Derry’s Week 7 NFL Picks: Saints-Cardinals in similar spot; Jags-Giants line makes no sense

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Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) celebrates with his teammates after he ran in for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022, in Indianapolis.(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Overcompensation. Yep, it’s about that time of year. And then, of course, there are lines that make absolutely zero sense.

This is the point of the season where casual bettors will jump on something that for some unknown reason in unexplainable, and they think they are getting some sort of advantage. However, when something makes no sense and still makes no sense days later, there’s a reason why: The people who know what they are doing are going with the flow and betting the side that would make the rest of us shake our heads.

You’ll notice that is sort of the theme of the week. Without getting into our picks right here during our lead-in, we’ll just tell to look for the spreads that make you go, “Hmmmm” and just “roll with it baby,” as we use up our allotment for musical references in one month here in one paragraph.

Remember, though, nothing comes in this business without risk – a risk of losing money and feeling pretty dumb. But hey, we’ve all felt dumb before. Just put your Halloween costume on a little early if it doesn’t work out, and we’ll see you on the other side as we look to remain hot.

Let’s get to it.

Any comments, questions, gratitude or hate mail is welcome at [email protected].

NOTES: All spreads, money lines and over/under totals (as of Wednesday) are provided by Caesars Sportsbook. We started the season with a mythical bankroll with $1,000. Our totals for the past week and the season are at the bottom of this column.

THE WEEK 7 BEST BETS

HOME TEAM in CAPS

Byes: Buffalo, LA Rams, Minnesota, Philadelphia.

1 / JACKSONVILLE -3 over NY Giants

WHEN: Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. THE BET: $33 to win $30.

Right off the jump, we have Exhibit No. 1 of a line that makes the least sense of any presented so far this season. And for those who have been following since late July when we began our NFL team previews, you know how high I have been – and am – on the Giants.

So why in the world is a perennial loser 2-4 straight up and ATS a 3-point favorite over another who is 5-1 and just beat the Packers and Ravens? Get ready for this analysis … Beats the holy heck out of me.

That being said, someone knows something I don’t, and normally that would have me just staying away. However, there’s got to be something to it, as this line hasn’t budged since it opened Monday.

To make matters worse, this was Jags -1.5 in the summer and -2.5 before the Giants came back to beat Baltimore. In other words, power ratings say this line should be in the ballpark of New York -2 or -2.5 by now.

Maybe it’s the fact this is a terrible spot for the G-Men, who have won two games that likely knocked quite a few Survivor Pool entries into hyperspace, while Jacksonville – no matter how bad I think they really are – is coming off two consecutive games in which they snatched defeat straight from the jaws of victory.

The Giants have to be emotionally spent. Not only that, the vast majority of their offense has been run through Saquon Barkley, and Jacksonville has the third-best rushing defense in the NFL through six weeks, having allowed just 89.3 yards per game.

This might be the most I have written about a single pick so far this season, and maybe it’s because I am trying to sell myself as much as my readers. But there are about four or five spreads like this each season, and way more times than not through the years, the side that makes no sense comes through. I am riding with it. Wanna come along?

SCORE PREDICTION: Jaguars 22, Giants 16. (Under 42.)

2 / LA CHARGERS -6 over Seattle

WHEN: Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET. THE BET: $22 to win $20.

Here’s another one that’s a little weird (although nowhere near the ballpark of Jacksonville), and it seems there is way too much credit being given to Seattle after their victory over lowly Arizona last week.

Obviously, the Chargers struggled – and maybe got a little lucky – in defeating Denver on Monday night, but they’re not going to get many defenses easier than the one they’re going to see Sunday in a second straight home game.

When November comes, there’s a chance I will say I was wrong about the Seahawks, but for now I am sticking with my original prognostication that says they stink and have yet to beat a good football team this year. (And I am not believing in Geno Smith, either. Sorry.)

SCORE PREDICTION: Chargers 34, Seahawks 24. (Over 51.)

3 / Over 41.5 in Green Bay at WASHINGTON

WHEN: Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. THE BET: $22 to win $20.

Remember when any game that involved Green Bay the total would be in the upper 40s or high 50s, regardless of their opponent? Yeah, those days are gone.

