Week 7 NFL picks: Best bets, odds for every game

By VSiN Staff  (VSiN.com) 


Welcome to another exciting weekend in the NFL.

With 11 games on Sunday's slate, there are plenty of betting opportunities. Our VSiN experts -- Adam Burke, Wes Reynolds, Dave Tuley, Will Hill and Matt Youmans, along with Ben Brown from Pro Football Focus -- combine to give their opinions on every game.

Note: Lines are from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Thursday night.

Here are our Week 7 best bets:

Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens (-6, 46.5)

Burke: The early window on Sunday has some real duds, but all of the sudden the game between the Bengals and Ravens looks very intriguing. First place is on the line here, as the Ravens could take a two-game lead in the division or drop into a tie with the Bengals. That should be enough to keep the Ravens fully focused on the task at hand, but the bye week is a pretty attractive pot of gold at the end of the proverbial rainbow.

A lot of teams have battled through adversity on the injury front already this season, but the Ravens really stand out as one of the biggest examples. Baltimore took a very banged-up defense into the game against the Chiefs and came away with a monster win. The Ravens probably should have lost to the Lions, but found a way to win that game and then throttled the Broncos on the road.

Week after week, we’ve seen something impressive from the Ravens. The last two weeks have featured the huge Monday Night Football comeback against the Colts and then the blowout of the Chargers, which was Baltimore’s best defensive showing of the season.

Consistently playing at that high of a level, or making just the right plays in the fourth quarter or overtime, is a skill that few teams possess. The Ravens are one of them, but they’re being asked to do a lot this week against the Bengals. The spread is big at six points with a fairly low-scoring expectation and with Baltimore having gone through the ringer for six weeks already. That bye week is definitely a lookahead factor, especially since we know that Lamar Jackson is not 100 percent.

Cincinnati has certainly played well enough to keep this game close. The Bengals have played a weak schedule and this is a step up in class, but Joe Burrow has taken good care of the football in five of the team’s six games and the defense has been very stout, holding opponents to just 1.6 points per drive, which ranks third in the league. When you consider that the Bengals entered this week 20th in turnover percentage, it is even more impressive.

Six points just feels like a couple too many here and there are even 6.5s out there in the marketplace if you shop around. Baltimore really played down to the level of competition against Detroit and Indianapolis and, while the Bengals are better than those two teams, it wouldn’t be stunning to see the Ravens at less than their best here.

Pick: Cincinnati Bengals + 6

Tuley: Who had this Week 7 game circled for first place in the AFC North? Believe it or not, that’s that we have here with the Ravens (5-1) hosting the Bengals (4-2). The advance line was Ravens -6.5 and it has stayed pretty solid, though a few books went to Ravens -7 before getting bet back down. But I think it’s set a little high based on the reputation of these teams and should be closer to a field goal. The Ravens are certainly flashier with Jackson’s high-flying act, but Burrow is having just as good a season and should be able to spread the ball around to his weapons in RB Joe Mixon and WR Ja’Marr Chase, among others. This might be early to be calling for a new favorite in the AFC North, but I give the Bengals a great chance to pull the outright upset. However, I’ll still gladly take as many points as they’re willing to give us.

Pick: Bengals + 6 or better


Carolina Panthers (-2.5, 43) at New York Giants

Burke: The Carolina Panthers have been in freefall mode in the eyes of the betting market ever since the 3-0 start. The Panthers have dropped three straight to the Cowboys, Eagles and Vikings and scored 28 points in two of those three games. The defense, which was so strong against paltry offenses like the Jets, Saints and Texans, has faltered against offenses with more firepower.

The Giants don’t really have a ton of firepower right now, but are still better than the three teams that Carolina has beaten. The Panthers have faced three offenses in the top half of the league and lost and three offenses in the bottom third of the league and won. The Giants rank 20th in yards per play on the season.

Carolina’s offense only turned the ball over two times during the three-game winning streak to open the season. The last three games have featured eight turnovers, so the Panthers have made things very difficult on themselves with a lot of self-inflicted wounds.

