The entertainment level in the NFL lately has been very high after an extremely surprising Week 6 with upsets left and right. We pointed out the danger of a week with five games with spreads of -9.5 points or more, and two of those where straight up upsets while two more saw the underdogs win money.
Our YPP metric has been humming and helped us call one of those upsets plus the Minnesota Vikings win. The metric went 8-and-3 straight up against the spread a week ago. Our other trusted numbers EW did poorly in the picks I chose going 0-and-3, our first losing week of the year for our picks. Overall, EW’s suggested spreads went 4-and-7 for the first losing week from either of our metrics (since we updated things Week 3) straight up against the spread.
With YPP on a roll, we’re going to focus on the picks that metric suggests in Week 7.
It’s worth noting that the one game without a line right now is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Buffalo Bills due to Jameis Winston’s injury. Also, while looking at our chart below remember that the Green Bay Packers are without Aaron Rodgers, greatly skewing their projected figures. We’ve delineated them with an asterisk this week and hopefully can adjust for Brett Hundley’s production in the offense sooner rather than later.
Picks of the week
Minnesota Vikings -5.5 versus the Baltimore Ravens
Minnesota won us money last week, sure, though of course, Rodgers’ injury played a big part in that. More noteworthy here is that they’re playing well enough offensively with Case Keenum and Jerick McKinnon in their backfield to win games. The passing attack and ground game are actually 12th in the league per total yards and Minnesota’s 10th per offensive YPP.
Combine all that with a team that’s 3-and-1 at home with a ferocious defense that’s allowing only 17 points per game (fifth best in the league) and the struggling Ravens seem to have their work cut out.
Baltimore’s passing attack has been lifeless averaging a poultry 160 yard per game in the air, the second worst in the NFL. Their defense is preventing points and is the 10th best in the league per YPP. Meaning this will come down to who can run the ball and create a spark offensively against two good defensive units.
Minnesota has the clear advantage especially because their run defense has been the NFL's third-best allowing only 78 yards per, Baltimore’s allowing 141, the third worst total in the league.
The points don’t scare us here as both these teams have been in only two games this season that were decided by a touchdown or less. Due to their offensive struggles, both our metrics have Minnesota favored by large amounts. Take the Vikings and run.
New York Jets +3 at the Miami Dolphins
When you compile your own numbers, go by specific stats week in and week out it’s easy to get stuck in your own world. Which is probably why I had to do a double take when seeing this line, ‘you mean we can bet against the Dolphins and get points!’
Miami is 3-and-2, they’ve overcome all sorts of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, and clearly have a very able coaching staff. That said, their offense has just been a train wreck. Their passing attack especially which is why they’re only averaging 4 yards per play, dead last in the YPP rankings. In fact, Miami is last in overall YPP despite a defense that’s played hard and is only allowing 18 points per game.
The Jets are 20th in overall YPP and have really turned their season around lately. They were right in the game against the Patriots and were this close to pulling off an upset. If the Jets are to continue their play, winning in Miami is a must and you have to remember New York already beat this team 20-6 in Week 3.
It won’t be the most exhilarating game of football ever played, but the Jets just feel like a significantly better team and the numbers agree.
San Francisco 49ers +6 versus the Dallas Cowboys
Let me hear you say; HOME DOG. Yes, this seems risky, after all the Niners are switching quarterbacks around and are still winless. However, in the betting world, San Francisco has been a money maker losing their last five games by a field goal. That’s not a misprint, go back and look.
San Francisco has done it in low scoring affairs and in high scoring ones. They’ve also been on the road for three weeks straight and just seem due to get an upset eventually, or at least lose another heartbreaker. Both our metrics have them as only 1 point underdogs.
The Cowboys are coming off a bye and have been dealing with endless off-field distractions due to their star running back's looming suspension. They’re also 2-and-3 and have lost two in a row. Dallas coming off a bye week is 3-and-2 the last two years, though only one of those games was won by more than 6 points (courtesy of our friends at cheat sheet war room).
Against this 49ers team, that spells danger. While the Niners don’t have an explosive offense they’ve been able to put points on the board and have been tough enough on defense to play all their games close. Call me crazy but I think that’ll continue as we try to ride that upset wave.