NFL Week 7 Picks: Five underdogs make Will Brinson's list of best bets

Finally starting to find some rhythm this season after a 3-2 week in my Super Contest picks (I regret my "trust the Jags" headline almost as much as I regret my poor #TeamOS performance for the folks at OddsShark.com) and a scorching 10-4 week against the spread overall last week. (Random confession: I have never spelled the word rhythm correctly on the first try.) Maybe that's because in Week 6 the NFL went nuts -- two different 11-point or more underdogs just decided to win straight up. That might be the new normal in the NFL, where chaos reigns supreme. 

Let's embrace it. In this case that it involves going with what didn't get us here. Favorites have burned me left and right this year and I haven't been smart enough to get away from them. I was burned by backing the Ravens as a touchdown favorite (they can't beat anyone by a touchdown) and the Jaguars as a favorite (they shouldn't be favored).

Time for a Dog Day Sunday afternoon. Holler at me on Twitter @WillBrinson with your best bets, check out my full Week 7 NFL Picks Against the Spread here and check out all of our CBS NFL Expert Picks here.  

Packers +5.5 vs. Saints

The easiest pick on the slate for me by a mile. I love that it's come back down at a lot of books to 4.5 points, if only because everyone loves the Saints and it's moving the other way. Green Bay has an underrated defense, a good offensive line, a better running game than people give them credit for and a bunch of weapons. The only question now is Brett Hundley, the unproven phenom who was a high-upside project coming out of UCLA when the Packers took him with a fifth-round pick in 2015. The notion that the Packers should sign Colin Kaepernick is kind of ridiculous when you think about it -- Green Bay drafted Hundley and spent three years developing him to work in the system. You can't just waltz into Green Bay and have everything figured out. Mike McCarthy is offended by that notion and he is going to gameplan something for Hundley to wreck the Saints defense, which has looked very good recently. If Green Bay can slow down Drew Brees outdoors the Packers can win this game. 

Cardinals +3.5 at Rams (London)

If you read my lengthy piece on Adrian Peterson and why he can succeed in the Cardinals rushing game as Arizona moves forward with their new offense, you probably knew I was going to take the Cards here. It's a neutral field game, which indicates the Rams would be 6.5-point favorites in L.A. Please. Arizona has just one good win this season, a victory last week over a Buccaneers team that might very well be bad. Overtime wins over Indy and San Francisco are not inspiring. But if you watched that Cardinals offense against the Bucs, you saw an entirely different team, one that thrived in the play-action pass game behind the threat of big runs from Peterson. AP is running like a man possessed and will be eager to prove that he can dominate a second team. The Rams are a top-10 defense this year but just 22nd against the run according to Football Outsiders DVOA.

Giants +5.5 vs. Seahawks

This would feel a little bit better if the Giants hadn't just pasted the Broncos on the road on Sunday night in Week 6. It might sound weird that a 1-5 team playing well would make you like them, but now everyone might be on the Giants to make some more magic this week. The money is basically split down the line, so in this case give me the home team, especially when the Seahawks are basically a carbon copy of the Broncos. They have an excellent defense, but they have not been good against the run this season, ranking 26th in DVOA. The Giants offensive line is like Arizona's -- it might not be good for much of the season, but it's improving and it got physical against the Broncos. Seattle can be dinged up with a bad offensive line. Basically the Giants strengths match the Seahawks weaknesses. Give me the points with a home team on the east coast.

49ers +5.5 vs. Cowboys

The 49ers became the first NFL team in history to lose five straight games by three points or less. That's an ignominious statistic because losing that many close games is just one giant moral victory. But for the purposes of trying to cover a big spread at home, it works just fine. The 49ers flipped to C.J. Beathard against the Redskins in the second half and he moved the ball much better than anticipated. Beathard and Carlos Hyde should see a much easier setup against the Cowboys defense, even with Dallas coming off a bye. This isn't a game I like or even remotely love. Ezekiel Elliott is going to play and Arik Armstead is missing with a broken hand. The Cowboys should blow the 49ers out. But it's a west coast game and, for as bad as the 49ers have been (no wins), they've been good against the spread, going 4-2 against the number and 1-1 as a home team. This is a crevasse play.

Colts +3.5 vs. Jaguars

Just another terrible team at home getting points. The Colts are coming off a short week and have been labeled a bunch of chokers by the local media (watch my pal Gregg Doyel's video here for a full breakdown) and with good reason. They are a disaster second-half team, ranking next to last in points scored after halftime. They aren't very good about closing out games. But they are pretty good at covering at home, going 3-0 on the number at home. The Jaguars are probably a better team, but if you watched the Colts on Monday night, you saw a team that's capable of shutting down the run (ignore the late Derrick Henry touchdown) enough to make the quarterback throw. Marcus Mariota took advantage and I will be willing to bet that Blake Bortles will not. If Leonard Fournette can't play, it makes this an even better play. 

  • Last week best bets: 3-2
  • Best bets season: 12-18
  • Last week overall: 10-4
  • Season overall: 48-42-1
CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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