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  • Writer's picture@WizeOwlSports

2014 NFL Week 7: Three Official Plays, Two Leans -- Including Thursday Night Football

Updated: Aug 5, 2021

In Week 6 of NFL play, our picks split. In spite of two Aaron Rodgers-authored drives in the fourth that put 10 points on the board and ultimately propelled the Packers past the Dolphins, Miami outscored Green Bay 14-10 in the last quarter, resulting in a 24-27 loss -- which covered the +3.5 spread (albeit by the slimmest of margins). On the other side of the ledger though, after a 0-0 first quarter, the Bills never really stood a chance versus the Patriots. Tom Brady threw for 361 total yards (27 attempts, 37 completions) and four touchdowns as New England continued to right-foot itself since getting spanked by Kansas City in week 4. Both of last week's plays featured favorable line movement.

When the dust settled Sunday, we were 13-12 season-to-date. While a breakout week continues to elude us, we remain committed, as the mathematical concept of reversion to the mean leads us to expect a period of above average results to offset the current stint of below average performance.

For week 7, we have three official plays, and two lower conviction leans.

Carolina Panthers +7 vs Green Bay Packers (10:00am Pacific)

Carolina is 4-2 this year against the spread, and has covered in their last two contests. In week 6 (at Cincinnati), Cam Newton passed for 276 yards and two touchodwns (with one interception), and rushed for 107 yards en route to the 37-37 win versus the line (the Panthers were 7 point underdogs).

AccuScore favors Green Bay to win outright and cover, but indicates that success for Carolina in week 7 likely hinges on continued strong play from the QB position (a touchdown-to-turnover ratio in the ballpark of 3:1), plus reasonable productivity on the ground.

In support of our view, noted statistician Nate Silver's cites an implied spread of Carolina +3 (based on Elo ratings).

The line for Panthers vs Packers opened at Panthers +7, per VegasInsider, and has held steady so far. CappersMall reports that 84% of spread wagers favor Green Bay (but it is early still).

New Orleans Saints +3 at Detroit Lions (10:00am Pacific)

After re-aggravating his ankle in the loss versus the Bills in week 5, Lions WR Calvin Johnson missed last week's matchup at the Vikings. Reggie Bush, RB, also sat out last week with an ankle sprain. Despite these conspicuous absences, Detroit handled Minnesota easily (17-3). However, the story is probably more about Minnesota's impotence than Detroit's fortitude. After all, the injury-riddled Lions offense managed only 185 yards passing and 100 rushing yards -- not appreciably different than the Viking's 188 and 69. However, rookie Vikings QB, Teddy Bridgewater, launched three interceptions and fumbled once, ensuring Minnesota's offensive ineptitude.

ESPN is reporting that Detroit's superstar wide out will not play until he recovers (Bush, however, is expected to play). Johnson's offensive prowess is likely needed to offset the prolific production of the Saints, who are ranked second in the league by total yards (Minnesota ranks 27th). Johnson's absence also represents a break for the lowly New Orleans defense (ranked 23rd).

Elo ratings corroborate our view, pointing to Detroit -2.5. Conversely, AccuScore gives Detroit -3 a 54.2% probability of winning.

VegasInsider reports an opening spread of Saints +3. The line has not changed. The Saints have attracted 60-70% of early spread wagers.

Kansas City +4 at San Diego Chargers (1:05pm Pacific)

The Massey-Peabody NFL Power Rankings, for instance, rate Kansas City as just over two points better than an average team on a neutral field. This same system puts San Diego as slightly less than two points better than an average team. However, San Diego should be favored due to home field advantage. Importantly though, the Chiefs are coming off a bye week. As we discussed in last week's note, bye weeks have been observed to improve performance by an average of 2.6 points. Thus, all things considered, we can see this game being decided by less than a field goal.

Similarly, subtracting the presumed 2.6 bye-week advantage from the Elo-implied spread of Kansas City +6.5 (shown below) hints that the Chiefs should just barely cover +4.

Kansas City opened as 6 point dogs, but, inline with our selection, the number has since narrowed to 4. The public is almost perfectly evenly split over the expected outcome (against the spread) for this game.

Our quantitative-overlay approach to picking NFL games also gives us slight biases in favor of the Seattle Seahawks -6.5 at the St. Louis Rams and the New England Patriots -9.5 vs the New York Jets. Elo ratings sees Seattle winning by only 6 (just shy of beating the number), but puts the Patriots spread at -12.5. AccuScore gives the Hawks a 62.5% chance of covering, and ascribes a 61.5% probability of victory against the spread to New England. Of our leans, New England on Thursday night appears the stronger play.

Seattle opened -6.5 but has been bid up to 7 point favorites, while the Pats opened at -8.5 but now need to win by 9.5 to cover. Given the prestige associated with both of these teams, these picks are, not surprisingly, favored by the masses.

Happy betting!!

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