Week 7 was my reminder of how difficult this game can be. I came into the season with high expectations and I was humbled by a 2-6 week for -8.44 Units that puts me 37-36 on the season for -7.03 Units. I came into this season with hubris and this has been a great learning experience for me. There are plenty of reasons for my underperformance, and I am reflecting on all of them. But this week I am completely shutting out all noise. No podcasts, no outside information at all. I’m going to watch the games, run my analysis, and project the matchups. I’m also going to spend more time on getting my process right than putting out content. So this recap will be a little shorter than in weeks past.
This article breaks down every bet I placed and discusses some key reflections and takeaways moving forward. If you want access to my picks as I make them, become a SharpClarke Member today and see my Week 8 Picks.
Week 7 Bets
|CIN @ BAL U 47.5||(-115)||2||10.19.21 (FD)||Loss||-2|
|GB -1.5, MIA +8||(-120)||1.8||10.22.21 (DK)||Win||+1.5|
|CAR @ NYG O 42.5||(-110)||1.5||10.22.21 (DK)||Loss||-1.5|
|HOU +17 @ ARI|
|PHI +3 @ LV|
|DET +15.5 @ LAR||(-110)||1.5||10.21.21 (FD)||Win||+1.36|
|SF -4 v. IND||(-110)||1.5||10.22.21 (MGM)||Loss||-1.5|
|NO -5 @ SEA|
CIN @ BAL Under 47.5 (-115) (2u) – CIN 41-17, Loss 2 Units
With 7 minutes left in the second quarter, the Bengals had the ball on their own 20 yard line. It was 3-3, and both teams had completed four drives: three punts and one field goal each. This bet looked like a lock. But it’s a 60-minute game, and the Bengals made me regret it. I loved the Bengals here (and picked them in my contest) but did not have faith in Joe Burrow, particularly with his best weapon lined up against Marlon Humphrey. Turns out Ja’Marr Chase is pretty good. I didn’t play a lot of Over/Unders last year, and I’m 3-4 this year. Not a big enough sample size to write them off, but I’ll be cautious. What I learned here is that Burrow has the playmakers (and accuracy) to be explosive despite a slow start to the year offensively.
GB -1.5 v. WAS, MIA +8 v. ATL (-120) (1.8u) – GB 24-10, ATL 30-28 – Win 1.5 Units
It’s been a very teaser-friendly season. I’m now 5-1 on teasers, and this was another optimal play. The Packers score should have been closer, but Washington just was not good enough to finish drives. Either way, the game was never truly in doubt and teasing was the right play (over the -7.5 spread) even though the spread bet covered. Meanwhile, Dolphins-Falcons played tight as expected, with Tua performing at his best in comeback mode against less aggressive pressure. They came out of the London game underrated and getting healthy and I was happy to capitalize.
CAR @ NYG Over 42.5 (-110) (1.5u) – NYG 25-3, Loss 1.5 Units
This bet never really had a chance. I expected a get-right spot for the Panthers offense (whiff) and that the Giants offense would outperform expectation against a good defense (hit). But stalled drives, a red zone pick by Darnold, and a touchdown overturned on replay (leading to a turnover on downs) really buried the Over. The Panthers again suffered drops and strangely benched Darnold with a quarter to play down by less than two touchdowns. There is zero chemistry right now with this offense and they cannot be trusted. Meanwhile, Daniel Jones performed admirably given that he faced one of the tougher defenses in the league (particularly exerting pressure) without four of his best weapons. This Giants offense will surprise people this season. This may be unpopular, but I think the Giants have found their quarterback.
