Betting News & Analysis

NFL Week 7: Best spread bets for Sunday's games

Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) signals at the line of scrimmage in the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

• Bet Seahawks +5 at Chargers: PFF's third-best play-action passer this season, Geno Smith should dice up disappointing L.A. secondary.

• Lean Giants +3 at Jaguars: Jacksonville hasn't won, nor covered at home since 2018, a span in which the Jags are 2-7 overall ATS as a home favorite.

There's arguably no sport more difficult, nor exciting, to bet on than NFL football. Information is both scarce in utility, and abundant in opinion. Markets are so finely tuned and so heavily wagered that there are few opportunities to gain an edge over the oddsmakers.

Enter a model capable of making ATS picks with long-term success.

A majority of the most profitable NFL bettors use some kind of projection tool to help guide their wagers. Such a tool will be provided to the reader today, and for the rest of the NFL regular season. It is important to note that these projections are not a gospel, but merely a compass toward identifying an edge in a razor-thin market that is betting NFL spreads.

The purpose of this article is to identify model picks which coincide with current trends, and mismatches on the field. The hope is that in deliberately doing so, long-term profitability will follow.

Week 7 Best Bets

San Francisco 49ers (+2.5) vs Kansas City Chiefs

Model Line — Pick’em

· Public Fade: Greater than 80% of the bets placed ATS have been on the Chiefs, but the line has moved off of KC -3 since opening. Such reverse line movement is an indication of sharp action on San Francisco, and the average bettor is likely stepping into a trap in their adoration of the Chiefs. 

· Profitable Spot for San Fran: San Francisco has covered six straight at home, and this team has historically excelled in this scenario. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has a career record of 13-3 ATS as an underdog, and is a perfect 3-0 ATS and SU as an underdog at home. 

· Encouraging Injury Report: The 49ers have been handicapped by injuries to some of their key players, and such absences were felt last week in Atlanta. Head Coach Kyle Shanahan has indicated that many of these players will return this week, and a healthy 49ers team matches up very well with Kansas City. 

· Bottom Line:  An overwhelming majority of the bets will be placed on Kansas City this week, and the reverse line movement is an indication of sharp action on the 49ers. Further, San Francisco’s efforts versus Atlanta is not a reflection of this team at its best, and the team projects to be near full strength for this game. 

Houston Texans (+7) @ Las Vegas Raiders

Model Line — Raiders (-3)

• Late to Adjust: Las Vegas is not as bad as its 1-4 start might indicate, but the Raiders are undeserving of being a favorite of such magnitude. Their lofty preseason projections are likely influencing this line, and oddsmaker’s might be late to adjust their priors regarding a middling Vegas team.  

• Carr as a Favorite: Raiders QB Derek Carr is 5-11 ATS as a home favorite of more than a field goal in his career. Historically, this has not been a comfortable spot for the veteran QB, and the Raiders’ defense should not be counted on to protect any lead built by the team’s offense. 

• Raiders’ Shoddy Defense: Las Vegas’ defense currently ranks 26th in Weighted DVOA, and the unit has been extremely generous to opposing quarterbacks. The Texans offense is not particularly threatening, but they have had two weeks to game plan for what projects to be their most favorable matchup of the season. 

• Bottom Line: You are what your record says you are, and the Raiders are not a very good team. It is alarming to see that they are touchdown favorites versus anybody, and the oddsmakers may be late to adjust their priors in setting this line. 

Seattle Seahawks (+5) @ Los Angeles Chargers

Model Line — Chargers (-2.5)

• Automatic Play: The model has adored Seattle this season. And while the Seahawks may have a middling ATS record of 3-3, I will contest that they were the right side in every game aside from their week two matchup in San Francisco. Notably, their matchup with the 49ers was an unfavorable one, and the Chargers are incapable of exploiting the Seahawks in a similar manner. 

• Money Doesn’t Buy Defense: The Chargers invested heavily in their defense this season, but it has not yet resulted in elevated play. Per most notable metrics (PFF Grades, Weighted DVOA, EPA / Play, etc.), Los Angeles’ defense has not been exceptional, and their run defense has been particularly porous. Look for Seattle to feature rookie RB Kenneth Walker and marry the passing attack with an efficient ground game. 

• Shane Waldron’s Offense: Seattle's offense is no longer a mirage, and a third of the way into the season it can be said confidently that the unit is one of the best in the NFL. Expect for the Seahawks to have an offensive redemption following their pedestrian performance in Week 6, and for QB Geno Smith to dice up the Chargers’ secondary on play-action passes, on which he's currently graded as PFF’s third-best passer.

• Bottom Line: These teams are much closer than this line indicates. The Chargers should be favored, but Seattle has habitually kept games close via its offense. It is doubtful that Los Angeles is capable of building a lead large enough to get the Seahawks off schedule, and this should be a close game throughout. 

Week 7 Leans

New York Giants (+3) @ Jacksonville Jaguars

Model Line — Giants (-3.5)

• Wrong Team Favored: The Giants are fortunate to be 5-1, but they are 5-1 nonetheless. The Jaguars' adoration is a function of two blowout victories, and their reputation does not justify them as favorites. Further, Jacksonville has not won nor covered the spread at home versus an NFC opponent since 2018, and the team has gone 2-7 ATS as a home favorite in this same time frame. 

Tennessee Titans (-2.5) vs Indianapolis Colts

Model Line — Titans (-6)

• Back the Better Team: Tennessee whooped the Colts before their bye, and will have spent three consecutive weeks prepping for Indianapolis at the onset of this game. Comfortably back the Titans to cover a short spread at home.

Tommy's ATS picks went 2-3 in Week 6, improving his overall season record to 11-15 (-4.4 units). 

How PFF contributor Tommy Jurgens' Projections Work:

A myriad of both objective, and subjective ratings are employed in a logistic regression model to determine the likelihood that each team will win the game outright. By this determined win-probability, a spread is assigned to each game and compared to the consensus line.

This model has successfully identified the outright victor at a near 67% rate, and has chosen the ATS winner at an efficiency greater than 53% since 2006.

One can find all of the projected picks for Week 7 here


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