Written By Billy Attridge
Plenty of significant line movement in the NFL for Week 6, and we’ll touch on three of the games that warrant discussion. Chicago travels to Carolina to face the red-hot Panthers, and there’s been an early appetite for the underdog thus far. Two NFC contenders square of in Florida, and with injury news aplenty it’s vital to monitor practice reports leading up to Sunday. There appears to be an over-adjustment for the Monday night game in Dallas — and one specific injury has more impact than realized. My goal in providing this information is to divulge what, and more importantly why, these prices have moved so you can use it moving forward. I also glance into the future and visit FanDuel Sports Book to check on their NFL Week 7 look ahead lines.
Chicago Bears +1.5 (-110) @ Carolina Panthers:
Chicago hits the highway to face the up and coming Carolina Panthers, winners of three in a row and searching for that 4-2 start. The line opened Carolina -2.5, was bet out to -3, and ever since there’s been nothing but money on Chicago plus the points. While Carolina looked impressive in their road victory over Atlanta, the win came with casualties. Kawann Short suffered a season-ending shoulder injury, defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos (ankle) hasn’t practiced this week, and Brian Burns (concussion) was limited Thursday. Cornerbacks Donte Jackson and Eli Apple are dealing with lower body injuries and have been limited in practice this week, so it will be important to monitor their status for Sunday. Carolina can’t afford to lose too many defensive studs, as they currently rank bottom 3rd in both defensive run and pass success rate. On the other sideline, the Bears enter with extra rest after their Thursday night win against Tampa Bay, and despite losing veteran guard James Daniels, seem to be the much healthier team. Chicago’s defensive line looks healthier and hit its stride against the Buccaneers; pressuring Tom Brady on 39% of his drop backs and sacking him three times. The Bears secondary is #1 in defensive pass success rate, and while it has been against an easier slate of offenses, it still warrants respect as rookie corner Jaylen Johnson and Kyle Fuller have played outstanding. The move off +3 is very telling, and when +2.5 was taken on Chicago it became clear this is the professional side. Chicago will be a popular teaser leg among professional bettors as well, getting Chicago through the 3 and 7 on a 6-pointer.
Green Bay Packers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers +1 (-110):
FanDuel sportsbook opened this game Green Bay -1, but throughout the week we saw interesting movement on the side. Tuesday the number shot out to as high as Packers -2.5, but there was significant resistance once the line headed toward -3. As limits increased we see the line trend back towards PICK’em. Let’s start with Green Bay. The Packers health for the most part is heading in the right direction, as Kenny Clark, Rashan Gary, Davante Adams, and Equanimeous St. Brown are practicing and looking to make their returns Sunday. While the Packers offense has been electric, it’s the defense that should leave fans concerned heading into this game. Green Bay is 25th and 23rd in defensive rush and pass success rate, and that’s against the 13th easiest schedule of opposing offenses. Back-to-back seasons we’ve seen this Green Bay defense look putrid against the run, and Ronald Jones may be licking his chops thinking about this matchup. The big story for Tampa Bay is the loss of defensive tackle Vita Vea, a significant loss to a dominant Buccaneers front. Backup Rakeem Nunez-Roches has a chance to prove that his off-season work (coaches called him the most improved player on the team) pays off. One name to keep an eye on is cornerback Carlton Davis. He did not practice Wednesday with an abdomen injury, was limited Thursday, and if he can’t go that would be significant. Davis is allowing 0.86 yards per coverage snap and has 3 interceptions this season. The final injury report could determine which team closes the favorite, but there was significant professional money on Tampa Bay +2.5 and OVER 51.5/52.
Arizona Cardinals @ Dallas Cowboys +1.5 (-110)
Only the Sunday Night Football game between Los Angeles and San Francisco has moved more from the look-ahead lines last week to now than the Monday night special brewing in Texas. Prior to the unfortunate ankle injury Dak Prescott suffered, Dallas was favored by 3.5 points over the Cardinals. Meaning, we saw an initial adjustment of 6.5 points with Andy Dalton pegged as the starter. It’s rare for sophisticated bettors to make definitive statements with anything regarding sports betting, as “definite” rarely exists. The goal is to put yourself in the best position possible with math, matchups, and information. However, a 6.5-point move through both sides of the most important key number is/was outrageous. I can say that definitively! Obviously making that statement is easier to do at this point, as the market showed us relatively quickly that +3 and +2.5 were too much for the home team here. Is the drop off from Dak to Dalton significant? Yes … and no. The truth behind the matter is the adjustment a sports bettor must make from Dak to Dalton or any other injury is OPPONENT DEPENDENT. Read that sentence as many times as you must and let it sink in, because it is relevant here. The Cardinals will be without the services of one of the most underrated pass rushers in the entire league with Chandler Jones having season-ending surgery for his torn bicep. Jones was responsible for more than 15% of the Cardinals total pressures this season. Arizona’s defense had a real opportunity to take advantage of a Dallas offensive line that’s beat up, but the loss of Chandler mostly negates that edge. In terms of backup signal callers, Jameis Winston and Andy Dalton are the clear 1A and 1B options for the 2020 season. You could easily argue that Andy Dalton has never had a group of weapons surrounding him this good. The last time Dalton played with anything close to this supporting cast was 2015, when The Red Rifle graded out the 7th best passer in the NFL. Pro bettors are on the Cowboys and I would not be shocked to see Dallas close the favorite.
NFL Week 7 Look Ahead Lines:
Philadelphia -6.5 vs. New York Giants (TNF)
Cleveland -4.5 at Cincinnati
Dallas -3 at Washington
Atlanta -2 vs. Detroit
New Orleans -6.5 vs. Carolina
Buffalo -10 at New York Jets
Green Bay -3.5 at Houston
Tennessee -1.5 vs. Pittsburgh
Seattle -3.5 at Arizona
New England -5 vs. San Francisco
Kansas City -9.5 at Denver
Los Angeles Chargers -7 vs. Jacksonville
Tampa Bay -2 at Las Vegas (SNF)
Los Angeles Rams -6.5 vs. Chicago (MNF)