NFL Expert Picks: Patriots-Bears, Cowboys-Redskins, More Week 7 Bets
USA Today Sports. Pictured: Bears running back Tarik Cohen and Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski
- The Action Network experts break down their favorite NFL bets for Week 7, including the Giants-Falcons matchup on Monday Night Football.
- Find out what side our staff is on for the Patriots-Bears and Redskins-Cowboys matchups on Sunday.
- Plus against-the-spread and over/under picks for Saints-Ravens, Rams-49ers and more.
I think Josh Rosen just turned it over again.
At least we don’t have to worry about the Arizona Cardinals accidentally stumbling onto RedZone this Sunday.
With another ugly Thursday Night Football matchup in the books, we can focus on more intriguing Week 7 storylines, including:
- Will the Ravens (-2.5) or Saints get their fifth win of the season in a classic battle of elite defense vs. elite offense in Charm City?
- After a pretty poor effort against Brock Osweiler and the Dolphins, can the Bears defense bounce back against Tom Brady and the Patriots (-3)?
- How will the horrid Bills offense look with 35-year-old Derek Anderson under center against the 1-5 Colts (-7)?
- Will the Rams (-9.5) get a win in San Francisco to remain the lone undefeated NFL team?
- Can the Chiefs (-5.5) improve to an absurd 7-0 against the spread on Sunday night against the Bengals?
In case you’re wondering, the best ATS start to a season since 1980 came in 2011, when the 49ers started 9-0-1 ATS. That streak ended against the Ravens in the first NFL game to feature two brothers as opposing head coaches.
Our staff has a few smart takes on how some of the aforementioned games will play out, in addition to valuable betting insight and angles into the rest of the Week 7 slate.
We have consensus agreements on Patriots-Bears and Cowboys-Redskins, and we’ll close with a side and a prop for the New York Giants-Atlanta Falcons Monday Night Football matchup.
For even more in-depth analysis, make sure to check out our betting guides for every single game this upcoming weekend.
Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets.
ALARM CLOCK ACTION
Travis Reed: Titans +6.5 (vs. Chargers in London)
9:30 a.m. ET on CBS
The Titans are fresh off a 21-0 blowout loss to the Ravens in which Tennessee simply couldn’t move the ball, finishing with only 106 total yards. The Titans offensive line also gave up more sacks (11) than Marcus Mariota had completions (10).
But in the NFL, a team is never as bad (or as good) as it looked the week before.
This line is too inflated. Start your Sunday by buying low on the Titans across the pond.
John Ewing: Titans +6.5 (vs. Chargers in London)
The Titans scored zero points last week, which is really saying something in a season in which teams are averaging 24.1 points per game — on pace for an NFL record.
Since 2003, teams that scored fewer than 10 points the previous week have gone 394-337-15 (54%) ATS in their next game.
If those same teams, coming off a bad offensive game, are getting little public support it has been even more profitable to buy low on them, as the spreads are likely inflated.
Less than 30% of spread tickets are on Mariota & Co. as of writing (see live data here).
EARLY AFTERNOON ACTION
Sean Koerner: Bears +3 (vs. Patriots)
1 p.m. ET on CBS
I have the fair line on this game at Patriots -2, but the more I look into the matchup, the more I love taking the points here.
We saw how much the sluggish Patriots defense struggled to contain speedsters Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt in Week 6. This week, head coach Matt Nagy and the Bears (my new band name) will likely scheme to use Taylor Gabriel and Tarik Cohen in a similar fashion to attack New England’s weakness on defense.
While Chicago’s offense might be a poor man’s version of the Chiefs, the Bears defense is arguably the top unit in the NFL.
Look for Chicago to put a ton of pressure on Tom Brady and sneak away with a win.
Stuckey: Bears +3 (vs. Patriots)
Count me in on #BearDown, as well. I took +3.5 earlier this week (which you know if you have the app), but would certainly still play this at +3.
The Bears have the personnel and scheme required to beat this Patriots team. Sean touched on some of the matchup advantages Chicago has on offense that can exploit New England’s weakness at linebacker.
The Bears can also:
- Generate pressure (No. 3 in Football Outsiders’ Adjusted Sack Rate)
- Force turnovers (No. 1 in turnovers forced per game)
- Defend in space (No. 1 in Football Outsider’s pass defense DVOA)
- Control clock (top five in time of possession and third-down conversion percentage)
Expect an angry and inspired effort from Chicago after a flat effort in Miami. I think the Bears pull off the minor upset.
Peter Jennings: Bears +3 (vs. Patriots)
After an emotional win over the Chiefs on Sunday Night Football, the Patriots travel to Chicago to face the Bears, who just suffered an embarrassing loss to the Dolphins.
As Stuck mentioned, the Patriots are slow at linebacker and safety, which Nagy can exploit with Cohen and Gabriel (great DFS play as well).
This is a classic spot where the public will back the Patriots in a very tough situation and matchup, but I will be aligned with the oddsmakers.
Matthew Freedman: Browns-Buccaneers Over 51
1 p.m. ET on FOX
The Bucs are the only team in the league to have all of their games hit the over, and it’s thanks to an explosive offense scoring 28.2 points per game and a league-worst defense allowing 34.6.
Led by Baker Mayfield, the Browns have been inconsistent on offense but are talented enough to exploit a unit that could be without key players.
On defense, the Browns have allowed the Raiders and Chargers to score 45 and 38 points, respectively, in the last three games.
With a talented pass-catching unit of wide receivers Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Chris Godwin and Adam Humphries to go with tight ends O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate, it’s reasonable to expect quarterback Jameis Winston to lead the Bucs offense to 3-plus touchdowns with 2-3 field goals.
