NFL Picks Week #7 (2019 regular season)
NFL PICKS (WEEK #7)
BY PROFESSOR MJ
Written Wednesday October 16th, 2019 at 3 PM Eastern Time (spreads/odds may have changed)
PICK #1: Chicago Bears -3 vs New Orleans Saints (rated 5 stars)
I have picked the Saints in each of the past two weeks, but this time I am fading them.
The Bears will benefit from 7 extra days of rest following their bye week, and they will be trying to make amends after such a bad outing in London against the Raiders. They dug themselves into a 17-to-0 hole in the first half, they came back to take the lead in the third quarter but still lost 24-21.
I thought the Chicago organization took a weird decision regarding the trip to England. They decided to wait until Thursday night to fly across the ocean, instead of spending the entire week abroad. The players could have bonded together and get used to jet lag. Even though coaches and players are dismissing it, I believe it had an impact on such a horrible first half.
This time, they will be ready to host the Saints, who just keep winning despite Drew Brees’ absence. The offense struggled last week in Jacksonville and it won’t get easier against the stout Bears defense, who will be playing with a chip on their shoulders after a so-so performance against the Raiders.
In my opinion, the most motivated team will be Chicago BY FAR. They need this game in a crowded NFC North division and like I said before they’ll be looking to rebound after the Raiders loss.
New Orleans is sitting pretty with a 5-1 record. Did you know all of their wins occurred by a 7-point margin or less? Indeed, they won by 2, 2, 6, 7 and 7 points. They are a good team with an underrated defense, but I expect them to lose by a good margin in Chicago this weekend.
Alvin Kamara is bothered by an ankle injury. He was clearly slowed by this injury last week after rushing for a season-low 11 carries. He claims he “has a shot” to play against the Bears, which shows he isn’t healthy. With Bridgewater slowing down last week, it does not bode well for New Orleans.
PICK #2: Los Angeles Rams -3 at Atlanta Falcons (rated 3 stars)
Falcons head coach Dan Quinn is definitely on the hot seat. I thought owner Arthur Blank might fire him after losing to the Cards last week, but he probably decided to wait a little more before making the move. Do you really want the new coach to face the Rams and the Seahawks as his first two games? Atlanta has a chance to lose both of those games heading into their bye week, which seems like a better time to make a coaching change.
I do believe the Falcons will crash down in the next two weeks. They are one of the most underperforming teams in the league right now. Something is wrong with them.
Dan Quinn used to be defensive coordinator, but his defense in Atlanta has been pathetic. They have allowed 30 points per game this year, second-worst in the NFL. Jared Goff should finally have some time to throw and he will pick them apart. The Rams’ offensive line has not done well in 2019, but Atlanta has only generated 5 sacks this year, the lowest in the league.
I really don’t see the Rams losing a fourth straight game. They certainly won’t be looking past the Falcons following such a losing skid. They were humiliated by the 49ers and will play with passion, unlike the Falcons whose season is pretty much over.
The Rams’ opponents hold a 23-12 record, so they faced strong teams.
After parting ways with cornerback Marcus Peters, the Rams paid a heavy price to acquire Jalen Ramsey from the Jaguars. He is clearly an upgrade over Peters, who kept allowing long touchdown passes this year.
I don’t like betting West Coast teams playing an early Sunday game, but I’ll make an exception here because the line is too appealing to me. I’m going with L.A. laying 3 points, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they won by 20 points.
PICK #3: Miami Dolphins +17 at Buffalo Bills (rated 1 star)
The Dolphins are 1-4 against the spread this season, while the Bills are 4-1 ATS. Buffalo is also coming off its bye week. And you know I like the Bills after betting $10,000 on them to win at least 7 games this year. So why the heck am I picking Miami, then?
The main reason is this is a huge spread to cover for a team whose offense is not clicking yet. The Bills are scoring an average of 18 points per game. Suppose the Dolphins score just 10 points this weekend, this means Buffalo must score at least 28 points to beat the spread. It won’t be easy and I am betting this event has less than a 50% chance of happening.