This, though, looks like a buy low spot on Carolina, especially with a 2.5 available in the market. The Giants still have all kinds of banged-up skill position players and rank 30th in points per drive allowed, so it is tough to see how they can keep up. The Panthers defense was put into some compromising spots against three solid offenses, but as long as the Giants aren’t set up for a bunch of easy scoring drives, it seems unlikely that they can generate the offense needed to cover or win the game.

The Giants are being outscored by a full point per drive on the season and opponents have scored on 48.4 percent of their possessions, which ranks 30th in the NFL. On the flip side, the Giants are only scoring on 35.4 percent of their possessions.

This is a step down in class for Carolina and one where the market simply may have turned too much on them.

Pick: Panthers -2.5


Washington Football Team at Green Bay Packers (-7.5, 48.5)

Youmans: Aaron Rodgers is on a roll and the Packers are again resembling their 2020 form. Rodgers has passed for 12 touchdowns with one interception during a five-game winning streak. The Washington defense looks nothing like it did last season. Washington ranks last in scoring defense (31.0 ppg) and passing yards allowed (309.5 ypg). With this line dropping from 9.5 to 8.5 at several books, including Circa and the Westgate SuperBook, there is value in putting the Packers on a six-point teaser.

Pick: Packers -1.5 on a teaser with Patriots -0.5

Reynolds: This is a somewhat similar angle that I used for Tennessee over Buffalo on Monday Night Football. The Bills easily dispatched Kansas City on Sunday Night and were priced at the top of the market in Tennessee. In this spot, Green Bay has now won and covered five straight games (covered the closing number at Cincinnati). The Packers have won two straight road games and look to be riding high. Meanwhile, the WFT has been more like the WTF as they come in losing two consecutive home games by double digits and are currently 1-5 ATS. 

Green Bay comes back home off a road divisional win in Chicago and another “owning” by Aaron Rodgers, and everything screams Packers here; however, a closer look examines that the Pack could have gotten a little fat and happy against an easy early schedule. Green Bay has faced one offense that ranks in the league’s top half (San Francisco - 14th) in the first six games. The other offenses the Packers have faced include - New Orleans (28th), Detroit (27th), Pittsburgh (25th), Cincinnati (21st), and Chicago (32nd). Washington is right in line with these other offenses at 24th. While Rodgers has a terrific 14-to-1 TD-to-INT ratio during the five-game winning streak, the Green Bay offense only ranks 23rd. 

Washington’s defense has been one of the worst in the league and the market has figured out how overrated this unit is unless the front four led by Chase Young can get a pass rush. Nevertheless, the WFT has had to face five of the league’s top 12 passing offenses in the first six weeks. The reality of being a division winner at 7-9 last year and having to play a first-place schedule is starting to set in for this squad. 

The opener was 10 and has come down to 8.5 and even some 7.5s are starting to show. The betting market seems to realize that Green Bay is a good ball club, but that they are also an overpriced ball club. In addition, the Packers are likely to get an still undefeated 7-0 Arizona on the road next Thursday night. This has the look of a flat effort from the Pack.

Pick: Washington 7.5


Kansas City Chiefs (-5, 57.5) at Tennessee Titans

Hill: I was on the Titans last week, but I knew what I was getting into in terms of the Titans defense. A Josh Allen slip and some good fortune in the red zone is the only thing that kept the Bills from putting up 40 on the Titans last Monday Night. 

The Titans won, they covered, but they now face Patrick Mahomes and the high-powered Chiefs offense. If you can find “Total Chiefs Punts” as a prop, I would play under on anything 1.5 or higher as I think the Chiefs have a fair shot to get in the 40s against a Titans team that struggles to get pressure and is suspect in the secondary.

Both of these teams are near the bottom of the league defensively in yards per play allowed, with Chiefs dead last at 6.7 and the Titans 27th at 6.1. The Chiefs are also last in the NFL allowing over five yards per carry. Not the ideal opponent to contain Derrick Henry, who has a strong case as the league’s most valuable non-quarterback so far this year. I expect a back-and-forth game with both teams in the 30s. Get your popcorn ready, this one will fly over the total.

