In this series, I will pick an underdog every week that I think will not only cover the spread, but also have a good chance at winning outright.
Another week, another big underdog pick that just couldn't pull out the win. Buffalo had a chance there at the end in OT, but the basis of my pick was turnovers, which are just too hard to predict. On the other hand, if you faded all the big 9 point or more favorites as indicated by the stat of the week, you would've gone 4-1 ATS.
Underdog of the Week:
BAL @ PIT
BAL +1 (some books even have it at 2.5)
BAL +110 ML
Week 7 can be a tough one for underdogs. Last season, only one underdog won straight up, and they did so by only one point (Tenn@Buff). My guess is that as the good teams start to pull away from the bad ones record-wise, it's tough for certain teams to find motivation. One good way for a team to be motivated, however, is to play a divisional match up. Over the past 6 seasons, road underdogs in week 7 division games were 6-9 straight up and 10-5 ATS, whereas non-divisional road dogs were 8-22 SU and 16-14 ATS.
There are two teams that fit the category this week in Baltimore and Dallas, but I prefer Baltimore. Despite the difference in record, the Steelers are a deserving favorite because their stats are actually better on both sides of the ball. The biggest advantage for Baltimore in the direct comparison so far this season has been turnovers, which as mentioned above are hard to predict. Pittsburgh, however, continues to face a rash of injuries while I can only imagine that Jacoby Jones and Ray Rice improve and open up the Baltimore offense as the season goes on. I also want to point out that the Steelers' lone win of the season came after a bye week, while the Ravens will be motivated to go all out with their bye week coming right after.
Interesting Stat of the Week:
Over the past 6 seasons, it wasn't just divisional road dogs who performed well in week 7. Divisional road favorites were even better, going 8-0 straight up and 7-1 ATS.
ML 3-3 +130