I am aware that Miami has allowed an average of 36 points per game. But the Redskins also have a struggling offense and they only scored 17 in Miami last week. This is a divisional game and I expect the Dolphins to give a good fight and keep it close.
Sure, the Bills will be well-rested; they needed it after many players got hurt when they beat the Titans, including center Mitch Morse and linebacker Matt Milano. However, Miami is coming off three straight weeks where they stayed at home, including their bye week a couple of weeks ago.
After claiming Josh Rosen would be the starting quarterback for the rest of the year, head coach Brian Flores announced Ryan Fitzpatrick would get the start in Buffalo. The news just broke an hour before I posted this article. From a betting perspective, I like it because I do think Fitzpatrick gives the Dolphins a better chance of winning.
Bills win a surprisingly tight game.
LEAN #1: Houston Texans +1 at Indianapolis Colts
If you like this play, I recommend placing your bet early because I wouldn’t be surprised if Houston becomes the favorite by Sunday.
There have been several occasions this year where my betting angles recommended betting a team, but my own analysis wanted to bet their opponent. In those cases, I stayed away from the game. And in almost all instances, I should have picked the team I wanted to bet based on my own judgment.
This time, I’m gonna do it. The Colts have an edge based on rest since they are coming off their bye week, and it will also be their fourth game at home out of the past five weeks (by counting the bye week as a “home game”).
Normally, I would have tend to avoid the Texans since they might letdown after upsetting the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.
But I’m going to go with my gut and bet Houston. For every game, I try to assess a “fair” line before looking at the actual spread. In this case, I thought the Texans would be 2.5 or 3-point favorites. I was stunned they were slight underdogs.
I firmly believe they will go on a great run and be Super Bowl contenders, especially in a weak AFC conference.
The Texans are 4-2, but could easily be 5-1. Remember the Week #1 Monday Night game where they were defeated 30-28 in New Orleans on a 58-yard field goal as time expired. And their only other loss was a 16-10 stinker against Carolina. But the Panthers don’t look so bad now after winning their past four matchups.
Houston also faced tougher competition. Their opponents hold an 18-18 record, while Indy’s opponents are 12-17. The Colts’ largest win occurred by a 6-point margin.
Jacoby Brissett has done a good job thus far, but I trust Deshaun Watson a lot more. Houston wins and gets additional breathing room as AFC South division leaders.
LEAN #2: Washington Redskins +10 vs San Francisco 49ers
This one has “letdown game by the Niners” written all over it. They are all excited from making a big statement against the Rams and it will be easy to look past the lowly Redskins.
I may be the only person in my camp, but I think Case Keenum is not that bad. I’m not saying he is a great quarterback, but he can do some good things. Along with rookie Terry McLaurin, they can put some points on the board.
San Francisco will also be traveling through 3 time zones to play a 1 PM Eastern Time game.
And don’t forget the Niners will be missing two key offensive linemen: Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey.
Overall, the 49ers faced very weak teams, whose combined record this season is just 9-21.
I like the Skins to keep it a 10-point game or less.
LEAN #3: Baltimore Ravens +3.5 at Seattle Seahawks
I have faded the Ravens a few times this year, mostly because I don’t trust Lamar Jackson as a passer and because they have faced weak opposition. But a 3.5 point spread in Seattle seems too high, so I’m going to bet the Ravens to either win it, or lose by 3 points at most.
All of Seattle’s wins were by a 4-point margin or less, except their 27-to-10 victory over the Cards. Fading the Seahawks at home seems scary, but this year they are 2-1 with both wins by a single point.
This is far from my favorite pick this week, but if you already liked Baltimore in this one, then go for it. But I would personally play it cautiously.
Let’s make some $$$$$$$$ this week!
(Sports Betting Expert / University Professor / PhD in statistics)