Week 7 NFL Best Bets: Your Trash Is My Treasure, So Let’s Back Double-Digit Underdogs

Written By Eli Hershkovich on October 24, 2021

If you’re unfamiliar with my Week 7 NFL best bets column, brace yourself. We’re heading for the dumpster with these plays.

Although I’ll never be one to wager against the sportsbooks’ biggest liabilities, keep in mind that the market can inflate a line to the point where it’s worth a bet. Week 6 proved otherwise — highlighted by the Cowboys covering against the Patriots in overtime — but that doesn’t mean it’s trend to follow.

“This was one of the worst weeks we’ve ever had,” BetMGM trader Christian Cipollini said on TheLines’ NFL betting podcast.

Without further ado, let’s break down my selections. We’re off to a 27-13 (+11.81 units) start through the first six weeks of the season.

Week 7 NFL Best Bets

Detroit Lions @ Los Angeles Rams

Yes, I know. The Lions are 0-6 straight-up for the first time since their 0-16 season in 2008.

But this Rams defense, ranking No. 26 in opponents’ success rate (SR), is exposable. That metric showcases whether a play is successful if a team gains:

  • 50 percent of the yards needed to move the chains on first down
  • 70 percent of yards to gain on second down
  • 100 percent of yards to gain on third or fourth down

Despite allowing the sixth-fewest yards per pass attempt (6.3 YPA), Sean McVay’s unit is letting up the league’s 11th-highest dropback SR. Without wide receivers Tyrell Williams (concussion) and Quintez Cephus (broken collarbone), Jared Goff’s best — and maybe only positive — attribute is quickly-timed routes.

McVay obviously knows his former quarterback, but Los Angeles has struggled to match up against reliable pass-catching tight ends. Within T.J. Hockenson’s 19.4% target rate this season, he hasn’t recorded a single drop.

On the other side, Detroit’s secondary has struggled mightily, yet its rushing defense actually slots in at No. 8 in expected points added (EPA) per carry and No. 11 in SR, respectively.

EPA is calculated by expected points scored based on the down, distance, and field position at the start of a play — juxtaposed with the end result.

Moreover, Los Angeles boasts the NFL’s 12th-highest rushing rate (43.7%). While the Rams’ double-digit leads factor into their rushing usage, they still rank No. 18 in first-half tempo (via Football Outsiders), playing into the hands of a double-digit underdog.

This spot represents a plausible letdown versus a much inferior opponent. For the first of my Week 7 NFL best bets, take advantage of the opener (Rams -13.5) moving beyond a key number.

Eli’s Bet: Lions +15.5 (bet down to +14.5; PointsBet ⁠— placed at 11pm ET on Monday, Oct. 18)

Best Available Line: Lions

Philadelphia Eagles @ Las Vegas Raiders

I hit on this game in my NFL Week 7 underdogs piece.

Eli’s Bet: Eagles +3 (-115; WynnBET — placed at 4:30pm ET on Friday, Oct. 22)

Best Available: Eagles

Houston Texans @ Arizona Cardinals

Betting against MVP favorite Kyler Murray has undoubtedly lost us some money over the last two weeks. Nevertheless, there’s a head-scratching metric in each of the Cardinals‘ box scores: yards per play (YPP).

Arizona was outgained by the Browns (5.3 to 5.1) and 49ers (5.7 to 5.1), resepctively, in that department. Considering the league average is 5.8 YPP, the Cardinals’ offense hasn’t been as overly dominant as the market perception of Murray (shoulder) would suggest. It’s benefited from San Francisco’s inability to convert on fourth down with a rookie QB and the turnover-prone Baker Mayfield.

Now, Houston has scored a grand total of three points in its past two road games, averaging 3.7 yards per play over that span. Journeyman signal caller Tyrod Taylor (hamstring) reportedly could return for this game, but Texans coach David Culley wasn’t clear on his status in Monday’s press conference.

Taylor would unclog Houston’s offense a bit, as it generated 5.6 YPP over the first two games with him under center. The market betting this spread up (from -14 to -17 as of Monday night) was assuredly with rookie Davis Mills in the fold. Kliff Kingsbury’s bunch is also the first undefeated team through seven weeks to be favored by 14-plus points since the 2007 Patriots.

Even if Mills gets the nod, the Texans’ ground game — led by veterans Mark Ingram and Phillip Lindsay — can grind clock and expose Arizona’s 25th-ranked opponents’ rushing SR. The Cardinals have the Packers on-deck, so this one presents a look-ahead spot too.

Eli’s Bet: Texans +17.5 (bet down to +16; PointsBet ⁠— placed at 11pm ET on Monday, Oct. 18)

Best Available Line: Texans

Indianapolis Colts @ San Francisco 49ers

Here’s another matchup I touched on in the underdogs column.

Eli’s Bet: Colts +3.5 (-112; BetRivers ⁠— placed at 7:30pm ET on Sunday, Oct. 24)

Best Available Line: Colts

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Written by
Eli Hershkovich

Eli Hershkovich is a lead sports betting writer with TheLines and Catena Media, formerly with Audacy and The Action Network. His goal is to provide you with data and information to lead you to winning bets. Eli is an avid college basketball gambler — among many other sports — and still hasn't forgiven Virginia for ruining his 2018-2019 Texas Tech futures.

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