NFL Picks Week #7



University Professor. PhD in stats. Proud dad of 2 boys.



(click here for audio MP3 version, corresponding to episode #13 of "The Sports Investor Podcast")

Good day everyone, I’m back for my week #7 NFL picks! Last week we had an unusually low number of value plays, going 1-1 after losing badly on the Denver pick, but winning the New Orleans pick. Our record over the last four weeks is now 15-5-1. This week I’ve got five (5) bets that I believe will be profitable for you. Let’s discuss them one by one.

PICK #1: Buffalo Bills -3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Bills are coming off their bye week, which is a good starting point from a betting perspective.

Moreover, Buffalo’s head coach Sean McDermott knows how to game plan against the Bucs after having spent six years as Carolina’s defensive coordinator from 2011 to 2016. He faced quarterback Jameis Winston on four occasions, whose statistics looked like this in these games: 93 of 155 (60%) for an average of 258 yards per game, 4 touchdown passes and 7 interceptions. Tampa Bay only scored an average of 16.8 points per game in those four contests.

As you may already know from previous write-ups, I also like to back the home team in games involving clubs coming from different conferences. The main reason is the lower level of motivation for them since the playoff implications are reduced, whereas the home team is still excited about the game because they are feeding off their home crowd. The Bucs may also be looking ahead to a couple of divisional matchups against the Panthers and the Saints over the next two weeks.

The Bills have only played two home games thus far in 2017, winning both of them: 21-12 over the Jets and an impressive 26-16 victory against the Broncos. Meanwhile, the Bucs have lost their two road games: 34-17 at Minnesota and 38-33 in Arizona, a game in which they trailed by as many as 31 points.

PICK #2: Cincinnati Bengals +5.5 at the Pittsburgh Steelers

Here is one more play where I’m taking a team coming off their bye week. Don’t underestimate the importance of this factor, please. A good game preparation is key in the NFL, not to mention the extra rest on the body. Of course, that doesn’t mean picking every single team after their bye week, but it’s an important variable to consider when handicapping NFL games.

The Bengals will also be looking for revenge after losing their two matchups against the Steelers last year. They lost 24-16 in Pittsburgh and 24-20 at home. After two horrible performances to start the season, Cincinnati canned its offensive coordinator. The results were immediate: after scoring just 9 points in their first two games, they have scored an average of 25 points since then, going 2-1 in the process with the only loss occurring in overtime at Lambeau Field.

Like him or not, linebacker Vontaze Burfict is a hard hitter and he always makes his presence felt. He was suspended for the first three games of the season. The Bengals defense has allowed just 7 and 16 points in their two games since he got back on the field, but these games were against the Browns and the Bills, two of the weakest offenses in the league. Burfict recorded 19 tackles and one sack during those matches.

It’s been an up and down season for the Steelers thus far. They have been alternating good and bad performances all year long. They barely beat the Browns in the season opener, then got a great 26-9 win over the Vikings. They were then shocked by the Bears in overtime, only to rebound nicely with an easy win in Baltimore. They followed that up with a crushing 30-9 loss at home against the Jaguars, a game in which Roethlisberger threw five interceptions. Once again, Pittsburgh came back strong last week by handling the Chiefs their first loss of the season. I’m betting on this trend to continue, as I expect the Bengals to at least keep it close (or even win it).

PICK #3: Cleveland Browns +6 against the Tennessee Titans

I hope the Browns won’t make me regret it like they did against the Jets a few weeks ago, where they basically gave the game away with many bonehead plays. I know, I know, the Browns are 2-31 over their past 33 games (if you can believe that!) so it’s hard to get excited when you are picking them.

The Titans are losing one day of preparation because they were playing last Monday night against the Colts. This week’s game will also mark their third road game over the past four contests (although not back-to-back).

The Browns will try to avenge a 28-26 loss in Tennessee last year. Not only was this game close, but you might be surprised to learn that Cleveland had won the previous two matchups (28-14 at home in 2015, and 29-28 at Tennessee in 2014).

