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NFL Week 7 ATS Picks: Is Matt Ryan Overrated?

DeShaun Watson at the draft
Deshaun Watson still isn't getting the respect he deserves, much like when he was selected 12th-overall by the Texans in 2017. Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire.
  • The Rams are on a three-game losing streak for the first time in the Sean McVay era
  • Is NYG rookie QB Daniel Jones the real deal or fool’s gold?
  • Read my four favorites picks against the spread for Week 7

We’re almost to the halfway point of the NFL season already and, as an avid football fan, that’s not okay with me. On the bright side, we’ll have some XFL football to watch this offseason!  But let’s not dwell on the future. We still have 11 weeks of real football left. Here are my four favorite ATS plays for the Week 7 slate.

Los Angeles Rams vs Atlanta Falcons Odds

Team Point Spread at GTBets*
Los Angeles Rams -3 (-110)
Atlanta Falcons +3 (-110)

*All odds herein as of Oct. 18.

The Los Angeles Rams (3-3) are on three-game losing streak for the first time ever during the Sean McVay era. As for the Atlanta Falcons (1-5), they enter on a four-game losing streak and have shown no signs of improving; their defense continues to be their biggest problem, allowing 31 points per game, second-worst in the league.

The only team that’s allowed more points is the historically bad Miami Dolphins at 36 PPG.

Despite having to make the cross-country trip, the Rams will get a boost as they acquired All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey on Tuesday. McVay confirmed that the plan is for Ramsey to make his Rams debut this Sunday. This will not only provide a boost for this Rams secondary, which ranks middle of the road through Week 6, it will also make for two very intriguing storylines. Not only will not only be the first time that Julio Jones and Ramsey square off, it will also be the first time Ramsey has been in the same stadium as Atlanta since Ramsey called Matt Ryan “overrated”.

However, even if Ramsey ends up being limited in this game or doesn’t suit up at all for some reason, I still love LA to cover the three. While I won’t go as far as calling Ryan overrated, he is inconsistent and will struggle at home against this Rams defense. I also think that slot receiver Cooper Kupp’s matchup against Falcons cornerback Damontae Kazee is just simply unfair. Kazee will struggle to cover Kupp giving the Rams a huge advantage in the passing game.

Pick: Rams -3 (-110)

Arizona Cardinals vs New York Giants

Team Point Spread at GTBets
Arizona Cardinals +3 (-110)
New York Giants -3 (-110)

This game features a battle between the top two quarterbacks selected in this year’s NFL Draft. While Arizona’s Kyler Murray (first-overall pick) and NYG’s Daniel Jones (sixth-overall) were only separated by five draft positions, I see the final score in this one having a wider gap.

The New York Giants (2-4) are getting healthy at the right time as they’ll get back running back Saquon Barkley and tight end Evan Engram on Sunday, and likely wide receiver Sterling Shepard as well. If Shepard (concussion) does return, it’ll be the first time this season that the Giants will have their full arsenal of offensive weapons on the field at the same time.

Now yes, Jones has struggled in his past two starts, but he’s also faced two top-10 passing defenses in Minnesota and New England. And he did so without his top offensive player in Barkley.

[Daniel] Jones has struggled in his past two starts, but he’s also faced two top-10 passing defenses in Minnesota and New England.

As for the Cardinals (2-3-1), they’ll have cornerback Patrick Peterson on the field for the first time year now that his six-game suspension is up. This will certainly provide a boost to their secondary and defensive unit as a whole. But Arizona’s inability to stop the run will not bode well with Barkley returning. Through two-plus games before getting hurt, he totaled 237 rushing yards.

Pick: Giants -3 (-110)

Houston Texans vs Indianapolis Colts Odds

Team Point Spread at GTBets
Houston Texans -1 (-110)
Indianapolis Colts +1 (-110)

What a surprise the Indianapolis Colts (3-2) have been this season. To be a game over .500 after losing franchise quarterback Andrew Luck to retirement and plugging in Jacoby Brissett deserves some applause. Brissett hasn’t necessarily been great by fantasy football standards, but has been great at managing game and not turning the ball over.

Both teams’ last game was a win over the Kansas City Chiefs, which is definitely a confidence booster. However, being an AFC South divisional game, I can promise you that both teams have put that victory behind them.

A lot of factors here suggest this is a “trap game” for the Texans: the road team is a short favorite in a divisional game with the home team coming off a bye. But not so. Yes, divisional games tend to be tighter as the teams are usually a lot more familiar with their opponent and their weaknesses. But I still think this spread is drastically off because DeShaun Watson isn’t getting the respect that he deserves.

After six weeks, Watson ranks fourth in QBR (76.3), is tied for fourth in passing touchdowns (12), and ranks first among QBs in rushing touchdowns (5). Watson is the epitome of a dual-threat quarterback and is a definite contender for NFL MVP.

Another reason I’m in love with the Texans this week is that I think their defense is similar to the Oakland Raiders defense, and if you go back and watch the Raiders vs Colts game, you will see that Oakland did a great job at eliminating the run and making this Colts team one dimensional.

If the Texans can take away Marlon Mack and this Colts rushing attack, they should cruise to an easy victory.

Pick: Texans -1 (-110)

New Orleans Saints vs Chicago Bears Odds

Team Point Spread at GTBets
New Orleans Saints +3 (-110)
Chicago Bears -3 (-110)

There’s nothing I love more than going with a good team and a good head coach after a bye week. Since 2003, teams playing on 13 or more days’ rest have gone 265-232-15 (53.3%) against the spread according to Bet Labs.

But it’s not an even split between favorites and ‘dogs. Underdogs are 110-120-6 (47.8%) ATS in that span, while favorites are 154-112-9 (57.9%) ATS.

Underdogs coming off a bye have gone 110-120-6 (47.8%) ATS, while favorites are 154-112-9 (57.9%) ATS.

So does this make the Chicago Bears a slam dunk pick? No. What makes them one of my favorite ATS plays this week is the fact that they do a great job at eliminating the run, allowing only 83 yards rushing per game, which ranks fifth in the NFL. This is essentially kryptonite to the Saints as running the football has been their staple since Brees went down.

Yes, the Saints defense has crippled Dallas Cowboys and Jacksonville Jaguars. But it’s also been picked apart by the Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With wide receiver Taylor Gabriel back in the lineup and with extra time to prepare, I’m rolling with Matt Nagy’s Bears.

Pick: Bears -3 (-110)

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