I’d be comfortable betting this line up to 51.5.
Ken Barkley: Jaguars -4 (vs. Texans)
1 p.m. ET on CBS
No team has looked worse over the past two weeks than Jacksonville, losing by 16 points at Kansas City then getting absolutely throttled in the national late-afternoon game in Dallas, 40-7.
The Texans, meanwhile, might have salvaged their season with three straight wins entering Sunday’s game with a division rival.
I’ll play against both of these opinions here.
Despite Houston’s three-game winning streak, the Texans turned the ball over in each of those games, including three times against the Bills. And while Jacksonville’s defense has been missing big plays, there’s too much talent to assume a slump like that lasts the whole season.
I think the Jaguars get right here.
Collin Wilson: Lions -3 (at Dolphins)
1 p.m. ET on FOX
Detroit should be fresh coming off its bye, while Miami will be far from that after an extended overtime win and an offensive line that has been decimated by injuries.
That’s bad news with Osweiler slated to start.
The Lions’ advantages don’t stop there: Their defensive line ranks first in adjusted sack rate and offensive line first in power-rush blocking.
This should be a trench battle and Detroit is fresher, healthier and better equipped to win that battle up front.
LATE AFTERNOON ACTION
Mark Gallant: Saints-Ravens Under 50
4:05 pm ET on FOX
The best defense in the league will clash with the best offense in the league.
A +24% bets vs. dollars differential has dropped the total down to 50, and I’m in agreement. I think this would be a solid play regardless, but what makes it my favorite play is the weather.
Winds between 12 and 16 mph will be swirling in Baltimore, which should impact any long passes and field-goal attempts.
Chad Millman: Redskins -1 (vs. Cowboys)
4:25 p.m. ET on CBS
I rode the Redskins last week in the same spot against a much better team. And they won.
This line is way out of whack for two market-driven reasons.
- Continued disrespect for a Redskins defense that is bland and lacking in star power, but is still really good. It’s fifth in overall yardage allowed and, more importantly, top 10 in points allowed per game and yards allowed per play.
Umm, yeah, the Cowboys beat the Jags last week in a for-their-lungs spot. Now they’re going on the road in a divisional game, and all the home team has to do is eke out a win.
Too much credit is being given to Dallas for a big win last week.
Geoff Schwartz: Redskins -1 (vs. Cowboys)
I’m with Chad here.
The Cowboys are 3-0 at home and 0-3 on the road. They’ve scored 8, 13 and 16 points on the road in ugly offensive performances.
Meanwhile, the Redskins are coming off a hard-fought win at home against the Panthers.
The Cowboys have missed Travis Frederick more than any team has missed any player this season (outside of the 49ers and Jimmy Garoppolo) and it shows on the road, where you need a calm and collected center who can direct things under pressure (and as noted by running back Ezekiel Elliott earlier this week).
The Cowboys won’t score enough points to win this game on the road.
Scott Miller: Redskins -1 (vs. Cowboys)
The only thing I have to add to what the fine gentlemen above already wrote: The Cowboys are trash.
I love selling high on them after a blowout win over the Jags, who sleepwalked throughout that entire game last week.
Ian Hartitz: Rams-49ers Over 52
4:25 pm ET on CBS
The Rams’ explosive offense requires no introduction, but the 49ers have quietly continued to move the football well in Garoppolo’s absence.
Both teams possess leaky pass defenses, giving the matchup the week’s highest combined explosive play rate in the passing game.
The Rams (No. 7) and 49ers (No. 8) also make up the week’s only matchup between two teams ranked in the top 10 in situation neutral pace, so both offenses should have plenty of opportunities against their opponent’s respective below-average defense in overall DVOA.
Danny Donahue: Rams -9.5 (at 49ers)
After killing public bettors by not covering for three straight weeks, the Rams are barely getting the majority of bets this week.
With the public now hopping off the Rams’ train, this looks to be a perfect time hop back on. Teams favored by a touchdown or more after three straight non-covers are 35-26-1 (57.4%) ATS since 2005.
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
Chris Raybon: Falcons -4 (vs. Giants)
8:15 pm ET on ESPN
The 2-4 Falcons’ pass defense has been bad (29th in pass DVOA), but three of Atlanta’s four losses have been by one score. The Falcons have also scored 36-plus points in two of those losses.
I think Atlanta makes it two straight wins at home against a Giants defense that’s been equally woeful against the pass (27th in DVOA) but not nearly as good on offense.
One measure of how teams stack up is common opponents: The Falcons lost to the Eagles by six points, the Giants lost to Philadelphia by 21; the Falcons beat the Panthers by seven, the Giants lost by two; the Falcons lost to the Saints by six, the Giants lost by 15.
That’s a +33 point differential in favor of the Falcons against common opponents with the Giants.
Evan Abrams: Julio Jones Scores TD (+120)
Five different Falcons have combined to catch 14 touchdowns through six weeks. That list does not include Jones, who has yet to find pay dirt in 2018.
I think that drought — which amazingly extends over his past 11 regular-season games — ends on Monday.
Jones has already 708 receiving yards this season, which is the most of any wide receiver through six games without a receiving touchdown since the 1970 merger. The Alabama graduate loves the prime-time stage, especially at home. He has at least five receptions and 95 receiving yards in each of his last six home night games with four total touchdowns.
I think Matt Ryan will look for Julio early and often against a struggling Giants pass defense. Jones will likely line up across cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who has allowed an NFL-high five receiving touchdowns in coverage this season. Jenkins has also given up the third-most receptions and receiving yards.
Jones is primed for a big night.
Editor’s note: The opinions on these games are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.