Top 5 Betting Takeaways From NFL Week 7

The NFL season is now in full swing, and with the trade deadline looming just a week away, we are going to see teams trying to either dump salary to reduce payroll or load up for a postseason push. A quick glance at the standings might shock some of you out there that haven’t been paying close attention, as the Raiders and Bengals and in 1st place, and the Chiefs, Steelers, and Seahawks are in last place.

That’s what you had coming into the season, right? Of course, you did. But don’t worry, you don’t need to pay attention, as that is what we here at TheSportsGeek do for you! With that, let’s jump into the week 7 edition of the top-5 betting takeaways!

The Bengals Are The Real Deal

In my week 1 edition of my top-5 betting takeaways article, I mentioned that Joe Burrow was a stone-cold winner and that no matter how this season finished up for the rebuilding Bengals, he was the guy to turn things around in Cincinnati.

Now, just over a month later, it is clear that I was right, as Burrow has the Bengals in contention for a division title, and the combination of Burrow and rookie sensation Ja’Marr Chase is quickly looking like one of the best QB/WR tandems in the league.

It is hard to overstate how impressive the Bengals were this week, going into Baltimore and blowing out the Ravens. The AFC North is one of the strongest divisions in football, and with the win, the Bengals are now sitting in 1st place. With road wins against division rivals Baltimore and Pittsburgh, and the Browns all kinds of banged up, the Bengals have a leg up on the rest of the division, and you could easily make a case that they should be favored to win the division title at this point.

It is shocking to see this quick of a turnaround as just about everybody felt that the Bengals were at least 1 or 2 years away from contention coming into this season. But with Burrow and Chase looking like this generation’s Montana to Rice, and Joe Mixon giving them a balanced attack on offense with his ability to run the football, this team has arrived early. It is easy to give all of this credit to Burrow and the offense, but in reality, it has been the defensive that has really driven this success for Cincinnati.

The Bengals are allowing just 18 points a game, and they are seemingly getting better each week, as they only gave up 17 this week in Baltimore and 11 the week before in Detroit. Cincy does a great job of getting after the quarterback with a strong pass rush, as they are 5th in the NFL in sacks per game. The only real weakness so far for the Bengals is turnovers, as they are -3 on the year in turnover differential. If they can swing that number back into a positive number, they are going to be really hard to beat.

This deep into the NFL season, you have to make sure that whatever preconceived notions you had about a team are not causing you to improperly evaluate them. We are 7 weeks into a 17-game schedule, and at this point, you are what your record is. Good teams win games and bad teams lose them.

And the crazy part about the Bengals is that their 5-2 record could easily be better, as they lost to the Bears by just a field goal and the Packers in overtime. The Bengals are an elite team, and when you are evaluating your plays for the week, you need to rate them as one of the very best teams the AFC has to offer. Who dey?

A-Rodg Is Back, But Is It Enough?

Last week, I felt that Aaron Rodgers’s late-game heroics against the Chicago Bears, followed by an all-time great quote about his ownership stake in the franchise, could end up being the spark that Rodgers needed to get back on track. It’s not that the Packers weren’t winning games, in fact, they were riding a 5-game winning streak, it was just that Rodgers just wasn’t looking like his MVP self that we have all come to know and love.

At least in the short term, it’s looking like that win did light a fire under A-Rodg, as he looked very much like the reigning league MVP this week, throwing for 274 yards and 3 scores on an efficient 27-35 passing, in the win over the Washington Football Team. The running game was non-existent, and the Packers needed Rodgers to lead the way, and he did just that, as Green Bay won the game going away, and they now hold a comfortable 1st place lead over the 3-3 Minnesota Vikings in the NFC North Division, at 6-1.

It was the 6th consecutive win for Green Bay, but I still have my concerns about this Packers football team. Yeah, they are going to win their division, and it likely won’t be all that close, but in Title Town, USA seasons aren’t measured by division titles, they are measured by Super Bowl titles, and it feels like something is missing in Green Bay.

Green Bay will have their toughest test of the season next week as they head to Arizona for a game with the undefeated Cardinals. Not only are the Packers forced to play on the road against the only undefeated team left in the league, they have to do it in a short week, and potentially without all-world receiver Davante Adams, who just tested positive for the Corona Virus. If the Packers ever needed a monster performance from Rodgers, this is the time.

I am not going to call the Packers frauds, but they are right on the cusp of being a bit fraudulent. Wins are wins in the NFL, but the Packers victories over the likes of the Lions, WFT, 49ers, Steelers, and Bears aren’t really blowing my hair back. None of those teams have winning records, and their combined record of 10-23 has me wondering if the Packers are any good or if they are just catching a soft spot in the schedule?

If the Pack goes into Arizona and knocks off the Cardinals, I will have to reevaluate Green Bay, but if they go on the road and get smashed by Arizona, which is what I think is going to actually happen, I think we are going to see that the Packers are the same team this year, that they have been the last couple of years. That is a team that is good enough to make the postseason and maybe even win a game or two, but that isn’t good enough to go to the Super Bowl.

