New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers: 2017 Week 7 NFL Pick

New Orleans Saints (3-2) at Green Bay Packers (4-2)

The Saints are only 3-2, but they’re one of the better teams in the NFC. Their 2 losses came against the Sam Bradford led Vikings and the New England Patriots, in the first 2 weeks of the season. Since then, they’ve defeated the Panthers, Dolphins, and Lions, all by 14 or more points. They finished last season 10th in first down rate differential (with a +9 offensive touchdown differential) and they seem to be even better this season. Their +29 point differential is 6th in the NFL and they’ve only played 5 games.

Drew Brees continues to lead an explosive offense and their defense has been significantly improved this season, led by Defensive Player of the Year candidate Cameron Jordan and Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate Marshon Lattimore. They still have issues on that side of the ball, but they might be good enough defensively to go on a run in the NFC if the offense continues to play at a high level. The Falcons rode a similar formula to the Super Bowl last season.

This game against the Packers could have been a NFC Championship preview, but Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone last week against the Vikings, putting his season and the Packers’ playoff chances in jeopardy. 2015 5th round pick Brett Hundley will make his first career start this week and he’s obviously a major downgrade at the quarterback position. The line has subsequently moved from GB -6.5 last week on the early line to NO -4 this week, a whopping 10.5 point line movement.

I would have been all over the Saints at +6.5 against a healthy Aaron Rodgers, but I still think there’s line value with New Orleans -4 against the led Hundley Packers, especially since the Packers will be without Morgan Burnett as well. Burnett has been easily the Packers’ best defensive back this season, so the Packers should have a very tough time stopping Brees and company, which is going to make life very tough for Hundley. The Saints, by contrast, are as healthy as they’ve been all season and they should be able to get an easy win here.

New Orleans Saints 28 Green Bay Packers 20

Pick against the spread: New Orleans -4

Confidence: Medium

Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders: 2017 Week 7 NFL Pick

Kansas City Chiefs (5-1) at Oakland Raiders (2-4)

The Raiders enter this game on a 4-game losing streak and are dealing with a much-talked-about injury to quarterback Derek Carr, who was not 100% last week in his return from a back injury and will likely not be 100% again this week on a short week. However, the Chiefs are in a tough injury situation as well, just not one that gets talked about as much. Obviously the injury to Eric Berry in the opener hurt this defense significantly, but their offense is missing two starters on the offensive line (center Mitch Morse and right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif) and and two of their top-3 receivers (Chris Conley and Albert Wilson). That really hurt them in last week’s home loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, a game in which they lost the first down battle 23-11.

On the season, the Chiefs are just 17th in first down rate differential at +0.73%, as they have 3 more offensive touchdowns than their opponents, but 7 fewer first downs. The Raiders, meanwhile, rank just 2 spots behind them at -0.50%. Taking into accounts injuries, I have these two teams about 3 points apart in my roster rankings. Given that, getting the Raiders as field goal home underdogs is a good value. Oakland should be able to keep this one close throughout and possibly pull off the upset. If not, I like getting field goal protection with them, as about 1 in 4 games are decided by a field goal or less. This would be a higher confidence pick if I was confident that Carr wouldn’t get knocked out of the game, but the Raiders are still worth a small bet.

Kansas City Chiefs 24 Oakland Raiders 23

Pick against the spread: Oakland +3

Confidence: Medium

2017 Week 6 NFL Pick Results

2017

Straight Up: 51-40

Against the Spread: 50-40-1

Pick of the Week: 3-3

High Confidence: 6-3-1

Medium Confidence: 12-13

Money Picks (Medium confidence and higher): 21-19-1

Low Confidence: 16-11

No Confidence: 13-10

Upset Picks: 7-8

Since 2013

Straight Up: 727-428-4 (62.90%)

Against the Spread: 602-528-29 (53.19%)

Pick of the Week: 43-31-2 (57.89%)

High Confidence: 65-51-4 (55.83%)

Medium Confidence: 178-132-5 (57.30%)

Money Picks (Medium confidence and higher): 286-214-11 (57.05%)

Low Confidence: 161-156-9 (50.77%)

