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Columns - Magazine

The Gambling Solution: Week 7

by Jeff Baldwin
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Both Jeremy and Jeff started with a 1,000 unit bankroll as they go head to head all season long.

 

Jeff went 3-1 with his picks last week as he had winners on the 49ers, Steelers and under Broncos/Giants.  Jeff came up short with the Lions.  Jeff finished the week at plus 50 units.  Jeremy went 1-3 as he nailed the under Broncos/Giants, but fell short with the Buccaneers, Redskins and Falcons.  Jeremy finished the week minus 80 units.  Jeff currently has a 390 unit lead over Jeremy for the season.  Can Jeremy cut into Jeff's lead?  Let's get to the picks for Week 7.

 

 

 

Jeff Baldwin

Record: 16-7-1

Units: 1,270

 

Jeremy Wardwell

Record: 10-14

Units: 880

 

Broncos at Chargers (-1) - 35 units
The Broncos will look to get back in the win column after losing to the winless Giants at home 23-10.  In a game the Broncos never led as a double-digit favorite, this was truly one of the most embarrassing efforts from both sides of the ball you will see all season.  The Chargers head back home after winning two straight on the road after defeating the Raiders 17-16.  The Chargers do seem to play a lot better on road rather than in their "home" stadium, which clearly doesn't give them any type of advantage.  Similar to my pick with the Steelers over the Chiefs last week, I'm going to side with the Broncos here after coming off an embarrassing loss on primetime.  This team is chomping at the bit to get back on the field as they want to put their woeful performance versus the Giants behind them.  The Broncos will look to get their running game going with RB C.J. Anderson and RB Jamaal Charles.  They'll need to come up with a better effort this week as these two combined for only thirty-six yards on the ground.  QB Trevor Siemian will be down a receiver as WR Emmanuel Sanders will miss this game due to an injured ankle.  WR Demaryius Thomas and the rest of the receiving corps will need to step up in Sanders’ absence.  Defensively is where I expect this game to be won from a Broncos’ perspective.  They were ranked first in rushing yards allowed prior to last week.  RB Orleans Darkwa changed all that as he rushed for 117 of the Giants’ 148 yards for the game.  Look for this unit to regain their form in this department.  I expect QB Philip Rivers to be under a ton of pressure, forcing him into hurried throws and a crucial turnover.  In what will be a close, low scoring game, the Broncos’ defense will come up with a big stop late to secure the outright win.  The Broncos have fared well versus the Chargers winning four out of the last five games.
Pick: Denver Broncos +1

Titans (-6) at Browns - 40 units
The 3-3 Tennessee Titans travel to Cleveland to take on the winless Browns. Cleveland will start rookie DeShone Kizer in the latest installment of revolving quarterbacks. Kizer was benched last week after being pulled in an atrocious Week 5 performance against the Jets. On the year he has completed 50% of his passes with only three touchdowns and has been picked off nine times. Tennessee has a solid secondary and will likely force Kizer into more turnovers. They have allowed more than 300 yards passing in just one game this year and given Cleveland's lack of talent at receiver will be able to contain the Browns' air attack. Cleveland won't be able to do much on the ground either. Kizer is the Browns' second-leading rusher at 25 YPG while Isaiah Crowell leads the team at just 42 YPG. For the Titans I expect Marcus Mariota to rely heavily on the passing game in this one. Mariota threw for 360 yards and a touchdown Monday night in his first game back from a hamstring injury. He will look to build on that performance against a weak Cleveland secondary by featuring tight end Delanie Walker along with receivers Rishard Matthews and Eric Decker. Tennessee is averaging 132 rushing YPG but could struggle to reach that number as Cleveland's run defense is their only real strength, allowing 84 YPG which is good for sixth in the league. Cleveland is 1-5 ATS year. Mariota seems healthier after practicing fully all week and I expect Kizer to continue to struggle, allowing the Titans to go on the road and win relatively easily. Take Tennessee giving 6. 
Pick: Tennessee Titans -6