Since winning the Super Bowl in 2010, Rodgers and the Packers have made the postseason 8 times, losing in the NFC title game a whopping 4 times. In most NFL cities, that would be considered a successful decade of football, but Green Bay isn’t most cities, and another loss in the NFC title game could be enough to see Rodgers traded and the roster blown up for a multi-year rebuild. Don’t let this long winning streak fool you, the Packers are good, not great, and you will want to lay the wood on Arizona this week.

The Chiefs Stink

There, I said it. The Chiefs stink. Period. For those of you that have been reading my NFL content this year, you will know that I have been down on the Chiefs since the preseason. That’s not to say that I thought the Chiefs were a bad football team, but I felt that the Bills were better in the AFC and that their championship window had to be close to closing after a nice run of success that spanned several trips to the AFC title game and a couple of Super Bowl appearances. Teams just don’t stay elite for very long in the NFL, and I felt that KC was close to the end of their run.

But after seeing this 2021-22 Chiefs team in action, I am downgrading the Chiefs from an overrated contender to a downright bad football team. I know a bunch of you out there are likely screaming at your screens right now and telling yourself that I don’t know what I am talking about, but you are what your record is, right? And the Chiefs record tells me that they are a last place team, with a losing record.

KC is just 1-4 against the AFC this year, and that lone win should have likely been a loss, as they barely snuck past the Cleveland Browns in week 1. The only other wins for the Chiefs came against bad NFC teams in the Eagles and the Washington Football Team.

Last week I mentioned that the Chiefs being big road favorites in Tennessee against the Titans, was a laughably bad number, and when the Titans came out and dominated that game from the opening kickoff and blew the Chiefs out, I felt vindicated.

I know it is hard to see a team that is so loaded with all-pro talent be this bad, but that is where we are at. In the NFL, winning championships comes down to 2 things. The ability to run the football and to stop the run. That’s it. You can get away with not being able to do 1 of those things, but if you can’t do both of them, you can’t win football games. And I hate to tell you Chiefs fans, but the Chiefs can’t do either right now.

The Chiefs are giving up 118 yards per game on the ground, and this week, they watched the Titans run the ball down their throat all game long, and they couldn’t do anything to stop it. The ability to run the ball allowed Tennessee to control the clock, and the Titans dominated the time of possession battle. Yeah, guys like Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce are great, but when they are standing on the sidelines watching, they aren’t able to have much impact on the game.

I suppose you could say that the schedule has been a tough one for the Chiefs, and it is true, as each of the 4 losses for KC has come against AFC playoff contenders. But who do you think the Chiefs are going to have to play in the playoffs if they can turn things around and backdoor into the postseason? In order to be the best, you have to be able to beat the best, and right now the Chiefs just can’t be trusted to do that.

KC gets a break from the schedulers his week, with a home game against the hapless New York Giants. KC shouldn’t have much trouble in that one, but then things go right back to being tough again, as they play Green Bay at home, then on the road at Las Vegas, and home against Dallas, before their week 12 bye. Will the Chiefs be favored in each of those games? Probably. But the Chiefs have the 2nd most ATS losses in the NFL right now, with an embarrassing 2-5 against the spread record, so all of those games are going to be up for grabs.

Let’s be friendly to the Chiefs and say that they beat New York, and then find a way to win 2 of the 3 games against the Packers, Raiders, and Cowboys. That is being awfully favorable to KC, as the combined record for Green Bay, Dallas, and Las Vegas is a smoking hot 16-4, with all 3 teams sitting in 1st place in their respective divisions. But for argument’s sake, we will say that KC will go 3-1 during that stretch.

That would have the Chiefs sitting at a very mediocre 6-5 coming out of their bye week. A 6-5 record might be enough to be in contention for a wild card spot in the AFC, but not much more. As crazy as it might sound, we have to start preparing ourselves mentally for this Chiefs team to not even make the playoffs. If you want, you can call me a Chief’s hater, but at the end of the day, this Kansas City team is fatally flawed, and if you choose to ignore that, that’s on you.

Where Does DeShaun Watson End Up?

With the trade deadline just around the corner, we are nearly certain to see former superstar Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson get traded. The question is, will whichever team that goes out and gets Watson get the former all-pro QB, or will they just inherit a boatload of problems and controversy and a guy that never ends up taking the field? Watson is fighting 23 sexual assault allegations, and he could be placed on the commissioner’s exception list at any time, making him ineligible to practice or play with any team.

That possible discipline hasn’t stopped teams from talking with Houston about a potential trade, but it has put a major damper on his worth, as teams aren’t going to offer anywhere near what he would be commanding if these allegations weren’t around. That leaves the door wide open for teams to make offers for Watson and potentially pick up a 26-year-old former 3-time all-pro QB in his prime.

Right now, the 3 teams that are leading the rumor mill in the chasse for Watson are the Miami Dolphins, Carolina Panthers, and Denver Broncos. The Dolphins interest is a bit curious, as they have 2nd-year player Tua Tagovaiola currently running the offense, and despite how bad Tua has looked this year, the kid is still just 23-years old and has only made 13 NFL starts, so it is a bit quick to pull the plug on the former Heisman Trophy winner from Alabama.

