I’m in an NFL contest where you need to submit five ATS picks each week. Through five weeks, those picks are 18-12 after a disappointing 2-3 finish in Week 6. Picking a single winner can be tough, much less picking five, but it’s a good challenge. It’s worth noting that the lines are set spreads that are released each Wednesday and selections are submitted Friday night.
Here are the five ATS picks I like for Week 7 in the NFL.
In the last three games, the Cincinnati defense is fourth worst for opponent yards per rush attempt. The Falcons are third in the league in rushing yards. Atlanta has a trio of rushing playmakers in RBs Tyler Allgeier and Caleb Huntley, but more importantly, QB Marcus Mariota is used as a runner, as well. In back-to-back games, Mariota has rushed for at least 50 yards, averaging 8.5 yards per carry. The Bengals’ offense is still vulnerable with quarterback protection, can’t seem to get the ground-game going (27th in rushing yards), and now facing an Atlanta defense that is top five in takeaways. As a pass-heavy team, Joe Burrow could find himself in trouble this week.
Lions +7 at Cowboys
I’m not a doctor, but Cowboys QB Dak Prescott had 10 screws placed in his thumb. Now he’s supposed to make a triumphant return and cover a 7-point spread? He could, but the only data we have is his Week 1 performance and that wasn’t pretty. Against what we now know is not a bullet-proof defense in the Bucs, Prescott completed 48% of his passes with an interception and was sacked twice. Dallas may have a defense, but the Lions have heart. Covering a touchdown spread against a team that plays until the clock hits zero can be tough. Just ask Eagles backers in Week 1 and Vikings backers in Week 3. With the Lions getting players back from injury, they’ll fight till the end once again.
Browns +6.5 at Ravens
The Browns are top five in fourth-quarter scoring, and we know the Ravens can’t hold on to leads. This could certainly change at some point, but Baltimore needs to show me it can play four full quarters. Cleveland may not be getting much respect for recent losses, but this is a Browns team that has been tested by a passing team in the Chargers (lost by two points), faced a rushing team in Falcons (lost by two points), and faced a good defense in the Jets (lost by one point). The Browns are staying competitive and can be competitive once again this week.
Colts +2.5 at Titans
The Titans are the only team in the NFL that has scored zero points in the fourth quarter this season. Defensively, the Titans’ defense has allowed a total of 13 touchdowns, 12 of which have come via passing. Well, unfortunately for Tennessee, Indianapolis is second in passing touchdown percentage. Potentially, we could see the Colts offense turning the tide. The Colts have won back-to-back games and QB Matt Ryan is coming off his best showing in a 34-27 win over the Jaguars in which he threw three passing touchdowns with no interceptions or sacks. Keep it rolling.
Seahawks +5.5 at Chargers
This is about health. The Chargers are really missing LB Joey Bosa. Khalil Mack is a beast, but he’s only had two sacks in the last four games. Chargers starting center Corey Linsley had food poisoning earlier this week, kicker Dustin Hopkins is out, and WR Keenan Allen is a game-time decision. Regardless, the Seahawks offense with QB Geno Smith has shown me that it can be competitive in high-scoring affairs, scoring 32 at New Orleans and another 48 at Detroit. Seattle’s defense is certainly vulnerable (30th in total defense), but despite giving up yardage, it’s top five in takeaways. That could come in handy against a pass-happy Justin Herbert-led offense.