Every Monday during the NFL season, I’ll be comparing game spreads to my own power ratings and giving my perspective on whether I think the betting lines are accurate or not. Paying attention to the NFL market is one of the single most important aspects of successful wagering. With all the variance and volatility of pro football, placing a bet on the most advantageous side of a number is often the only difference between a winning or losing ticket.
All lines are consensus numbers across the U.S. Sportsbooks as of Monday morning. Some may not be out yet. Early lines that stick out as great early bets are highlighted in red.
New Orleans Saints at Arizona Cardinals (-1.5), Total: 45
The Saints played a competitive game Sunday against the Bengals. It was more competitive than I would have liked since I had Bengals -1.5. But ultimately, they blew a late fourth-quarter lead and lost. That was more about Bengals QB Joe Burrow doing his thing in Louisiana, although Saints QB Andy Dalton had an underwhelming performance. The Saints’ run game and run defense has kept them afloat. But now they head to Arizona on a short week to take on the Cardinals.
Arizona is also coming off a loss, but DeAndre Hopkins’ return from suspension will help Kyler Murray. Even against a subpar Seattle defense, the Cardinals only produced 315 total yards and nine points on the road in Week 6. That’s rather pitiful. The team also lost Hollywood Brown for the season and traded for Panthers WR Robbie Anderson on Monday.
The Cardinals don’t seem to have a ton of team chemistry, especially on the offensive side of the ball, and it’s hurting them in late-game scenarios.
Thursday night games are challenging, and right now, these are two teams I can’t trust. If Saints QB Jameis Winston returns, I would lean toward Arizona here. This is a nice correction spot; Arizona is good against the run, and Hopkins should at least inspire the offense at home. My line has it at Cardinals -2.
Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys (-7), Total: 47.5
Dak Prescott is slated to return in Week 7 to help his offense achieve more consistent production. Like the Cardinals, they need it. Cooper Rush didn’t play that poorly on Sunday night. But it was apparent he finally felt the pressure of an elite defense on the road. He threw three INTs, and most of them came at pivotal moments where the Cowboys could have narrowed the margin.
The Lions are coming off a bye, which would usually give us more reason to like Detroit. But I’m not sure this is the spot. The Lions have so much they need to work on. Meanwhile, the Cowboys will be inspired to return home with Prescott after a loss. This also sets up as a perfect get-right game for Dallas’ offense since the Lions haven’t stopped anyone this season. I have this at Dallas -7, so I don’t show any inherent value. If this went to 7.5, I’d probably play on the Lions. Conversely, if it dropped to 6.5, I’d probably play on the Cowboys.
New York Giants at Jacksonville Jaguars (-3), Total: 42.5
The New York Giants just keep on getting disrespected, huh? MY NEW YORK GIANTS! Big Blue is 5-1 and right behind the Eagles in the NFC East standings. But I actually think this line is correct. I know– what are you thinking, Chris? Well, the Jaguars are coming off two straight losses, and although they blew it on the road against the Indianapolis Colts, they didn’t play that poorly. They outgained the Colts in yards per play. But Trevor Lawrence’s protection broke down often, and it was the Colts’ defense that ended up making big plays when it mattered most.
Matt Ryan also had his biggest game of the season, throwing for nearly 400 yards and 3 touchdowns at home. After a hot start, Jacksonville is suddenly 2-4 and at the bottom of the AFC South. The Giants, meanwhile, just keep finding ways to win. Vastly outgained by the Baltimore Ravens Sunday (406 to 238 in total yards), New York applied pressure on Lamar Jackson in savvy fashion, forcing Jackson into two late turnovers to secure another victory. While I give my Giants a ton of credit, they’re overdue for a setback. I have to lean Jacksonville, especially since the line is falling under 3. I set this as Jaguars -3, so I show no line disparity.
Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans (-3), Total: 42.5
I really like the Titans in this spot. I announced as much on Twitter last week, and I still like this line at 3, just less so. Getting under 3, a key number, is vitally important in divisional games like this. Maybe the number comes back around. The well-coached Titans started to surge before their bye in Week 6, winning three straight tough games against desperate teams (Las Vegas, Indianapolis, and Washington).
Off two weeks of rest, the Titans welcome the Colts to Nashville. Although Tennessee already bested the Colts once this season, I don’t see much changing in this showdown. The Titans can generate pressure on the quarterback, and that’s how you beat the Colts. Although Matt Ryan finally showed his full potential against the Jaguars Sunday, he won’t have the same cushy pocket to work from against Tennessee. Jonathan Taylor should return, which is a concern if you want to wager on the Titans. But he’ll come into this cold, and the Titans only allow 103.2 rushing yards per game (5th overall).
This should be a low-scoring affair. I like how both defenses stack up against each other, especially since Ryan had a decent game in Week 4 (356 yards, 2 TDs), and the Colts still only mustered 17 points. The Titans are a bend-don’t-break defense, typical for a Mike Vrabel-coached team, and I expect them to be even more disciplined coming off extended rest. I have the Titans as -3.5 at home.