In my opinion, the Panthers and Broncos make the most sense, as they have big question marks at quarterback and could use a guy like Watson to build their team around. Panther’s QB Sam Darnold was benched last week due to ineffectiveness, and despite his head coach claiming that he is still the guy for Carolina, it is looking like the Sam Darnold experiment is close to being over before it gets a chance to really start.

The same thing could be said for Denver, as they brought in Teddy Bridgewater in the offseason after Bridgewater impressed last season in Carolina, but that marriage seems destined to head to a nasty divorce, as the Broncos are bad, and Bridgewater can’t stay healthy.

Whichever team ends up getting Waston is sure to get an upgrade at QB, but with Watson having not taken a snap all season long and with all of these distractions, it is hard to expect him to walk onto the field in mid-season form. The Dolphins and Panthers are already out of contention, and the Broncos are close to done, so a move for Watson would be one that is more skewed towards the future than helping these teams make the playoffs this year.

I will say that these teams need to be careful what they wish for, as whichever team goes out and gets Watson, and it seems to be a foregone conclusion that he will be moved sometime this week, is going to also get all of the baggage that comes along with him. Having an elite quarterback is the most important thing in the NFL when it comes to winning championships, and while Watson is certainly on that level, I am not sure he is worth all of the drama that comes along with him at this point.

Pay close attention to where Watson ends up, as he is going to make a big difference wherever he goes. Will that be the positive impact of adding an all-pro QB? Or will that be a nasty distraction that pisses of the fans and brings drama to the locker room for a guy that may never end up playing in the NFL again? Only time will tell how it works out in the end, but you must have Deshaun Watson on your radar as you look ahead to the rest of the NFL regular season.

Addition By Subtraction In Las Vegas

I have been high on the Las Vegas Raiders for much of the season, as I felt that they were a lot better than they were getting credit for from the mainstream media. I wasn’t out there screaming from the rooftops that this was a Super Bowl level team, but I did feel that they should be very much in the conversation for at least the wild card in the AFC.

Then controversy struck, as head coach Jon Gruden had a bunch of old emails exposed, and he was promptly fired from the team. It was hard to know what impact Gruden getting canned would have on the team, but in the 2 weeks since his departure, it is starting to look like it was addition by subtraction, as the Raiders have played fantastic.

In the immediate aftermath of Gruden’s departure, the Raiders won on the road, in Denver, against their rivals, the Broncos. The game wasn’t nearly as competitive as the final score might lead you to believe, as Las Vegas was up 31-10 in the 4th quarter of what was a beat down. This week, the Raiders again blew out a team, this time rocking the Philadelphia Eagles, 33-22. That was another game that wasn’t overly competitive, as LV led 30-7 in the 4th quarter.

The win over Philly is that much more impressive when you realize that they were forced to play without their best player, tight end Darren Waller, who missed the game with an injury. So, why has Las Vegas gotten better without their Super Bowl winning head coach? Simplicity. New head coach Rich Bisaccia has dummied down the playbook a lot and has turned the Raiders into a much more conventional team.

One guy that has quickly taken to the dumbed-down playbook is quarterback David Carr. The media loves to smash David Carr, and I have never really fully understood that, as he is a very good NFL quarterback. In the 2 games with Bisaccia at the helm, Carr has been almost unbelievably good. Carr had one of the best games in his career against Philly, completing an absurd 91.2% of his passes. That is the 2nd highest single-game completion percentage in NFL history.

Carr is 2nd in the NFL in passing yards, trailing only the ageless Tom Brady, and in the 2 games since Gruden was fired, he has thrown for 664 yards, with 4 TDs, and only 1 INT, while competing over 80% of his passes. And one of those games came without his favorite target in Waller.

If the Raiders can get Josh Jacobs and Darren Waller healthy, they could win the AFC West Division. Las Vegas is currently sitting in 1st place in the division, and with the Chiefs looking like a mess and the Chargers looking great on offense, but abysmal on defense, the door is open for the Raiders to win the division.

Under Gruden’s leadership, the Raiders have faded hard in the 2nd half in each of the last 2 seasons, but something tells me that things are going to be different this year under Rich Bisaccia. Keep your eye on Las Vegas as they are good and getting better each week. Derek Carr for league MVP? It could happen. And if the season were to end today, Carr would be the best QB in the QB-rich AFC West Division.

Wrap Up

There you have it, folks, my top-5 betting takeaways from week 7 of NFL action. Things move quickly in the NFL, and you have to make sure that you are staying on top of all of the latest news each week. Thanks for reading, and make sure that you swing by TheSportsGeek’s NFL picks page, where our team of expert handicappers bring you free NFL picks for each and every game this season!

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Jason Gray / Author

Jason is a true Las Vegas insider as he has called the sports betting capital of the world his home for sixteen years. Jason started out his career in gaming by running the biggest poker tournaments in the world and managing some of the biggest sportsbooks on the strip. Jason has transitioned out of casino operations and has been covering sports betting for the sports geek for just over two years. His main focus is on baseball, college basketball, and the NFL

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