At a glance, Week 7 appears to be one of mismatches, as nine of the 14 games (64.3%) posted an opening line north of five points. That's a big number, but with how bad the bottom rung of NFL teams is, your gut reaction may be to back the favorites.
Be careful. Very careful.
It's been no secret that underdogs have been profitable on the whole this season, but with a week like the one we have coming, it's important to add context. The cover (and outright win) rates for underdogs of five or fewer points this season essentially matchup with the rates from 2016-21, but once you cross that 5-point spread, the dogs are barkin'. This season, when that is the case, underdogs are covering at a 63.2% clip, winning outright 35.5% of the time.
How does that stack up with the past? From 2016-21, underdogs covered 49.4% of the time and pulled off the outright upset just 20.9% of the time. Sure, six weeks does not a season make, but what we've seen up to this point is overwhelming ... do you think it continues? Let me know, and here are the league wide trends and a note to consider for every team as we head into Week 7:
Thursday, 8:15 p.m.
New Orleans Saints at Arizona Cardinals (-1.5, 45)
Saints ATS: 2-4
What we know about the Saints: Over the past three weeks, New Orleans games have seen 50 more points scored than projected (first three weeks: nine fewer points).
Cardinals ATS: 3-3
What we know about the Cardinals: The over hit in Week 1 but hasn't cashed since in Arizona games. IN fact, over the past two weeks, Cardinals games have gone under the projection by 34 points.
Sunday, 1 p.m.
Atlanta Falcons at Cincinnati Bengals (-6, 47.5)
Falcons ATS: 6-0
What we know about the Falcons: The Falcons are just the third team since 2010 to open the season 6-0 ATS (2021 Cowboys and 2018 Chiefs).
Bengals ATS: 4-2
What we know about the Bengals: A Bengals game went over for the first time last week and they improved to 14-4 ATS in their past 18 games that went over the number.
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens (-6.5, 46.5)
Browns ATS: 2-4
What we know about the Browns: When it goes sideways for Cleveland it really goes sideways. Last week's 38-15 loss to New England (as a 2.5-point favorite) was the fifth time since the beginning of last season that the Browns cover margin was -25 or worse.
Ravens ATS: 2-3-1
What we know about the Ravens: The Ravens have failed to cover three straight games and all three of those contests have gone under the total.
Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans (-3, 42.5)
Colts ATS: 3-3
What we know about the Colts: Not one, not two ...but six. Six straight Colts road games have gone under the total (four of those games going under the projected total by at least 10 points).
Titans ATS: 3-2
What we know about the Titans: The Titans covered four straight against the division rival Colts, winning three of those games outright as an underdog.
Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys (-7, 48.5)
Lions ATS: 3-2
What we know about the Lions: The Lions return from their bye and are looking to avoid their first three game ATS losing streak since Weeks 14-16 of the 2019 season.
Cowboys ATS: 4-2
What we know about the Cowboys: How 'bout them unders? Four straight Dallas home games have gone under the projected total by at least five points.
Packers ATS: 2-4
What we know about the Packers: The Packers are 8-13 ATS over their past 21 games when favored by at least seven points (28-11 ATS in all other instances during the regular season over that stretch).
Commanders ATS: 2-4
What we know about the Commanders: That's now four straight unders in Washington games, with the average total over that stretch coming in 11.6 points under the projection.
New York Giants at Jacksonville Jaguars (-3, 42.5)
Giants ATS: 5-1
What we know about the Giants: The Giants are the first team to go 4-0 outright as an underdog in a team's first six games of a season since the 2012 Seahawks did so.
Jaguars ATS: 2-4
What we know about the Jaguars: Each of Jacksonville's past 14 games have seen the covering team also win outright.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-10.5, 40.5) at Carolina Panthers
Buccaneers ATS: 2-4
What we know about the Buccaneers: The Bucs have dropped four straight ATS. In their previous 12 games (playoffs included), they were 9-3 ATS.
Panthers ATS: 1-5
What we know about the Panthers: The Panthers may only be 1-5 ATS this season, but three of those losses, including last week at the Rams, have seen them fail to cover by less than five points. A consistent fade that often requires some sweat to get there.
Sunday, 4:05 p.m.
Houston Texans at Las Vegas Raiders (-7, 45.5)
Texans ATS: 3-1-1
What we know about the Texans: Under tickets have cashed in eight of Houston's past 10 road games (last road game was a 13-6 win in Jacksonville with a 43.5-point over/under).
Raiders ATS: 2-3
What we know about the Raiders: The Raiders are coming off of their bye looking for a fourth straight over (overs came through in just three of 10 games prior to this recent run).
Jets ATS: 4-2
What we know about the Jets: The most impressive two game run in recent memory? The Jets have covered their past two games by a total of 50.5 points, outscoring opponents 67-27 in the process.
Broncos ATS: 2-4
What we know about the Broncos: Denver is 2-8-1 ATS in the past 11 games it has played on short rest, something that will be the case this weekend after it wrapped up Week 6 in Los Angeles on Monday night.
Sunday, 4:25 p.m.
Kansas City Chiefs (-3, 48.5) at San Francisco 49ers
Chiefs ATS: 2-4
What we know about the Chiefs: The Chiefs have covered seven of their past 10 regular season games when the over/under is less than 50 points.
49ers ATS: 3-3
What we know about the 49ers: Five of six 49er games this season have had a cover margin of at least 11.5 points.
Seahawks ATS: 3-3
What we know about the Seahawks: Seattle has both scored and allowed at least 30 points in three of its past four road games.
Chargers ATS: 4-2
What we know about the Chargers: The Bolts have covered three of four games in the Justin Herbert era when playing on short rest (overs are also 3-1).
Sunday, 8:20 p.m.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Miami Dolphins (-7, 44)
Steelers ATS: 2-3-1
What we know about the Steelers: The Steelers are just 2-5 ATS in their past seven road games, with three of those losses seeing them fail to cover by at least 16 points.
Dolphins ATS: 3-3
What we know about the Dolphins: That's three straight unders in Miami games and the team total bettors have been having a field day as Miami has been held to 21 or fewer points in five of six weeks. It must be a city thing, as the Marlins had a historic scoring drought during the baseball regular season.
Monday, 8:15 p.m.
Chicago Bears at New England Patriots (-7.5, 39.5)
Bears ATS: 2-3-1
What we know about the Bears: The Bears get the closest thing to a second bye: first game in Week 6 and the last one in Week 7. But is that good? Da Bears are 3-11 ATS in their past 14 games on extended rest.
Patriots ATS: 3-2-1
What we know about the Patriots: The Pats are just 2-7 ATS in the post-Tom Brady era when playing on extended rest.