Tuley’s Takes: NFL Week 7

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Week 7 picks from a "dog or pass" point of view"

Last Sunday was a rough one in the Tuley’s Take home office. We went a disappointing 1-4 ATS with our (supposed) Best Bets here. It wasn’t an overly chalky day (favorites went 8-5 ATS), but we found ourselves on the wrong side of the majority of games we played.

Sunday started early with the 9:30 a.m. ET/6:30 a.m. PT kickoff of the Ravens-Titans game in London. Frankly, I’m kinda getting sick of these international games as it messes up my whole schedule. Anyway, I lost with the Titans +4, and it didn’t get better in the “regular early games” with the Colts +4. The losses kept coming in the afternoon, with the Buccaneers +3 and Cardinals +7.

What I should have been doing was betting Unders, as they went 10-2-1 on the day and 12-2-1 overall in Week 7. I even commented to my friends Roger Dorn and Rick Corcoran that it felt like I had stolen Doc Brown’s DeLorean back to the 1970s or 80s as the low scores kept rolling in: 24-16 (twice), 17-13, 19-13, 19-17, 20-13, 20-6, 21-17, 14-9 and so on. It wasn’t “three yards and a cloud of dust,” more like “three yards, penalty, incomplete, short pass short of first down.”

We cut our losses in the Sunday Night Football game as the Giants +14 (I got +16 earlier Sunday afternoon) covered in their 14-9 loss at the Bills. Fortunately for yours truly, Dave Tuley, it wasn’t a financial bloodbath as a 1-4 record would usually indicate, as at least we swept our recommended 2-team, 6-point teaser plays. We included Commanders +8.5/Bears +9 and Commanders +8.5/Texans +7.5 as Best Bets on those games and also mentioned Bears +9/Texans +7.5 as a “maybe.”

In addition, even though we didn’t list it with any other teams, we mentioned the Chargers +8 as a prime teaser play on Monday Night Football, and that also came through in their 20-17 loss vs. the Cowboys. We hope our loyal followers were also on those plays and at least got close to even (and if you made better overall decisions than myself, you might have also made a profit). That’s what these weekly columns are all about as we share our “takes” on the games and try to land on the most solid bets and weed out the weaker plays.

For newcomers to this column (waves to the newbies), I’m a “dog-or-pass bettor,” and my breakdown of each game will usually be from that point of view. We try to determine if the dog is getting enough points to make them a play – or if I recommend passing on the game, which is a very valid and valuable betting decision when trying to come out ahead against the books! Even if I don’t have an official Best Bet, I’ll still give my recommended “pool play strategy” for those in contests where you have to pick every game.

Jacksonville Jaguars at New Orleans Saints (-1)

The Jaguars followed up their two international wins with a 37-20 over the Colts on Sunday, becoming the only team to cover so far this season after returning from London without a bye. (The Falcons did win 21-19 in their Week 5 game vs. the Texans after an overseas trip, but didn’t cover as 2.5-point home favorites.) The Saints are coming off a 20-13 loss at the Texans, and the only reason we can find for the Saints to be favored is that oddsmakers and the betting public are giving them too much credit for home-field advantage. I would normally not use a Thursday Night Football game in my Circa and Westgate contests, but I like this game enough I’ll probably include it this week, especially with the short 13-game card.

Best Bet: Jaguars +1 (pool play: Jaguars in all my rare SU and ATS contests that use the Thursday night game).

Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2.5)

We had so much success teasing last week (frankly, it saved our ass) that this is a good time to go over our 2-team, 6-point teaser portfolio. We kick off Sunday’s early games with the Falcons as short road underdogs at the Buccaneers. If the Saints lose on TNF, this will be for the NFC South lead (or the Falcons can have a share of the division lead if they win and the Saints also win).

These teams are evenly matched, and I see it as pretty much a pick ’em. However, the number is too short for me just to take the points with the Falcons, so we’ll tease them up over a full touchdown and just count on them to stay within one score. Our preferred teaser in the early Sunday session (longtime readers know I like to group my teasers/parlays with games playing at the same time, so we’re not tempted to hedge away profits) is Falcons +8.5/Lions +9. Another early play could be Falcons +8.5/Colts +8.5. For those who like what we call “open-ended teasers,” we recommend tying up the Falcons +8.5 with the Dolphins +8 and/or the 49ers on Monday Night Football.