Maybe the Packers are in some sort of bizarro world because Aaron Rodgers is trying to become the Woosah King. Maybe he’s trying too hard to R-E-L-A-X. Maybe Green Bay just isn’t that good.

I can’t believe that. Not yet. Rather, I am still trusting in Matt LaFleur, and that Rodgers will wake up out of his haze. On the other side, Taylor Heinicke should give the Washington offense a boost. (He certainly can’t do much worse than Carson Wentz.)

I wanted to pull the trigger on the Packers here at -5, but last week’s burn job was enough to remind me I am too old to be playing with fire. The total involving Green Bay is 41.5 or lower for the third time this season, and they have hit the over in the other two. Their over/under results in all of 2020 and 2021 with a total that low? Try 0-0. It hadn’t happened since December of 2019 against the Bears before this campaign began.

If we don’t win this one, we’ll just stay away from anything involving Green Bay for a bit, but we like our chances.

SCORE PREDICTION: Packers (-5) 27, Commanders 20.

4 / Teaser, Saints +8 over Cardinals and Raiders -1 over Texans

WHEN: Saints-Cardinals on Thursday at 8:15 p.m. ET; Raiders-Texans on Sunday at 4:05 p.m. ET. THE BET: $24 to win $20.

First the Saints. We hit them on the teaser last week (and should have hit the pick of victory), so we’re going back to the well. The Cardinals aren’t good enough to be laying points to anyone right now, so it seems logical they won’t blow anyone out, either.

This is the seventh straight week I am predicting the Saints to win, so what is wrong with me? I must like banging my head against those year-old fruitcakes Aunt Mabel stored in my pantry, or maybe I keep thinking this team will find a way out of its funk and put a complete game together. (It has to happen at some point, right?)

But this pick is as much against Arizona, which is even more dysfunctional than New Orleans at the moment, all the while the “fire Kliff Kingsbury” watch is well underway. As of late Wednesday night, it is unclear whether Jameis Winston or Andy Dalton will start at quarterback for the Saints, but it wouldn’t change my thinking either way, especially with wide receiver Chris Olave returning.

New Orleans HAS to have this one to remain relevant in the playoff chase, while the Cardinals are done whether they win or not. Even with DeAndre Hopkins coming back, his effectiveness and playing time have to be in question. And without Hollywood Brown, it should be easier for this injury-riddled Saints defense to cover Hopkins.

Meanwhile, the Raiders and Texans are both coming off a bye week, and Las Vegas seemed to figure things out against Kansas City. The Texans have been really bad (even for them) on the road except for the unexplainable win at Jacksonville in Week 5, and they have lost 10 of their past 13 straight up with nine of those losses coming by a touchdown or more.

SCORE PREDICTION: Saints (+2) 24, Cardinals 22. (Over 44.)

SCORE PREDICTION: Raiders (-7) 30, Texans 20. (Over 45.5.)

5 / CINCINNATI -6.5 over Atlanta

WHEN: Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. THE BET: $11 to win $10.

Remember when I talked about bashing my head against the fruitcakes? Maybe I am turning into a fruitcake, as I pick (once again) against a team that is 6-0 against the spread. Hey, the streak has to end sometime.

This seems like one of the better values of the week, as the Bengals offense looks like they have figured some things out. Sort of like a couple other teams you’ll hear me spew against, I simply cannot buy into the Falcons. Yes, yes, I get we’re heading into Week 7, and they have been in every game they have played, but this is the perfect scenario for them to get rocked a bit.

Atlanta has the second-worst pass defense in the league and they are worst in sacks with just 1.3 per game and one total in their past three games. The biggest weakness for the Bengals is their pass protection, but even they will look good in this one.

SCORE PREDICTION: Bengals 30, Falcons 16. (Under 47.5.)

OTHER PICKS

(No bets for the following)

Sunday at 1 p.m. ET

Tampa Bay 19, CAROLINA (+11) 9: First off, I wouldn’t touch this spread with a 39½-foot pole even if the Grinch gave me the money to lay the bet. Something is wrong with Tommy Boy, and the chemistry on this team is non-existent. I like Carolina even less, but I’ll lean to the Golden Rule of taking the home dog in a division game. (It’s only because at my age, I always lean one way or the other when I am trying to stand straight.)