Cowboys (-6) at 49ers- 35 units
The 49ers gave the Redskins all they could handle only to come up two points short 26-24.  This 49ers team has proven time and time again this season that they'll keep fighting until the final whistle.  The Cowboys come off their bye week looking to snap their two-game losing streak as they head to San Francisco to take on the winless 49ers.  RB Ezekiel Elliott's on and off again suspension is currently on hold as he'll suit up this weekend.  The Cowboys are giving six points in this matchup which I feel is too high. QB C.J. Beathard took over for an ineffective QB Brian Hoyer last week and played well, finishing with 245 yards passing and a touchdown.  Beathard will get the start this week as he faces a Cowboys’ secondary is vulnerable to the big play.  There is no reason to believe that the 49ers won't move the ball effectively against the Cowboys.  To take pressure off Beathard, the 49ers will need to run the ball better with RB Carlos Hyde and RB Matt Breida.  The 49ers will need to put points on the board similar to last week as they face a solid Cowboys offense led by QB Dak Prescott.  On the defensive side of the ball, there is optimism that LB Reuben Foster will return this week, which would be a nice boost.  The main focus for the 49ers defensively is to contain RB Ezekiel Elliott.  They simply can't afford for him to run wild.  I don't expect the 49ers to win this game outright, but I can see them giving the Cowboys all they can handle.  The 49ers have been tremendous against the spread this season covering four out of their six games.  I backed the 49ers last week and I'm going there again.  In what will be a high scoring game, look for the Cowboys to come away with a four point victory as it stays inside the number.
Pick: San Francisco 49ers +6
Broncos (+1) at Chargers - 30 units

The Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Chargers meet up in L.A. in an AFC West matchup. Denver is coming off an embarrassing 23-10 loss to the Giants on Sunday night. During that game the Broncos couldn't get anything going offensively, gaining just 46 yards on the ground forcing Trevor Siemian to throw the ball 50 times for an ineffective 376 yards. I'm expecting a big bounce-back game from C.J. Anderson and Denver's rushing attack in this one. L.A. has the worst run defense in the league, allowing 152 YPG. They have given up more than 110 yards in every game this year including Week 1 against Denver, when they gave up 140. Denver will need their ground game to be effective as they are dealing with injuries to three of their receivers, including Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas. Sanders will miss this game with an ankle injury but Thomas is expected to play. The Chargers have now won two in a row after squeaking by the Raiders last week, with both wins coming against undermanned teams. Philip Rivers faces a similar situation this week but it will be difficult to get the same result. The Broncos are allowing just 194 passing YPG and Keenan Allen and Tyrell Williams will have difficulty getting open against Denver's cornerbacks. Look for the Chargers to continue to rely heavily on Melvin Gordon in both phases of the offense. Gordon has more than 150 total yards and two touchdowns in each of his last two games. The Broncos will apply heavy pressure to Rivers in an effort to force turnovers. This will create opportunities for Gordon and TE Hunter Henry as Rivers' safety valves to keep the chains moving. When these teams met in Week 1, Denver walked away with a 24-20 victory. The Broncos have now won eight of the last 10 meetings SU and are 5-4-1 ATS over that time. I'm expecting Denver to be highly motivated in this one after last week's loss and for their defense to have a big game as they get back on the winning track. Take Denver getting one.   
Pick: Denver Broncos +1

Cardinals at Rams (-3.5) - 30 units
The Rams improved their record to 4-2 as they came up with a solid road win defeating the Jaguars 27-17.  The Cardinals jumped out to a big lead against the Buccaneers, and were able to hold onto a five point win.  These two teams now travel to London to face each other.  This is the Cardinals’ first game in London, so it is going to be interesting to see how this team adjusts.  The Rams, on the other hand, played in London last season so this won't be new to them, which is a good thing.  The Rams are actually staying in Florida after their win against the Jaguars to avoid extra travel time.  The Cardinals have been an up and down team this season, not knowing what team you'll get.  I think coming off a solid performance at home, I don't expect the Cardinals to come out as sharp as they did versus the Buccaneers.  I like the way this Rams’ team has been playing.  They showed me a lot bouncing back after a tough defeat at home to the Seahawks.  I expect them to play well here on both sides of the ball.  The Rams will look to get their running game going with RB Todd Gurley.  Gurley is coming off a solid performance against the Jaguars, carrying the ball 23 times for 116 yards.  QB Jared Goff should find things easier on Sunday in the passing game after facing the stout Jaguars’ secondary.  Goff will spread the ball around as he'll need his receivers including Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp and Sammy Watkins to make plays down the field.  As for the other side of the ball, RB Adrian Peterson's performance versus the Buccaneers got their attention, so there will be no sneaking up on them.  The Rams’ defensive front must get pressure on the immobile QB Carson Palmer.  It is critical for them to disrupt the passing game while forcing Palmer into hurried passes.  They simply can't afford for Palmer and WR Larry Fitzgerald to get in rhythm.  In what will be a relatively high scoring game, look for the Rams to come away with the seven point victory.  The Cardinals are 3-12 against the spread when playing against a team with a winning record over their last 15 games.
Pick: Los Angeles Rams -3.5