No Confidence: 155-158-9 (49.53%)

Upset Picks: 95-119 (44.39%)

Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans: 2017 Week 6 NFL Pick

Indianapolis Colts (2-3) at Tennessee Titans (2-3)

The line for this game has finally posted, as the Titans open as 7.5 point home favorites over the Colts, with Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota expected to return from a one-game absence with a hamstring injury. Both are these teams are 2-3, but the Titans’ wins have come over the Jaguars and the Seahawks, a pair of quality opponents, by a combined 27 points, while the Colts’ two wins have come against the 49ers and Browns, two of the worst teams in the league, by a combined 6 points.

With Mariota returning, the Titans are an above average team, while the Colts are among the least talented in the league as long as quarterback Andrew Luck remains out. Joining Luck on the Colts’ injury report is talented left guard Jack Mewhort, who could be done for the season with a knee injury, a big blow an already weak offensive line. I like the Titans this week, but this line is too high for me to bet anything on them confidently. I have this line calculated at -10, but the Titans come with extra risk this week because Mariota will likely be at less than 100%.

Tennessee Titans 27 Indianapolis Colts 17

Pick against the spread: Tennessee -7.5

Confidence: Low

Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints: 2017 Week 6 NFL Pick

Detroit Lions (3-2) at New Orleans Saints (2-2)

The Lions are 3-2 so far this season and last season they finished 9-7 and made the post-season, but they are not that good of a team. Last season, they didn’t defeat a single playoff team and they won just one game by more than a touchdown. So far this season, their 3 wins have come against the Cardinals, the Giants, and the Case Keenum led Vikings, none of whom are playoff caliber teams. If anything, they are worse this season than last season, as they are without left tackle Taylor Decker, starting defensive end Kerry Hyder, and now starting defensive tackle Haloti Ngata for the season with injury.

The Saints, meanwhile, could easily make the post-season. They’re 2-2, but their 2 losses came against the Vikings, who are one of the better teams in the league when Sam Bradford is healthy, and the Patriots, also a top level team. In their last 2 games before the bye, they outscored the Panthers and Dolphins 54-13 in a pair of wins away from home. Their defense is improved this season, led by talented rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore, and their offense remains strong and gets a boost this week with wide receiver Willie Snead and left tackle Terron Armstead likely set to return. Unfortunately, we’re not getting any line value with the Saints, as this line shifted from 3 in favor of the hometown Saints on the early line last week to 4.5 this week, after the Lions’ home loss to the Panthers. I have this line calculated right at -5.5, so I can’t be confident at all in the Saints. 

New Orleans Saints 30 Detroit Lions 24

Pick against the spread: New Orleans -4.5

Confidence: None

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings: 2017 Week 6 NFL Pick

Green Bay Packers (4-1) at Minnesota Vikings (3-2)

When I saw last week that the Vikings were favored by a field goal here on the early line, I liked them a lot. Green Bay is a good team, but the Vikings with a healthy Sam Bradford looked like a good team as well, so I would have happily grabbed the field goal with the hometown team. Unfortunately, in the past week Sam Bradford has re-aggravated his knee injury and #1 receiver Stefon Diggs injured his groin, knocking both of them out for at least this game. The Vikings will turn back to Case Keenum under center and he’s played pretty well this season, but he’s still a journeyman backup and he could find life much tougher without Diggs and injured running back Dalvin Cook, who were such a big part of this team’s early offensive success.

Fortunately, they face a Green Bay team that enters with a very banged up secondary, as they’re missing both Morgan Burnett and Kevin King, arguably their 2 best defensive backs thus far this season. This line has has only shifted to 3.5, despite all of Minnesota’s injuries, so we’re not getting much line value with the Vikings, but they do have the better defense at home, so they should cover as 3.5 point underdogs. I’m not that confident in Minnesota, but this could easily be a field goal game, as about 1 in 6 games are decided by a field goal or more, so the Vikings are probably the smarter choice in pick ‘em leagues.

Green Bay Packers 23 Minnesota Vikings 20

Pick against the spread: Minnesota +3.5

Confidence: Low