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WEEK 7 Record: 3-1
YEAR-TO-DATE Record: 16-13
Remember when we gave out the Eagles -2 in Week 2 against the Vikings on Monday Night Football? Well, just in case you don’t, the motivating factor behind that play was Kirk Cousins being thrusted into another primetime role in which he’s historically been a disaster. Week 2 in South Philly was no different as the Eagles won and covered easily. Well for as bad as Cousins is in night games, he’s just as good in 1PM ET/12PM CT kickoffs. Minnesota returns from its bye week on Sunday to host Arizona. Since 2015, in the 1PM ET/12PM CT window, Kirk Cousins is 29-11 straight-up at home. When a trend goes back nearly a decade, you have to lend some degree of credence to it. Even if you can’t quite put your finger on why a player would be so good in one start time but so bad in another. Minnesota, off it's bye week, is a quiet 5-1 and probably the second best team in the NFC behind Philadelphia. The Vikings have struggled to collect style points in many of their wins this season, but they keep winning which is more than a lot of teams in the NFC can say. We’re on the Vikings -3.5 at home.
Goodbye Falcons, Hello Again Panthers
Carolina was one of our sides last week and we never had to sweat it thanks in large part to the ineptitude of the Tampa Bay offense. Atlanta’s offense has certainly been functional in the first half of 2022, but functional wasn’t going to cut it against Cincinnati last week in a 35-17 loss. Atlanta has lined the wallets of bettors in the first seven weeks of the season, going 6-1 against the spread. The betting market often figures these teams out. Here are the last two teams that started 6-0 ATS compared with how they finished:
2021 Cowboys: 7-5 ATS in last 12 games including one playoff game for a final ATS record of 13-5.
2018 Chiefs: 4-7-1 ATS in last 12 games including two playoff games for a final ATS record of 10-7-1.
The final records of these two teams against the spread look great, but the second halves for each team were largely pedestrian. We think last week was the start of a Falcons streak of non-covers. Also, this is the first time the Falcons are a favorite of more than three points all season so it’s a different role for the dirty birds. Throw in some potentially hungry Panthers looking to play their way out of the cellar in advance of Tuesday’s NFL Trade Deadline and we are on Carolina +4.5.
Belichick Out For Blood
Time and time again, when the Patriots have met up with the Jets, Bill Belichick’s team has taken no prisoners. New England is 35-11 straight-up and 25-19-2 ATS under Belichick against the Jets. Sure, the difference between straight-up record and ATS record is rather jarring, but we have a small number in this game as the Patriots are -1.5 favorites. To clarify, 25-19-2 is still good for nearly a 57% cover rate which isn’t too shabby either. Regardless, Belichick will likely always hold a grudge against the Jets for attempting to block him from interviewing for the Patriots job over two decades ago. These games are always personal for him. It is extra personal given he’s been under fire this week for his handling of the QB situation between Bailey Zappe and Mac Jones in Monday’s loss to Chicago. Throw in the fact that the Jets may be forced to abandon its run-heavy approach on offense with the loss of Breece Hall in it's backfield, and New York may ask Zach Wilson to do a little bit more on Sunday than he's done all season. Against a pissed off Belichick and New England defense that got cut open by the Bears, that’s probably not going to end well for Wilson and gang green. Back the Patriots as short road favorites.
Putting the UP in Backup
Are we sure Washington didn’t get better by going to backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke in light of Carson Wentz’s injury? If history repeats itself, then Heinicke is about to revive the season for the Commanders. Washington backup quarterbacks are 8-2-1 ATS since 2019. Leave it to a franchise as dysfunctional as Washington to not know which QB to start. However, Wentz looked just as lost in Washington as he did in most of his lone season as a Colt and towards the end of his Philly days. The move to Heinicke gave the Commanders a spark in last week’s comeback victory against Green Bay. With Indianapolis going to the rookie, Sam Ehlinger, Washington probably has the better quarterback in this game. The wrong team is favored here. Back the Commanders +3.
By Greg Frank
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