Redskins (+4.5) at Eagles - 30 units
The Philadelphia Eagles host the Washington Redskins Monday night in an NFC East Showdown. The Eagles come into this one winners of four straight and with the best record in the NFC. Carson Wentz continued his impressive season last week by throwing three touchdowns in a 28-23 win over the Panthers. He has now thrown 13 touchdowns on the season to only three interceptions and will look to continue his hot streak against a Redskins’ secondary that could once again be without cornerback Josh Norman. Norman has been out since Week 4 with a broken rib but returned to practice on Thursday on a limited basis. In addition to Norman, the Redskins could also be without cornerback Bashaud Breeland who left last week's game with an MCL injury. Wentz should be able to take advantage of the beat-up secondary and find plenty of chances downfield to Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor. He will also utilize TE Zach Ertz who had a quiet day last week in terms of yardage, but made the most out of his two receptions by hauling in two touchdowns. The Eagles will also be getting two key players back as Lane Johnson returns from a concussion to give Wentz more protection and Wendell Smallwood comes back from a knee injury providing more depth behind LeGarrette Blount. For the Redskins to make it two wins in a row they will need more consistency out of their offense. Kirk Cousins put up impressive looking numbers against a weak 49ers’ defense, but has yet to put together back-to-back solid performances. He will face more of a challenge against a Philly defense that held him to 240 yards and a touchdown in Week 1 while sacking him four times. Washington has gotten very little production out of receivers Terrelle Pryor and Jamison Crowder. The pair have combined for 330 yards and one touchdown while running back Chris Thompson leads the team in receptions and yards. Making matters worse has been the health of tight end Jordan Reed who continues to battle various injuries. Reed has just 142 yards on the year while failing to find the end zone. I expect the Eagles to apply heavy pressure right from the beginning in this one similar to how they played in Week 1, forcing Cousins into some bad throws. Washington has won seven out of the last 10 meetings between these teams and swept last year's season series. Look for the Eagles to return the favor this year in front of a raucous Monday night crowd. The Eagles are 4-1 ATS this year and that record improves here behind a big performance from Carson Wentz. Take Philadelphia giving 4.5.
Pick: Philadelphia Eagles -4.5

Bengals at Steelers (Total: 41.5 points) - 20 units
The Steelers came up with a tremendous defensive effort in Kansas City as they upended the undefeated Chiefs 19-13.  The Bengals come off a bye looking to extend their winning streak to three games and get to .500.  This Steelers’ offense isn't the high-powered machine we are used to seeing.  Their game plan has been simple, play solid defense and run the ball with RB Le'Veon Bell.  On Sunday, the Steelers will be going up against another good defense in the Bengals.  This game actually features the second and fourth-ranked teams from a points per game perspective.  The Bengals are giving up 16.6 points/game whereas the Steelers are yielding 17.0 points/game.  Nevertheless, I don't see how this isn't a defensive battle with points hard to come by.  Recent history has also supported low scoring games between these two teams as the under has hit the last four out of five in this series.  Look for the Steelers to pound the rock with RB Le'Veon Bell while focusing on limiting the playmaking ability of WR A.J. Green on defense.  All six Steelers games this season have stayed under the posted total.  Look for that trend to continue this weekend.
Pick: Under 41.5
Panthers at Bears (Total: 41 points) - 20 units
The Carolina Panthers visit the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on Sunday. This will be the second start of Mitchell Trubisky's NFL career. Last week in a 27-24 OT win over the Ravens, Trubisky completed just eight passes for 113 yards and a touchdown as Chicago relied on Jordan Howard and the running game to keep the rookie's opportunities for mistakes to a minimum. Playing at home, I'm expecting Chicago to loosen the leash a little on Trubisky. The Bears will still lean on the run with Howard and Tarik Cohen, but Trubisky will look down field a bit more to Kendall Wright with Cohen playing a key role as a safety valve out of the backfield. The Panthers will try to get back on track after suffering a tough loss to the Eagles last week. Kelvin Benjamin suffered a knee injury during that game and has been limited in practice, making it questionable if Cam Newton will have his favorite target. If Benjamin can't go, look for Devin Funchess and Ed Dickson to see more targets with Christian McCaffrey continuing to be a key piece out of the backfield. After struggling to score early in the season, the Panthers have picked it up recently, averaging 28 PPG over the last three games. I'm expecting this to be a close game with turnovers leading to scores for both teams. Newton has been intercepted eight times on the year and as he's likely to face heavy pressure from the Bears’ front seven, that number will go up in this game. It appears unlikely that the Panthers will have the services of linebacker Luke Kuechly, which could mean a big day for the Bears’ rushing attack. The total for this game has been set at 41. I'm expecting this game to go over the posted total as Chicago will have more success playing at home. The number is pushed over by a couple of defensive scores. Take over 41.
Pick: Over 41

Editor's note: Both Jeremy and Jeff started with 1,000 units as they go head to head all season long.

You can follow Jeff on Twitter @JeffBaldwin4 and Jeremy @jdwardwell5.

Jeff Baldwin
Jeff Baldwin has written Rotoworld's 'Gambling Solution' on Season Pass since 2011. He can be found on Twitter @JeffBaldwin4.