NFL Week 7: Upsets to Target, Including Colts vs Titans, Chiefs vs 49ers, Browns vs Ravens

NFL Week 7: Upsets to Target, Including Colts vs Titans, Chiefs vs 49ers, Browns vs Ravens article feature image
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Mike Comer/Getty Images. Pictured: Jimmy Garoppolo.

Editor's Note: This article was originally posted on BetIQ on Wednesday, October 19, and is being republished with permission. Odds listed in the original article may be different from this publication.


Everybody loves an NFL upset pick, especially when it turns into a winning bet. The three NFL Week 7 underdogs listed below stand out as moneyline value plays based on our algorithmic prediction models, data angles, and/or recent news.

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Upset Picks Results (2022)

Last Week: 0-3 for -3.0 units
2022 Season: 10-8 for +11.1 units

It took a while this season, but we finally had an 0-fer. We've had several close calls go our way so far in 2022, but regression reared its head last week:
Carolina, our long shot pick, led 10-7 at halftime against the Rams, but did nothing on offense and lost 24-10.

New Orleans led most of the game, but gave up a 60-yard TD pass with under two minutes left to lose 30-26.

Denver went to overtime for the second primetime game in a row, but could not get it done against the Chargers, losing 19-16.

A couple tough breaks there, and we had closing line value on two of the three games, but we can't complain. It's going to happen.

Week 7 NFL Upset Picks

All odds via FanDuel and as of 5:30 p.m. ET on Thursday.

Colts (+116) vs.

Titans

This is a playable moneyline pick, according to our models for Week 7.

A couple of years ago, we wrote an article about home teams (like Tennessee here) going for a sweep in a division series. We looked at all division rematches since 2008 where:

The home team in Game One was favored by 4 or fewer points, and lost.

The home team in Game Two (which won Game One on the road) was also favored by 4 or fewer points.


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In these games, the home team in Game Two, looking for the sweep, went just 16-21 straight up (even though they were the favorite) and 14-23 against the spread.

Basically, these division rematches where the teams are close, and one team won on the road in a slight upset, appear to show some value taking the team trying to avoid the sweep.

In addition, the Colts offense is getting healthier and will likely have RB Jonathan Taylor back, a week after they scored 34 points and made 29 first downs against the Jaguars. The Titans are coming off their bye, but have been out-gained in every single game so far this year despite their 3-2 record.

Chiefs vs.

49ers (+128)

This is another playable moneyline pick, according to our models, as well as a playable spread pick.

Kansas City is the most popular spread pick so far this week in NFL pick'em pools, with 78% of the public picking the Chiefs at -3, and 87% of the public picking Kansas City to win outright.

San Francisco, though, is a team that has played to its competition level recently. Since the start of the 2020 season, the 49ers actually have a better win/loss record as an underdog in the betting market (8-6 SU, 10-4 ATS) than as a favorite (13-15 SU, 12-16 ATS).

In addition, the 49ers rank in the NFL's top five in both offensive and defense passing efficiency (by net yards per pass), and may present a challenge to Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes. San Francisco also ranks first in the NFL in rushing yards per carry allowed (3.3) and in total yards allowed (255.8 per game). Getting this caliber of defense in a home underdog situation is yet another reason to fade the public.


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Browns (+240) vs.

Ravens

This is the top playable moneyline pick for Week 7, according to our models. So far this year, moneyline picks with similar projected value have gone 8-1 straight up to start the season.

AFC North games played outdoors and by teams within close geographic proximity have tended to show low home field advantage. Since 2002, when the division was formed, AFC North home teams have only covered the spread 46.2% of the time in division games.


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Home division favorites of five points or more have only covered 40% of the time (35-53-2), with Baltimore specifically going only 8-18-1 ATS in division home games when favored by five or more points in that time span.

Some of the other value factors our model is picking up here include Cleveland's poor turnover margin and low turnover forced rate so far, Baltimore's low penalty rate, and Baltimore's high rate of offensive touchdowns coming through the air (13 passing to only four rushing touchdowns to date). Some regression in those factors could benefit Cleveland.


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Upset Pick Expectations

Whenever you read about upset picks from a betting perspective, it's important to understand the implications. Individually, neither the betting markets nor our models give any of these three teams better than a 50-50 chance to win.

If you bet an underdog on the point spread, that isn't such a big deal to you. You're just hoping for the pick to at least keep it close and cover the number.
If you bet an underdog on the moneyline, though, you need them to win the game outright. When that happens, you get an outsized return on your bet. Given that context, we expect to get most of these picks wrong, and we also expect to see big swings in results from week to week—including losing all three picks in some weeks.

Depending on the payout odds, you can still turn a profit by winning, say, 30 or 35 out of every 100 moneyline bets that you make on underdogs. However, you need to manage your bankroll carefully to weather what could be long losing streaks along the way.

Note: You can see a full history of upset picks we've made so far in 2022 at the bottom of this post on BetIQ. So far, 13 of the 18 picks have had positive closing line value (CLV).

Week 7 Betting Picks & Models (Free Trial)

If you enjoyed the analysis in this article, we invite you to explore more. For a limited time, Action Network readers can get a free 3-day trial to all of the premium picks and tools on BetIQ, plus our other sites TeamRankings and PoolGenius.

That includes our Staff Betting Picks, betting model picks, customized picks for football pick'em and NFL survivor pools, plus data and analysis tools like our NFL betting trends tool.


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