Identifying NFL Underdogs in Pursuit of Profit
We picked a good week to lay low on our underdog picks as early Sunday favorites went 7-0 SU/ATS in Week 6. That's the early games in the U.S., but the really early start in London was our pick on the ugly underdog Jacksonville Jaguars (+3), who picked up their first win of the season over the floundering fish of Miami. Bettors following Fairway's Forecast are beating the leading online sportsbooks on sides, teasers and even parlays with our picks. The 2021 NFL record is now 10-3 ATS with eight outright winners on our underdog only picks. Now in our fifth year of posting underdog picks on OSGA, the record stands at 112-82 (57.7%) with 56 outright underdog winners.
But most online sportsbooks took a big hit last week with not only the early Sunday games in the U.S. going 7-0 SU/ATS. The 'Dogs started barking in the late afternoon until the Dallas Cowboys (-3.5) put a pancake block on the sportsbooks by covering over the New England Patriots in a 35-29 overtime win. I was in a Las Vegas sportsbook when the Cowboys scored the touchdown in overtime, and most bettors went bonkers with the Cowboys miraculous cover. The Cowboys are now 5-1 SU and 6-0 ATS and have a bye this week.
Dolphins in bad scheduling spot in Week 7
Evaluating the Week 7 card, we note that six teams are on their bye week, yet only two teams have a bye next week. What's the NFL thinking? Six teams on bye, fewer games, yet the Miami Dolphins don't get a bye returning from London and have to play an Atlanta Falcons team coming off a bye. We played against the Dolphins with our Week 6 winner on the Jaguars, and had targeted the Falcons with the situational edge this week. But is the bye week angle overrated? According to OSGA research, NFL teams went 17-15 SU and 4-18 ATS in their first game after the bye last season. In the last three seasons, teams are 44-52 SU and 41-53-2 ATS. Since 2002, when the bye week was introduced, home favorites have gone 78-66-2 and home dogs are just above .500.
Miami goes from a favorite on the lookahead line to a home underdog this week. Even if the adjustment is too much, Miami offers little in a difficult scheduling situation, but the Dolphins do get both their two starting cornerbacks back this week while the Falcons get WR Ridley back on the field. But underdogs playing with no rest off a neutral site game are 2-7 ATS including 1-5 ATS off a loss. All favorites less than 4 points playing off rest (bye) are 7-0 ATS the past seven seasons against teams that played last week in a neutral site game.
Be sure to check the NFL injury reports as you do your late-week match-up and personnel evaluations, and follow the moneyline odds, spreads and totals as .
NFL Week 7 Underdog Picks
Cincinnati (+6.5) at Baltimore - Bengals Moneyline +230 at Jazz Sports
New York Jets (+7) at New England - Jets Moneyline +267 at BookMaker
Seattle (+5) vs New Orleans - Seahawks Moneyline +192 at Sportsbetting.ag
New York at New England
Bettors are piling on the Patriots this week, and our play on the Jets is clearly not a popular pick. Not many are on these pages, including the Giants (+7) in their Week 4 win at New Orleans that cashed again for us. We also cashed on on the Patriots as a big 'Dog that week, and just missed the outright winner against the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. We've avoided most the rookie quarterbacks successfully this season, and played appropriately a few times on the Patriots with their rookie QB Mac Jones. Jets QB Zack Wilson became another rookie quarterback victim of Patriots coach Belichick back in Week 2 as he threw four interceptions in a 25-6 home loss to New England. But the Patriots were outgained by the Jets as New England only managed 260 yards at 4.6 yards per play.
For the record, NFL teams with a plus-3 or greater turnover margin in a game are 13-2 SU and 14-1 ATS this season. Combined with plus-2 turnover edge, and those teams on the positive side of a 2-or-greater turnover margin are 27-4 SU and 29-2 ATS this season. The Jets are off a bye, and we're counting on improvement following a 1-4 SU and ATS start to the season. The media will point out that the Patriots have beaten the Jets 12 straight times and are 23-6 SU against rookie quarterbacks under coach Belichick. Those same pundits will fail to point out that the Patriots are 0-4 SU at home this season and just allowed 32 first downs and 567 yards to the Cowboys last week and must try to bounce back off that emotional loss. The spin is that New England has taken both Tampa Bay and Dallas to the wire in defeat, yet the Cowboys crushed the Patriots statistically. The previous week, the Patriots needed a near miracle to escape and beat the terrible Texans, who out-gained New England and had their own backup rookie quarterback Davis Mills pass for more than 300 yards and 3 TD's against New England. The Jets may be an ugly 'Dog to most, but the Patriots laying 7 points is far less appealing.
