Lines may be volatile in week seven of the NFL, but Mike Carlson has three bets to try and make Sunday successful...
"I think I might skip the points and take Pittsburgh to pick up a road win, based primarily on their ability to shut down the run game."
A turbulent week six
Last week was indeed a rough one. I was all-in on the Vikings, on both the podcast (NFL Only Bettor, every Wednesday, have a listen!) and in this column, and they were blown out by the Falcons.
The impact of that loss was that they seemingly accepted their season was torched, and they traded away Yannick Ngakoue, for whom they traded only six games ago, to Baltimore. The Ravens know what they need to pass the Chiefs, and Nagkoue could be a big piece of that.
Otherwise, the Packers failed in a similarly spectacular fashion in Tampa, and though the Giants finally won, as I'd predicted, they failed to cover three points.
I gave you two back-up bets: the Rams were another sad failure, but the Chiefs did win and cover 4.5. And I made a bit of the loss up by getting the over on GB/TB (though not the way I'd imagined!) and the under on SF/LA. So it goes. If you listened to the podcast, you would have also had the bet Kieran, John and I agreed on: the Giants/WTF going under 43.5, which they did (I try not to repeat those picks in this column).
This week has been fascinating, because I have rarely seen the lines so volatile. Dallas at Washington started with WTF getting three points, then giving Dallas one, and now is back to their one. The over/under on Seattle at Arizona dropped by three points from Tuesday to Wednesday, then regained two as of Friday morning. This is an indicator of uncertainty, and my advice has been to look for bargains early in the week, then wait until Sunday, when things like Covid reports, injuries and even practice time can be evaluated.
The line on this has the Pats giving 2.5 at home; last week I reasoned they couldn't lose back to back games at home, and the odds would seem to be against their slipping to three in a row, and 2-4 overall. But they have lost 7 of their last 11 games, and between injuries and covid they have been one of, if not the, most severely hit teams.
You also need to consider that given their style of play, where they adjust week by week, the lack of practice hurts them as much as anyone. You could also see last week that Cam Newton was clearly not match-ready, and given their injuries on the O line and their lack of big-play receivers, they could manage only one TD against Denver; though their D held the Broncos to six field goals, to help cover for three turnovers.
But the Pats have had a long week to prepare, and though their D is good, the Niners will put up at least a couple of scores. I think the Pats will too. Not quite confidently enough to take them winning as a best, but I think the over is. On the pod I took the Raiders (+3 at 10/11) at home against Tampa; they're now getting 4.5 so I would still think that's a decent bet.
The Steelers are coming off a rout of Cleveland, while the Titans beat Houston in OT at home in a shootout last week in a game they trailed 24-21 at the end of three quarters then won 42-36 in OT. That was 27 points in the fourth quarter (28 if Romeo Crennell kicks the XP instead of going for two).
Tennessee were originally getting 2.5, but now are giving the Steelers 1.5, but even without the injured Devin Bush, I saw Pittsburgh as favourites, so here I think I might skip the points and take them to pick up a road win, based primarily on their ability to shut down the run game. Ryan Tannehill might put up some points, enough to threaten the 50.5 over/under (down from 52.5 early in the week) so I might take that too.
I've got another even money value: try KC at Denver's first half over (23.5 at evens) on the grounds that the full-time 45.5 over is vulnerable at 10/11 but you might want to get there before the Chiefs' speedsters get gassed.
You know I tend to dislike double-digit spreads, because you never know what happens after a team builds a big lead, and I especially dislike them in road games, but these are the New York Jest, they are a mess.
The coach seems to have lost the locker room and the Bills are coming off a badly-played loss to KC and a rout by Tennessee in the past two weeks. This is just the recipe to get back on track. The Chiefs (-9.5 at 10/11) are a real outside bet in Denver, but possibly a tempting one.
Get more picks and tips by Mike Carlson on this week's NFL...Only Bettor