Written By Billy Attridge
NFL Week 7 is upon us, and with it comes a couple of games featuring playoff caliber teams as the Patriots visit Chicago, Carolina battles Philadelphia, Kansas City hosts the Bengals, and the Saints off the bye visit the red-hot Ravens. When scouring the board for value, we’ve located three games that may be on the move. Will the defenses in Chicago redeem themselves from last week? Can the 49ers protect the ball Sunday afternoon to keep this game close? Finally, do we have a live underdog Monday night in Atlanta? All that, and the Vegas look ahead lines for Week 8.
New England @ Chicago Under 49.5 (-115):
BetOnline.ag opened 50.5, and since then we’ve seen a small tick down to the current number. Both teams are coming off poor defensive performances, with the Patriots getting a small “pass”, as Kansas City and Tyreek Hill continue to find ways to torch opponents with speed. The Bears, despite the defensive debacle in Miami (credit to Albert Wilson), still rank #1 in total defensive efficiency, and now go home for the third time, where the defense held Seattle to 17 points (late TD in garbage time), and Tampa Bay to 10. They rank in the Top 10 in both defensive run success rate and pass success rate, and 3rd in Adjusted sack rate. With New England, the strength of their defense is stopping the run (12th in run success rate), and if they can have some success there, it will be interesting to see which Mitch Trubisky shows up. Despite the big plays last week, the Patriots still rank 5th in explosive pass defense. I believe both teams can have moderate success on the ground, keeping this clock running. This total could continue to drop.
Los Angeles Rams @ San Francisco +10 (-120):
BetOnline.ag opened Rams -11 following the Monday Night game, and some money has shown for the home underdog in this spot. For Los Angeles, this is their third road game in 14 days, with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers coming to town next week. We know how good the Rams have been, with a +1.2 yards per play margin and the most efficient offense in the league. This game, and spot, is more about the 49ers. Despite a 1-5 start, San Francisco has a positive yards per play margin (+0.2), but has been plagued with turnovers (-11). Defensively, San Francisco ranks 6th and 12th in run and pass success rate, respectively, and that includes facing three teams in the Top 7 in offensive efficiency (Kansas City, Los Angeles, and Green Bay). Kyle Shanahan has done an excellent job putting his players in positions to succeed, but they’ve been extremely unlucky in the turnover department. Some of the sharper sports books have gone below the key number of 10, and I expect +10 to be gone come Sunday afternoon.
New York Giants +6 (-115) @ Atlanta:
The Giants dropped the ball last Thursday night against Philadelphia, despite taking some professional money which dropped the line from -3 to -1.5 before kick. The look-ahead number on this game was Atlanta -3.5, so we’ve seen quite an adjustment in just one week of action. Atlanta found a way to squeak out a win (and cover) against the Buccaneers, despite losing the yards per play battle by a margin of 1.6. Atlanta’s defense continues to be a train wreck, ranking 31st in total defensive efficiency. This will be the worst defense the Giants have played this year, and they have an extra 3 days of prep to put together a winning formula. This Giants offense has struggled when facing defenses that can rush the passer (Philadelphia, Dallas, Jacksonville), but Atlanta ranks 28th in adjusted sack rate. The Giants have faced the 2nd toughest slates of opposing rush defenses, but Atlanta shouldn’t pose an issue, as they rank 31st in that category. The majority of the tickets are coming in on the Falcons, but this seems like a great spot to BUY the G-Men. This number will continue to drop.
NFL Week 8 Vegas Look Ahead Lines:
Houston vs. Miami (N/A – Tannehill)
Jacksonville PICK’em vs. Philadelphia
Pittsburgh -7.5 vs. Cleveland
Kansas City -9.5 vs. Denver
Chicago -5 vs. New York Jets
Washington -1 @ New York Giants
Detroit -2.5 vs. Seattle
Cincinnati -5 vs. Tampa Bay
Carolina PICK’em vs. Baltimore
Oakland -1.5 vs. Indianapolis
Arizona -2 vs. San Francisco
Los Angeles Rams -8.5 vs. Green Bay
Minnesota -3 vs. New Orleans
New England -10.5 at Buffalo
BYE: Tennessee, LA Chargers, Dallas, Atlanta