Pick: Over 57.5


Atlanta Falcons (-2.5, 48) at Miami Dolphins

Brown: Miami never really started the 2021 season and now looks to be in a complete tailspin heading into Week 7. The quarterback is to blame, if the latest rumors end up being true. However, Tua Tagovailoa hasn’t been horrible, posting a 70.0 passing grade that ranks 23rd among quarterbacks with 75 dropbacks. The problem is that he brings little upside, as his average depth of target (aDot) is slightly below league average. Miami’s offensive targets are directed to a wide receiver at the sixth-lowest rate in the NFL. 

Enter Salvon Ahmed, the Dolphins running back who has seen an uptick in offensive snaps the past two weeks as one of the team’s few bright spots. Ahmed has seen a number of manufactured targets despite a modest number of routes run. Miami’s play calling seems intent on giving him a couple of targets per game, as three of his five targets the past two weeks came on first-read throws. One well-blocked screen easily clears this low prop number, making it the perfect under-the-radar prop on Sunday. 

Pick: Salvon Ahmed Over 7.5 Receiving Yards (-120)


New York Jets at New England Patriots (-6.5, 43)

Youmans: With five home games in the first seven weeks, the Patriots were set up for early success. Instead, New England is 0-4 at home and has road wins against two of the league’s worst teams (Jets, Texans) heading into this Foxborough rematch with the Jets.

The Patriots rank 17th in the league in total defense (359 ypg), which should be a source of embarrassment to coach Bill Belichick. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has been far too conservative with the play calling. In the Week 6 loss to the Cowboys, McDaniels had rookie quarterback Mac Jones attempt 21 passes while Dak Prescott put the ball in the air 51 times. Jones has completed 71.1 percent of his passes and is obviously capable of doing more than McDaniels is allowing. Belichick is getting strangely conservative, too, opting for long field-goal attempts or punts in some key spots where he should be going for it on fourth down.

It’s time for the Patriots’ coaches to clean up the mess. New England beat the Jets 25-6 in Week 2 when Belichick’s defense picked on rookie quarterback Zach Wilson. This should be another double-digit win. The six-point overtime loss to Dallas was a low blow to this bettor who had the Patriots + 3.5, but I’ll give Belichick another shot to get it right. I’m laying the points for a half-unit bet and playing the teaser for a full unit.

Picks: Patriots -6.5; Patriots -0.5 on a teaser with Packers -2.5

Burke: There are a lot of people that will shy away from laying a touchdown with the Patriots this week. I am not one of them. When the Patriots and Jets played in the Meadowlands in Week 2, the line was predominantly New England -6. As the two teams play at Foxboro this week, the line is only -7.

We know that home field advantage is pretty close to dead in the NFL, but it still gets incorporated into the markets to some degree. Why this line is virtually the same five weeks later is a head-scratcher to me. I believe that Jones has actually played well. The vanilla, conservative play calling has held him back, but the Patriots are still in much better shape with him than the Jets are with Wilson.

The Jets are off of the bye week here and maybe that will help, but Wilson has four touchdown passes and nine interceptions in five games. He’s already taken 18 sacks. He threw four interceptions and was sacked four times in that Week 2 game, which is noteworthy because the Patriots only have 13 sacks for the season. That result speaks to how good of a job Belichick does confounding rookie QBs. He’s 23-6 straight up against them in his time with the Patriots.

From a qualitative standpoint, this is a huge game for the Patriots. Falling to 2-5 removes virtually any hope of being a playoff contender. Being 3-4 still gives the team a puncher’s chance. That certainly isn’t enough to justify a pick on the Patriots, but it is another piece of the handicapping puzzle and one in favor of the favorite.

Ultimately, I think the Patriots are better than where they were in Week 2 and the Jets are basically about the same. If the Patriots were -6 on the road, I don’t see why they should only be -7 at home and you may even find a stray 6.5 out there, like what DraftKings had at time of publish.

