NFL Picks Week #7 (2021 regular season)
NFL PICKS (WEEK #7)
BY PROFESSOR MJ
Written Wednesday October 20th, 2021 at 1 PM Eastern Time (spreads/odds may have changed)
After collecting five straight winning weeks with the NFL picks against the spread, while posting a jaw-dropping 15-3-1 record, we hit a speed bump in Week 6. However, it was not a catastrophic day either: one win and two losses.
Also notice how the winning bet was the one with the highest rating of the week by far, as I took the Arizona Cardinals +3 points in Cleveland with a 4-star rating out of five. I also shared three leans, and those plays went 2-1.
This week I would like to share three official picks with you, as well as three leans. Sounds good? Let’s go!!!
PICK #1 (4 STARS): PHILADELPHIA EAGLES +3 AT LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
I like the Eagles in this spot for several reasons. First, they are coming off a Thursday night game, which means they will benefit from three extra days of rest.
Also, they are getting stud right tackle Lane Johnson back. He missed the past two games in order to address some mental health issues. It will be good to see him back on the field and I hope he is feeling better. After losing Isaac Seumalo and Brandon Brooks, the offensive line needed this boost.
The Eagles finally ran the ball more often last week, despite facing Tampa’s brick wall. They found some success with 19 rushes for 100 yards. Hopefully, the coaching staff got the message and will pound the rock. The Raiders rank 26th in the league in terms of rushing yards allowed per attempt. Philly needs to take advantage of this weakness.
The Eagles hold a 2-4 record so far this season, but did you see who they lost to? The Bucs, the Chiefs, the Cowboys and the 49ers. Those were tough opponents to face.
The Raiders are 19-40 against the spread (ATS) over their past 59 games at home against teams with a losing record. They have also beaten the spread just once in the last six games where they were established as home favorites. Granted, Philadelphia has not done well as road underdogs recently, as shown by their 2-5 ATS record.
Still, I like the Eagles to win outright, or to lose by a tight score. Their cornerback duo of Darius Slay and Steven Nelson can slow down Derek Carr’s attack, in my opinion. I’m taking Philly with the three points.
PICK #2 (3 STARS): WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM +8.5 AT GREEN BAY PACKERS
Am I the only one seeing this matchup as a potential letdown game for the Packers? Green Bay is coming off a win in Chicago, a division rival. They are awaiting a critical showdown with the unbeaten Arizona Cardinals in Week 8, and an awesome meeting with the Chiefs in Week 9. Facing the Washington Football Team won’t seem very exciting for Matt Lafleur’s squad.
Also, Green Bay has a depleted defense. They were already missing key pieces of their unit with cornerback Jaire Alexander and linebacker Za’Darius Smith. Now, two more players in the secondary are uncertain to play this weekend: Kevin King and Darnell Savage. And linebacker Preston Smith is also listed as questionable right now.
Before the season began, many experts believed Washington would have one of the best defenses in the NFL. It has not been the case at all so far! However, they still have talent and could turn things around. I truly believe they can keep the game close this Sunday.
Over the last 10 games as the visiting team against a team with a winning record, Washington holds a 7-3 record against the spread. However, the team from the frozen tundra has done well as home favorites, so that’s one of the reasons why I am grading this pick lower. Still, my money is on Washington.
PICK #3 (2 STARS): SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS -4 VS INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
I have told you a few times before about the following betting strategy that has done wonders for me in the past: betting a West Coast team in a game that starts around 8 PM Eastern Time, especially when facing a team from the East.
Why? Because researchers have found that athletes perform the best in the late afternoon or early evening. When a football game starts at 8 PM Eastern Time, that feels like 5 PM to the players from the West, which is a perfect time to be feeling in great shape, but not so much for the guys from the East.
That was one of the main reasons why I took the Raiders as 4.5-point underdogs in Week 1 against Baltimore, and the Seahawks as 5-point underdogs in Pittsburgh last Sunday night. In both cases, we won our bet. I used this system several times over the past few seasons, and it has worked very often. I’m banking on it again with the Niners in the Sunday night game.
To top it all off, San Francisco is coming off its bye week, so they will be well-rested. History also shows that favorites coming off their bye week have beaten the spread more often than not, since good teams tend to make better use of the extra preparation time.
All signs point towards the return of Jimmy Garoppolo under center. That’s good news if you plan to bet the Niners since he is clearly the better QB on the roster right now.
You may be wondering why I am not rating this pick higher since I seem pretty excited about several aspects of this matchup. The Colts’ four losses occurred against good teams: the Ravens, the Titans, the Rams and the Seahawks.
Also, San Francisco does not have a good history in terms of beating the spread as home favorites. Indeed, they have a 5-22 record ATS under such circumstances. Meanwhile, the Colts have done well on the road, having beaten the spread in seven of their past nine road trips.
Still, I expect San Francisco to be a winning bet, but I’ll remain cautious with a lower grade.
For entertainment purposes, here are some leans:
- New York Giants +3 vs Carolina Panthers (Winning by four points or more on the road is not necessarily an easy task in the NFL. I’m not convinced the Panthers will be up to the task this Sunday. New York might get Saquon Barkley and/or Kenny Golladay back on the field, but that’s not certain yet. Daniel Jones is good enough to keep this game close. Carolina’s defense is showing signs of decreased performance. Indeed, after allowing an average of just 10 points per game in their first three games against weaker opponents, they surrendered an average of 30 points per game in their three most recent matches.);
- New Orleans Saints -4.5 at Seattle Seahawks (Road favorites off a bye week have done extremely well in recent years. New Orleans might get Marcus Davenport and K’won Alexander back in a defense that has been very stout so far in 2021. The spread was a bit too high to get me excited enough to make it an official pick, though.);
- Cincinnati Bengals +6.5 at Baltimore Ravens (The revenge factor clearly gets into play here since the Bengals got crushed in both meetings with the Ravens last year: 27-to-3 and 38-to-3. It’s payback time! Cincy holds a 4-2 record and both of their losses came by a margin of exactly three points. The Bengals beat the spread five of the last seven times they faced Baltimore. The Ravens kept losing players to injuries, this time left tackle Ronnie Stanley for the rest of the year. Ouch!).
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Thanks a ton for reading this weekly column, I wish you a great weekend my friend!
(Sports Betting Expert / University Professor / PhD in statistics)