The Pittsburgh Steelers are 42-24-3 ATS as an underdog since 2005, and find themselves as a one-point pup against Tennessee in a matchup of undefeated teams in Week 7.
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The NFL underdogs with the biggest bite in 2020 have been the smallest ones. And, if you’re a dog person, you know small dogs make the most noise.
NFL betting underdogs of +2.5 or smaller are 14-3 against the point spread – covering at an 82 percent clip heading into Week 7. Last week, those diminutive dogs were a perfect 5-0 ATS.
As of Thursday, there are just four spreads falling into that range, and all three of my NFL picks and predictions for Week 7 just so happen to be yappy, tiny, troublesome dogs.
Detroit Lions (+2.5) vs Atlanta Falcons pick
The Lions could be the best losing team in the NFL right now, especially with the way Detroit has developed over the last few weeks.
The Lions’ 2-3 mark is deceiving, given collapses to Chicago and New Orleans, but their efforts against Arizona and Jacksonville (and their strong start versus New Orleans) have started the ball rolling on what I think is a sleeper pick to make the expanded playoffs (+410 to make the postseason).
The offense is a handful with the rushing attack picking up speed behind the emergence of D’Andre Swift and opening up opportunities for one of the most underrated receiving corps in the NFL to do damage against a Falcons secondary that sits 30th in passing defense DVOA at Football Outsiders.
Atlanta fired their coach and finally got a win, and are somehow giving close to a field goal?
Not buying it.
PREDICTION: Lions +2.5 (-110)
Covers NFL betting analysis
Pittsburgh Steelers (+1) vs Tennessee Titans pick
I’ve been writing this column on and off for a while now and when it comes to picking NFL underdogs, sometimes you just gotta go with the best team getting the points.
That label lands on the Steelers in Week 7. Pittsburgh actually opened as the favorite for its trip to Tennessee for a battle of undefeated clubs, giving as many as 2.5 points at some sportsbooks. But money on the Titans has knocked this spread over the fence and the Steelers are +1 as of Thursday afternoon.
Tennessee can score with Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry leading the charge but the Titans will be without a key component to that offensive success, with Pro Bowl tackle Taylor Lewan out for the season (torn ACL). That loss comes ahead of facing a Pittsburgh defense that leads the NFL in sacks with 24 and owns a rushing defense ranked No. 1 in defensive DVOA.
The Titans defense is terrible, ranked 22nd in DVOA (24th in passing defense) and has allowed opponents to crack the 30-point plateau in three of their five games this season. Tennessee won some defensive brownie points for limiting Buffalo to 16 points in Week 5 but I’m chalking some of that up to the reshuffle of the schedule around the team’s COVID-19 outbreak and the Bills treating that game like a lice check.
The Steelers, who ranked No. 3 in overall DVOA, have looked strong offensively since Week 3, dominating the football to the tune of 35:13 TOP and converting on 51 percent of their third-down attempts. And while undefeated Pittsburgh is the best team catching points in Week 7, it’s also the best underdog bet in football of the past 15 years, going 42-24-3 ATS as a pup since 2005.
PREDICTION: Pittsburgh +1 (-110)
Dallas Cowboys (+1) vs Washington Football Team pick
Last week, the Cowboys were as big as 3-point underdogs before closing as 1-point home chalk hosting Arizona. This week the shoe is on the other foot, with Dallas opening -2.5 at Washington and jumping the fence as of Thursday afternoon, with America’s Team getting a solo point in DC.
It’s a buy-low situation – really, really low – with the Cowboys, who hit rock bottom on Monday. Anything that could go wrong did go wrong and the fact Arizona “only” scored 38 points is incredible. That primetime shit show bled over to the locker room where the players called out the coaching staff and the coaching staff called out the players.
But, as we all know, winning cures all. And Dallas has a great opportunity to pick up that much-needed win in Washington, where the Football Team is lugging a five-game losing skid. Washington ranks 30th in defensive DVOA and has been gashed for big gains on the ground, including 132 yards in a loss to the Giants last weekend.
Ezekiel Elliott is anxious to get back on the field after his two early fumbles set the tone for Dallas’ disastrous night and forced coach Mike McCarthy to bench his All-Pro back. Zeke has feasted on the Football Team in the past, averaging 102.4 run yards and scoring eight total rushing TDs in his seven career games versus Washington.
He’s yet to crack the century mark on the ground this season, but Dallas is an outstanding 13-2 SU and 11-4 ATS over the past two seasons when Elliott rushes for 100 yards or more. Feed Zeke and feed me that single point.
PREDICTION: Dallas +1 (-115)
Last week: 2-1 ATS
Season: 10-8 ATS
NFL Week 6 Betting Card
- Lions +2.5 (-110)
- Pittsburgh +1 (-110)
- Dallas +1 (-115)
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