Pick: Patriots -6.5


Detroit Lions at Los Angeles Rams (-15.5, 51)

Burke: Sean McVay was extremely upset with his Rams team for getting off to such a bad start against the Giants last weekend. Maybe the travel and the early start had something to do with it, but the message was well-received, as Los Angeles scored 28 points in the second quarter to ignite a rout of New York.

McVay’s message to the team will likely be to start fast in this game and they should have that opportunity. The worst thing you can do with a two-touchdown underdog is allow that team to get some life early in the game. Put the game away and put it in cruise control in the second half.

The Rams face a Lions team this week that has amassed over 46% of its passing yards in the fourth quarter. Jared “Garbage Time” Goff has just three first-half touchdown passes this season. Those are the only three offensive touchdowns in the first half for the Lions over six games. The Rams have scored nine first-half touchdowns this season.

Things have changed a bit in Detroit since Matthew Stafford left, but he still knows the personnel well and should be able to pick the Lions apart in the first half. He’s playing some of the best football of his career and has been able to get all of his weapons involved the last few weeks.

The Rams may get lackadaisical in the second half and not cover the full number, as the Lions seem to work well in the fourth quarter of a blowout, but Los Angeles has no excuse in the first half.

Pick: Los Angeles Rams -8.5 1st Half

Tuley: You would think I’d learn my lesson after losing so badly with the Giants against the Rams, but the Lions have been good to me this season. They’re 3-3 ATS despite their winless record on the scoreboard, and I was smart enough to pass on them last week against the Bengals. I would pass if this  line were closer to 7 or 8 or even 10, but with the Lions getting more than two touchdowns I have to take them, as they should have beaten the Ravens and were competitive against the Packers. The thing that makes this kind of play appealing is that the Rams aren’t motivated to win by more than two touchdowns. They just want to get out with a win and everyone healthy and move on. The back door should be wide open even if the Lions  don’t keep it close early.

Pick: Lions + 15.5

Brown: Time to buy into the revenge week narrative. Stafford going over 2.5 passing touchdowns is simply setting up as the perfect Week 7 betting opportunity. The plus price is an immediate attention grabber, as Stafford already cleared this number in half of his games this season. An overwhelmingly positive game script last week didn’t slow the Rams offense, and the Detroit Lions should provide even less resistance than what the New York Giants put forth in Week 6. 

Stafford, and to a lesser extent McVay, have added motivation to perform well against the worst team in the NFL. On the shortlist of MVP candidates, it seems highly unlikely Stafford would experience any sort of slip-up against the doormat franchise he carried for his entire career. There are also plenty of measurable variables that point toward this over being an easy cover. Not the least of which will be the general betting public assuredly pushing this price negative by the time kickoff occurs. Buy into the plus price early, as it most likely won’t be available by Sunday. 

Pick: Matthew Stafford Over 2.5 Passing TD’s ( 105)

Amon-Ra St. Brown has continued to gain snap share in the Lions passing offense and has now run a route on 70 percent of dropbacks in five of six games this season. The problem is he still seems to be operating as the team’s No. 3 receiver behind both Kalif Raymond and Quintez Cephus. His 13.7 percent team target share leads all Lions wide receivers but isn’t exactly the volume to bank on against the toughest defense in the NFL. After failing to go over his receiving yardage prop number in four of six games to start the season, it would take a minor miracle for him to eclipse it in Week 7. Basically everything is stacked against St. Brown in this matchup, meaning this under could be one of the easiest winners available on Sunday. 

Pick: Amon-Ra St. Brown Under 46.5 Receiving Yards (-115)


Philadelphia Eagles at Las Vegas Raiders (-3, 49)

Burke: There have always been discussions in this business about how to handle the firing of a coach. While Jon Gruden technically resigned, he did so before he could get fired. It has become common practice to believe that a team gets a one-game bump, whether the players feel responsible for the coach’s departure or just to rally together as a team and around the new guy.

The Raiders certainly did that last week in Denver, as Henry Ruggs III and Derek Carr put on a show and Las Vegas moved into a tie for the top spot in the AFC West. It was good to see the passing game get going because the Raiders had some serious issues with the Chargers and Bears the two weeks prior.