Atlanta Falcons at Cincinnati Bengals (-6), Total: 46
Are the Falcons an auto-bet at this point? I still need to rewatch the game tape, but on paper, their rushing attack was dominant against one of the best defenses in the NFL heading into Week 6. The San Francisco 49ers just could not stop the multi-faceted running attack of Caleb Huntley, Tyler Allgeier, and quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Mariota, the seven-year journeyman whose career seemed dead after his first stint in Tennessee, is showing how much fight he has left, and the Falcons are adopting the same mentality. It’s leading to wins, and it’s leading to a perfect betting record. Atlanta is now 6-0 against the spread (ATS) this season.
The Bengals are coming off a nice win in New Orleans. But they were slightly outgained and probably a little lucky to score on that breakout play by Ja’Marr Chase. The New Orleans Saints also ran for 228 yards on the Bengals’ defense– not a great sign heading into Week 7. Still, the Bengals are at home, and sometimes a big win coming off a big late-game play can really catapult a team to perform better in corresponding weeks. I like this contest at Bengals -4.5, so I show some value on Atlanta. Even though my ratings say I should bet on Atlanta, I’m hesitant. More to come on this game as we get through the week.
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens (-6.5), Total: 47
I don’t think the Baltimore Ravens should be 7-point favorites against anyone right now. You can still find 7s out there if you like the Browns (like I do). I attended the Giants-Ravens game on Sunday, and while Lamar and the Ravens played well in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, it was the 4th quarter that hurt them.
Lamar threw a bad interception on the run after a high snap with 6 minutes left, and Giants’ first-round draft pick Kayvon Thibodeaux knocked the ball out of Jackson’s hands on the Ravens’ final drive to seal a win for the home team. It’s persistent mistakes and missed opportunities I see week-to-week from Baltimore. It’s not reminiscent of a John Harbaugh-coached team, and it’s not on par with what many expected from the Ravens this year.
Maybe this is where Baltimore puts everything together. But the Cleveland Browns will be just as anxious to “get right” in Week 7, too. Embarrassed by a 23-point loss at home, curious play calling, and a very poor second-half effort had Cleveland fans scratching their head Sunday. The Browns are over halfway through the Jacoby Brissett experience (DeShaun Watson is set to return in Week 11). But Brissett isn’t built to carry the Browns’ offense. Only completing 21 of his 45 passes Sunday, the Browns tried to fool the Patriots (LOL) at home with a pass-first attack instead of relying on their vaunted run game. Shocker– it didn’t work.
Expect the Browns to go back to basics on the road in Week 7 against a Ravens team that’s been stingy against their rushing attack in seasons past. This is a tough game to handicap, but I have the Browns as only 5-point underdogs on the road. I’d bet on them now since I expect this line to drop.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers (+9.5), Total: 41
Wow, what a line on the road for a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that simply cannot put up points this season. Tom Brady was visibly upset Sunday in Pittsburgh as the Buccaneers consistently failed to garner enough offense to score touchdowns. Going 4-14 on third-down conversions didn’t help, either. Tampa Bay just isn’t operating on all cylinders yet. While the Panthers are an obviously poor outfit, they’re back at home behind an interim coach that certainly appears to trust his own assertions (sorry, Robbie Anderson). I don’t have much to say about this game. An underperforming Bucs’ squad– I can’t trust. The Panthers– I can’t trust. I have this line at Bucs -7, so I lean slightly toward a bad Carolina team. Scary!
Green Bay Packers at Washington Commanders (+5), Total: 41.5
This looks like an ugly game, and oh-no, it’s at that weird number: 5. The Green Bay Packers simply could not stop the New York Jets rushing attack on Sunday, losing 27-10 at Lambeau Field. That’s still shocking to consider. Now, fresh off two straight losses and a bad performance at home, Green Bay heads east to take on the Commanders. Washington finally won Thursday night against the Bears, but nothing about that contest was impressive.
This sets up for another game where the Packers’ defense can get right. But we thought that should happen against the Giants and Jets in consecutive weeks, and it didn’t happen. I have this game at Packers -6.5, but that’s only expecting regression. At face value, the Packers’ defense is still one of the most talented units in the NFL. Until I see more from them and their wide receivers, I can’t bet on Green Bay, not even against the Commanders.
New York Jets at Denver Broncos (-3), Total: 42
Since we haven’t seen the Denver Broncos play on Monday Night Football in Week 6, and since anything could happen in that game, we’ll pause here and avoid picking a side. I have the Broncos as 3-point favorites, too.
But I’ll say this: it’s becoming awfully hard to bet against the New York Jets right now. Their first two wins might’ve been fluky. But these last two wins were not. New York marched into Lambeau Field with bad intentions and blew up the Packers’ game plan, sacking Aaron Rodgers four times and allowing only 278 yards. That wasn’t fake news, either. Quinnen Williams and a fierce defensive line made life difficult for all 60 minutes of the Packers’ Week 6 contest.
