It’s hard to believe, but we are almost at the halfway point of the 2019 NFL season as Week 7 is upon us.  So let’s go over the opening NFL odds for this week’s action and find some matchups worth betting on.

First let’s run down each game and the opening odds offered:

Kansas City Chiefs (-175) vs Denver Broncos (+155)
Spread | Chiefs -3.5
Total | 50.0

Oakland Raiders (+235) vs Green Bay Packers (-175)
Spread | Packers -7.5
Total | 46.0

Miami Dolphins (+800) vs Buffalo Bills (-1250)
Spread | Bills -17
Total | 41

Los Angeles Rams (-170) vs Atlanta Falcons (+150)
Spread | Rams -3.5
Total | 52.5

Minnesota Vikings (+105) vs Detroit Lions (-125)
Spread | Lions -1
Total | 44.0

Houston Texans (+105) vs Indianapolis Colts (-125)
Spread | Colts -1
Total | 47.5

Arizona Cardinals (+130) vs New York Giants (-150)
Spread | Giants -1
Total | 50.0

San Francisco 49ers (-460) vs Washington Redskins (+350)
Spread | 49ers -10
Total | 43.0

Jacksonville Jaguars (-170) vs Cincinnati Bengals (+150)
Spread | Jaguars -4.5
Total | 47.5

Los Angeles Chargers (-118) vs Tennessee Titans (-102)
Spread | Titans -2.5
Total | 40.5

New Orleans Saints (+155) vs Chicago Bears (-175)
Spread | Bears -4
Total | 38.5

Baltimore Ravens (+165) vs Seattle Seahawks (-190)
Spread | Seahawks -3.5
Total | 50.5

Philadelphia Eagles (+135) vs Dallas Cowboys (-155)
Spread | Cowboys -3
Total | 47.5

New England Patriots (-450) vs New York Jets (+360)
Spread | Patriots -9.5
Total | 43

Teams on Week 7 bye: Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Now that we’re caught up with the odds, we can take a look at a few games which stand out as quality bets for Week 7.

Kansas City Chiefs (4-2) at Denver Broncos (2-4)

Thursday | 9:20 PM ET

The Chiefs started off very strong with a 4-0 run to begin the year, but things have gone awry since then.  They have dropped back to back games at home and now sit at 4-2 in the AFC West.  It is becoming clear that the Chiefs offense, while exciting, is rather one-dimensional in nature and defenses are starting to figure them out.  Simply put, they rely too heavily on reigning MVP, Patrick Mahomes.  They really need to get their run game going after leading rusher, LeSean McCoy, ran for just 44 yards on eight carries against the Texans.

Mahomes, in contrast, hurled 35 passes and completing just 19 of them for 273 yards.  Not the worst numbers, but for a team so reliant on a single player’s performance, this is a cause for concern.  I expect that he is still only about 75 percent after he suffered an ankle injury in a loss to the Colts two weeks ago.  His mobility has been compromised, a real issue for a player of his skill-set.  This issue is only compounded by the problems the offensive line is currently dealing with.  With left tackle Eric Fisher injured, the Chiefs are ranked 31st in the league in allowed sack rate.  That is not good for a team that was expected to make a playoff run.

Meanwhile, in Denver, the Broncos defensive line has been playing very well the last few weeks.  Sure, the Broncos have struggled overall on the season under a new coaching staff. But their D-Line, specifically their pass rush, has dominated their last few games.  In fact, they racked up seven sacks in a shutout of Tennessee last week and hitting Ryan Tannehill an additional 10 times.  The Titans fared no better when attempting to run on the Broncos with their leading rusher, Derrick Henry, managing just 28 yards on 15 carries.

Not only are the Broncos successfully stuffing opposing ground attacks, but with Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman, they are also running well against teams this season.  Lindsay is one of the more talented young backs in the league, and despite only totaling 84 carries this season, he has run for just shy of 400 yards.

Lindsay has averaged a strong 4.7 YPC while Freeman has seen his role increase out of the backfield to create a real dual threat. Don’t forget the dual-threat out wide as well with Emmanuel Sanders and Courtland Sutton, both adept at creating separation and giving Flacco space to work.

The problem here for Kansas City is that they have not been able to stop the run at all this year.  They are ranked 30th in total yards per game (161.6) and yards-per-carry (5.2), behind just the Dolphins or Bengals. Not the kind of teams you want to be compared to in any regard this season.  They are also in the unfortunate position of playing away in a Thursday Night Football game.  Since last season, home teams have gone 13-4 on Thursday Night games.

Sure, the Chiefs are a better team and deserve to be favored in this game.  Despite their struggles and a short week on the road, KC is still 3.5-point favorites and are expected to be on bet heavily heading into Thursday night.  I think Denver has what it takes, and is the right position, to pull off an outright upset win here so I will happily take the free field-goal with a spread bet on the Broncos. I will need to see Mahomes play a full healthy game before feeling good about backing the Chiefs ATS again.
Best Bet: Denver Broncos +3.5 (-120)

Oakland Raiders (3-2) at Green Bay Packers (5-1)
Sunday | 1:00 PM ET

The Oakland Raiders take the trip east to Lambeau, coming off a bye week and a win prior to that against the Bears.  The Packers narrowly escaped total embarrassment after squeaking out a 23-22 win at home on Monday night and keep their stellar record intact. The Packers are 7-5 as a franchise against the Raiders in the regular season and have come out on top of the last seven games.  Their last showdown was back in 2015 when Green Bay won 30-20 in Oakland.

