Week 7 Vegas Picks
By Danny Webster
Living in Las Vegas, I know a thing or two on how to lose money. So, it's my job to help you do the same. Kidding, obviously.
Betting football becomes tedious week-to-week. You might bet a six-team parlay, and only one team that doesn't cover prevents you from winning $300. But for Week 7's slate of games, this might be the most certain week to take money from the sportsbook. This is usually the time of the year when you have a clear grasp of how a team is going to play with the spread.
So, here are my locks for the week.
San Diego (-7.5) at Jacksonville
The books have taken it down a notch with the Jaguars after making them 28-point dogs against Denver. Actually, more than a notch. San Diego at 7.5 favorites heading into Week 7 seems too good to be true. The Chargers' defense looked outstanding against Andrew Luck and the Colts this past Monday, and to shut down an offense like that speaks volumes this week.
It's understandable if you want to stay away from this one. Jacksonville kept it much closer in Denver on Sunday than football and betting experts would've liked. Coming home, there's reason to think the Jaguars get their first win of the year. But not this week. The Chargers are fighting for playoff positioning and need every win they can get, and will do it in comfortable fashion.
San Diego wins by two touchdowns and covers easily.
Houston at Kansas City (-6.5)
Matt Schaub is hurt, so enter ... Case Keenum?
Your guess is as good as mine as to how Keenum plays in his first career start. But this is a safe bet. Kansas City has played lights-out defense, and has covered the spread five out of six times this year. It's safe to make that six out of seven against a struggling Texans team.
Plus, at Arrowhead with that kind of spread? Asking Keenum to throw for 300 yards and a few touchdowns in the now-loudest stadium in the world is like asking the government to open again.
Wait ... It did? No way.
Take the Chiefs to cover.
Baltimore at Pittsburgh (-2.5)
This is probably the more confusing line of the week in the classic AFC North rivalry. The Steelers are favored. They're 1-4.
How does this work?
Pittsburgh did get a nice win over the Jets this past week at MetLife Stadium to finally get into the win column, and they covered. But even if the Ravens are struggling this year, they're far better than the Jets. Plus, the road team has won the last three meetings in this rivalry, including the Ravens winning twice at Heinz Field.
Baltimore should win this game and cover comfortably. Pittsburgh is banged up and Ben Roethlisberger is suffering for it. And even though the last three games have been decided by a field goal, the Ravens should win by a touchdown or two.
Take Baltimore, and take them with the money line, if you wish.
New England (-3.5) at New York Jets
The Gronk is back.
Somehow, New England has clawed its way to 5-1, off the heels of its most impressive win against New Orleans. Tom Brady has been flinging it to guys named Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson. But especially with Danny Amendola fighting injuries, Brady will be elated to throw the ball to Rob Gronkowski this week.
New York has been a pleasant surprise, and so has Geno Smith. In New York, this should be a great game, but the Patriots will pull away late and cover. Too much talent, and New England's offense is looking good.
Patriots cover with 10-point win.
Minnesota at New York Giants (-3.5)
Is this the first time in NFL history that an 0-6 team, regardless home or away, is favored? Money line may be your friend in this game.
Vikings fans get a first glimpse of new quarterback Josh Freeman against a Giants team that has been beyond disappointing. Freeman finally gets a new start, and has the receivers to make it happen, too.
This is a giant fall from grace for New York, and it only goes downhill from here. The Giants are the seventh worst team in the league in rush defense, allowing 123 yards per game. With improved quarterback play, that's only going to make life easier for Adrian Peterson.
Take the Vikings with the points and go home a winner to begin your work week.
THE GAME TO STAY AWAY FROM:
Dallas at Philadelphia (-3)
Talk about a crap shoot. With the Eagles and Cowboys, you're not sure what to get. With Dallas banged up and Philadelphia going with Nick Foles, stay as far away from this game as possible.
Foles methodically torched Dallas' defense in both games last year. He completed 68 and 64 percent of his passes, respectively, and only threw one interception. He hasn't thrown a pick this year, and looks more comfortable in Chip Kelly's offense.
As for Dallas, this hot-and-cold spell the offense is on can't continue. Tony Romo may need to have a big game this week, rather than the 18-of-30, 170-yard day he had against Washington last week. If you have enough faith in this Cowboys defense to stop Foles and the Eagles, take Dallas with the points.
Otherwise, stay away.
REST OF SUNDAY'S GAMES:
Cincinnati at Detroit (-3)
I like Detroit at home giving up three points. The Bengals have looked too inconsistent to be 4-2, especially with last week's lost to Buffalo. Lions move to 5-2 and cover in the process.
Buffalo at Miami (-7)
Not sure what you're getting from Buffalo, now that they're bringing in Matt Flynn as the quarterback. Miami let one get away against the Ravens, but should get the win by at least 13 points this week.
Chicago at Washington (PK)
You're either on the side of believing in Chicago, or believing that RG The Third is healthy. He ran for over 70 yards last week against Dallas, and looks to have regained his speed. I like the 'Skins in the upset.
St. Louis at Carolina (-6.5)
This is as great of a chance as Carolina has ever had to win two in a row, but St. Louis keeps it close. The Panthers win, but St. Louis' 6.5 will cover.
Tampa Bay at Atlanta (-7)
The Bucs are a mess, and the Falcons haven't been able to close out games. This is the week they do, and get back on track with a convincing 17-point win over Tampa at home.
San Francisco (-4) at Tennessee
Depending on who you listen to, Jake Locker is or isn't playing. If he does, the Titans hang around until the end. If not, like I think, this one's over by halftime. San Fran covers easily.
Cleveland at Green Bay (-10)
The biggest spread of the week goes to the Packers, and their offensive struggles have given every reason to take Cleveland with the points. Green Bay wins, but the Browns keep it close.
Denver (-6.5) at Indianapolis
You know what you're getting out of Peyton Manning as he returns to Indy. But the Colts will be fired up offensively against this terrible Denver defense. Take Indy with the points.