The Titans have a good rushing attack, but Cleveland’s run defense matches up well, as shown by their #1 ranking in terms of rushing yards allowed per attempt (tied with Denver). Also, the #1 overall pick from last year’s draft, defensive end Myles Garrett, will not be limited for the first time since coming back from an injury. He was still able to lead his team with 3 sacks despite missing the first four games of the season and being limited in his first two.

Meanwhile, Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota did not look very mobile in his return from an injury last Monday night, but he should be feeling better this week. The Browns will be going back to DeShone Kizer after benching him last week, while Kevin Hogan threw three interceptions.

PICK #4: Denver Broncos +1 at the Los Angeles Chargers

I like Denver to rebound after a pathetic performance at home on primetime television against a depleted New York Giants team. How could they not be fired up following such a poor outing, especially facing a divisional opponent? Granted, the Chargers won’t take this game lightly either, but they are coming off a big win in Oakland and might not put their foot on the accelerator as much.

The Chargers have lost all of their home games so far this season, going 0-3. Playing at StubHub Center has not felt like home not only because of the record, but also because fans from opposing teams have literally invaded the stadium more often than not. Meanwhile, the Broncos have lost their only road game in 2017 by a 26-16 score in Buffalo.

I’m a bit concerned about Trevor Siemian’s shoulder injury he suffered last week. He is still expected to play, but how much is it bothering him? He will also be without wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders because of an ankle injury. On the Chargers side, running back Melvin Gordon is having a good season with 7 touchdowns in 6 games, but he was limited at Wednesday’s practice because of a shoulder injury.

Much like my first pick, we have a coaching connection worth of note in this game. Denver’s offensive coordinator, Mike McCoy, was the Chargers’ head coach from 2013 to 2016. Denver has other coaches who know Philip Rivers pretty well (like the offensive line coach Jeff Davidson who was with San Diego last year).

PICK #5: Atlanta Falcons +3.5 at the New England Patriots

If you believe in teams being fueled by a desire for revenge, then this pick could not be more perfect for you. Do I need to remind you that the Falcons led last year’s Super Bowl 28-3 in the third quarter before allowing the Patriots to pull off the biggest comeback among all Super Bowl games? Atlanta fans had probably circled that game a long time ago.


On top of that, the Falcons are coming off two consecutive home losses against the Bills and the Dolphins, who certainly don’t qualify as powerhouses. What happened to their high-octane offense? They can’t put the blame on injuries as they have been relatively healthy, except for Julio Jones who has been slowed down by a hip injury but has not missed a full game. Atlanta played without wide receiver Mohamed Sanu last week, but he is expected to return. What better way to get your offense back on track than playing the porous New England defense? They rank 30th out of 32 teams in points allowed, and are dead last in yards allowed per game (way behind the next-to-last team). They have been atrocious.

The Patriots are 4-2 right now, but they are lucky their record isn’t worse. They should have lost against the Texans. They could have easily lost against the Bucs. And they were down 14-0 against the Jets last year before rallying once again. It’s not going to work out well every time. I’m betting the Falcons to either win, or keep it very close.


I was considering taking the San Francisco 49ers +6 against the Dallas Cowboys, but I decided to stay away. Did you know the Niners are the first team in NFL history to lose five straight games by three points or less? Unbelievable! Many sports bettors put too much emphasis on win-loss records, and will therefore underrate San Francisco based on their 0-6 record. One more argument in favor of the Niners is the fact that Dallas will be travelling two time zones out west. You could also argue this is a sandwich game for the Cowboys after having played an exciting game against the Packers and awaiting divisional opponents Washington next week.

However, a few things play in favor of Dallas. They are coming off their bye week. And they have lost two straight games at home, so I don’t necessarily see them taking this game lightly. Will running back Ezekiel Elliott play or not? His status is unclear. Am I the only person who is sick of hearing about this story week after week?


That’s it for this week’s NFL predictions; I hope you found this article insightful. I do my very best to help you grow your bankroll in the long run.

I really want to thank all of you who have been following my work over the past few months. I usually have between 200 and 400 unique visitors on my website every day, but for some reason it went up to 605 yesterday, which is mind-blowing for me! Thank you so much for your support!!

Professor MJ

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