Week 7 NFL Picks: Sides & Totals

Jalen Hurts #1 of the Philadelphia Eagles reacts after a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints at Lincoln Financial Field on November 21, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Image Credit: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Each week, BetPrep NFL Sharp “Tommy The Hitman” discusses every game through the eyes of a professional sports bettor with host and 30-year sports talk radio vet Jody McDonald of CBS Sports Radio.

Here are some recent highlights from the latest episode of Hot Read Hits, the official NFL podcast of BetPrep:

Panthers at Giants (Under 43), Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Panthers head coach Matt Rhule set a running mandate that plays into the under. “We’re going to redefine who we are and we’re going to run the football and protect the quarterback.” Rhule wants to see 30-to-33 rushes per game even with Chuba Hubbard filling in for the injured Christian McCaffrey. Is it any wonder with Sam Darnold averaging under 5.0 yards per pass attempt the past two games, completing 56.8% and 41.5% of his passes.

On the other side of the ball, the Giants are riddles with injuries in the backfield, to their receivers and on the offensive line. Daniel Jones is coming off one of his all-time worse games and continues to struggle against pressure. Carolina blitzes at the second-highest rate in the league (34.1%) and is third in the league in pressure rate (28.6%).

The Giants implied team total is 20.5, they are Under that in 14 of 22 games during the Jason Garrett Era as OC.

The run game mandate will likely hurt Carolina’s scoring offense as they are an inefficient rushing offense without McCaffrey. Expect Darnold to be extra careful with the ball as well. Giants are decimated with injuries on offense, and Jones struggles against pressure. Bet the Under.

Eagles (plus-3) at Raiders, Sunday, 4:05 pm ET 

My Power Rank is Las Vegas by 2.75.

Both teams are throwing deep and both defenses are not blitzing: The Eagles defense is second in the league in percentage of completions to gain 20 or more yards while the Raiders D is third. The Raiders (13.5%) and Eagles (13.9%) are the two lowest blitzing teams in the NFL.

Jalen Hurts has struggled as a passer the last two weeks, completing 59.5% and 46.2% of his passes for 5.4 yards per pass attempt. Hurts is worse when teams don’t blitz, and not blitzing is a Las Vegas trademark. Hurts has averaged 8.9 yards per attempt with five touchdowns against the blitz this season as opposed to 6.3 YPA and three touchdowns with all four of his interceptions when not blitzed.

Carr makes his living downfield, but Eagles are successful at stopping that. Carr has lived downfield this season, having the most completions in the league of 20 or more yards (32) and is sixth in average depth of target (9.8 yards). The Eagles have allowed just 11 of these completions and have limited opposing passers to a feeble 6.6-yard average depth of target (aDOT) against them, the second-lowest rate in the league. Just a week ago, Tom Brady was in a similar position, leading the league in 20-yard completions. But against the Eagles, his aDOT was just 5.6.

The Raiders have an under-the-radar bad rushing offense, dead last in the NFL in expected points added via the ground. The Raiders did play faster in Week 6 under new playcaller Greg Olsen.

I still believe the loss of Jon Gruden will have negative long-term effects this season. RT Lane Johnson is likely back for the Eagles, which is big. I believe these are close to equal teams. Philly played well against worse competition this year. Sharps bet against the Raiders heavy last week, closing +5 at Denver. I’m not a believer in the Raiders laying more than a field goal; the last two times they did this season at home, they went to OT against putrid Miami and lost to Chicago.

Saints at Seahawks (Under 43), Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET

This game comes down to the Seahawks wanting to run given the continued absence of the injured Russell Wilson, against a Saints defense that’s elite at stopping the run.

The Seahawks got their running game going against the Steelers in the second half of Week 6 and Pete Carroll is determined to play that way, saying it was the trademark of their Super Bowl teams.  But the Saints are the league’s top-ranked defense (yards allowed per carry) and were third-best last season.

While the Seahawks defense tied a record for allowing at least 450  yards from scrimmage in four-straight games, this Saints offense lacks explosion. No team has less 20+ yard gains than the Saints.  In their last nine non-Drew Brees starts over the last two seasons, just twice has a Saints game finished with 45-plus points.

The run-the-ball mandate from Carroll will likely hurt this Seahawks offense, given the opponent. The Saints are a ball control, non-explosive offense. Bet the Under.