Each Monday morning during the season, I’ll preview three games with spreads that I think will move by the end of the week. This article is designed to help you get the best odds possible by helping you to decide if you should place a bet early in the week or if you should wait to wager until closer to kickoff based on potential line movements. I’ll include any early week leans and wagers that I make in my write-ups.
Week 7 Opening Lines
Lines courtesy of Westgate SuperBook on Sunday night.
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles (-6.5)
Cleveland Browns (-3.5) at Cincinnati Bengals
Dallas Cowboys (-3) at Washington Football Team
Detroit Lions at Atlanta Falcons (-3)
Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints (-8)
Buffalo Bills (-10.5) at New York Jets
Green Bay Packers (-3) at Houston Texans
Seattle Seahawks (-3) at Arizona Cardinals
San Francisco 49ers at New England Patriots (-4)
Kansas City Chiefs (-8.5) at Denver Broncos
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2.5) at Las Vegas Raiders
Pittsburgh Steelers (-1) at Tennessee Titans
Jacksonville Jaguars at Los Angeles Chargers (-9.5)
Chicago Bears at Los Angeles Rams (-6.5)
Byes: Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, Baltimore Ravens
Carolina Panthers (3-3, 3-3 ATS) vs. New Orleans Saints (3-2, 2-3)
Opening Line: Saints -8
Recent Results: The Panthers came up a bit small as first-time favorites in 2020 as they dropped a 23-16 decision to the Bears as one-point home favorites. Teddy Bridgewater played by far his worst game of the season, completing just 55% of his passes and throwing two interceptions in the loss. The Saints snuck out a 30-27 overtime victory over the Chargers as seven-point home favorites before their Week 6 bye.
Injuries/Developments to Follow: It sounds like the Panthers are targeting a Week 8 return for Christian McCaffrey against the Falcons on Thursday Night Football, but there’s certainly a chance he returns to the lineup five days earlier in a pivotal NFC South matchup. Carolina would also love to have Curtis Samuel (knee) back in the fold to give Bridgewater his full complement of weapons. The Saints should be back to full strength on offense this week with Michael Thomas ready to return after his four-game absence due to a high-ankle injury and his suspension for punching a teammate at practice.
Potential Line Movement: Former Saints Teddy Bridgewater and Joe Brady will be busy this week coaching up HC Matt Rhule and DC Phil Snow about the tendencies of Drew Brees and the Saints offense this week. I went with the Panthers laying a point in our Staff Picks last week, but I didn’t put any money on them as first-time favorites this season. I much prefer to bet with Bridgewater when he’s in an underdog role, which he’s thrived in throughout his career. The Panthers also beat the Chargers on the road at the end of September, and that same Chargers team had multiple chances to beat the Saints as seven-point road underdogs in Week 5 — New Orleans ultimately won the game by a field goal in overtime. This line had already moved down on Monday morning, and I bet the Panthers +7.5 to make sure I get the hook. I think this line will at least get to seven points later this week and it doesn’t help that the Saints have almost no homefield advantage as they battle with the city-parish of New Orleans to get fans in the stands. If I was looking to back the Saints, I would wait until later in the week to see if this line potentially dips below a touchdown at some point.
Pittsburgh Steelers (5-0, 4-1 ATS) at Tennessee Titans (5-0, 2-3)
- Opening Line: Steelers -1
- Recent Results: The Steelers humbled the upstart AFC North contenders, the Browns, with a decisive 38-7 victory as three-point home favorites in Week 6. Pittsburgh limited the league’s best rushing offense to just 75 yards while Baker Mayfield threw for just 119 yards with two INTs while absorbing four sacks. The Titans are coming off a rollercoaster 42-36 victory over the Texans as three-point home favorites. Tennessee blew a two-touchdown lead before Ryan Tannehill and A.J. Brown connected for the game-tying score with just four seconds left in regulation. Derrick Henry then finished the victory with a five-yard touchdown run in overtime as he finished with 262/2 scrimmage.
- Injuries/Developments to Follow: The Steelers defense dominated the Browns last week, but they lost a key piece in 2019 first-round pick Devin Bush, who suffered a season-ending ACL injury in the victory. It’s a big loss for a Steelers run defense that will have their hands full trying to slow down Henry this week. The Titans lost their own key piece to their offense to a torn ACL with LT Taylor Lewan likely headed under the knife. His replacement, Ty Sambrailo, got beat by J.J. Watt for a strip-sack as soon as he went into the lineup last week. The Titans will look to add a few more players, like Corey Davis, this week as they get further removed from their COVID-19 outbreak.
- Potential Line Movement: The Titans opened as favorites against the Steelers back in Week 4 before the money started to pour in for the Steelers. Pittsburgh was heading toward being three-point road favorites that week, which ultimately didn’t matter with the game getting postponed until Week 7 because of Tennessee’s COVID-19 outbreak. If you’re looking to back the Steelers this week coming off their impressive victory over the Browns, I would do it early in the week before this line gets a little higher. I’ll have the Titans as slight favorites in my Power Ratings with homefield advantage baked into the equation this week so I’m going to wait for this line out to see if I can get the Titans catching a full field goal later this week. I don’t know if the line will ever get to three points, but I’ll still be happy to take the Titans getting points later in the week if this line settles in the two-point range.
Buffalo Bills (4-1, 3-2 ATS) at New York Jets (0-6, 0-6)
- Opening Line: Bills -10.5
- Recent Results: The Bills will take on the Chiefs on Monday evening, and they’re looking to get back on track after losing by 26 points as three-point road favorites against the Titans in Week 5. Josh Allen threw two interceptions and his accuracy reverted back to his 2018-19 form in the loss. New York remained the league’s only winless team as Miami shut out the Jets for the first time since the 1982 postseason in a 24-0 victory as eight-point home favorites. The Jets finished 2 of 17 on third downs in the loss to the Dolphins.
- Injuries/Developments to Follow: We’ll see if the Bills pick up any additional injuries on Monday evening against the Chiefs. They’ve been dealing with a few key injuries to CB Tre’Davious White (back), LB Matt Milano (pec), and WR John Brown, which has hurt the ceiling for this team. The Jets traded DT Steve McLendon to the Buccaneers after their Week 6 loss. I’ll also be monitoring the QB situation with Sam Darnold (throwing shoulder) hoping to return to the lineup after missing the last two weeks.
- Potential Line Movement: You’re crazy if you think I’m not going to continue to fade the Jets every week until they prove they can cover a spread this season. We haven’t seen a team as bad as the Jets since the Browns went winless back in 2017, but that Cleveland team at least covered four spreads during their winless season. New York is winless both straight up and against the spread through six weeks in 2020 with an average margin of defeat by 18.3 points. The Jets did stay within 10 points of the Bills back in the season opener but it took Buffalo’s Tyler Bass a pair of short field goals to make the end result look a lot closer. The Jets also no longer have Le’Veon Bell in their backfield, and they’ll be playing with either a terrible Joe Flacco or a rusty Darnold this week. The books are finally starting to inflate these numbers a bit against the Jets, but I’m once again fading the Jets and betting the Bills at -11 until New York shows us that they can stay within the number. The money is likely to come in for the Bills later this week so there’s once again no rush to bet on the Jets early in the week if you like to live dangerously and back 0-6 ATS teams.