Early NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions For Week 7: Bet Chiefs To Cover, Plus Massive Texans vs. Cardinals Spread
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Chiefs RB Darrel Williams
- With Monday Night Football in the books, our analyst is already looking ahead to next week.
- After poring over the opening Week 7 NFL odds, he makes his picks on two spreads: Chiefs-Titans and Texans-Cardinals.
- Find out why, despite the Titans' big win over the Bills, he likes the Chiefs' chances to cover -- at the right price.
NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions
Texans at Cardinals Odds
This is ugly. It’s gross, it’s disgusting, it’s nasty.
We’re playing the Texans. The Houston Texans. The might-finish-with-one-win Houston Texans who just got run off the field 31–3 by the previously one-win Colts. And we’re playing those Texans against the undefeated 6–0 Cardinals.
And we’re doing it because 17 points is way too many.
The regression monster comes for us all. And this is a numbers play. No team is more inflated right now than the Cards while the Texans are one of the most dumped-on teams. Perceptions of the two could not be further apart, and that creates value.
In our Action Labs database, which records every single game since 2003, we have never seen an unbeaten team favored by 17 or more cover the spread in October or later. The six undefeated teams we have in our database are 0–6 against the spread (ATS) in those spots, failing to cover by more than 10 points. It’s an obvious letdown spot for the Cards coming off big wins over the Niners and Browns before two more against the Packers and in San Francisco.
There are more Action Labs trends in our favor. Teams that lost by 17 the week before that are playing teams that won by at least 17 are 96–59–4 ATS the following week, covering 62% of the time. That’s what happens when you over-inflate a line.
And teams with an average scoring margin of -14 or worse over their past five games, like the Texans, are 117–78–6 ATS (60%) in their next game. These are all professionals. Bad teams don’t stay awful forever.
Plus, there’s a chance that Tyrod Taylor is back this week. The Texans were actually respectable with Taylor in the lineup, and he would represent a massive improvement from rookie Davis Mills. But even if it’s Mills, 17 points is still a lot of points, especially with a total at just 48.
I don’t know if this 17 will stick around all week. It was 14 on Sunday morning before the blowouts, but it can hardly rise much further and would likely drop if Taylor is cleared. I’ll swallow hard and grab the +17.
Chiefs at Titans Odds
Editor’s note: The following was written before the Titans’ 34-31 win over the Bills on Monday Night Football.
We’ve finally over-adjusted in the other direction on the Chiefs.
Look, I know the Chiefs defense is not good. They allowed 29 or more points in each of their first five games — tied for the longest such streak to start the season — and they entered Week 6 ranked dead-last in Football Outsiders’ DVOA. But they were much better in Washington, holding the Football Team to just 276 yards while forcing two turnovers and allowing just one touchdown on a broken coverage.
Kansas City entered the game with the most red-zone trips allowed in the NFL, but didn’t allow Washington even one trip there. They moved safety Juan Thornhill into the starting lineup, and that move appears to be paying some dividends. And the thing is that they don’t really need the defense to be good (or even average) — they just need it to not be abysmal.
Patrick Mahomes and the offense are still as unstoppable as ever, and this bad Titans defense has very little chance of stopping them.
The Chiefs are scoring almost 31 points per game, and they aren’t even playing that well yet. The offense has caught every unlucky bounce in the world with constant turnovers, usually in the red zone somehow, and still this team is dropping 30 every week like it’s nothing.
The Titans may be 3-2, but the underlying metrics paint a grim picture. They entered Week 6 ranked 26th overall in DVOA, including 27th on defense. They have been very poor in the first half, and just about the only thing going right is Derrick Henry once the defense wears down. But if the Chiefs jump out to a big lead while the Titans slowly get moving, Henry may get taken out of the game.
I recommended this line on the Lookahead segment of our podcast, and I’m recommending it again because it’s still far too low. It could raise quickly, too, if the Bills come in to Tennessee and put up a big number on the Titans on Monday Night Football. But even if the Titans pull the upset, I’m not sure the line will move much in my favor or that anything would change my mind on the pick.
Against better teams, we should be doubting the Chiefs. But when both defenses are bad like this, you just have to take the far better offense and trust Mahomes and Co. to put up enough points to get the job done.
I would bet this to Chiefs -4.5 (shop for the best real-time line here).