The consensus around the NFL is that Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is the Most Valuable Player through six weeks. That position does not extend to Las Vegas.
Wilson is still chasing Chiefs counterpart and reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes in this year’s future odds for the award at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook. Mahomes is at the top of the board at odds of plus-175 (risking $1 to win $1.75) with Wilson next at 2-to-1.
Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is the other primary contender at 4-to-1, with the trendy darkhorse selection, Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, trailing afterwards at 12-to-1.
Mahomes’ stock may have fallen by public perception after two consecutive straight-up losses and three straight non-covers, but he’ll have a chance to earn back some good grace tonight in Denver. Like Mahomes, I’ve fallen on relatively tough times with back-to-back losing weeks overall but the record for the year still stands at 53-38-1 picking every game.
Check below for picks on every Week 7 game, separated into three different confidence categories. Lines are the best currently available in Las Vegas on the chosen sides.
New York Giants minus-3 vs. Arizona Cardinals The Giants have a more talented roster than the Cardinals to begin with and now have three extra days to prepare off of Thursday Night Football. Arizona’s power rating is heightened after two straight wins, but they came by a total of four points against Atlanta and Cincinnati at home — not exactly banner victories.
Indianapolis Colts minus-1 vs. Houston Texans Sell high on Houston, which has seen three of its four wins come out of games that the box scores paint as virtual toss-ups. Expect a sharp performance from Indianapolis coming out of a bye, especially with several defenders likely to return from injuries.
Dallas Cowboys minus-2.5 vs. Philadelphia Eagles Dallas’ net yard per play of 1.4, as opposed to Philadelphia’s minus-0.4, is too strong not to start shining through. This looks like a good spot regardless, but this wager is also a way to cut into exposure from the preseason caused by holding conflicting positions on these two teams.
Baltimore Ravens plus-3.5 at Seattle Seahawks Seattle’s plus-19 point differential on the year is far more telling than its 5-1 record. The Seahawks have been outgained on a per-play basis in back-to-back weeks by the Rams and Browns but snuck out a pair of victories by a total of four points, making this the time to start fading them.
Minnesota Vikings minus-1 at Detroit Lions The Vikings have been steamed up to a higher price before kickoff for five straight weeks, and with their underlying numbers looking much stronger than the Lions’, that could be the case again this week. Beat the rush and lock in a good number now.
New Orleans Saints plus-3.5 at Chicago Bears A crash is coming with the Saints, which have over-performed their efficiency on a weekly basis, but I’m not sure the Bears are the team to cause it. Chicago is second-to-last in the NFL at 4.5 yards per play, and with two strong defenses and a low total, every point in this game is valuable.
Los Angeles Rams minus-3 at Atlanta Falcons Given their problematic and injury-ravaged defensive backfield, the Rams’ trade for Jalen Ramsey was probably worth a half-point on the spread — especially against a team as pass happy as Atlanta. But the line has yet to move.
Washington Redskins plus-10 vs. San Francisco 49ers Don’t expect to find any more value on the 49ers on a weekly basis for a while as they’re now properly priced as one of the best teams in the NFL. They might even be overpriced with this spread looking inflated for a team traveling 3,000 miles. A coaching mismatch with Kyle Shanahan against Washington’s interim head Bill Callahan is my only hesitation.
Miami Dolphins plus-17 at Buffalo Bills Laying 17 points with an offense as anemic as the Bills’ somehow feels like a bigger sin than backing what might be the worst NFL team ever. Buffalo has only scored more than 17 points twice in five games.
Oakland Raiders plus-6.5 at Green Bay Packers I don’t have much of an angle on this game, but it’s surprising to see a couple 6.5-point spreads hanging around town when some notable global sports books are already down to 4.5. Grab the good number and secure closing line value because this could close as low as Green Bay minus-3.5.
Los Angeles Chargers plus-2.5 at Tennessee Titans Line boosted a half-point to a point with the news of Ryan Tannehill taking over for Marcus Mariota as the Titans’ quarterback, but there’s not a big difference between the two. Having gone 1-4 in games decided by a touchdown or less, the Chargers profile as a tad better than their 2-4 record.
New York Jets plus-10 vs. New England Patriots If linebacker C.J. Mosley returns for this Monday Night Football game, then the Jets have gotten back both their most essential offensive and defensive players in consecutive weeks. This line is fair based on the Jets what have done this season, but they’re a different team with Mosley and quarterback Sam Darnold.
Jacksonville Jaguars minus-3.5 at Cincinnati Bengals Since the aberration of their Week 1 performance at Seattle, the Bengals have been outgained by nearly 2 yards per play and had to stage late comebacks for their only two covers. The Dolphins look like the only worse team in the league.
Kansas City Chiefs minus-3 at Denver Broncos One of those lines that’s so tight that Denver would have been the pick at plus-3.5 or 4 earlier in the week, but the slight value is now on Kansas City with the move to a key number. It’s hard to see Denver’s offense keeping up in the event of a high-scoring game, but Kansas City remains too beaten up to confidently lay points on the road off a short week.