Josh Katzowitz's Week 7 NFL Picks
How vital is Aaron Rodgers to the Packers chances of beating their opponents? According to the latest betting odds, pretty damn imperative.
Bovada offers proof from sportsbook manager Kevin Bradley a few days after Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone, an injury that might keep him out for the rest of the season.
“Last week, the Packers were NFC Conference favorites and trailed only the Patriots in Super Bowl odds (9/2 for the Patriots and 5/1 for the Packers),” Bradley said in an email this week. “Fast forward this week and the Packers will seriously struggle to even make the NFL playoffs, with the loss of Rodgers sending Green Bay’s Super Bowl chances up to 16/1. With no starts under his belt and facing a red-hot New Orleans Saints team, it is tough to judge initially how effective Brett Hundley will be. The look-ahead line with Rodgers starting was Packers as a six-point favorite. Without the two-time MVP, the Packers are now a six-point underdog at home to the Saints.”
In case you don’t want to do the math, that’s a 12-point swing, an enormous switch based on the injury of one man. Unless the Packers and Hundley prove they can win with one of the best quarterbacks in the game on the bench instead of on the field, Green Bay can expect to be the underdog plenty more this season.
As usual, check out Pickwatch’s John Halpin’s full slate of Week 7 picks and the Upset Watch from Shaun Lowrie. Now, here are a few of mine (If I’m right, make sure to congratulate me @jkatzo on Twitter).
1)Bet your life savings on this game*
Saints at Packers
If you were ever going to bet your life savings by going against Green Bay, this is the contest to do it. The Packers, we imagine, will still be reeling after losing Rodgers and having to start Hundley—who, before replacing Rodgers last Sunday, had thrown a total of 11 passes in his two-year career, completing three of them for 17 yards and an interception. Another not so great sign: the Packers did a terrible job protecting Rodgers, giving up a league-high 23 sacks. If Hundley is forced to drop back 30-35 times a game, the pass protection has to be better. Meanwhile, the Saints have won three straight with a defense that’s been much improved lately. They’ll make it four straight victories here.
Straight up: Saints
Against the Spread: Saints -5.5
2017 record for the “Bet your life savings” game: 4-2 S/U and 2-4 ATS
2)This game scares the hell out of me
Cardinals at Rams
Don’t look now, but the Rams are in first place in the NFC West, and just so you know what a momentous occasion that would be, consider this: The last time the team won its division was in 2003 behind the quarterbacking of Marc Bulger and the rushing of Marshall Faulk. Todd Gurley is third in the league in rushing yards and tied for first with seven all-purpose touchdowns, while second-year quarterback Jared Goff has helped the squad to become the top NFL team in points scored. But I still can’t let go of the feeling that the Cardinals can accomplish big goals this year. I’m not sure why: The Cardinals, so far, have been rather mediocre. I guess I still believe in Bruce Arians as a top-notch coach (and maybe I believe Adrian Peterson can give the squad an extra boost). I’m picking the Rams here, but I won’t feel great about it until the game in London is over.
Straight up: Rams
Against the Spread: Rams -3.5
2017 record for the “Scares the hell out of me” game: 5-1 S/U and 5-1 ATS
3) Fun game of the week
Falcons at Patriots
You already know why this game is an interesting one. Mostly it’s because the Falcons have a chance to avenge their Super Bowl LI meltdown to the Patriots, though, of course, a regular-season victory against New England won’t do much of anything to dispel the nausea Atlanta fans likely still feel with the 25-point lead their team blew in the championship game. At this point, it seems like neither team is as good as they were last year. The Patriots defense is one of the worst in the league, and the Falcons are on a two-game losing streak, falling to seemingly inferior teams at home while the offense sputters. These squads still might be two of the best in the league, but both have plenty of flaws and it’ll be fun to see how they take advantage of each other.
Straight up: Patriots
Against the Spread: Patriots -3.5
2017 record for “Fun game of the week”: 4-2 S/U and 3-3 ATS
2017 record for every game picked in this column: 13-5 S/U and 10-8 ATS
OAK over KC OAK +3
CAR over CHI CAR -3
TEN over CLE TEN -5.5
NO over GB NO -5.5
JAC over IND JAC -3
LAR over ARI LAR -3.5
MIA over NYJ MIA -3
MIN over BAL BAL +5.5
DAL over SF DAL -6
DEN over LAC DEN +1.5
SEA over NYG NYG +5.5
PIT over CIN CIN +5.5
NE over ATL NE -3.5
PHI over WAS WAS +4.5
*Don’t really bet your life savings. Please.