NFL Underdogs: Week 7 pointspread predictions

Deadlines are a bitch.
 
I knew all week I had to get my column in for noon Saturday, but here I am late Friday night typing this uninspiring lead.
 
Sometimes I think to myself if I only had a few more days – or if I wasn’t the worst procrastinator since Axl Rose – I’d be able to write something half decent.
 
NFL coaches make the most of their time to prepare for their upcoming opponents. They work 20 hour days and sleep on office couches six days a week.
 
It got me thinking about how these master planners fare when given an extra week. We all know you should never bet against the Eagles off their bye week (11-0 straight up and 9-2 against the spread under Andy Reid) or the Patriots (7-2 SU, 6-3 ATS under Bill Belichick).
 
But that extra seven days of prep work and healing time is an advantage every team in the NFL makes good use of. Clubs coming off their bye are 5-3 ATS this season and 76-49-2 against the number since 2005.
 
And there’s even more hope for us dog bettors thanks to the bye. Weird things happen when bad squads get two weeks to game plan their next foe.
 
The Cleveland Browns beat the New York Giants 35-14 last season after their bye, despite being 9-point home dogs. Remember when we found out that Donovan McNabb didn’t know a game could end in a tie? Well the Ryan Fitzpatrick-led Bengals covered in that one off their bye as 9.5-point underdogs.
 
Covers Expert Marc Lawrence chipped in with a nice piece of advice for betting the bye week. He says the best strategy is backing the best and worst teams in the league following their off week.
 
According to his numbers, teams that are undefeated entering their byes and teams that are winless at the mini break are a combined 41-28-1 ATS in their following game, dating back all the way to 1990.
 
Covers Expert Steve Merril takes a cautious approach with the bye. He says the additional time off usually drains the momentum from clubs that are on a roll.
 
Okay, all this chatter had to lead to a connection with my picks this week.
 
San Francisco 49ers (+3) at Houston Texans
 
San Fran knows all about the disadvantage of playing against a rested opponent. Two weeks ago the Falcons walked into Candlestick Park and tore the home side apart.
 
Now the role is reversed for the Niners.
 
They go to Houston fully prepared to defend the Texans explosive offense. Coach Mike Singletary gets his prize runner Frank Gore back which should help SF keep Andre Johnson and Co. off the field.
 
Pick: 49ers
 
Minnesota Vikings (+6) at Pittsburgh Steelers
 
I’m shocked that this line has moved so much in Pittsburgh’s favor. Minny’s road wins are against three cupcakes and it worries me how its secondary will defend without Pro Bowl cornerback Antoine Winfield.
 
And we all know this is a classic look-ahead spot for the Vikings (at Green Bay next week) even though they’re playing the defending champs.
 
But still… an undefeated team getting six points? I like my chances.
 
Pick: Vikings
 
Green Bay Packers at Cleveland Browns (+9)

 
I’m going to say something that might upset some Cheeseheads out there. The Packers are not a good team. That pains me to say because I grabbed them at +235 at the start of the year to win the NFC North.
 
But we’ve got to face the facts people. The Packers struggle running the ball, they have one of the worst offensive lines in the league and their defense is still adjusting to the 3-4.
 
Getting back to that offensive line – starting left tackle Chad Clifton and starting center Jason Spitz are both expected to sit out Sunday’s game.
 
I don’t care if half the Browns’ roster has swine flu, there is no way the Pack should be giving this many points on the road.
 
Pick: Browns
 
Last week: 3-1
 
Season record: 10-9

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Posted by madulamaximus
4 years ago

OH! ITS SORRRRY AZZZZZZ PICKS......LOL
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Posted by madulamaximus
4 years ago

AND LOL CLEVELAND/?????????/ MY 7 YEAR OLD KNOWS BETTER THAN TO TAKE CLEVELAND??????????? HOW MUCH DO THEY PAY YOU HOW DID YOU GET THE JOB??
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Posted by madulamaximus
4 years ago

LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!THANKS FOR THE 3 PICK. ALL I DID IS LOOK AT YOUR SORRY behind SOLECTIONS AND GO THE OTHER WAY!!!!!!!!111LOL LOL YOU ARE JUST A SET UP BOY FOR THE SPORTBOOKS....LOL EZ $6,500.00 + MY $1,000.00. ALL SPORT WRITERS ARE BET SWAYERS.....LOL CHING FCKN CHING!!!!!!!!!!!1
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Posted by 3TB3
4 years ago

bears in tank you dont want to win dont pressure qb its guaranteed just like giants fix last week no pressure on brees what happened to parody? most games now are blowouts ON PURPOSE!
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Posted by doobiebrother
4 years ago