What has been the most impressive thing for the Raiders this season has been the defense. This group ranks fifth in adjusted net yards per pass attempt and tied for sixth in sacks. The Raiders have done that while having the lowest blitz percentage in the NFL per Pro-Football-Reference.

The matchup in the trenches really stands out in this game. Philadelphia is dealing with some injuries on the offensive line. Perhaps the extra prep time for the game will allow some of those guys to come back, like the return of Lane Johnson, but Brandon Brooks and Isaac Seumalo are both on the IR and aren’t eligible to return for a while.

Philadelphia gets decent pressure with the front four and has been able to limit big plays as a result. The Eagles are 29th in opponents’ completion percentage, but they are tops in yards per reception against, so they’ve limited big plays. The Raiders may try to stretch the field a bit more than some of the other opponents that the Eagles have faced, but we’ll have to see how much time Carr has to throw.

The Eagles have run the ball effectively this season with 5.2 yards per rush and the Raiders have not defended the run all that well with 4.6 yards per carry allowed. That will be a big part of the game-plan, which means a running clock and low potential for explosive plays.

The total has inched up a little bit here, but I think we’re actually in line for a lower-scoring game.

Pick: Under 49

Reynolds: No team in the NFL arguably faced more adversity during Week 6 than the Las Vegas Raiders. After a poor effort at home in a 20-9 defeat to the Chicago Bears, Jon Gruden was out as the Raiders head coach and essentially the organization’s chief decision maker. Nevertheless, the Raiders rallied behind interim coach Rich Bisaccia and won 34-24 at Denver as a 3.5-point underdog. The silver and black benefitted from four turnovers including three Teddy Bridgewater interceptions, but were also very sharp in the passing game and were able to get chunk plays against the Denver secondary. 

Now comes the hard part. Last week, the Raiders were able to play the “us against the world” card. This week, they are back home and everyone in town is back on the bandwagon. 

Philadelphia comes into Las Vegas with a 2-4 record, but has gone 2-1 on the road. The Eagles are still winless at home, but playing the 49ers, Chiefs, and Buccaneers (plus a road game against the Cowboys) will do that to a young and rebuilding team with a first-year head coach. 

The Eagles might be a little undervalued in the market based on the early-season schedule and the Raiders are likely overvalued off their win last week. The market has reflected that as the + 3.5s have disappeared and the 3s that remain are weak 3s with vigorish toward the Philadelphia side. 

Pick: Eagles + 3


Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-12, 47.5)

Tuley: Just like the Lions-Rams game, this is a line that’s gotten out of control, thus giving value to dog bettors. The advance line was Buccaneers -10 before they beat the Eagles on Thursday night, though I’d also like to point out they didn’t cover as 7-point home favorites and are only 2-4 ATS on the season as they also failed to cover in wins over the Cowboys and Patriots. The Bears didn’t cover in their 24-14 home loss to the Packers, but they were competitive. Despite all that, this line has risen from 10 to nearly two touchdowns. Justin FIelds and the Bears’ offense probably don’t have enough to pull the upset, but they’re certainly good enough to stay within two scores along with a defense that held the Packers to 24 points and is allowing just 20.7 points per game. Personally, I’m waiting to see if the public bets it to 14. 

Pick: Bears + 12

Brown: No bet keeps you on the edge of your seat quite like an interception player prop. A lot of prop categories can swing on one play, but none typically have an entire outcome based upon that one play. 

There are reasons to be optimistic about the rookie signal caller’s matchup against PFF’s fourth-ranked defensive unit. First, the Buccaneers' defensive ranking hasn’t fully factored in their injury situation, which has lost the fifth-most wins above replacement at this point in the season. Their secondary has seen a cluster of injuries and now will be without Richard Sherman as well as Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting. 

Fields hasn’t exactly lit the league on fire with his passing ability, but he still checks in as PFF’s most accurate collegiate passer since 2014. Through five NFL games, he continues to minimize mistakes, posting a 3.5 percent turnover-worthy play percentage. His five total turnover-worthy plays are tied for the 14th lowest among quarterbacks with at least 25 dropbacks. 

