Week 7 NFL Picks

2-0 last week with the Chargers blowing out the Browns in one of the really brutal beatings I have seen in the running game, and one back-door win where the Cards probably should have lost by 20 or more but we got the winner through turnovers and getting a good line.

As promised I went back and compiled the record for all these picks:

So through 6 weeks we are up a happy meal or so at 0.65 units, through about a good morning's worth of college basketball plays. If you shopped for lines, which for the love of god you should do in the NFL, I would guess you would be doing a little better, maybe up an upmarket happy meal at say Five Guys or something.

This week we again have what is frankly a pretty thin card with only two good plays:

Week 7 Picks

I didn't forget the Chargers are playing on a neutral field here, and this is a pretty interesting game for one reason: the Chargers, coming from the west coast, are playing a 9:30 AM EST game, against an east coast team. This could be a pretty significant Circadian advantage situation favoring the Titans probably even more so than the well-known west coast team traveling to the east coast for a 1 PM start situation. In my book Picking NFL Winners: A Statistical Handicapping Primer we study the circadian advantage, and find that over the past 15 years, teams have had an advantage of about 0.29 points per time zone of circadian advantage plus an additional advantage from travel distance. However, since 2012, statistically there has been no advantage at all from either. It appears that teams have adjusted their practice and travel schedules to adjust the body clocks of their players to better prepare for these games.

Still, there is an argument that while one week is enough to move the body clocks of the players 3 hours, it might not be long enough to move the body clocks 6.5 hours, as is the case here. In this case, you might lean towards the Titans by an additional point. I still would play the game due to several questionable players on the Titans and the fact that Mariota seems to be injured, which would make his performance level lower than the model suggests, but it is closer. Another point favoring the Chargers is that they played an early game on the east coast last week, meaning the differential is not as large as it seems.

In the other game we like the Bears at home to the Patriots, although this assumes Mack plays. I never thought we would bet the Bears this season but since they got beat last week at Miami against Miami's backup I guess that sets us up for a bet. Usually I just avoid all games where a key player is questionable but it sounds like Mack will be good to go this week and is just sitting out practice for precautionary reasons. The Patriots haven't really been all that good this year, the Bears have, and if it wasn't for priors the Bears would be an even stronger pick. There is always the argument that the Patriots always start slow and could be rounding into form, but it is important not to overthink things too much.

As for other games if you like/need action WAS is another okay pick, while TB is favored by the model, but I think should be passed because they fired their defensive coordinator this week. While I have not done the study on coordinators, the impact of in-season head coach firings is HUGE - these teams play absolutely terribly even compared to what are typically very low expectations.