P.S. This is the first Tampa Bay game with a total this low since 2015. Automatic under play and almost made it a best bet. (Under 40.5.)

TENNESSEE (-2.5) 26, Indianapolis 20: I hate being with Drunk Joe here, but I have to almost ignore the sharps in this one because of their continued utter disdain for the Titans. Look, Tennessee has won four in a row and five out of six in this series for a reason: They’re simply the better team. And this spread isn’t enough to scare me off of it. (Over 42.5.)

BALTIMORE (-6.5) 31, Cleveland 20: This is the third home game in four weeks for the underachieving Ravens, who have a case to be 6-0 more than any other 3-3 team in the history of the NFL. In yet another must-win situation, they do so against a Browns team that is on the brink of becoming irrelevant long before Deshaun Watson takes the reins.

No way I am betting this one, however, as this is another one I am with the public, but Baltimore has won five out of six in the series when Cleveland was a much better team. Have to lean Ravens. (Over 45.5.)

DALLAS 26, Detroit (+7) 20: The last we saw the Lions, they were getting shut out by the Patriots, proving they aren’t nearly as good as the people who watch HBO think they were. Meanwhile, Dak Prescott will play, but how much? Could be weird enough to interrupt game flow and allow Detroit to cover (especially off a bye week). (Under 49.)

Sunday at 4:05 p.m. ET.

DENVER (-1) 20, NY Jets 17: It’s really tough to analyze this game not knowing on Wednesday who will play quarterback for the Broncos. So, this pick is based off the Jets coming off a big high of last week’s shocking victory (a big high by a mediocre team is generally followed by an equal-sized low) and the Denver defense knowing it all comes down to them. (Under 38.)

Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET.

SAN FRANCISCO (+2.5) 24, Kansas City 20: Simply fading the public here with Kansas City coming off that brutal loss to rival Buffalo. Also, the 49ers could be getting a few of their key players back from injury, including LT Trent Williams and DE Nick Bosa. Won’t play this game or the total. (Under 48.5.)

Sunday at 8:20 p.m. ET.

MIAMI (-7) 26, Pittsburgh 17: This pick isn’t solely because Tua should return and Mitch Trubisky is back in for Pittsburgh, but those two pieces of info certainly play a large role. After last week’s giant upset of Tampa Bay, the Steelers can go back to being who we thought they were, while the Dolphins have some catching up to do. (Under 45.)

Monday at 8:15 p.m. ET.

NEW ENGLAND 14, Chicago (+7.5) 10: Sorry, but the Patriots aren’t good enough to be laying that many points – even to the worst offense in the league (and maybe the worst team in the league). We knew Bill Belichick would stomp his former team last week, but in this snoozefest, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Chicago hang around until the end. (Under 39.5.)

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HOW WE DOIN’?

Note: TIES ARE NOT COUNTED IN MY RECORD, which could result in a different total of games in the “straight up” and “against the spread” categories, as well as with totals.

AGAINST THE SPREAD

Week 6 best bets: 4-1 (+$62.60). Season best bets: 21-9 (.700; +$138.10 on season). Week 6 all picks against the spread: 9-5. Season all picks ATS: 48-44 (.522)

STRAIGHT UP (no spread)

Week 6: 8-6. Season: 49-44 (.527).

OVER/UNDER TOTALS

Week 6: 6-8. Season: 56-37 (.602).

PREVIOUS COLUMNS

(click on week to view)

Week 6: 4-1 best bets (+$62.60); 9-5 ATS; 8-6 straight up; 6-8 over/unders.

Week 5: 3-2 best bets (+$2); 10-5 ATS; 9-7 straight up; 10-6 over/unders

Week 4: 4-1 best bets (+$37); 9-6 ATS; 9-7 straight up; 10-6 over/unders

Week 3: 3-2 best bets (-$5); 5-11 ATS; 8-8 straight up; 8-7 over/unders

Week 2: 4-1 best bets (+$57); 7-9 ATS; 9-7 straight up; 12-4 over/unders

Week 1: 3-2 best bets (-$15); 8-8 ATS; 6-9 straight up; 10-6 over/unders

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