Now the Jets go to Denver to take on a Broncos team that’s also very defense-predicated. I like the under here and lean Jets on the road, even though I don’t show any difference in my line.
Houston Texans at Las Vegas Raiders (-7), Total: 44
Both of these poor-performing franchises are off a bye week, and both teams need to win now if they want a chance at winning their respective divisions. But should the Raiders be 7-point favorites? The sportsbooks think so; I do not. On paper, the Raiders offense should be able to win often.
But the Texans just continue to fight and play close games. At 3-1-1 ATS on the season, the Texans will need an effective run game to stay competitive in this contest. Dameon Pierce has started to show his potential, running for 230 yards in his last two games, but Las Vegas is quietly tough against the run. They allow only four yards per carry to opponents. Regardless, the Raiders are flawed and inconsistent, and both teams are coming off extended rest. I have Las Vegas as -5.5 favorites, so I slightly lean toward the Texans.
Kansas City Chiefs at San Francisco 49ers (+3), Total: 46
This has a big game feel, and it’s yet another challenging spot for the Kansas City Chiefs, who easily have the hardest schedule in the NFL. Patrick Mahomes and his crew couldn’t get it done Sunday against a Bills’ defense that was up to the task. Buffalo held Kansas City to only 20 points and sacked the elusive Mahomes thrice. They also forced two turnovers. That was Buffalo’s revenge game, so it doesn’t make me panic about the Chiefs, but the San Francisco 49ers are built for spots like this coming Sunday. The Chiefs have been one of the better teams against the run this season, and they’ll need to be that and more in Week 7.
Remember what we saw in Weeks 3 and 4 from the 49ers? In a sleepy spot, the Niners presented conservative play calls and a loss at Denver. In Week 4, the 49ers looked like a different team, efficiently handling the Rams in a 24-9 victory at home behind a great defense and exceptionally creative play calling. I think this game looks a lot like that, especially after the stinker they had in Week 6 at Atlanta. It’s a tendency we’ve seen from Kyle Shanahan in these spots. I have this as Chiefs -1.5, so this is an auto-bet on the Niners for me.
Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Chargers (-7), Total: 52
I hate this game. Forgive me, but I refuse to give a nuanced perspective here. The Los Angeles Chargers are perpetually underwhelming, and the Seattle Seahawks, who deserve credit for their feisty wins, aren’t half the team the Chargers are on paper. Los Angeles probably deserves to be a big favorite in Week 7, but I only have this as Chargers -4.5.
Seattle keeps finding ways to stay in games or win. Last week, it was their defense stepping up at home and limiting Kyler Murray’s Cardinals to only 9 points. Pete Carroll deserves credit as a top-10 coach in the NFL for the way he has his team playing. I should probably take Seattle, but I’m choosing caution before I watch Monday Night Football and how they play against Denver.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Miami Dolphins (-7), Total: 44
This is a big spot for the Miami Dolphins at home. Tua Tagovailoa is allegedly set to return, and Miami desperately needs a win after taking the world by storm through the first three weeks. They now sit at 3-3. Although their total yards nearly doubled the Minnesota Vikings’ output on Sunday (458-234), the Dolphins mustered only 16 points. That should positively regress against a Steelers defense that hasn’t been good all season.
In support of Pittsburgh, they finally showed some life on Sunday by defeating Tampa Bay 20-18 at home. However, I think that’s more about the Bucs’ inefficiencies than what the Steelers did right. I have this game at Dolphins -6, but I can’t take Pittsburgh because of the spot. I think the over has a shot since Pittsburgh should be able to move the ball against Miami’s inconsistent secondary, and the Dolphins are due to get right through the air.
Chicago Bears at New England Patriots (-7.5), Total: 40
At first glance, you might be asking yourself– do the Patriots deserve to be over 7-point favorites against any NFL team? I get it, but I think this checks out. Don’t get me wrong; I have the Patriots at 7-point favorites, so I give a tiny bit more credit to a Bears team that fights hard. But New England is impeccable at limiting offenses, setting up for a successful Monday Night Football outing. The Patriots embarrassed the Browns in Cleveland Sunday, allowing only 328 yards and sacking Jacoby Brissett four times. They also forced four turnovers.
Bailey Zappe showed some real ability, throwing for over 300 yards and two touchdowns. Interceptions– none to speak of. Zappe might be giving Bill Belichick and the Patriots something to consider before Mac Jones returns. Either way, the Bears’ offense shouldn’t have much success next Monday. Chicago continues to be a one-trick pony, overly dependent on Justin Fields and the little talent surrounding him. The Patriots should be able to keep the Bears’ offense in check throughout this contest– lean Patriots -7.5.
WATCH MORE: Betting Recap For Week 6 and Early Week 7 Advice