HOU +17 (-110) (2u) @ ARI, HOU ML (+900) (0.1u) – ARI 31-5, Loss 2.1 Units
This one hurt. The game went according to plan early as the Cardinals totaled 1 yard of offense on their first three drives. But the Texans offense was just atrocious. They couldn’t run, even against a team that has been vulnerable on the ground and missing Chandler Jones. My performance grade for the Cardinals offense was pretty average in this game, but a combination of back-breaking penalties and heroics by Kyler Murray ensured that they were still good enough to cover a massive spread (that closed above -20). It’s unforgivable to let a team convert a 3rd-and-24 with a deep pass, but that’s exactly what bad teams do. Even though the Cardinals are fortunate to be 7-0, there is not a ton of value betting against them because a majority of the betting community is (justifiably) skeptical. Knowing that a team is not as good as their record is not value; it’s only value if your perception is sharper than the market. In this case, I think the market has been fair with the Cardinals.
PHI +3 (-110) @ LV (1.5u), PHI ML (+140) (0.5u) – LV 33-22, Loss 2 Units
The Raiders pretty much dominated this game. I bet on the Eagles despite my numbers (which suggested LV -4) because I thought the Eagles had played a tougher schedule than the Raiders and were getting healthy. None of that mattered. Even in the absence of Gruden, the Raiders continue to run an effective offense in which Foster Moreau filled right in for Waller. Meanwhile the Eagles’ struggle for identity continues. They started out well but after Miles Sanders got hurt they could not run, and there is nothing consistent or reliable about their passing game. I have serious doubts about Sirianni as a head coach after some early optimism that may have been misplaced. Moving forward I am going to be putting more stock in my numbers, particularly given that we have a bigger sample size of games now.
DET +15.5 (-110) @ LAR (1.5u) – LAR 28-19, Win 1.36 Units
The poor Lions. They threw everything at the Rams here. Not one, but two fake punts, both of which were successful. A surprise onside kick. Also successful. A screen pass into a heavy blitz that Swift almost dropped and turned into a 50+ yard touchdown. They made big stops. Yet, in the end, they lost another heartbreaker. The fact that all those things went their way and they still lost by 9 reveals the talent gap between these two teams. But it also reveals that these Lions simply play hard every single week. There is a chance a loss like this can really demoralize a losing team, so that will be something to watch. But the fight may just be in this team’s blood. The Rams, once again, were good enough and not much better. Stafford is making plays, and the defense is healthy. As long as those two things continue, they are a legitimate Super Bowl contender. But they’ll have to play better against the best teams in the NFL.
SF -4 (-110) v. IND (1.5u) – IND 30-18 Loss 1.5 Units
This was a sloppy, rainy game and it’s important not to draw too many conclusions from it. Essentially, both teams struggled to move the ball but the Colts learned that the best play in a game like this is the underthrown deep ball that draws a defensive pass interference. The Niners fell for it time and again, and it cost them this game. Early on I thought my read was right on, as the 49ers marched up the field for an easy touchdown drive that consisted of 6 runs and 2 passes. My game grades will go in my database but I’m not going to be drawing too heavily from this result. It reminds me of the Ravens-Patriots game from last year in which the Patriots won an ugly one. It’s a good, important win for the Colts but let’s move on.
NO -5 (-110) @ SEA (2u), NO -12.5 (+210) (0.2u) – NO 13-10, Loss 2.2 Units
I got excited about this game when the Saints’ injury report dropped. They were excellent in Week 1 against Green Bay, but have suffered relentless injuries and Covid issues that have kept their profile down, particularly on the offensive and defensive lines. They got McCoy and Armstead back, and I projected a huge day for the Saints’ run game. But Kamara ran 20 times for 51 yards. They simply could not run. With everything on the shoulders of Jameis Winston, they were predictably mediocre on offense. But the Saints were the better team. Lattimore got caught retaliating against Metcalf in key spots, and lost a hand-fighting battle on the sideline that led to an 85-yard touchdown. Outside of that, the Seahawks averaged 2.5 yards per play. If Winston connected on just one of his (dozen, it felt like) long balls, it probably would not have been close. Geno Smith has now faced two of the toughest defenses in the league, and the Seahawks have tried to hide him. We have not learned much about him, other than Carroll likely does not trust him (but Carroll doesn’t trust Russell Wilson, so that’s not surprising). Meanwhile the Saints lost Andrus Peat, so the “finally healthy” angle took another hit.