Coming off a bye is a huge advantage for the Raiders when compared to the Packers who are coming off a very tough win and playing on a short week.  The Raiders time off helped them get some key offensive player back to full health and give new teammate Zay Jones some time to practice with the team.

The Raiders sit at 3-2, admirable after cutting their best player before the season started. They remain just a half-game behind the Chiefs for the AFC West lead and have upset the Bears and Colts in back-to-back weeks. On the flip side, they were absolutely decimated in their two losses by a combined score of 62-24.  At least they were against two teams with winning records, the Cardinals and Vikings.  Also, without Antonio Brown, this roster looks suspiciously similar to the one that went 4-12 just a year ago and 10-21 over their last two combined.

It’s also worth noting that while their last two wins were upsets against the Colts and Bears, each of those teams is in the bottom third in yards per play.  The key to covering this spread for Oakland this week is to limit the turnovers and burn the clock when possible.

The Packers, despite a 5-1 record, have not fared much better than those previous opponents for Oakland.  They Rank just 18th in total yards per play and just 17th in total offensive production.  They have managed to overcome those offensive woes and lead the NFC North with a full game lead over the Vikings.  But each win seems to be getting more and more difficult with injuries mounting.  I mean, they almost lost to the Lions at home last week after falling behind 10-0 in the first quarter.

Aaron Rodgers essentially put the team on his back in the fourth to secure that win after the Packers gave up three turnovers and were down by 13 at one point.  All this is to say that despite being a division-leading team, the Packers have not always played like one this season.  To be fair, it’s not entirely their fault.  They have seen numerous injuries to their already suspect receiving core.  This week will be no different as Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison are likely on the shelf.  This leaves Aaron Rodgers with very few weapons that are ‘highlighted’ by Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Mercedes Lewis and Allen Lazard, none of which have more than 300 yards receiving on the year.

The Raiders opened as +235 favorites, third biggest underdog this week behind the Dolphins (0-5) and Redskins (1-5).  The spread opened with the Packers as 7-point favorites with a game total of 46.  With the Packers continuing to win close games against subpar teams, including a few lucky breaks, I like the Raiders to keep things close Sunday afternoon and cover this spread.
Best Bet: Oakland Raiders +7 (-120)

New England Patriots (6-0) at New York Jets (1-4)
Monday | 8:15 PM ET
The upcoming NFL betting week culminates Monday night in New Jersey when the Patriots come into town to face off against the New York Jets.  These teams have already met once this year in Week 3, with the Patriots routing the Jets 30-14.  The Jets were limited to a paltry 105 total yards but also hindered by having to start their third-string QB, Luke Falk.  Both of their TD’s were of the D/ST variety and the team looked completely lost without a true leader under center.

Enter Sam Darnold, who breathed new life into this team after returning last week to upset the Cowboys 24-22.  Seems the bookmakers are showing their respect to the Jets with a spread set at 9.5 after their first game had the Patriots as 21-point favorites. The rest of this season will be defined by the play of Darnold.  The Jets have already shown that neither of their other options under center is at all viable and earned their first win in Darnold’s return from mono.  He completed seven passes of over 15 yards en route to 338 total yards and two touchdowns.  They totaled 382 yards which was almost as much as the team managed all season up until that point.  Both Darnold and Adam Gase got their first wins as Jets and provide some much needed positive momentum heading into week 7.

The Patriots are coming off a trouncing of a depleted New York Giants team 35-14.  Frankly, the first half of this game was tight and despite what the score says, this win did not come easy to the Patriots. The win was secured mostly with critical plays on defense and special teams, each notching a TD for the effort.  One coming off a Chase Winovich returned punt block and a Kyle Van Noy fumble recovery in the fourth to put the Pats up by two scores.  The defense finished with four total turnovers with rookie quarterback Daniel Jones tossing a trio of interceptions.  Tom Brady failed to throw for a touchdown pass for the 2nd time this year but made up for it by rushing for two.

Overall the Patriots offense has stumbled the last few weeks, but they are the Patriots after all and continue to find ways to win.  This week should be no different as the Jets post no realistic threat to the Patriots’ unblemished record.

So can the Jets make magic again this week?  Well, it depends on your definition of magic.  I don’t think the Jets have it in them to pull out a win on Monday night, but a cover is well within reach.  Heck, they even covered last time out against New England, albeit with a 20-point spread.  I’m going to bank on the Patriots offense to continue their struggles against the Jets, who have a top-10 defense.  So long as Darnold and the Jets limit their turnovers then I like their chances to keep things within single digits and cover this spread.
Best Bet: New York Jets -10.5 (-130)