Best Bet: 2-team, 6-point teaser on Falcons +8.5/Lions +9 among others (pool play: Falcons 55/45 in ATS contests but Buccaneers 55/45 in SU pools).

Las Vegas Raiders (-3) at Chicago Bears

As the Bears prepare to take on the Raiders on Sunday at Soldier Field, I can’t help but think that only the biggest fans of these two teams will be watching this game. Oh, who am I kidding? With all the gamblers and fantasy players out there, there are always tons of people watching every NFL game! Regardless, I’m going to pass on the lowly Bears, who, as of deadline, looked like they were going to be playing with Justin Fields (and, no, I’m not interested in teasing the Bears up to +9). I’m also not sure how many people will trust the Raiders as short road favorites.

Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Raiders 55/45 in ATS contests and 70/30 in SU pools).

Cleveland Browns (-2.5) at Indianapolis Colts

The Colts seemed to be trending in the right direction with the return of Jonathan Taylor and Gardner Minshew playing well but hit a wall in the 37-20 loss at the Jaguars. Meanwhile, the Browns are coming off their 19-17 upset of the 49ers as 9.5-point home dawgs. More surprisingly, they did it with four field goals by Dustin Hopkins and without Deshaun Watson. It’s hard to fade them here unless you believe they’re in a letdown spot. As mentioned above, Colts +8.5 teasers could be put in the “maybe” category.

Best Bet: Pass, except maybe Colts +8.5 in teasers (pool play: Colts 55/45 in ATS contests, but Browns still 60/40 in SU pools).

Detroit Lions at Baltimore Ravens (-3)

A lot of people are still sleeping on the Lions (as opposed to The Lion Sleeps Tonight, which my kids love so much), but we’re not so sure they shouldn’t be favored here. They’re rolling along at 5-1 SU and ATS, including beating the Chiefs in Week 1 and only losing to the Seahawks in Week 2. The schedule maker was kind to them, but they’ve comfortably covered their last four games over the Falcons, Packers, Panthers and Buccaneers. In the meantime, while the Ravens are 4-2 SU, they’re not as impressive on the scoreboard or betting board at 3-3 ATS. We’ll call for the minor upset here.

Best Bet: Lions (pool play: Lions 67/33 in ATS contests – lower if only offered +2.5 – and 55/45 in SU pools).

Buffalo Bills (-8.5) at New England Patriots

The Patriots continue to scuffle along in the post-Tom Brady era at 1-5 SU and ATS. It’s always tempting to take Bill Belichick as an underdog, but it hasn’t worked well this season as they’re 0-4 ATS in that role, though they would have covered Sunday afternoon vs. the Raiders if not for a late safety. However, this is more of a bet against the Bills as road chalk of more than a TD against a divisional rival.

Besides, as we’ve written several times, the Bills (despite three blowout wins earlier this season) tend to let teams stick around just like they did Sunday night before pulling out a 14-9 win over the lowly Giants but never coming close to covering as 15.5-point home favorites. As I always say, you can’t cover a 15.5-point spread if you only score 14 points (or subbing in other numbers, as the case may be).

Best Bet: Patriots +8.5 (pool play: Patriots 67/33 in ATS contests, but Bills still 80/20 in SU pools).

Washington Commanders (-2.5) at New York Giants

If I didn’t grow up in the Chicago suburbs and currently call Las Vegas home, I would say this is the least appealing game on the Week 7 card. Even though the Giants gave the Bills all they could handle on Monday night, I still can’t make a case for them here. In fact, even though the spread is in the prime “teaser zone,” I’m even going to pass on moving the line up over a TD. If I wasn’t as dogmatic in my “dog-or-pass” approach, this is the one game where I would lay the points as I can see Sam Howell leading the Commanders to a double-digit victory.

Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Commanders 55/45 in ATS contests and closer to 70/30 in SU pools).

Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks (-8)

The Cardinals were projected by just about everyone to be the worst team in the NFL heading into the season. However, they overachieved tremendously in their first three games with narrow losses to the Commanders and Giants, then upsetting the Cowboys. They really should have been 3-0. In the last three games, they have looked every bit like the also-ran they were expected to be. If the Cards were still in good form, I would love to fade the Seahawks laying more than a touchdown. They’re 2-1 ATS as chalk but haven’t had to lay more than 4.5 points. But we’ll pass on this game, though I wouldn’t talk anyone out of teasing the Seahawks down to -2.

Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Seahawks 55/45 in ATS contests and at least 80/20 in SU pools).

Pittsburgh Steelers at Los Angeles Rams (-3)

These are two middle-of-the-road teams – Steelers are 3-2, Rams 3-3 – that are trying to stay in the playoff picture, so it means more than your usual nonconference game. The Steelers were actually favored in this matchup when the NFL schedule was released on May 11. The line has since been adjusted to the Rams being the chalk and getting bet to -3. As of this writing, I’m passing, but if it gets to 3.5, I’ll jump in. That includes if it’s offered in the Circa and/or Westgate contest.

Best Bet: Pass for now (pool play: Steelers 55/45 in ATS contests, but Rams still 60/40 in SU pools).

Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs (-5.5)

I have a lot in common with my VSiN colleague Matt Youmans. We’re both Midwestern boys who love sports betting and the ladies! And we’re both waiting for the return of the McRib at McDonald’s after its phony “farewell tour” last year. We’ve also been saying/writing for years that you can’t trust the Chargers when favored, but they’re usually live as underdogs. The Chargers are 2-3 and really need this game as they don’t want the Chiefs to run away with the AFC West (might happen anyway), but we expect this to be a close shootout that comes down to one score. Besides, we also say that the Chiefs are another team that tends to let teams stick around, with anecdotal evidence being their recent wins over the Jets, Vikings and Broncos, failing to cover in two of those.

Best Bet: Chargers +5.5 (Chargers 60/40 in ATS contests, though Chiefs still 67/33 in SU pools).

Green Bay Packers (-1) and Denver Broncos

Like a lot of handicappers, I’m still having a hard time getting a handle on these two teams. The Broncos were actually 3.5-point favorites when the schedule came out in May, but it’s flipped to the Packers being favored as they’re 2-3 while the Broncos are 1-5. This should come down to a one-score game, so if you find a book with the Broncos +1.5 and can tease them with the key number of 7 to +7.5, that would be the best way to play it. For our purposes here, I’ll pass, as I prefer my other teaser combos better.

Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Packers 55/45 in all SU & ATS contests).

Miami Dolphins at Philadelphia Eagles (-2.5)

Based on how teams have played so far this season, the Sunday nighter has become the marquee game of Week 7. Everyone is expecting a shootout with the top 2 offenses in the NFL (Dolphins average 498.7 yards per game, with the Eagles a distant second at 395 yards per game), and we have the highest Over/Under of the weekend at 52 points. The Dolphins have been more consistent and probably see this as more of a “statement game.” Besides, for our longtime regular readers, the Eagles are in a “mini-anti-swagger” spot after having their season-opening five-game winning streak snapped in the 20-14 loss at the Jets. Gotta fade them in that spot. This is yet another prime teaser play, but I’m planning to have much more on the Dolphins plus the points and on the moneyline.

Best Bet: Dolphins +2.5, plus teasers (pool play: Dolphins 67/33 in ATS contest and 60/40 in SU pools).

San Francisco 49ers (-7) at Minnesota Vikings

With the Vikings off to a 2-4 start and Justin Jefferson sidelined, Week 7’s Monday nighter has lost a lot of its luster. Even though the 49ers are also in a “mini-anti-swagger” spot after having their five-game winning streak snapped, I’m still unwilling to fade them here. In fact, I’m hoping to have some teasers alive from Sunday with the 49ers -1. If not, I’ll probably tease 49ers -1/Under 50.

Best Bet: Pass, except for teasers (pool play: 49ers 55/45 in ATS contests and at least 80/20 in SU pools).