With so much money being exchanged, these weekly lines are really, really tough to beat. I can confidently say at least 95% of football fans would win between 45% to 55% of these game bets (sides or over/unders) over time. It’s just the reality of such an efficient market. With that said, I think there are some ways to barely increase our chances of churning a marginal profit. As you guys know, Rotoworld is the king of grinding news. That’s something the public doesn’t do as well as a Rotoworld blurber, so it’s going to be one of the common things I utilize in this column, in addition to advanced stats and film. Note: Lines are taken from FanDuel Sportsbook.
Cardinals +3 (+100) @ Giants
The battle between the rookie quarterback I thought was elite and the one who I thought was overdrafted -- I have to bet on this one purely based on that. This season, Kyler Murray has mostly been impressive. In recent weeks, Murray’s game has involved, adding more runs and more deep shots than he was taking to start the season. The Giants’ defense, as you can see from the above chart, is weak all over, especially on deep passes where Murray’s due for some positive regression. The Cardinals also return CB Patrick Peterson -- a player that moves the needle -- while Daniel Jones will be without Sterling Shepard. This game may shootout, and I’ll take the better quarterback and coach whenever possible.
Packers -4.5 (-110) vs. Raiders
There is a lot of injury news to cover. The Packers’ entire receiver group wasn’t practicing this week, but there’s been some good news on Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Geronimo Allison’s statuses, enough to where I’d be surprised if neither player. The Raiders’ injuries are more damning with Tyrell Williams (foot) out and RT Trent Brown (calf) doubtful. Both of these players move the needle, especially when Oakland lacks depth at both positions. Derek Carr will largely be throwing to inefficient journeymen, while Green Bay sells out defending Darren Waller and Josh Jacobs. Given the run efficiency discrepancy (see above chart), I’m expecting a ground-and-pound approach from the Raiders, so the under (47.5) is also in play.
Vikings vs. Lions UNDER 43.5 Points (-110)
If you’re looking at the chart below, there’s one mismatch that sticks out the most -- Dalvin Cook against the Lions’ defense. On the surface, it looks like the Vikings will come out running the ball whenever possible, which is the best sign for the under hitting, even when it’s Cook running the ball. But there are reasons to believe the Lions Offense will struggle as well. This is what I wrote for Matthew Stafford in the Fantasy Football Forecast: “Matthew Stafford has been owned by the Vikings recently. In his last four games, Stafford has 14, 11, 7, and 5 fantasy points. On top of the efficiency concerns, Stafford has to worry about play volume with both teams in favor of running the ball.”
Jaguars vs. Bengals OVER 43.5 Points (-120)
The Jaguars’ offense is in a fantastic spot this week. The Bengals Defense is already one of the worst units in the NFL, and you can see the list of defensive starts who are out for Week 7 in the Tweet above. D.J. Chark will be lining up with the Cincy’s No. 3 and No. 4 corners for most of the game, and Gardner Minshew shouldn’t be under duress with Cincy missing Carlos Dunlap and Carl Lawson. On the other side of the ball, the Bengals are snapping the ball at the fourth-highest pace and have gone away with the run game almost entirely, which should allow enough plays to occur for the over to hit.
Patriots vs. Jets UNDER 43.5 Points (-105) - My MNF Bet
New England has a lot of offensive injuries this week. Josh Gordon has been ruled out, as have both of the starting tight ends. Plus, Philip Dorsett, Julian Edelman, and Rex Burkhead are expected to play through injuries. But even when the Patriots are fully healthy, the offensive line is playing bad enough to temper expectations for the offense in general. On the other side of the ball, the Jets will be stacked up against one of the best defenses in the NFL (see above chart). I mean… just look at that graph, folks. Not ideal.
If you’re looking for more team breakdowns, read my Week 7 Fantasy Football Forecast column. It’s nearly 10,000 words and has a bunch of graphs that could be utilized in the betting markets. My buddy John Daigle also has a weekly Player Props column if you’re trying to get more action down.