I said last week that the Week 7 slate felt like it was shaping up to be tricky, but I was wrong. In the spirit of the holiday season, it was actually a treat. I went 11-3 ATS in my picks over the weekend, which included a 4-1 ATS mark in my five locks of the week. The lone miscue was laying the points with the Patriots on Monday night. But, we hit on the Cardinals, Bengals, Jets, and Giants to keep things moving strong.
It was my best week of the season by far, so we'll look to replicate that as best we can as we pivot to Week 8, starting with my five locks.
Locks of the Week ATS: 15-18-2
All NFL odds via Caesars Sportsbook.
Commanders at Colts
We have not one, but TWO backup quarterbacks slated to start in this game, so you know there's going to be some level of mayhem at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts named Sam Ehlinger the starter over Matt Ryan and the former sixth-round pick will now gear up for his first career start. Meanwhile, Taylor Heinicke started last week in the win over Green Bay and will continue to do so with Carson Wentz on IR. In this spot, I'll take the points and the more experienced quarterback with the Commanders. In his last nine starts, Heinicke is 7-2 ATS, which includes the upset win over the Packers in Week 7. Meanwhile, Ehlinger will now have to face one of the toughest third-down defenses in the NFL. Washington ranks as the second best third-down defense in the league, which will be too much for the second-year QB to handle.
Projected score: Commanders 23, Colts 17
The pick: Commanders +3
Giants at Seahawks
We saw the Giants getting points over the Jaguars last week and were quick to pounce on it. After all, they are now 5-0 SU as an underdog this season making them the ideal pick in this game, right? Well, not quite. This is the spot to fade that perfect record as a dog as they have to fly across the country and play in one of the more daunting stadiums in the NFL. That's not to mention that the Seahawks have been a pleasant surprise this season and Geno Smith is playing like one of the top quarterbacks in the league while boasting an offense that is currently third in the NFL in DVOA. In his last 15 starts, Smith is 12-3 ATS.
Projected score: Seahawks 27, Giants 23
The pick: Seahawks -3
Ravens at Buccaneers
On principle, I'd typically like the Bucs in this spot. They're a home dog getting points after a demoralizing loss on the road. That's the recipe for a make-good game. However, I simply don't trust that this version of Tampa Bay is capable of delivering that type of bounce-back performance. Tom Brady and Co. have lost five straight ATS, averaging just 17.7 points per game and the quarterback's 6.6 yards per attempt is the fourth worst of his career through seven games.
Historically, Brady has been great as a home dog, covering in 11 of his 12 games in that setting (best cover percentage since 1970). Again, I just don't believe this is the Brady of old and the team around him doesn't seem able to elevate either.
Meanwhile, the Ravens have played Brady well over his career. His 59.7 completion percentage, 1.2 TD-INT ratio, and 80.1 passer rating are the worst vs. any team in his career (min. five starts).
Projected score: Ravens 24, Buccaneers 21
The pick: Ravens -1.5
Dolphins at Lions
With a game under his belt, Tua Tagovailoa should be even more polished in his second start since coming back from a concussion and has a favorable matchup against Detroit. This Lions secondary is allowing 7.7 yards per pass play, second-most in the NFL. That suggests that Tagovailoa should be able to rip off chunk plays through the air with both Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. As for the Lions, this offense has gone silent, posting just six total points over the past two games.
Projected score: Dolphins 30, Lions 24
The pick: Dolphins -3
Cardinals at Vikings
The Cardinals are another team that was featured in my locks a week ago that we are now fading. The offense welcomed DeAndre Hopkins back into the fold last week in its win over New Orleans and, while the star wideout played well, the offense as a whole didn't look that impressive. Hopkins accounted for half of Arizona's total in the receiving game with no other pass catcher recording five receptions or going over 32 yards. I believe the Vikings will be able to do enough to disrupt Hopkins, which will then force Kyler Murray to go to other options. If they produce similar results as they did a week ago, Minnesota shouldn't worry about laying the field goal and the hook. The Vikings are also a perfect 3-0 SU at home this season with an average margin of victory sitting at nine points.
Projected score: Vikings 27, Cardinals 23
The pick: Vikings -3.5
Rest of the bunch
Broncos at Jaguars
Projected score: Jaguars 24, Broncos 21
The pick: Jaguars -2.5
Panthers at Falcons
Projected score: Falcons 27, Panthers 21
The pick: Falcons -4.5
Bears at Cowboys
Projected score: Cowboys 30, Bears 17
The pick: Cowboys -9.5
Raiders at Saints
Projected score: Saints 30, Raiders 27
The pick: Saints +2
Patriots at Jets
Projected score: Jets 24, Patriots 21
The pick: Jets +1.5
Steelers at Eagles
Projected score: Eagles 30, Steelers 20
The pick: Steelers +11
Titans at Texans
Projected score: Titans 24, Texans 20
The pick: Titans -2
49ers at Rams
Projected score: 49ers 23, Rams 20
The pick: 49ers -1.5
Packers at Bills
Projected score: Bills 33, Packers 24
The pick: Packers +11.5
Bengals at Browns
Projected score: Bengals 27, Browns 23
The pick: Bengals -3