in Week 6 before one of Nathan Peterman’s trademark interceptions was returned for a touchdown late. The Colts have lost their two home games by 11 and three points, respectively. While they’ll likely pull out their first home victory of the season Sunday, a more balanced offense with Anderson at the helm and a stingy defense will help Buffalo keep this close enough for a cover.
The Pick: Bills +7.5
Detroit Lions (2-3) at Miami Dolphins (4-2)
DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Lions -3
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds: Lions -2.5
888 Sportsbook Odds: Lions -3
Over/Under total: 46.5
This game’s line swung wildly from a 3-to-3.5-point number in favor of the Dolphins to its current figure once Ryan Tannehill was ruled out Wednesday. The game stood out to me at that number, and I’m sure I was far from the only one. The books likely took plenty of early action on that line. Some might now be tempted to jump on the Dolphins going the other direction, given Brock Osweiler’s out-of-nowhere performance against the Bears in Week 6. My advice — don’t bite.
Granted, the Lions have been nothing short of perplexing early in Matt Patricia’s head-coaching tenure. But they showed signs of hitting their stride before a Week 6 bye. Detroit notched an impressive 26-10 shellacking of the Patriots in Week 3, dropped a squeaker to the Cowboys on the road in Week 4, and then handled the division-rival Packers 31-23 in Week 5.
Now, they come in fresh off a bye, having had two weeks to game plan for a non-conference opponent that Patricia is intimately familiar with from his many seasons in the AFC East. Miami will also be playing short-handed on offense. As mentioned, Osweiler draws a second straight start. Meanwhile, his presumed No. 1 receiver, DeVante Parker, still looks far from functional. The 2015 first-round pick may have returned to the field in Week 6 but for only four snaps. It’s unknown where he suffered an aggravation of his quadriceps injury.
Yes, Osweiler threw for 380 yards against the Bears in Week 6. However, he was greatly aided by Albert Wilson, who scampered for 43- and 75-yard touchdowns off short passes. Wilson hadn’t exceeded 50 receiving yards in any game prior to the contest, so don’t expect more of the same against a Lions defense that yielded the sixth-fewest passing yards per game (222.0). They’re also tied with several teams for fifth-most sacks (17).
The Miami defense’s vulnerabilities also dovetail well with the Lions’ offensive strengths. Miami is allowing the fifth-highest YPA (8.1), along with a robust 279 passing yards per contest. The Lions are averaging 268.0 passing yards per game. They’ve surrendered just nine sacks, while the Florida team’s anemic pass rush has mustered only 10 takedowns. Plus, Detroit has the receiving depth to get around cornerback Xavien Howard’s typically suffocating coverage while Kerryon Johnson and company can exploit a defense that’s allowing 118.2 rushing yards a game.
By the Numbers: The Lions were 4-2-1 against the spread as a favorite in 2017. Detroit was 4-3-1 against the spread as a road team last season and is 2-0 away versus the number away from Ford Field this season. They are also 6-3 versus the number coming out of a bye in the Matthew Stafford era (2009-present).
The Dolphins were 1-3 against the number in non-conference games in a Ryan Tannehill-less 2017, failing to cover by an average of 6.0 points. They were also 4-8-1 versus the number as an underdog last season.
The Final Word: The Lions come in refreshed and rested, something the Dolphins certainly can’t claim. Plus, given his career body of work, Osweiler is much more likely to turn into a pumpkin than continue his Cinderella story. Detroit has enough on both sides of the ball to score the road upset by at least a field goal.
The Pick: Lions – 3, Lions moneyline (-132)
NY Giants (1-5) at Atlanta Falcons (2-4)
DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Falcons -5.5
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds: Falcons -5.5
888 Sportsbook Odds: Falcons -6
Over/Under Total: 54.0
Eli Manning keeps struggling and Odell Beckham Jr. keeps grousing. Things aren’t pretty in the Big Apple at the moment. The Jets are the toast of the town compared to the struggling Giants. But this is a squad with more talent on offense than has been evident thus far. They now run into a defense that should offer them the ideal platform to prove that.
The Falcons’ defensive struggles are extensive. There are many metrics that bear that out, including:
- Second-most total yards allowed (417.2 yards per game).
- Fourth-highest passing yards per game (296.0 yards per game)
- Most touchdown passes allowed (16)
- Fourth-highest rushing yards per carry allowed (5.1)
- Third-most rushing touchdowns allowed (8)
The G-Men have one player who’s capable of exploiting all of those weaknesses in the form of Saquon Barkley. The 2018 second-overall pick shined on a national stage versus the Eagles in Week 6. The imagination runs wild thinking of what he could do to a short-handed, inept Atlanta defensive unit. Then, Beckham remains as much of a threat as ever despite his grumbling. He’s even more lethal on the faster track of Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s turf. And there appears to be a good chance that tight end Evan Engram returns Monday night from his three-game absence due to a knee injury.
The Falcons do bring plenty of firepower in their own right despite losing Devonta Freeman for the time being with groin and foot injuries. Rookie Ito Smith has done an admirable job in his stead on several occasions this season. The receiving corps is impressive as well, although Calvin Ridley (ankle) and Mohamed Sanu (hip) are currently among the walking wounded.
Then, the Giants’ secondary has been quietly stingy. They’re allowing the fifth-lowest completion percentage (61.1), courtesy of a talented crew that includes Janoris Jenkins, Eli Apple, and Landon Collins. They’re also surrendering the eighth-fewest passing yards per game (236). While the Giants are tied with the Raiders and Patriots for most docile pass rush (seven sacks), a Falcons line that’s allowed 17 sacks could be the cure for what ails them.
By the Numbers: The Giants are 2-1 against the spread as a road underdog this season, besting the number by an average of 4.2 points. New York was also 4-3 against the number as a road underdog in 2017.
The Falcons are 5-7 against the spread after a win since the beginning of the 2017 season. Atlanta is also 5-10 versus the number in non-division games since the beginning of last season.
The Final Word: The “sky is falling” theme continues to grow around the Giants with each loss. That type of talk tends to take on a life of its own quickly, and it certainly affects public perception. Public perception, in turn, affects betting lines. This one seems a bit inflated. New York isn’t exactly devoid of talent on either side of the ball. In fact, they have two elite players on offense. Atlanta’s defense has struggled against all comers, and this scenario will be no different. The prospects of a victory are a bit muddier for the Giants, but a cover is certainly within reach.
The Pick: Giants +6