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DraftKings is offering up a new free-to-enter pool for the 2022 NFL season. It runs for the first 17 weeks of the season, and users are allowed to pick their five favorite spreads each week. You’re also allowed one self-appointed bye week, meaning each player will pick 80 games by the end of Week 17. The players who do the best will have a chance to take home part of a $100,000 prize pool, plus millions in bonus prizes.
Let’s take a look at my five favorite picks for NFL Week 7.
The Pick: Bengals -6.5
The Falcons have notably covered the spread in every game so far this season, despite the fact that they’re just 3-3 overall. There have only been 11 teams since 2003 to start the year a perfect 6-0 against the spread, and they’ve historically gone 6-5 in Week 7. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like there’s a ton of merit to simply fading a team that’s off to a hot start.
However, there are plenty of other reasons to consider the Bengals. The Bengals have an explosive passing attack, but their offensive line remains their Achilles heel. In games where they can protect Joe Burrow, he’s typically going to be able to pick apart opposing secondaries.
Fortunately, the Falcons might possess the worst pass rush in the league. They rank dead last in adjusted sack rate, and they’ve managed just eight sacks through their first six games.
Additionally, the Falcons’ secondary isn’t at full strength. Casey Hayward Jr. is the team’s best corner, and he was just placed on the IR. Dee Alford has also been ruled out in the secondary, and you never want to be undermanned against Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, and Tee Higgins.
Ultimately, I expect the Bengals to rack up 30+ points in this spot, so it will be up to the Falcons’ offense to keep up. They’ve been better than expected this season, but that might be too much to ask.
The Pick: Lions +7.5
The big news for the Cowboys this week is that Dak Prescott will return to the lineup. That’s a huge deal. Cooper Rush did a decent job filling in for him, but he really wasn’t asked to do very much. Last week’s matchup was the only game where he was asked to do more than just manage the game, and he wasn’t able to do it.
While Prescott gives the offense a massive upgrade, the Lions have a lot going in their favor as well. They actually match up very well with the Cowboys’ stellar pass rush, ranking first in the league in adjusted sack rate. If they can keep Jared Goff upright, he should be able to take advantage of the back end of the Cowboys’ defense. They’re not nearly as talented as the front four, with Trevon Diggs standing out as the only above-average option in their secondary.
Additionally, the Lions should get some help on offense this week. Amon-Ra St. Brown has been cleared to return to the lineup, while D’Andre Swift is questionable. If Swift is able to play, it will give the Lions their top two playmakers back after missing the past few games.
Finally, Dan Campbell has historically been outstanding as an underdog, posting a record of 14-7 since taking over as Lions’ head coach. The team is also coming off a bye week, so they have the rest advantage as well. This game has moved to Lions +6.5 on DraftKings Sportsbook, but we can still get them at +7.5 in this pool.
The Pick: Commanders +5.5
I took a week off from fading the Packers, and boy, do I feel stupid about it. They were back at Lambeau Field – a place where Aaron Rodgers has historically dominated – but this is simply not the same football team we’ve seen in years past. The fact that they played in London the week prior probably didn’t help matters.
Despite their struggles, the Packers continue to get plenty of respect in the betting market. They’re listed as 5.5-point road favorites in this Sportsbook Pool, which suggests that they’re more than seven points better than the Commanders on a neutral field. Nothing that the Packers have done this season supports that assessment.
The Commanders also match up pretty well against the Packers’ offense. They rank fifth in Football Outsiders rush defense DVOA, so the Packers are going to have to take to the air to beat them. Rodgers has had one of the worst starts of his career as he struggles to develop chemistry with a new group of pass-catchers. I’m not sure he’ll be able to take advantage.
The Pick: 49ers +2.5
The 49ers might be my favorite team to target this week. They’re coming off an embarrassing loss last week vs. the Falcons, losing by 14 points on the road. The 49ers haven’t suffered many two-touchdown losses under Kyle Shanahan, but they typically rebound well. They’re 3-1 against the spread following a loss of at least 14 points over the past two years.
This week’s version of the 49ers will also look nothing like last week’s version. The team traded for Christian McCaffrey on Thursday, but that’s far from the biggest additional they’ll make this week. Nick Bosa, Trent Williams, Jimmy Ward, and Mike McGlinchy are all set to return to the lineup, which is a massive development. The 49ers will have their starting offensive line intact for the first time since Week 3, and the timing couldn’t be better. They should be able to establish their dominance in a bounce-back spot vs. the Chiefs.
I like the 49ers to win this game outright, so I’ll gladly take the +2.5 in this contest.
The Pick: Steelers +7.5
The Steelers are coming off an upset win as large underdogs, and I’m going right back to the well in Week 7. They’ll be on the road this time, heading to Miami to take on the Dolphins. Playing in Miami is never easy, but the fact that this is a night game should mitigate their home-field advantage. Half the battle is trying to stay cool, and that shouldn’t be a big deal without the sun.
Kenny Pickett will also be in the lineup after clearing the concussion protocol. That’s not a huge deal, but he does bring a bit more athleticism to the table than Trubisky at this point.
This play is more about the fact that the Dolphins are a bit overvalued, and Mike Tomlin is insanely good as an underdog. We’ve backed him in that situation on multiple occasions this year, and the Steelers are 63-41-4 against the spread when getting points since Tomlin took over. He’s quite simply the best in the business in that situation, so I’ll grab the 7.5 on Sunday night.
Year-to-Date Results: 25-5 (3-2 last week)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mlamarca) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.