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Week 7 NFL Picks Against the Spread

Chris Amberley

by Chris Amberley in NFL Football

Oct 23, 2020 · 1:00 PM PDT

Matthew Stafford throwing a pass
The Detroit Lions racked up 402 yards on offense in a 34-16 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 6. Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire.
  • Week 7 of the 2020 NFL season continues Sunday, October 25
  • Our Best Bets were 1-2 in Week 6 (9-9 overall, -0.82 units)
  • Read below for analysis on the Week 7 NFL slate and our favorite ATS picks

After back-to-back profitable weeks we found ourselves on the losing end of two of three best bets in Week 6, dropping us back into the red for the season.

Week 7 presents us with another opportunity to pick on the 1-5 Atlanta Falcons, who surprisingly are a near field goal favorite over the 2-3 Detroit Lions.

Week 7 ATS Picks

Matchup Spread Pick Units Risked
Detroit Lions vs Atlanta Falcons ATL (-2.5) DET (+2.5) 1
Carolina Panthers vs New Orleans Saints NO (-7.5) CAR (+7.5) 1
Kansas City Chiefs vs Denver Broncos KC (-9.5) KC (-9.5) 1

Odds taken Oct. 22nd at DraftKings. See bottom for rest of Week 7 Picks.

Both teams are coming off convincing victories, but despite finally getting into the win column there’s still plenty of reasons to be pessimistic about the Falcons.

Pick #1: Lions Over Falcons

As of right now, the Detroit vs Atlanta game has the third highest total on the Sunday slate. This contest actually opened Falcons -3, but it’s been bet down anywhere from half a point to a point depending on where you look. Both teams have favorable matchups they can exploit, but the Lions in particular are in a smash spot.

Atlanta is allowing 30.7 points and 432.5 yards per game, and ranks 25th on defense by DVOA. They’ve allowed a league-high 29 completions of 20 yards or more, and 18 passing touchdowns through just six games. You know who’s pretty lethal in the deep passing game? Matthew Stafford and Kenny Golladay.

Speaking of Stafford, he should have all day to throw against the Falcons non-existent pass rush. Atlanta ranks 30th in sacks per game (1.3) and has allowed an average QB rating of 114.1.

On the other side of the ball, both of Matt Ryan’s top-two receivers are banged up and while Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley will likely end up playing, Ryan has played below expectation this season. He’s thrown for more than one touchdown in only three of six games, and is on pace for the lowest offense grade from Pro Football Focus in his career.

Pick #2: Panthers Surprise Saints

The New Orleans Saints were supposed to be among the best teams in the NFC, but so far have looked nothing like it. They’re an underwhelming 3-2 and barely avoided a big upset at the hands of the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 5. Now online sportsbooks expect us to lay 7.5-points against a respectable Carolina Panthers squad? No thanks.

Carolina enters Week 7 winners of three of its past four, and will have a very favorable matchup against the Saints pass defense. New Orleans is allowing 30 points per outing and has already surrendered 15 TD passes this season.  They rank 25th in pressure rate and have the fourth worst coverage grade per PFF.

Four of the five quarterbacks they’ve faced have been a top-10 performers on the week, and they’ve allowed four number one receivers to record at least 7 catches in a game. That bodes well for the Panthers, who have arguably two number one wideouts at their disposal in DJ Moore and Robby Anderson.

On defense, Carolina does a great job eliminating big plays, forcing opposing teams to sustain long drives in order to score. The Panthers pass defense is allowing  a league-low 6.1 yards per attempt and 9.1 yards per completion. That sort of style of play would normally suit New Orleans just fine if Michael Thomas was playing, but the reigning receiving king was ruled out on Friday, after suffering a hamstring injury earlier this week in practice.

Pick #3: Chiefs Blowout Broncos

AFC West rivals clash in Denver, as the reigning champs visit the Broncos. Kansas City is a 9.5-point favorite and while that may seem like a lot of points, don’t forget that four of the Chiefs five wins this season have been by at least two scores.

KC is fresh off a statement win against the AFC East leading Buffalo Bills, and now get to face a Denver team that failed to score a touchdown in Week 6. The Broncos were the benefactors of three New England Patriots turnovers, but couldn’t covert a single one into 7 points. They were 0-for-2 in the red zone, and now rank 30th in red zone efficiency this season. That kind of performance won’t due against the high-flying Chiefs, who a) rarely turn the ball over, and b) can score at will.

Dating back to Week 13 of the 2019 season, Kanas City has outscored its opponents by at least 10 points in 10 of its past 14 games, and are 12-2 ATS over that stretch.

Week 7 Quick Picks

  • Bills (-12.5) vs Jets: Prime bounce back spot for Buffalo versus a winless Jets squad that has scored one total touchdown over the last two weeks.
  • Packers (-3.5) vs Texans: Deshaun Watson’s reaction last week in overtime was priceless after losing the coin toss. He knew his defense couldn’t stop Tennessee and they won’t be able to stop Green Bay either.
  • Steelers (+1.5) vs Titans: Speaking of Tennessee, the offense comes back to earth against the league’s most complete defense.
  • Bengals (+3.5) vs Browns: Baker Mayfield continues to underwhelm, while Joe Burrow gets a sneaky good matchup against a Cleveland defense ranked 20th by DVOA.
  • Washington (-1) vs Cowboys: Dallas opened as the favorite but that didn’t last long. The Cowboys offensive line has been decimated by injuries, which doesn’t bode well for Andy Dalton against this ferocious Washington pass rush.
  • 49ers (+2) vs Patriots: Cam Newton’s weaponry is abysmal and San Francisco looked like its old self last week in a huge win over the LA Rams.
  • Jaguars (+7.5) vs Chargers: As good as Justin Herbert looked last time we saw him, I’m not ready to lay 7.5-points with a rookie quarterback.
  • Seahawks (-3.5) vs Cardinals: Arizona boasts the 27th ranked pass rush and the 17th best coverage unit. Good luck containing Russell Wilson and the NFL’s highest scoring offense.
  • Bears (+6) vs Rams: Chicago hasn’t allowed more than one TD pass in a game all season, while LA struggled badly in its first game against a quality defense in Week 6.
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