Cincinnati at Baltimore
Unlike the ugly underdog Jets, the Bengals are the most competitive big 'Dog on the board this week.
Cincinnati is no slouch, but bettors and the media continue to hype the 5-1 Ravens, who have won five straight games and have the best record in the AFC. I guess when you're winning it's easy to forget that the Ravens were getting crushed by the Colts at home in Week 5 before a stunning comeback and escape despite allowing more than 500 yards to the Colts at 8.1 yards per play. The Colts record rushing streak of 100 or more yards also came to an end that game, and in Week 3, we leaned the Lions way as an ugly underdog but not an official Fairway Forecast. Baltimore needed their Hall of Fame kicker to bail them out with a 66-yard field goal at the gun to win 19-17. We bet on and had a pick on the Ravens in Week 2 in their thrilling win over Kansas City as a home 'Dog, 36-35. That completed our 3-0 sweep with all underdogs winning outright in our Week 2 Fairway Forecast.
All is well apparently after the Ravens crushed the Chargers last week, as we noted the rushing edge expected at the point of attack favoring Baltimore against the Chargers league-worst rush defense. That's not the case this week against the Bengals, who have a top-7 rush defense, like the Ravens, allowing 90 rushing yards per game. The Bengals play at a very slow pace and average just 59 players per game. But Joe Burrow sill leads an efficient offense that can be even better, and Burrow joins Patrick Mahomes as the only two quarterbacks to throw at least two touchdowns each game this season. The Bengals skill position players are better than the Ravens, and if they can contain Lamar Jackson a bit, who has been dominant in October helping the Ravens win in his career, then you'll see the Bengals hanging very tough in this contest. Should the Ravens get up by 10-13 points, know that Joe Burrow and the Bengals are plenty capable of coming through the back door to reward their betting backers as well. Regardless, Baltimore coach John Harbaugh knows the Bengals are a very tough out now this season, and if you play value, then you'll join me in taking the inflated points and betting on the Bengals.
New Orleans at Seattle
Monday Night Football and the 12th man will offering support to backup QB Geno Smith, as Russell Wilson remains out for the Seahawks. While that's not appealing, neither is spotting this many points, or any points frankly with Jameis Winston and the Saints on the road. The line is a consensus 4.5 at most online sportsbooks, and take that number or wait for more +5 to show like it does at BetOnline and Sportsbetting.ag. Sure there is concern on the Seattle side as the Saints run defense allows just 79 yards per game while Seattle's poorly coordinated defense allows 141 rushing yards per game. Geno Smith will have to make plays in the passing game, but he does have talented receivers to count on if he can deliver accurately and timely. We've bet against the Seahawks a number of times this season, including in Week 2 with out biggest bet and play of the season on the Vikings as a home 'Dog. That line looks out of whack now, doesn't it? Seattle (55.8) and New Orleans (56.0) run the fewest plays per game in the NFL, and with less than competent quarterbacks in this match-up, it would seem more likely to see more running games involved. The Saints are off a bye while Seattle returns home off an overtime loss at Pittsburgh. Seattle has lost four of their last five, and it's easy to forget Seattle was a 3-point road favorite at Indianapolis in Week 1 and a 6.5 point favorite over Tennessee in Week 6. Now they are a 4.5 points home 'Dog to the Saints? Sure the adjustment is significant for the loss of Russell Wilson and Geno Smith taking over. but he hung tough last week at Pittsburgh and we expect the Seahawks to do the same this week.
We'll fire on those three picks as our official Fairway Forecast this week, and lean the Giants (+3) and Eagles (+3) way if you're tempted to bet on more games as we continue our pursuit of profit underdog style looking to add to our 10-3 ATS run this season. BTW, expected shootout in Sin City this week between the renewal addition of the Raiders and fly Eagles fly.
FairwayJay is a proven sports handicapper and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful analysts. He chips in additional sports betting coverage and reporting on industry news and events. Read more great insights from FairwayJay and follow him on Twitter: @FairwayJay