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November 18, 2017

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Vegas pick’em: NFL Week 7 winners against the spread

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ASSOCIATED PRESS

Miami Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler (6) sits in the bench area during the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta FalconsH, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017, in Atlanta.

Week 7: Falcons at Patriots

Game of the Week: Falcons plus-3.5 at Patriots (Poll consensus year to date: 4-2)
Patriots minus-3.5 — 52.3%
Falcons plus-3.5 — 47.7%

This poll is closed, see Full Results »

Note: This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

With 24 seasons of NFL experience between the two of them, Eli Manning and Jay Cutler are the targets of a lot of jokes about their age.

The two veteran quarterbacks didn’t seem so old in Week 6. Manning and Cutler helped their teams combine to engineer something that hadn’t been seen in the NFL since nearly a decade before they were both born.

Manning’s Giants and Cutler’s Dolphins both pulled off outright upsets — over the Broncos and Falcons, respectively — as two-touchdown underdogs. It was the first time since 1976 that two upsets that significant occurred in the same week, according to ESPN.

A $100 parlay on New York and Miami to win would have paid out just short of $4,900, meaning the odds implied a 2 percent chance they would both prevail.

It was part of another big week for underdogs, which went 9-5 straight-up and 11-3 against the spread. Talking Points capitalized by going 8-6 against the spread picking every game to bring the blog’s season record to 53-37-1.

Read below for picks on every Week 7 game, separated as always into three confidence categories. Lines are the best on the chosen side at the time of publication.

Plays (12-6)

Los Angeles Rams minus-3 vs. Arizona Cardinals in London Don’t be fooled by the one game separating these teams in the standings — Los Angeles is better in every area. The Rams are outscoring their opponents by a touchdown per game, while the Cardinals’ opponents are outscoring them by a touchdown per game.

San Francisco 49ers plus-6.5 vs. Dallas Cowboys As the first team in NFL history to lose five straight games by a field goal or less, the 49ers are clearly better than their winless record. And they might improve further with rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard, who threw for 6.8 yards per attempt against a stingy Washington defense in relief last year, taking over for the struggling Brian Hoyer.

Green Bay Packers plus-5.5 vs. New Orleans Saints Yes, the Packers went 1-7 against the spread the last time Aaron Rodgers missed extended time, but there’s more promise in this year’s backup Brett Hundley than there was in the likes of Seneca Wallace and Scott Tolzien. Hundley is getting a gift of facing a New Orleans pass defense giving up 7.3 yards per pass attempt in his first start.

Leans (13-15-1)

Baltimore Ravens plus-6 at Minnesota Vikings It’s a sign the betting market is getting too comfortable with quarterback Case Keenum when his team is laying nearly a touchdown. Keenum’s numbers on the year are all significantly more efficient than they’ve been throughout his career, and bound to regress.

Washington Redskins plus-5.5 at Philadelphia Eagles Washington’s 30-17 loss to Philadelphia in Week 1 was more closely contested than remembered, especially considering the home team gave away three fumbles. The Redskins’ similarly sloppy showing in a 26-24 escape against San Francisco as 11-point favorites last week has kept them undervalued for at least one more week.

New York Jets plus-3.5 at Miami Dolphins Miami’s 3-2 straight-up and against the spread record is a mirage, as it’s been outgained every game this season including by nearly 2 yards per play in last week’s win at Atlanta. There was nothing competitive about these teams’ Week 3 game, where the Jets smothered the Dolphins 20-6 as 5-point underdogs.

Los Angeles Chargers minus-1.5 vs. Denver Broncos Might be 1.5 points of value here, as these teams played a dead-even game in Week 1 with the Broncos prevailing 24-21 as 3-point favorites. The line and result from that game would indicate the number on this game should be Chargers minus-3.

Guesses (28-16)

New England Patriots minus-3 vs. Atlanta Falcons New England’s disappointing 2-4 against the spread start only drops coach Bill Belichick’s lifetime betting record with Patriots to 177-128-7. With that kind of history, the rule remains to back New England when in doubt, and it’s easier with Treasure Island stubbornly sticking with a field-goal line here.

Kansas City Chiefs minus-3 at Oakland Raiders Kansas City still leads the league offensively at 6.4 yards per play despite facing a tougher slate of opposing defenses than any other team, according to DVOA. The Raiders will be the first awful defense the Chiefs have played, and they should take advantage.

Carolina Panthers minus-3 at Chicago Bears Panthers’ defense has held its own against a challenging four-week stretch of explosive offenses, but should now remind everyone why it’s one of the top units in the league. Carolina gave up a total of six points to its two opponents with offenses that are comparable production-wise to Chicago, Buffalo and San Francisco.

Cincinnati Bengals plus-6 at Pittsburgh Steelers Cincinnati’s defense, led by second-year standout Nick Vigil and perennial All-Pro candidate Vontaze Burfict at linebacker, has played too well to expect any team to beat the Bengals by a touchdown. The Bengals lead the league in giving up only 4.2 yards per play.

Tennessee Titans minus-5.5 at Cleveland Browns The Browns are now 4-17-1 against the spread dating back to last year, a run so poor that it defies any logic. It would also defy any logic to keep picking them until they show some signs of a turnaround.

Seattle Seahawks minus-5.5 at New York Giants Bye week may have come at the perfect time for the Seahawks, which were beginning to rival the Giants as the most beaten-up team in the NFL. The look-ahead line on this game was Seattle minus-7.5, and though it was impressive, New York’s win at Denver shouldn’t have been worth two points on the betting line.

Indianapolis Colts plus-3.5 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars This is strictly a numbers play, with the extra half-point making the home team look ever-so-slightly more attractive. The Jaguars have never in franchise history laid this money points at Indianapolis.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers plus-3 at Buffalo Bills Tampa Bay’s defense is terrible, but Buffalo hasn’t shown the offensive firepower to take advantage. Teams coming off of embarrassing performances — and the Buccaneers’ 38-33 loss in Arizona as 2.5-point favorites should qualify considering they fell into a 31-0 hole — are typically sound investments.

Case Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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