The other thing working in Fields’s favor on this particular prop is the sheer amount of volume in the Bears passing offense. In 2021, the Bears have the second-lowest number of total pass plays and the third lowest number of total offensive plays per game. Given the low overall offensive volume and Fields’ documented ability to take care of the football, expect him to have a clean game from an interceptions standpoint, cashing this under at a plus price. 

Pick: Justin Fields Under 0.5 Interceptions ( 130)


Houston Texans at Arizona Cardinals (-18.5, 47.5)

Burke: A lot of bettors seem to want no part of the Texans/Cardinals game this week. Kyler Murray is not fully healthy, but the Texans are more than capable of getting blown out. Davis Mills could be making his final start with Tyrod Taylor just about ready to come back from the IR and that has to be looming over the young kid’s head.

Fortunately, there are a lot more betting options than just the spread, total and moneyline. Player props are always a good option to consider and there are some to consider for this game.

Arizona QB Kyler Murray had some issues handling the snap last week in Cleveland. Maybe the shoulder issue is bothering him a bit more than he is letting on. Murray has fumbled six times in the last two weeks. He hasn’t been used for many designed runs since he first showed the shoulder problem against the 49ers. It would seem to be in Arizona’s best interest to keep him from taking off here.

Murray is less than 100 percent and the Cardinals host the Packers on a short week to kick off Week 8. Murray should definitely err on the side of caution here and limit the abuse that his body takes in a game that the Cardinals should win easily.

His rushing yards prop is set at 23.5, a number he has gone under four times in six starts this season. With some concerns about his health and a game that shouldn’t require him to do anything dangerous, looking at Murray to stay in the pocket and protect his body seems like a good way to approach the game.

Pick: Kyler Murray Under 23.5 Rushing Yards (-115)


Indianapolis Colts at San Francisco 49ers (-4, 44)

Youmans: The 49ers are in a decent spot as a desperate team seeking to stop a three-game losing streak after a bye week. Still, the San Francisco offense has problems, mostly because coach Kyle Shanahan has not played his cards right with quarterbacks Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance. A defense that was dominant two years ago has only two takeaways through five games. The Colts are getting healthier and showing signs of clicking. Carson Wentz is 36-for-55 for 625 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions in the past two games. If Wentz sustains that form and avoids turnovers, the Colts should be in position to win.

Pick: Colts + 4

Tuley: The Sunday nighter features teams hoping to climb back into playoff contention. The Colts are 2-4 and trail the Titans by two games, but their schedule  makes it possible to get back over .500 soon if they can get past the 49ers. Then they can get revenge on the Titans next week before facing the Jets and Jaguars. San Francisco has fallen 3.5 games behind undefeated Arizona but can still get back into the wild-card hunt with a victory. The 49ers will  probably get Jimmy Garoppolo back, but I still give the edge to the Colts as QB Carson Wentz and RB Jonathan Taylor have the offense looking better, especially with the addition of WR T.Y. Hilton.

Pick: Colts + 4

Burke: Sometimes you don’t really know what you like in a game and then Mother Nature shows up with a vengeance in the weather forecast. For those that don’t know, a massive weather system will be wreaking havoc up and down the Pacific Coast this weekend, from Canada all the way to California. One game that will be affected is the Sunday Night Football game between the Colts and 49ers.

Rain is expected from Friday through Monday in Santa Clara and the winds are going to come in heavy on Sunday. A soaked, saturated field will be messy and that will be enough to slow down the scoring, but the wind will also be an enormous factor. Gusts up into the 35 mph range are expected with sustained winds of 15-20 mph.

It won’t be a fun day to throw the ball and the defenses will be able to load the box and crowd the line of scrimmage.

Expect this total to plummet as we get closer to kickoff and as bettors start to take the weather forecasts a bit more seriously. The winds are expected to pick up very early Sunday morning, so it looks like there is some margin for error if they come in a little bit late.

Pick: Under 44


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