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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

NFL Week 7: Top Three Betting Picks

Max Meyer |
October 17, 2012 | 2:36 p.m. PDT

Associate Sports Editor

Expect Patrick Willis and the 49ers to take out their anger on the Seahawks on Thursday Night. (Tim Gallagher/Creative Commons
Expect Patrick Willis and the 49ers to take out their anger on the Seahawks on Thursday Night. (Tim Gallagher/Creative Commons
Although I finally picked the right team to beat the spread against the Philadelphia Eagles last week, it was still a 1-1 week against the spread. Three consecutive 1-1 weeks isn't great, however it's still a lot better than losing money. But to ensure that there's a winning/losing picks against the spread record each week, I've upped the ante to three games starting this week.

49ERS (-7) over Seahawks

In my first betting column, I picked the San Francisco 49ers, who were coming off a loss, to destroy the New York Jets. An elite defense against a struggling quarterback seemed too easy to beat the spread against. Additionally, when the 49ers get beat the previous week, they play angrier and better the following week. Jim Harbaugh's 49ers are now 4-0 against the spread after a loss, and I really like them to continue the positive streak.

The fact that this game is being played in San Francisco is a huge disadvantage for the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks are coming off a very emotional win over the Patriots, and now are traveling on the road during a short week. The Seahawks also play a lot worse away from CenturyLink Field. On the road, they have lost to the Cardinals and Rams, along with only beating the Panthers by two. On the other hand, the Seahawks have beaten the Packers, Cowboys, and Patriots at home. They could be the best NFC West team at home and the worst one in the road.

Here are a couple other stats about how important the location of this game is. In their last 57 road games, the Seahawks are 18-37-2 against the spread. This includes an 0-3 record against the spread in their last three trips to San Francisco. Also, the 49ers are a very good home team. Their last 32 home games have proven so, as they are 21-8-3 against the spread. 

Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson has had an inconsistent season. He had a great game last week against the Patriots, but he was also facing three rookie defensive backs in the Patriots secondary. Wilson is facing a much tougher group of cornerbacks and safeties this week, and he's also played much worse on the road than at home.

The 49ers will be furious coming off their blowout loss against the Giants, and they know that this game is a huge divisional matchup. Expect the 49ers to increase their intensity for this one, and to win by at least two scores. 

Cardinals (+6) over VIKINGS

Well, that was quick. Oh sorry, I'm talking about everyone jumping off the Arizona Cardinals bandwagon after their 4-0 start. But this is the game to take advantage of the public greatly underestimating this Cardinals team. 

Can Adrian Peterson and the Vikings stay undefeated this season at home against the Cardinals? (Mike Morbeck/Creative Commons)
Can Adrian Peterson and the Vikings stay undefeated this season at home against the Cardinals? (Mike Morbeck/Creative Commons)
The Cardinals' four wins have come against teams that are all .500 or better: the Seahawks, Patriots, Eagles and Dolphins. They would have beaten the Bills last week if not for a missed chip shot field goal by Jay Feely at the end of regulation. So why have the Cardinals been so successful this season? The answer is their defense.

Arizona's defense not allowed more than 21 points in any of their six games. That includes giving up a combined 24 points against the Patriots and Eagles. However, the defense has slowed down a bit largely due to the hamstring injury suffered by Darnell Dockett. The Bills gashed the Cardinals for 160 rushing yards last week because their Pro Bowl defensive lineman was hurting throughout the game. Dockett has been at practice this week though, and he's already cleared to play this weekend. 

The Cardinals also lost their starting quarterback Kevin Kolb for several weeks, but this isn't nearly as bad as it seems. Backup John Skelton has better chemistry with star wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and is more mobile than Kolb. I expect Fitzgerald to have a big game against the Minnesota Vikings' overrated secondary.

The Vikings are undefeated at home, but there are several betting trends that are in the Cardinals' favor. Their home record may be good, but in their last seven home games against the spread, the Vikings are 2-5. In their past ten games as a favorite, the Vikings are 2-8 against the spread. Additionally, the Vikings have been weak against the spread when facing good teams. The last 17 times they've faced a team with a winning record, the Vikings are 4-11-2 against the spread.

The Cardinals also like being the underdog. In their last 10 games as underdog, the Cardinals are 8-2 against the spread, including winning seven of those games outright. 

Expect a defensive struggle, especially since the Cardinals' defense is fourth in the NFL in points allowed. I don't expect this game to be decided by more than a field goal, so take the points and run with the overall better team in the Cardinals. 

Matt Forte is healthy and is ready to rumble against the Lions run defense. (Mike Shadle/Creative Commons)
Matt Forte is healthy and is ready to rumble against the Lions run defense. (Mike Shadle/Creative Commons)
BEARS (-6) over Lions

This pick is mostly based on my love for this Chicago Bears team. I was the only Neon Tommy writer to predict the Bears to win the NFC North. Their defense is quite possibly the best in the NFL, along with having a special teams that is the best in the NFL. Their offense has two major weapons in running back Matt Forte and wide receiver Brandon Marshall. In my mind, this is easily a top two team in the NFL.

Forte suffered an injury earlier in the season, but he's played in the past two games and had a bye this past week to rest and recover. Against a suspect Detroit Lions run defense, expect Forte to have a very good game. Quarterback Jay Cutler should also have a fun time throwing against an average Detroit secondary.

But this game is all about the Bears' defense. I do not expect the Lions to run a lick against the top-ranked Chicago rush defense. In forcing the Lions to be one-dimensional, the Bears will have another defensive field day. They have one of the best cornerback tandems in the NFL in Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings. The Bears have also returned two interceptions for touchdowns in each of their past two games. They are tied for best in the league in turnovers and are tied for fourth in sacks, even with the early bye. 

The Bears have won nine of the past 11 matchups between the two NFC North rivals. They have also won seven of their past nine games against the spread as the favorite. The Bears also have shown that they can dominate bad and mediocre teams, beating the Colts, Rams, Cowboys and Jaguars all by 16 points or more. I'm fully expecting another Bears rout on Monday Night Football. 



Reach Associate Sports Editor Max Meyer here. Follow him here.



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