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The debut of Litwin’s Locks: NFL Week 7 picks

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Heather Newberry | The Daily Wildcat An Arizona player holds a football prior to the UA-ASU rivalry game on Nov. 25 at Sun Devil Stadium.

It may be week seven of the NFL season, but Litwin’s Locks is making its debut. The goal is to provide you with some rationale for this week’s NFL picks. Remember, picking games is supposed to be fun and make the games more exciting. Never bet more than you can afford to lose — not that I am promoting gambling. Those big casinos and hotels in Vegas were not built off of people winning. For those new to sports betting, here is a quick breakdown of how it works. 

If a team is projected to win by four points (the “spread” or the “line”), they must win by more than four to “cover” the spread. On the flip side, if a team is projected to lose by four points, they must lose by less than four — or win straight up — to cover the spread. If the favorite by a spread of four wins 28-24, gamblers call it a “push,” neither side covered the four point spread. The favored team in the lines listed below is represented by a minus sign. Lines according to ESPN as of Oct. 21. 

Detroit Lions at Atlanta Falcons (Sunday)

Line: Falcons -2.5

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The Falcons are a mess after firing their coach last week and rumors are swirling they may want to trade wide receiver Julio Jones and quarterback Matt Ryan. With every defeat, Lions head coach Matt Patricia’s seat gets a little warmer. The Falcons still have a good offense as Jones had his best game of the season in last week’s win against the Vikings. Ride with the Falcons at home who have some momentum from their first win of the year. Pick: Falcons -2.5

Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals (Sunday)

Line: Browns -3

Both teams are coming off tough losses last week. The Browns were blown out by the Steelers while the Bengals, in classic Bengals’ fashion, blew a 21-point lead to the Colts. This is a must-win for Browns’ quarterback Baker Mayfield; another bad day and it may cost him his starting job. I am admittedly biased because I am, unfortunately, a die-hard Bengals’ fan, born and raised in Cincinnati. I refuse to pick against the Bengals and won’t this time. Joe Burrow has a big day and Cincinnati not only covers but wins the “Battle of Ohio.” Pick: Bengals +3

Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans (Sunday)

Line: Titans -1

This is the game of the week and a battle for supremacy at the top of the AFC. Both teams are 5-0 and coming off divisional wins. The Titans would love to pound the rock with the NFL’s leading rusher, running back Derrick Henry, against a very good Steelers’ defense. The Steelers’ defense shows why they are legit and shuts down the Titans’ running attack. Unfortunately for the Titans, its defense is mediocre and a balanced Steelers’ offense, with a healthy Ben Roethlisberger, moves the ball at ease. Someone's “0” has got to go. Pick: Steelers -1

Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints (Sunday)

Line: Saints -7.5

This is an interesting game because the Saints have been inconsistent this year and the Panthers are having a better season than expected. If I knew for certain that Saints’ star wide receiver Michael Thomas was playing, this might be an easier pick; however, between his ankle, tweaked hamstring and fights with teammates, I am not sure if he will be on the field. The Panthers’ offense did not look good last week against a very good Chicago Bears’ defense, but I predict Teddy Bridgewater and the gang will have a better performance against a not great Saints’ defense. I don’t see the Panthers winning but 7.5 is a lot for the Saints to cover. Pick: Panthers +7.5

Buffalo Bills at New York Jets (Sunday)

Line: Bills -12.5

The Jets will not take off any time soon and a matchup against a good Bills’ team is the last thing the turbulent Jets need. Yes, Buffalo is coming off two straight losses, but the losses were to Tennessee and Kansas City. Bills’ quarterback Josh Allen will have a bounce-back game against a porous Jets’ defense. 12.5 may seem like a lot of points, but when this game is over, bettors will be shocked the line was only 12.5. Pick: Bills -12.5

Dallas Cowboys at Washington Football Team (Sunday)

Line: Cowboys -1

Our second NFC East matchup of the week and this one is just as bad as Giants versus Eagles. The Cowboys are bad. Their offensive line is bad and their defense would be bad even for the Big 12. The “Red Rifle” Andy Dalton won’t have any time to find the Cowboys’ talented skill-players. The Football Team has a good front seven that will harass Dalton and the Football Team’s offense will score on the Cowboys’ defense. Pick: Washington Football Team +1

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Green Bay Packers at Houston Texans (Sunday)

Line: Packers -3.5

Hard to go broke when betting on Aaron Rodgers except when that betting was last week. Rodgers did not play well, throwing two interceptions for the first time in a long time. The Packers were embarrassed last week against the Buccaneers and will have a bounce-back game. The Texans are a sorry team with a great quarterback. The Packers get back on track this Sunday and shred an aging Texans’ defense. This does not seem like a lot of points, but it makes sense considering the Packers’ performance last week and the fact it is their second away game in a row. Pick: Packers -3.5

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals (Sunday Night)

Line: Seahawks -3.5

Huge game for the Cardinals, a team that has had a nice start to the season. Cardinals' quarterback Kyler Murray is balling and watching him run around people on the field is very entertaining. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, the Seahawks also have a baller playing quarterback. Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson is having a career year and has a legitimate shot to win the MVP Award. I do not bet against Russell and neither should you. Pick: Seahawks -3.5

Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos (Sunday)

Line: Chiefs -9.5

The Broncos are coming off a surprising win over the Patriots last weekend and the Chiefs pretty much dominated the Bills. Betting Chiefs is the safe pick and its offense is so hard to defend. Plus, the team will have Le’Veon Bell this week to make that offense even scarier. That said, divisional games are usually close and playing at the Mile High is never easy. Remember, no one gets rich betting the safe pick all the time. The Broncos are also 4-1 against the spread. Pick: Broncos +9.5

San Francisco 49ers at New England Patriots (Sunday)

Line: Patriots -2

Tough game to pick. The Niners got blown out two weeks ago by the Dolphins and then beat the Rams last week. The Patriots did absolutely nothing and lost to a not-very-good Broncos team. I trust Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to figure out the offense and get Cam Newton playing at the high level at which he was playing before he tested positive for COVID-19. The Niners are riddled with injuries and it is always tough for a west coast team to come east. Pick: Patriots -2 

Jacksonville Jaguars at Los Angeles Chargers (Sunday)

Line: Chargers -8

I can smell this game from here, and it is a stinker. Chargers’ rookie signal caller Justin Herbert has impressed this season and should do so again against a weak Jags’ defense. For personal fantasy football reasons, I hope Jags running back James Robinson puts up some points. Pick: Chargers -8

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Las Vegas Raiders (Sunday)

Line: Buccaneers -3.5

I tend to think the Raiders are a good football team and believe that will be on display. Tampa is coming off a statement win over the Packers. Yet, I am still not sold on them or their offensive line. The Raiders run the ball really well and tight end Darren Waller is a Top 5 tight end. With 3.5 points, Raiders are a good pick to cover at home. Pick Raiders +3.5

Chicago Bears at Los Angeles Rams (Monday Night)

Line: Rams -6

The Bears’ defense is good on every level and star pass rusher Khalil Mack is having another great season. The Bears also have arguably the best safety in the NFL with Eddie Jackson. Then there is the Chicago offense which acts like an anchor to the team. They will have a tough time with future HOF defensive tackle Aaron Donald. The Rams looked bad last week against the Niners but have a chance to bounce back against a surprisingly good Bears squad. While, 6 points may be a little big for some people, I am just not sure how the Bears will score in this game. Pick: Rams -6 


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