NFL Week 7 Damage Report: Changes in the Betting Landscape

69
NFL Week 7 Damage Report- Changes in the Betting Landscape

Week 7 in the NFL was a huge one for the AFC. The Titans blew out the Chiefs, establishing themselves as contenders and putting the Chiefs in the thick of the Wild Card race, the Colts won in San Francisco to set up a critical Week 8 matchup with Tennessee, and the Bengals firmly established themselves as contenders with a beatdown of the division rival Ravens. The NFL weekend was mercifully short on the injury front, so this article will focus on these shifts in the AFC and critical future matchups set up by the weekend’s action.

All odds are provided by DraftKings.

The Chiefs are Spiraling

The Titans deserve plenty of credit for their play in Sunday’s win, but the fall of the Chiefs will get the headlines.

Kansas City has been a Super Bowl contender since the day quarterback Patrick Mahomes became a starter in the NFL, but their latest loss makes it difficult to put them in the current mix. Sunday’s loss featured continued ineptitude on defense combined with a “mulligan” game from their typically high-powered offense, which combined to put the Chiefs down 27-0 at halftime. Two years ago, NFL fans would have said that the Chiefs had the Titans right where they wanted them, but the 2021 version of Kansas City only managed a field goal in the second half.

The Chiefs are likely to bounce back in the future with Mahomes, perhaps as early as later this season, but this is a reminder of how difficult it is to maintain a title-contending roster around a quarterback in the NFL. Kansas City has enough talent on offense to rebound, but the defense needs most of their players to improve their play for the unit to reach an acceptable standard, and as long as the offense feels it needs to score on every possession, the sloppy mistakes and turnovers are likely to continue.

Kansas City has a “get-right” game against the Giants this week, but then they face the Packers, Raiders, and Cowboys before they reach their bye week. Few NFL fans would have imagined the Chiefs would enter their bye under .500, but unless they go 3-1 in this stretch, that’s where they’ll stand. Kansas City is -200 to make the NFL playoffs; it’s hard not to think they will find a way into the mix, but there’s a deep field of contenders in the AFC, so it’s not a foregone conclusion, which makes it hard to back the -200 bet as a good value.

Raiders fans do have an opportunity to capitalize on these struggles; the Raiders play the Chiefs twice before the season’s end and those games will be critical in both the AFC West and the Wild Card race. If you like the Raiders to win both games, it would make sense to take the Chiefs to miss the NFL playoffs at +155 and the Raiders to make the NFL playoffs at -110. The Professor will pass, as a split between the teams seems more likely, but the Raiders are flying high coming off a win over the Eagles and this would be a novel way for Vegas fans to bet on their team and against a hated rival.

Rumors of the AFC South’s Demise were Exaggerated

This damage report column prematurely reported the death of the AFC South several weeks ago; both Tennessee and Indianapolis have rebounded as key players have gotten healthy, and the NFC East appears to be back on top of the charts as the NFL’s worst division.

Wide receiver A.J. Brown got rolling for Tennessee on Sunday, an unwelcome sight for Indianapolis defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, who now has to contend with Brown and the NFL’s most dominant running back, Derrick Henry, in this week’s matchup. On the Colts’ side, quarterback Carson Wentz’s recovery from the ankle injuries suffered before the first Colts-Titans matchup has helped Indianapolis go 3-1 over their past four games, with the lone loss in that stretch coming in heartbreaking fashion on the road in Baltimore. The Colts looked down and out when their loss in the first Tennessee matchup dropped them to 0-3, but they’re back in the NFL playoff mix.

Indianapolis will be in the thick of the Wild Card race regardless, but if they want to make a run at the AFC South, this week’s game is a must-win. A Tennessee win would make the Titans 6-2 and the Colts 3-5, and the Titans would also hold the head-to-head tiebreaker in that scenario. If the Colts can pull to 4-4 while dropping the Titans to 5-3, it’s a different story.

This is a defining game in Carson Wentz’s early tenure as the Indianapolis starter. This line shifted from IND -1 to IND +1 in the time this article was written, but whether you’re betting on the Titans or Colts, it might make sense to place an associated bet on the division odds. The Titans currently sit at -500, but would likely jump to near -2000 (Dallas Cowboys current NFC East odds) with a win, and the Colts’ +350 odds are the best that bettors will see if Indianapolis wins this game and sets up a race to the finish in the division.

Joe Burrow and the Bengals are Legit

Last week’s Damage Report column noted that Bengals backers might want to jump on their AFC North odds at +1100 if they thought Cincinnati would win outright. The Professor didn’t make the move himself, but those who were bold enough to pull the trigger made a great move, as Cincinnati’s division odds sit at +250 after the weekend.

The Ravens remain the division favorites on DraftKings at -110, but quarterback Joe Burrow and wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase have pushed the Bengals past playoff contender status to dark-horse NFL title contender. The Bengals feature a deep group of weapons behind Chase, who has been a top-five NFL receiver in the first half of his rookie year, and the offensive line has been good enough for Burrow to take advantage of the skill group’s talent. With an improved front seven on defense making life easier for the secondary, Cincinnati is trending in the right direction.

Baltimore will be back; the Bengals got them the way the Ravens got the Chargers, and in a seventeen-game NFL season, it’s not the end of the world. The Ravens have a week to get right before they host the Vikings in Week 9, while those who bet Cincinnati at -3.5 against the Jets before the NFL weekend can pat themselves on the back; after Sunday’s action, the line moved to anywhere between CIN -8 and CIN -10.

Conclusion

This article recapped developments from around the NFL this weekend. For more of The Professor’s content check him out on BeerLife Sports!

About the author:

Website | + posts

Steven Clinton, better known as "The Professor", is a former D-1 Quality Control Assistant (Northwestern, Toledo) who holds a B.A. in Economics and M.S. in Predictive Analytics from Northwestern University. He maintains an end-to-end NFL game projection model and is a film junkie who breaks down the tape of every NFL game.

Leave a Reply