The books seem to be bouncing
Week 7 marks a milestone in the 2021 NFL betting calendar in that it lacks, for the first time in all of the season, a singular âmust-haveâ game for punters and fans alike.
Don’t be too discouraged, however. Week 7 is a big difference – believe it or not – when it comes to determining the Super Bowl champion. Of the 51 NFL champions since the 1970 merger, only one has won the Super Bowl after starting 3-4. That team was the 2001 New England Patriots. They were âCinderellaâ meets âMiracleâ.
Seven teams are currently at 3-3. Having a record of 0.500 or better after Week 7 has been a benchmark for reaching the playoffs. As of 2011, a total of 107 of the 122 teams that made the playoffs (87.7%) were either 0.500 or more in the first seven weeks of the NFL season. A 17-game schedule will skew those numbers a bit this year, but the critical moment has clearly come for those stuck in Middle-earth league.
So what are the games to watch out for in terms of steep expected bet handles? Here are two crucial clashes that could greatly determine the two teams playing for the AFC Championship.
RELATED: NFL Week 7 Odds and Betting Lines for All Games
First, the Kansas City Chiefs visit the Tennessee Titans in Nashville. The two-time AFC champion chiefs (3-3 overall and 2-4 ATS) had 12.5 wins before the start of the season. If you got the upper hand on this accessory, you only have one loss to give on the 17-game schedule.
The Titans (4-2, 4-2) occupy the first place of the AFC South. They toppled the AFC East Bills in a 34-31 thriller Monday night. A win over Kansas City gives the Titans bragging rights over the two teams that played in the AFC title game last season and immerses them in the Super Bowl 56 discussion.
Chiefs-Titans two-way spread game
The early punters turned this showdown with Derrick Henry and Patrick Mahomes II into a two-way street. Overall, 52% of the spread handle on this game supports the favored Chiefs at -5.5, according to our consensus analysis of the action at Caesars, BetMGM, bet365, Resorts, PointsBet, SugarHouse, 888, FOX Bet and DraftKings.
The leaders are -225 at DraftKings , absorbing only 35% of the moneyline handle. The Titans, meanwhile, are +190 on bet365 . The game total is up to 58, with both sides getting -110 odds on BetMGM . This is the most lopsided game, with 82% of the money wagered back so far.
The AFC North has once again emerged as a competitive division, but this time it’s Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals who challenge the Ravens for the title. The Bengals are surprisingly 4-2, while the Ravens have the best record in the AFC at 5-1. Both teams are 3-3 ATS. Burrow threw away the Sophomore Jinx. A Cincy win leaves the Orange and Black Cats in first place due to the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Ravens are touchdown favorites.
Our consensus analysis has 56% of the total spread handle and 67% of the money handle on the Ravens, which are -6.5 and -260 at DraftKings , respectively. The best price on the Bengals silver line is +230 on bet365 . The total is 46.5, with 52% of the public’s money being more.
BEST QUARTERBACK BETS: Ranking of each NFL QB against the spread
The big 2021 compression game
Overall, betting sites dominated four of the first five weeks of the 2021 season, before being demolished in week 6.
Last week, 8 of the 12 favorites who played on Sunday covered. Among the winners were heavily supported teams like Dallas, Green Bay, Arizona and the LA Rams. These covers left the books damaged, bruised and with red ink on their balance sheets.
RELATED: NFL Week 7 picks and best bets for every game
The NFL betting underdogs hold a 51-43 (54.2%) advantage over the favorites after 94 games, but that gap continues to narrow. The real stressor continues to be a bunch of crazy closing games, choppy spreads, moneyline, and bettors in play every week.
Of the 94 NFL regular season games to date, 23 have been decided in the last minute of settlement or in overtime. This is a post-merger record after six weeks. Ten of those games have been extended. In all, 24 games were decided by three points or less.
Public rooms – Week 7
Bigger liability spreads
Four games present significant exposure for sports betting. Here are the Week 7 matches on DraftKings with over 80% of the handful spreading on the favorite:
|NYJ to NE||BORN||-7||96%|
|DET at LAR||LAR||-14.5||88%|
|CAR in NYG||AUTO||-3||85%|
|WAS in the UK||FR||-7.5||81%|
Major Line Movements
Several games saw line moves in week 7 on major US betting apps. Here is an analysis of the NFL odds of the rating changes.
Bears at Buccaneers
Opening line: Buccaneers -10
Current line: Buccaneers -12.5
The buzzing: The Bears beat Tampa Bay last season, leaving us with Tom Brady’s infamous âfour fingersâ GIF. Chicago was considered a contender for the NFC North before the season, but Andy Dalton and several other key players are injured and QB rookie Justin Fields has a steep learning curve. Meanwhile, Brady leads the NFL with 2,064 passing yards. The Bucs are 5-1, claiming three straight wins without Rob Gronkowski. One caveat as that number grows, Tampa Bay is only 2-4 ATS this year. The public pushed the money towards Brady. He is the opposite of the banal maxim of “big team coverage” given that he has seven Super Bowl rings.
NFL CHAMPION: Super Bowl 56 odds for all 32 teams plus NFL futures odds
Texans among Cardinals
Opening line: Cardinals -14
Current line: Cardinals -17.5
The buzzing: The Cardinals are 6-0 and are arguably the best team in the NFL. The Texans are 1-5 and arguably the worst team in the NFL. The Bills routed the Texans 40-0 earlier this season and smashed a 19-point line. Outlines like this are therefore no longer rare. With thousands of beginner Arizona sports betting fans online in Grand Canyon State eager to support their undefeated team, this move comes as no surprise.
Chefs at Titans
Opening line: Heads -3.5
Current line: Heads -5.5
The buzzing: The Chiefs’ success last week against Washington appears to have dampened the betting momentum the Titans might have taken after upsetting the Bills on Monday. Kansas City is just 4-13 ATS in its last 17 games. The public have yet to give up their support for the Chiefs, who appeared to solve many of their problems last week.
All ratings are current at time of posting. Check out our DraftKings sportsbook review and our FanDuel sportsbook review. You can also check out our DraftKings vs FanDuel comparison of the two books.
About the Author
Bill Speros is an award-winning journalist and editor whose career has included stops at USA Today Sports Network / Golfweek, Cox Media, ESPN, Orlando Sentinel and Denver Post.