Ugly 2-6 day yesterday forces me into making money back in NFL where I’ve been sucking wind all season. Fortunately, for the 1st time this year, there are some games I like a lot in the pros and I’ll play them for 4* each today. Shortened write-ups due to time. Patriots (-15.5) over Bucs – Belichick again proved he has no class by continuing to throw deep last week even after posting big lead over Titans, who were without 3 of top 4 CBs. No reason for him to take his foot off the pedal here as he tries to get Brady in sync. Texans (-3) over Niners – Houston plays poor run “D” and Gore will get his yards, but highly suspect Atlanta secondary exposed by Atlanta, and Texans will go deep early and often in attempt to take SF out of run mode. Panthers (-7) over Bills – Carolina run game got their swerve back last week, and they didn’t throw a single pass in long game winning TD drive. Bills dead last in rush “D” in both YPG (182) and YPR (5.3) and were thrashed 38-10 vs. similar run attack at Miami. Cowboys (-5) over Falcons – Atlanta is good but slightly overrated, and still mostly a home/away team. Yet they were thoroughly outplayed at home vs. Bears and should have lost. Dallas also starting to look like home/away team after having trouble on road at TB and KC, but they are home here and those weak road outings have created some value.
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Posted by luigi_samson
4 years ago

pats, colts, saints.. Runaway victory!
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Posted by TRISTANS
4 years ago

ATLANTA ML ATLANTA under 47.5 Packers-9 Chargers 1H-3 Steelers under 46.5 Bears under 42.5 GL2A!!! Let's Get this MUUUULLLAAA!!!
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Posted by Ashton_Grewal
4 years ago

Thanks for the comments gang. Let's leave the dogs aside for a second... is there anyone who won't be teasing the Colts and Pats today? Seems like a no-brainer. mrusso, I like your thinking with the Saints-Dolphins game. I went back and forth on that one. The thing that worries me is Miami's secondary. It's been awful are year. Will Drew Brees pick that group apart? Good luck today fellas!
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Posted by mrusso
4 years ago

SF is the dog of the day, coming off the bye after previously being embarrassed by ATL. Look for the physicality of SF to dominate the finesse of HOU, who seem to play better O.T.R. than they do at home. Frank Gore, "gores" the unmatador like run defense (125 ypg, 4.86 per rush) of the Texans. SF wins outright. MIA, also off a bye, finds itself @ home in a good situation, albeit against a top notch opponent, N.O., who finds itself coming off by far their biggest win of the year in an impressive performance over the big, bad NY Giants, a game I'm certain they had circled on their calendars from day one. If Henne can just play within himself, he showed on MNF he's got talent, you know MIA can and will run the ball and can also shut down the opponents ground game as well. Flat spot for the SAINTS? 3-1 last week Ashton, nice!
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Posted by heinmanIam
4 years ago

Houston is going to cover........Oak might get first half but Jets take the game and cover. Thinking Phins & Browns pik are the best ones. Browns getting +9? Thats a good DOG. Good article Ashton
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Posted by ronnie101
4 years ago

oAKLAND HOME DOG
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Posted by 3TB3
4 years ago

biggest line movement is in dallas game which has happened several times in the past. there is no reason for a weaker team like dallas to have increased support over a superior team like atlanta who has played and beaten better teams than them. even if in the past dallas has won off their bye week. atlanta last year in its first good season has one win over a team coming off its bye week. too much money is being bet on dallas. what do they know about this game?
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Posted by StevenGA1011
4 years ago

KC +5 BUF +7 BUF/CAR OVER 37 ATL +4.5 ATL/DAL UNDER 47.5 ARZ +7
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Posted by xbixbyx
4 years ago

i agree with paragonx. i think the predictions are supposed to be opposite.
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Posted by 4seasons
4 years ago

Pardon my fade ... Pitt -6 & GB -9. Some good dogs to consider: Oak, Mia, Atl & Ari
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Posted by tomslicksta
4 years ago

Thanks for the due diligence on the bye week plays. People always gab about teams coming off rest but its good to see the actual numbers. Is there a way to find out how the 41-28-1 ATS breaks down between faves and dogs? Seems intuitive that dogs would cover the number more frequently coming off a bye week.
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Posted by David_Payne
4 years ago

Deadlines are overrated anyway ... I'm worried about my Saints in Miami. If it goes to seven, I think you got to take the 'Phins. Keep up the host streak ... DP
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Top Response

Posted by David_Payne
4 years ago

"Deadlines are overrated anyway ... I'm worried about my Saints in Miami. If it goes to seven, I think you got to take the 'Phins. Keep up the host streak ... DP"