NFL Week 7 Picks & Predictions: 6 Early Slate Best Bets
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images. Pictured: Leonard Fournette (left), Russell Gage (right).
- Our team of betting analysts has targeted five spreads and one player prop for the early slate of Week 7.
- Two of our betting analysts are aligned on the Giants vs. Jaguars spread.
- Check out our favorite picks at 1 p.m. ET below.
NFL Week 7 Picks
Derek Farnsworth: The Falcons are the only team to cover the spread in every game this season, but all good things must come to an end.
Their offense hasn't been particularly inspiring and their defense is bottom 10 in both rush defense DVOA and pass defense DVOA. More importantly, they are last in adjusted sack rate.
The one weakness for the Bengals this season has been their offensive line, but we can expect Joe Burrow to have plenty of time in the pocket this week. Cincy is coming off a big win over New Orleans and have a golden opportunity to improve to 4-3 in the tight AFC North.
John LanFranca: I really like the Lions’ chances of making this game a tight game.
Their offense is still the fourth best in terms of yards per play (6.2) and now they get back a healthy Amon-Ra St. Brown and D'Andre Swift. Both players represent outlets for Jared Goff to get rid of the ball quickly and are key in their playmaking ability after the catch.
Not only is it smart to fade a quarterback (Dak Prescott) returning from injury, but the trends also favor the team coming off the bye here.
Over the last 10 years, teams who have 12-plus days of rest and find themselves as a six-point underdog or greater are 29-20 (59.2%) against the spread.
In situations where the underdog is coming off a bye and their opponent is not, taking the points has cashed in 23-of-36 games (63.9% rate). Grab the points with the Lions.
That was Tennessee’s fifth win in six in this division rivalry, and that early script looks familiar for these teams. The Colts have fallen behind early all season.
Indianapolis ranks dead last in offensive DVOA in the first half and 29th in defense. The Titans, on the other hand, lead the league in offensive DVOA in the first half. That’s exactly how this played out just over two weeks ago.
Even better, Tennessee is coming off a bye, and Mike Vrabel has had his guys ready after the week off. Vrabel is 4-0 SU and ATS after a bye, covering by a whopping 19.1 points per game. Ryan Tannehill is also 7-2 ATS (78%) off a bye, and favorites of a field goal or fewer off a full bye over the last 15 years are an impressive 46-27-5 ATS (63%).
The Titans are rested and ready from the jump, while the Colts look anything but that. They were without Jonathan Taylor, Shaq Leonard and Kwity Paye Sunday and could be shorthanded again.
The Titans might actually just be a good team. Outside of the blowout Monday night loss to the Bills, Tennessee ranks 7th in DVOA.
I like the Titans to win and cover, but I love them in the first half. Indianapolis is 0-6 ATS in first halves this season, failing to cover by 8.3 points per game, while the Titans are 4-1 ATS themselves, covering by that same 8.3 points per game.
Yeah, that’ll do.
Tanner McGrath: Replacing Carson Wentz with Taylor Heinicke is a significant upgrade for Washington.
Sure, Heinicke produced a tad over zero EPA per play last season (0.001, to be exact), but Wentz produced -0.080 EPA per play through six weeks this season. Even if Heinicke is a replacement-level quarterback, he’s not as detrimental as Wentz.
Meanwhile, I like how Washington’s defense matches up in this game.
It’s clear Aaron Rodgers and co. can’t push the ball downfield. The Packers, however, are effective at running the ball and have the bruising backfield duo of AJ Dillon and Aaron Jones to rely on.
Washington can counter this as it is fifth in both rush defense DVOA and rush success rate allowed, as well as seventh in rush EPA per play allowed. The Commanders have also succeeded in getting to the quarterback, as they currently boast the league's third highest pressure rate.
That doesn’t bode well for Rodgers.
I don’t see the Packers moving the ball much. Meanwhile, Heinicke will deliver the ball to Washington’s electric wideout corps better than Wentz ever could.
Our Action PRO line makes the Packers less than four-point favorites, so there’s value on the +4.5 line currently available. Plus, I'm always happy catching over a field goal with a home dog.
Derek Farnsworth: For the record, the Jaguars are my favorite team. Generally, I like to bet against them. You can call this a life hedge, if you will, and the Colts were one of my best bets last week.
However, even more than betting against my team, I like betting on them in good spots. The Giants picked up another improbable win last week, while the Jaguars are coming off two bad losses to the Texans and Colts.
If we ignore the wins and losses and zoom out a bit, the Jaguars are eighth in total DVOA while the Giants are 18th.
Jacksonville can stop the run and that's really the only way New York has been able to move the ball. I'm betting on talent and on the team playing at home.
Anthony Dabbundo: Based on our Action Network Luck Rankings, the Giants have been by far the luckiest team in the NFL this season when you compare their expected winning percentage to actual winning percentage.
With a run-first offense that goes through Saquon Barkley, the Giants are ranked eighth in rushing EPA/play.
It’s really difficult to run the ball against Mike Caldwell’s defensive scheme in Jacksonville though. The Jags are top 10 defensively in line yards, as well as top seven in rushing success rate allowed and defensive DVOA.
Jacksonville has a major advantage in early down success as well. While the Jaguars' defense grades out as elite in early downs and in the top five overall, the Giants' defense is just 26th in early down success rate allowed.
Jacksonville’s biggest problem in its close loss to the Colts was its inability to protect Trevor Lawrence, but the Giants are just average in pressure rate and pass rush win rate. Lawrence should have time to throw in this game.
Despite playing a weaker strength of schedule, the Giants have worse efficiency numbers across the board. The Giants are a good story but they won't be able to take advantage of Jacksonville's secondary or use the middle of the field to expose them like the Colts did.
Jacksonville is the better team regardless of the records and is at home. I like the Jaguars at -3 or better to hand the Giants their second loss of the season.
Sam Farley: Sometimes you can overthink it when it comes to sports betting, but on Sunday, you have an opportunity to hit a home run. The price isn't the biggest but if there is one man you can expect to find the end zone, it's Leonard Fournette.
The former LSU man not only runs hard but he's also been very effective in the passing game of late. He's in great form, scoring four total touchdowns over the past three weeks. Now he faces one of the worst defenses and a team in the midst of a coaching crisis and firesale.
Don't overthink it. Back Fournette to score a touchdown, even if it's as part of a parlay.