Apparently I felt bad about going 3-3 with my best bets in this column this week, because I decided to go signifantly over my normal word total and even added in a table explaining why a massive road favorite in a divisional game is a solid bet.
Or maybe I was fading the under trend -- unders smashed last week with NFL scoring way down.
We actually did a great deep dive on the topic during the latest episode of the Pick Six Podcast -- listen/subscribe/download right here -- and shoutout to new pod producer Harry Swartout for jumping on the trend and setting the table for some fantastic Brady Quinn and Leger Douzable takes. I'd obviously encourage you to subscribe to the pod, but we're all millennials at heart so here's the condensed version via the @NFLonCBS YouTube page:
Obviously if you enjoyed those quality football takes, hit the subscribe button or add the pod to your rotation.
I think there are some other factors as well to the scoring but Vegas has noticed: there are six games in Week 7 with an Over/Under below 42 (six touchdowns, plus a successful XP on each one, three per team per game!) and 11 games with a total of 45 or below. There are only 13 games this week, so don't bank on a ton of scoring this week either.
To the best bets!
Buccaneers (-2.5) vs. Falcons
Both these teams are coming off tough losses in Week 6. The Buccaneers were politely informed by Detroit they do not belong with the upper echelon of NFC teams, while Atlanta got handed Desmond Ridder's first home loss in either college or the pros courtesy of the Commanders. Now Atlanta goes on the road for a divisional matchup against an elite run defense that simply presents a bad matchup. Tampa has a very good defense and is elite at stopping the run thanks to Vita Vea's interior presence. Only the Eagles have more than 70 rush yards against them. Atlanta hasn't run the ball as well as Arthur Smith wants, so we could see a ton of Ridder pass attempts here. Atlanta is a "run funnel" which is fine for Tampa, since the Bucs can't run the ball anyway. This might be a Baker Mayfield/Mike Evans blowup spot. Obviously this pick changes if Baker is out this week, although he wasn't on the injury report on Wednesday (hand) so I'm not concerned about him suiting up.
Since Tom Brady left, things have gone downhill for the Patriots. Bill Belichick is feeling heat internally and externally. Underrated throughout all of it is how badly the Bills have been thumping New England in the wake of the GOAT departing. The two teams have squared off seven times since Brady flew south in free agency (including one playoff game) and the results are decidedly one-sided.
That's 6-1 Bills in case you're not great at reading tables, and if I was dropping an asterisk on a game it wouldn't be the playoff matchup, it would be the lone Patriots win, which occurred during the infamous "MNF" "Wind Game" that featured Belichick showing up for his pregame interview wearing a Navy football mask (it was 2021 after all) and 32 consecutive running plays called by the Pats. Even Josh Allen's rocket arm was neutralized by the weather. Buffalo is a massive favorite here, but I'm not sure it matters all that much, given the state of the Patriots. New England can't run the ball or pass the ball and injuries have derailed the defense, which ranks just 14th in DVOA (the offense is 29th). Buffalo is a top-tier team and Sean McDermott isn't afraid to flex on a divisional opponent. With the Bills coming off a narrow prime-time victory against the Giants, I expect them to be very aggressive for 60 minutes in New England on Sunday.
Like Buffalo, Seattle is also coming off a "meh" performance last week -- a 17-13 loss to the Bengals, and like the Bills, the Seahawks are a touchdown-plus favorite in Week 7. They're getting a divisional matchup against a "frisky" opponent in the Cardinals ... but they might be a little undervalued here. The Cardinals' friskiness is being chatted about because of preseason expectations, but they've quietly been drubbed the last three weeks, losing by more than two touchdowns in all three weeks while failing to cover. If things broke its way, Arizona could have started 3-0 but there was little doubt about the outcome of the last three games. Now they get a Seahawks defense that is tops in the league against the run by DVOA. A bad Cardinals defense and an explosive Seattle offense, plus that run-stuffing potential likely turns Josh Dobbs and this offense into a one-dimensional attack, which is a bad recipe for Arizona.
Detroit Hype City is a real thing -- the Lions are getting BUZZ these days. It's concerning they're missing David Montgomery and on a second-straight road game, but I'm not sure it would be shocking to see a bunch of Lions jerseys in the stands come Sunday. Baltimore fans won't no-show this or anything, but there were a TON of Lions fans in Tampa last weekend. The videos from "Ford Field South" are just insane.
Two weeks ago, on a Thursday, there were plenty of Lions fans in Green Bay too. These are passionate fans who have put up with a LOT of bad football for the last several decades. If my favorite football fan stunk my whole life and suddenly was good like this, you can bet I'd be interested in seeing every game I could. Baltimore is (kind of) on the way home and (kind of) a short trip from Detroit. That's not necessarily why I'm picking Detroit, but I'm curious to see if it matters in Baltimore as well. Jared Goff is playing awesome football right now, Amon-Ra St. Brown looks healthy, Jameson Williams adds a deep threat and Detroit might be forced to unleash Jahmyr Gibbs in this game. Detroit's defense should be able to get home on Lamar Jackson. This game features a total of just 42.5, meaning an expected rock fight. I'll take the field goal with the more well-rounded team here.
The 2021 Rams started much hotter than this year's squad, coming out of the gate 7-1. But that team was 12-1 to win the Super Bowl with an over/under of 10.5. This year's squad featured below average expectations and now sits at 3-3 with losses to the 49ers (best team in football), Bengals (Joe Burrow must-win home primetime game) and Eagles (a very good football team with an incredible second half defensive performance). The Steelers coming off their bye is problematic, but the Rams will be able to keep throwing the quick hitters to Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua from Matthew Stafford, who's playing some outstanding football this season.