NFL Betting Picks: Steelers Spread, Packers-Texans Total, More Week 7 Bets
Joe Sargent/Getty Images. Pictured: James Conner
Raheem Palmer breaks down four Week 7 picks he made right away. He has a 23-16 (59%) record on NFL bets he’s tracked in the Action app so far this season.
The books below are offering the best lines as of writing, but you can compare real-time spreads and totals across multiple sportsbooks with our NFL odds page.
NFL Betting Picks
Click on a pick to skip ahead to that analysis.
Steelers -2 at Titans
Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | More Game Info
Despite a 5-0 record, the Titans open as 1.5-point home underdogs against the Steelers.
How many times have we seen a 5-0 team open as home underdogs? According to our Bet Labs database, it’s happened only once with the 2007 Cowboys losing as 5-point home underdogs to the eventual 16-0 Tom Brady- and Randy Moss-led Patriots.
Nonetheless, every line tells a story, and this one paints a picture that’s particularly grim for the home team.
The Titans have been on a magic carpet ride, catching every break with comeback wins against the Broncos, Jaguars and Vikings. The Titans followed that up with a 42-16 win over the Bills in which they benefited from three turnovers, scoring touchdowns on drives starting at the Buffalo 16, 12 and 26. Most recently the Titans pulled off a miraculous 42-36 comeback win over the Texans that required a missed 2-point conversion, a score with four seconds left in regulation and an opening drive touchdown in overtime in order to get the win.
To put in bluntly, the Titans have been skating on thin ice.
Tennessee’s defense is allowing 272.8 yards per game (27th), a whopping 5.1 yards per rush (30th) and 7.0 yards per pass (25th). They rank 30th in passing success rate and 22nd in rushing success rate while allowing 16% of runs to go for 20 or more yards (per Sharp Football Stats), which ranks 32nd in the NFL. All that tells us that this could be a game in which James Connor and Benny Snell Jr. dominate on the ground.
The Titans have allowed opponents to convert 57.81% of third-down attempts and to score on 14-of -16 red-zone trips (87.5%), both of which are also dead-last in the NFL.
The Titans offense has been their saving grace as they’re second in scoring with 32.8 points per game, dominating many of the same metrics in which they struggle on the defensive side of the ball. When you look at which teams they have played, it paints a clear story of their offensive dominance.
Here are their opponents’ ranks in Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA — you can see that Pittsburgh is a clear step up in class compared to the rest:
- Broncos: 10th
- Vikings: 15th
- Jaguars: 32nd
- Bills: 27th
- Texans: 25th
- Steelers: 7th
Pittsburgh’s defense is allowing just 18.8 points per game (second), 4.9 yards per play (third) while ranking first in rushing success rate and fourth in passing success rate. And the Titans have to deal with the prospect of facing this vaunted Steelers pass rush that’s leading the league in sacks (24) and pressure rate (36.6%) without the services of three-time Pro Bowl left tackle Taylor Lewan, who is out for the season with a torn ACL. According to Pro Football Focus, he hadn’t allowed a QB sack across 130 pass-block snaps this season.
The Steelers should win this game with their defense and do enough on offense to get the win. Lay the points.
I would play up to -2.5.
Packers-Texans Over 56.5 + 1H Over 27
Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | More Game Info
This shapes up to be a high-scoring game as both offenses are in an ideal spot against these defenses. Aaron Rodgers and Deshaun Watson are two of the best quarterbacks in the league and their jobs will be easier as neither one of these defenses can effectively pressure the quarterback with the Packers ranking 30th in pressure rate (14.9%) and the Texans ranking 28th (16.7%).
Both of these offenses rank inside the top 10 in terms of explosive play rate (plays of 20 or more yards) with the Packers ranking fifth (12%) and the Texans ranking eighth (11%). There’s also some notable mismatches to consider with a Packers rushing offense that’s averaging 5.0 yards per carry and is fifth in explosive run rate headed up against a Texans defense that is giving up a league-high 5.4 yards per carry and is 30th in rushing plays of more than 20 yards.
