NFL Picks: Sharp Betting Road Teams ATS

Nila Amerova

Friday, October 18, 2013 8:27 PM GMT

NFL Week 7 rolls in on the verve and swagger of some value road teams against the spread. Join us as we breakdown these games and deliver our verdicts and picks.

San Francisco 49ers -3.5 @ Tennessee Titans +3.5

Analysis: Just 3.5-point favourites against the spread? Seems too good to be true, doesn’t it? And you know what they say, when something is too good to be true it probably is. This could be a trap bet on the 49ers, so if your gut says pass then go ahead. But we don’t think so. And here’s why we think they are a value pick against the spread.

Titans (3-3, 2-1 home) have been mediocre – and that is putting it mildly, if nothing else. Since backup Ryan Fitzpatrick took over for the injured Jake Locker, the Titans have been enjoying a steady decline and if Fitzpatrick gets the start on Sunday against the 49ers (4-2, 1-1 away), surely that slide will continue. Fitzpatrick was hopeless in his last two starts – he struggled to average six yards per completion, failed to make 60% of his passes and threw interceptions left and right in both games. Taking a page from those performances it’s hard to imagine how he would be effective against a top 10 defense. 

Moreover, 49ers are out of their funk now having won three straight games while holding a 101-34 scoring advantage. Offense is clearly back to its old physical self and Kaepernick seems to be hitting his stride – last week he went 252 yards and two touchdowns. Simply put, Fitzpatrick and the Titans should be no match for the 49ers.

Verdict: One last thought to consider here is the fact that Locker is not yet ruled out entirely and, perhaps, that’s why we have such a conservative spread before us. Still even if Locker does start, how effective will he be after very little practice and coming fresh off injury? So the Titan QB situation notwithstanding, 49ers remain the better sports pick here.

Football Free Picks: 49ers to win straight up and cover

[gameodds]16/226970/?r-1=19-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

Denver Broncos -6.5 @ Indianapolis Colts +6.5

Analysis: Since the start of the season many fans had this game circled on their calendar as a game to spot in week 7 NFL betting. That both the Broncos (6-0, 2-0 away) and Colts (4-2, 2-1) are enjoying solid starts to their seasons – well, Broncos are perfect so far – augurs well for this clash and serves up value on both sides of the coin. And now brash comments by Irsay (Colts owner) have only gone and stirred up some additional background drama ahead of this clash, adding just that extra sizzling ingredient to what was already going to be a spicy dish. Anybody know if Irsay likes egg? Hmmm?

Can’t be a good idea to start taking cheap shots at Peyton Manning just before his imminent arrival in Indianapolis, can it? The same Manning that headlines a top offense in the league that eats up yards with undisguised voraciousness.  The same Manning that completes a staggering 74.2 percent of his passes and is on pace to scoring over 50 touchdowns this season?

This could get ugly for Colts now.

Sportsbooks are serving up this clash in favour of the Broncos at whopping -275 betting odds to win straight up and 6.5-point faves on the road. Hardly surprising. Now the Colts are after an embarrassing defeat to the Chargers and an argument can be made that they’ll be motivated to play inspired football for that reason alone, and not just because of the legend-in-the-making-Manning that is coming to visit. And they have home advantage – but as all that amounts to +225 odds to win straight up in sportsbooks, it’s clearly a moot point. Odds makers aren’t putting much stock in a Colts win and that is telling.

Question is can the Colts cover as the 6.5-point dogs? It’s a tossup. The only way they can keep this game close is if they somehow slow down Manning and wouldn’t you know it but the Colts are quite leisurely on offense this season, playing at a frustratingly slow pace. It’s possible, granted but we’re going with the bookies here and taking the Broncos as our value pick. Peyton Manning can play at a furious rate and he should be able to cover this rather low spread easily.

Football Free Picks: Broncos to win straight up and cover

[gameodds]16/226973/?r-1=19-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]