NFL Week 7 best bets: Chiefs on upset alert vs. run-happy Titans
We got back on track last week with a 2-1 record on our best bets, riding the Bengals and Rams to comfortable wins as undervalued road favorites. Can we keep it rolling in a week highlighted by bye weeks and big favorites?
This is the type of play I typically avoid, as I don't have a ton of faith in the Falcons as favorites in any game. That said, there are simply too many factors working against the Dolphins to not fade them here.
First, the schedule makes this a brutal spot for Miami, which played in London last week but didn't receive the bye week that most teams enjoy after a trip across the pond. Teams coming off the London game were a dreadful 0-8 against the spread in 2019 - the last time teams played there - and were outscored by more than 20 points per game. And that was with a bye week to recover from the overseas trip.
Meanwhile, the Falcons come into this game off of their bye, having beaten the Jets in Week 5 in a breakout game for their passing attack. Tua Tagovailoa is back for the Dolphins but wasn't exactly sharp in his return from injury last week, and rumors about his potential replacement linger over this contest.
Pick: Falcons -2.5
Are we sure these Chiefs are good? The offense leads the NFL in yards per drive (47.2) and points per drive (3.2), but their defense ranks dead last in both categories, and they've turned the ball over an NFL-worst 14 times.
Kansas City coughed it up three times last week in an uninspiring win against Washington and four times in a blowout loss to the Bills. That simply won't fly against the Titans, who rank sixth in average time of possession (excluding overtime) and will simply squeeze the Chiefs' offense off the field if given the opportunity to do so.
That'll be of particular concern for Kansas City if Derrick Henry gets rolling early, allowing Tennessee to protect an early lead and keep Patrick Mahomes on the bench. Don't be surprised to see it play out that way; Henry leads the NFL in rushing yards per game (130.5) and rushing touchdowns (10), while the Chiefs rank 30th in yards allowed per attempt (5.2) and 31st in rushing TDs allowed (nine).
Pick: Titans +4.5
This is an obvious mismatch on paper. The Rams rank third in net yards per play (+1.2) after crushing the Giants by 27 points in Week 6, while the Lions rank 31st (-1.5) after losing to the Bengals by 23 points at home. It's also a strong spot for Matthew Stafford to pad his MVP case against his former team.
Stafford leads all active quarterbacks in yards per attempt (9.2), yards per completion (13.2), passer rating (116.6), and QBR (74.9) in his first year in Los Angeles. He should have a field day against a Detroit defense ranked dead last in yards allowed per attempt (9.8) and passer rating against (113.8).
If you're concerned about laying this many points, don't be. Since 2013, teams favored by at least 16 points are 17-8 ATS and have outscored opponents by 20 points per game. The Rams are also 7-3 ATS as double-digit favorites under coach Sean McVay. All of those wins came with Jared Goff at quarterback, who is a marked downgrade from Stafford. We'll see that gap on Sunday.
Pick: Rams -16