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November 19, 2018

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

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Miami Dolphins quarterback Brock Osweiler (8) looks to pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018, in Miami Gardens, Fla.

Week 7: Saints at Ravens

Which side would you take in Saints at Ravens? (Poll consensus year to date: 6-0)
Saints plus-2.5 — 63.9%
Ravens minus-2.5 — 36.1%

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.

Brock Osweiler and Frank Gore emerged as unlikely heroes for sports books, and preposterous villains for most bettors in the NFL's Week 6.

The maligned journeyman quarterback and 35-year-old running back led a 31-28 upset victory in overtime for the Miami Dolphins over the Chicago Bears, wiping out a slew of parlays that never really got started Sunday afternoon. Chicago was the most popular bet on the board even before the announcement of Osweiler starting for the injured Ryan Tannehill.

Tannehill being ruled out Sunday morning pushed the Bears from one of the most-bet sides of the week to one of the most-bet sides of the season, as the spread swelled all the way from minus-3.5 to minus-7.

The Bears were beating the number at the end of the third quarter into the fourth quarter, but Osweiler and Gore prompted a comeback. Osweiler threw for a career-high 380 yards while Gore managed his 46th all-time 100-yard rushing game.

Miami endured through a bizarre extra period that included it fumbling inside the 1-yard line to even wreck tickets of those bettors who took the Bears at minus-330 (risking $1 to win $3.30) on the money line.

In total, 85 percent of the money at William Hill sports books was on Chicago for the game.

Which heavily-bet sides should be avoided in Week 7? Talking Points will do its best to sort them out in this week’s picks column.

Check below for against the spread picks on every Week 7 games. Picks are listed in three confidence categories. Lines are the best currently available on the chosen side in Las Vegas. The blog has gone 50-37-6 picking every game on the year after a 10-4-1 record last week.

Plays (10-8-1)

Baltimore Ravens minus-2.5 vs. New Orleans Saints Saints’ NFL-high 36 points per game may look imposing, but they’ve played bottom-10 defenses in four of their five games. New Orleans struggled mightily against the only strong defense it’s faced in getting outgained by 1 yard per play against Cleveland in a narrow 21-18 win as 10-point favorites in week 2. The Ravens’ defense is another step up from the Browns.

Carolina Panthers plus-5 at Philadelphia Eagles Carolina’s offense is gaining 0.3 more yards per play than Philadelphia, which is surrendering 0.3 yards less per play on defense. That’s just one example of both these teams looking exceedingly even and making any line of more than a field goal unnecessary.

New York Giants plus-6 at Atlanta Falcons With the Falcons ranking 30th in the NFL against the run by Football Outsiders' DVOA ratings, this is a spot where the Giants’ preferred method of pounding Saquon Barkley could pay dividends. An overlooked part of the Giants’ struggles is their strong schedule, as none of their first six opponents currently have a losing record.

Chicago Bears plus-3.5 vs. New England Patriots The Bears’ loss coupled with the Patriots’ 43-40 victory over the Chiefs added an ever-valuable half-point to this line, which is generous in a game where the home team seems to have all the matchup edges. Chicago might be the best-equipped team in the NFL to disrupt New England’s quick-strike passing game.

Leans (17-7-3)

Tennessee Titans plus-7 vs. Los Angeles Chargers in London Tennessee ranks in the NFL’s top five in giving up only 4.2 yards per play, making it by far the best defense Los Angeles has encountered. The Titans’ offense has struggled the last two weeks but not enough to enact this large of a line move, as last week’s look-ahead price was Chargers minus-3.

Kansas City Chiefs minus-5.5 vs. Cincinnati Bengals Have no interest in taking anything less than a touchdown against the Chiefs at home, especially not with the average Bengals. Cincinnati’s defense ranks 24th in the NFL by DVOA, making it look ripe for the taking of NFL touchdown leader Pat Mahomes.

New York Jets plus-3.5 vs. Minnesota Vikings Betting market is giving the Vikings too much credit for what was expected out of them coming into the season. Minnesota was supposed to be a Super Bowl contender but looks more like a fringe playoff participant at best with an average offense that rates 16th in DVOA and a declining defense that ranks 20th.

Buffalo Bills plus-8 at Indianapolis Colts Line surprisingly didn’t budge after the news that Derek Anderson would start in place of Nathan Peterman at quarterback for Buffalo. Anderson might be a mediocre 35-year-old journeyman, but Peterman has been one of the least efficient quarterbacks in NFL history.

Guesses (23-22-3)

Dallas Cowboys plus-2 at Washington Redskins For all the ridicule the Cowboys have endured for their tedious offense, they’re tied with the Eagles for the best point differential in the NFC East at plus-20 and have posted a positive 0.2 net yards per play. This might be the last chance to buy low on them.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers minus-3 vs. Cleveland Browns A major coaching change oftentimes sparks a team at least for a couple weeks, and that might be especially true with the situation the Buccaneers find themselves in. New defensive coordinator Mark Duffner, who takes over for the fired Mike Smith, is a beloved football lifer who has nowhere to go but up with a Tampa Bay defense giving up an NFL-worst 6.9 yards per play.

Los Angeles Rams minus-9.5 at San Francisco 49ers Feels like 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard has hit the top end of his range of outcomes in throwing for 7.8 yards per attempt since taking over for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo. Expect some regression, which could start here in an attempt to keep up with the high-flying Rams.

Denver Broncos minus-2.5 at Arizona Cardinals Denver is probably better than its 2-4 straight-up record indicates, as based on its statistical profile, Football Outsiders calculates its estimated wins on the year at 3.3. Arizona’s Steve Wilks is still figuring out the intricacies of being a head coach in his first year, and that’s not easy to do on a short week going into Thursday Night Football.

Detroit Lions minus-2.5 at Miami Dolphins Osweiler’s serviceable effort against the Bears kindly keeps this week’s spread deflated. He’s still a liability, especially against a Lions’ defense ranked first in the NFL in adjusted sack rate.

Houston Texans plus-5.5 at Jacksonville Jaguars Value was on the Jaguars at the opening price of minus-4, which offered an intriguing buy-low option on a team that’s still the most talented in the AFC South despite their inconsistency. But a 1.5-point move — even through a dead number like minus-5 — is significant and zapped the opportunity.

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

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