Written By Billy Attridge
Six weeks in the books and we continue marching forward while dodging Covid-19 postponements as best we can. It’s been a really quiet Week 7 in the NFL so far but I’ll touch on two games including a first half total in the substandard NFC East where division supremacy is on the line. Our second game is out west, with the 1-4 Los Angeles Chargers laying a big number to Jacksonville and Gardner Minshew. I have strong conviction on the direction of where this number is heading. If you’re a new reader of this article, my goal is to help inform where the market is heading and more importantly, why prices have, or will move. These indicators not only apply this week but should help your acumen moving forward. As always, I fast forward to NFL Week 8 look ahead lines from FanDuel sportsbook to conclude the piece.
Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins 1H Under 23 (-115):
Following Monday Night’s debacle at home against the Cardinals, books re-opened Dallas 3-point favorites with a total of 48 against the Washington Football Team Week 7. Nothing but underdog and under money has flooded the market thus far, and I’m not expecting much to change especially in regards to the total. The move from 48 to 46 is significant but much of the full-game value is gone. Dallas is decimated along the offensive line; All-Pro guard Zack Martin (concussion) missed practice Thursday, and fill-in left tackle Brandon Knight had knee surgery. That means the Cowboys will be starting a third string left tackle. As many Bet the Board readers know, this is bad news against one of the best defensive fronts in Washington. The Football Team is 9th in defensive adjusted line yards, 3rd in adjusted sack rate, and 12th in pressure rate. Washington’s front 7 has to be licking their chops thinking about this matchup. Arizona, without Chandler Jones was able to sack Andy Dalton three times, and while The Red Rifle was only pressured on 29% of drop backs, he threw from a collapsing pocket all night. Washington’s ability to get to the quarterback should help the secondary limit explosive passes, which is always a concern against a talented Cowboys receiver group. On the other side of the ball, Washington has been anything but exciting on offense; ranking 31st in explosive pass offense, and 30th in overall offensive efficiency. Despite guard Brandon Scherff being activated off IR last week, Washington’s offensive line is still in flux after losing Saahdiq Charles to a dislocated kneecap against the Giants. Even though Dallas defensive end Aldon Smith popped up on the injury report Wednesday, the Cowboys activated Randy Gregory this week. Reports are that Gregory is looking the best he ever has as he rejoins Dallas after coming off the NFL’s exempt list. While it seems like a long shot for Sean Lee and Chidobe Awuzie to play, the Cowboys defense could be the healthiest it’s been in weeks. Washington quarterback Kyle Allen isn’t going to be able to create chaos the way Kyler Murray did with his legs Monday, making this a favorable matchup for the Dallas defensive line. The UNDER move on the full-game is very real, and the first half still holds enough value. I predict this will drop below the key number of 23.
Jacksonville Jaguars +8 (-110) at Los Angeles Chargers:
The Week 7 look-ahead line installed Jacksonville a 7-point underdog against the Chargers coming off their bye. After the Jaguars lackluster performance Sunday, this line re-opened Los Angeles -7 (-120) at FanDuel Sportsbook, and has been pushed out to -7.5/-8. The Chargers look forward to an easier schedule, and hope health on the defensive line improves with the return of Melvin Ingram and Justin Jones, both of whom are designated for return off of IR. Joey Bosa having an extra week of rest should help, too. Tackle Bryan Bulaga looks to return to action, while guard Trai Turner hasn’t practiced this week and his status looks doubtful for Sunday. So what’s the issue? Well, both Ingram and Jones must be cleared to play, and even if they are, Anthony Lynn indicated they would be on a limited snap count. On the other sideline, defensive end Josh Allen and kicker Josh Lambo are two names looking to return this week. Lambo’s return is especially significant, as he could provide some stability to a position that has had anything but since his absence Week 3. While Jacksonville had a bunch of players on the injury report, the ones to keep an eye on are Myles Jack and Jarrod Wilson, who were both DNP’s Thursday. While the Chargers have talent, and quarterback Justin Herbert seems to be the future of the franchise, covering as a large underdog is different than covering as a large favorite. The Chargers are much better in the role of underdog than favorite, and I expect the market to reflect that come kickoff. I know Jacksonville hasn’t looked good, but the Jaguars are catching more points this week than the closing line back in Week 2 on the road against the 5-0 Titans. Head coach Anthony Lynn hasn’t earned the respect of professional bettors as a coach willing to be smartly aggressive, or make adjustments on the fly to set his team up for optimal success. I would be surprised to see this number close at anything above 7.
NFL Week 8 Look Ahead Lines:
Carolina -2.5 vs. Atlanta (TNF)
Indianapolis -2.5 at Detroit
Green Bay -7 vs. Minnesota
Buffalo -2.5 vs. New England
Tennessee -4 at Cincinnati
Cleveland -3 vs. Las Vegas
Kansas City -21.5 vs. New York Jets
Los Angeles Rams -3.5 at Miami
New Orleans -3 at Chicago
Seattle -5 vs. San Francisco
Philadelphia -3.5 vs. Dallas (SNF)
Los Angeles Chargers -1 at Denver
Baltimore -5.5 vs. Pittsburgh
Tampa Bay -9.5 at New York Giants (MNF)