As I noted heading into last week’s Buccaneers-Packers matchup, Green Bay has been fortunate to face opposing offenses without their No. 1 receivers, however this is still a unit that is 25th in pass defense DVOA and 23rd in pass defense success rate (51%). The Texans pass defense isn’t any better as they rank 24 in passing success rate (51%).
Bet on both quarterbacks to put on a show. I like the over up to 57 and the first-half over up to 28.
Seahawks -3 at Cardinals
Kickoff: 4:05 p.m. ET | More Game Info
This is a good spot to sell high on the Cardinals as their 38-10 victory over the Cowboys was a bit misleading.
The Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray connection had a lot of hype, but thus far the Cardinals have just a 47% passing success rate — 19th among NFL teams. In Monday night’s win, Murray was a pedestrian 9-of-24 for 188 yards against a Cowboys defense that is giving up 410 yards per game (sixth), ranks 20th in defensive DVOA and contains a a secondary that Pro Football Focus has graded as the NFL’s worst coverage team.
Although they averaged 7.5 yards per carry and 7.1 yards per pass on offense, the Cardinals were the beneficiary of four Cowboys turnovers that helped swing the game.
Andy Dalton couldn’t capitalize on the loss of Chandler Jones, but this Russell Wilson-led Seahawks offense that’s averaging a league-high 33.8 points a game should have no problem scoring. The Cowboys were sporting a makeshift offensive line with injuries to Tyron Smith, La’el Collins and Zack Martin who left Monday night’s game early with a concussion.
Defensively, the Seahawks have their issues but they have some reinforcements coming with the return of strong safety Jamal Adams, DE Rasheem Green and first- and second-round picks LB Jordyn Brooks and DE Darrell Taylor.
Overall, this game comes down to whether Murray can match Wilson point-for-point. Based on what we saw this past Monday night, I’m not seeing it. The high total of 56 implies we’ll see a high-scoring game, which makes the 3.5 a bargain.
I’ll lay the points with Seattle and I’ll take this up to 4.
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Patriots -1.5 vs. 49ers
Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET | More Game Info
The Titans performance coming off a COVID-19 outbreak spoiled us. There aren’t many football teams that can come off a week and a half of minimal practice and perform optimally. But despite having possibly the greatest coach of all time in Bill Belichick, the Patriots aren’t any different.
Now the Patriots take on the 49ers, whose only wins are against both New York teams and the Rams, whose only wins are against the NFC East.
Injuries have been the biggest challenge for the reigning NFC champions this season. The 49ers had a previous flurry of injuries to Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, Richard Sherman, K’Waun Williams and Kwon Alexander on defense. Now they’ve caught the injury bug on offense as they lost center Ben Garland for the season with a calf strain and Trent Williams has an ankle sprain that could cause him to miss time.
Running back Raheem Mostert also has a high-ankle sprain (track his status here), which means we’re likely to see a timeshare with Jerick McKinnon, Jeff Wilson and JaMycal Hasty. This isn’t good news for an offense that’s 19th in points per game (24.7), 25th in offensive DVOA, 21st in yards per play (5.6), 20th in play success rate (47%) and 26th in explosive play rate (26.5%).
The Rams outscored the 49ers 10-3 in the second half of last Sunday night’s game. Against a better Patriots defense that held Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense to 19 points and the Broncos to zero touchdowns and six field goals, the 49ers’ struggles could continue.
The Patriots are a run-first offense in 2020 and their matchup is ideal against a 49ers’ defense that’s 26th in explosive run rate. By comparison, New England is sixth in explosive run rate. Last week against the Rams, Darrell Henderson had a solid performance rushing for 88 yards on 14 carries. The combination of Cam Newton, James White, Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead figures to be that much more difficult to defend given Newton’s dual-threat ability.
Overall, this is a prime bounce back spot for New England and you have to wonder how much higher this line would be if the results of the Broncos game turned out differently.
I’m laying the points and would bet the Patriots up to -3.