NFL Betting Predictions: Week 7 Opening Line Report and Picks
In my NFL Week 6 Line Movements & Last-Minute News story posted Friday here at Doc's , I mentioned that Vikings fans were horrified at the thought of the blood-rival Packers winning Super Bowl LII on the Vikes' home field. Well, no need to worry about that any longer - the Packers are now +2500 to do so.
That's because Aaron Rodgers broke his right collarbone on a hit by Minnesota linebacker Anthony Barr on Sunday and could miss the rest of the season. That obviously kills Green Bay's Super Bowl chances, and I doubt the Pack even make the playoffs at this point with Brett Hundley taking over under center (although the NFC North is pretty weak). Hundley's just not very good and was 18-for-33 for 157 yards with a TD and three picks in the 23-10 loss to Minnesota.
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You may remember that four years ago, Rodgers cracked his left collarbone and missed seven starts. He returned for the season finale and led a victory in an NFC North winner-take-all game in Chicago. But obviously this collarbone injury is on his throwing side. Might the Packers consider signing Colin Kaepernick? He is a Wisconsin native and grew up rooting for the Pack. However, Kaepernick likely ended his chances of being signed by any team in filing a grievance for collusion against the NFL owners. You hear names like Tony Romo (another Wisconsin native) and Brett Favre coming to the rescue, but Romo is great in the TV booth and not leaving. Favre's 48! Hundley's backup for now is Joe Callahan, who played at little Wesley College and will be promoted from the practice squad. You could see the Packers go trade for Colts backup Scott Tolzien, a former Green Bay No. 2.
Hundley will make his first regular-season start this Sunday vs. the Saints. That line changed about 10 points after the Rodgers injury as now New Orleans is -5.5. Since Favre's first year with the Packers in 1992, the Packers have had just six different starting QBs, which is the fewest in the NFL. Hundley will be No. 7 (it was Matt Flynn in place of Rodgers in 2013). For what it's worth, the former UCLA star lit up the NFL in the 2015 preseason as a rookie, topping the league with 630 yards. He also had seven touchdowns and just one pick. Hundley is very mobile at least.
Here are some Week 7 early lines that caught my eye. I won't touch on Thursday's game (Chiefs-Raiders), my in-depth Sunday matchup (likely Falcons-Patriots) or the Monday night game (Redskins-Eagles) as I will be previewing them here individually.
Cardinals at Rams (-3.5, 47.5): This game is at London's Twickenham Stadium but with a 1 p.m. ET kickoff instead of 9:30 a.m. ET. Adrian Peterson will be a very popular waiver wire pickup in your fantasy league this week if he's available. I'll admit, I think Peterson was done after his inauspicious start to the season in New Orleans, but he torched Tampa Bay for 134 yards rushing and two scores on 26 carries Sunday in the Cardinals' 38-33 win. Peterson played 48 snaps in the game, four more than during his four-game stint with the Saints. It was the future Hall of Famer's first 100-yard game since Week 16 of 2015, when he won his last rushing title, and his first multi-touchdown game since Week 12 of that year. Arizona had 87 yards rushing by the end of the first quarter, a season high for any game in 2017 and more than the team's past two combined. The news wasn't all good for the Cards as star cornerback Patrick Peterson left in the second half due to a quad injury. He had shut out Bucs star receiver Mike Evans up to that point. Bruce Arians thinks Peterson will be OK to play here. The Rams got out of their 27-17 minor upset in Jacksonville healthy for the most part. They scored twice on special teams to overcome just 249 yards of offense. The Pick: Arizona.
Broncos at Chargers (-1.5, 42.5): This line will shift some if Denver quarterback Trevor Siemian can't play. He injured his left shoulder right before halftime of Sunday night's inexplicable home loss to the injury-ravaged Giants while trying to make a tackle of an interception that was returned for a touchdown (when will QBs learn not to bother?). It's the same shoulder that Siemian had surgically repaired this past offseason. He was to have an MRI on Monday, but he likely will play since he did return Sunday. Meanwhile, right tackle Menelik Watson and receiver Emmanuel Sanders left with a calf and ankle injury, respectively. Sanders, who is second on the team in receptions (25) and yards receiving (266), was helped off the field by trainers and taken to the locker room on a cart. In addition, WR Demaryius Thomas, who had an X-ray on his lower right leg during the third quarter, will also be evaluated more Monday. I'm still shocked Denver lost that game coming off a bye week. The Chargers' luck is turning as after three very close losses in their first four, they have won the past two games - at the Giants and at the Raiders - by a combined six points. The Bolts lost in Denver in Week 1, 24-21, as kicker Younghoe Koo's 44-yard field goal to tie with a second left was deflected. He has since been released. The Pick: Chargers.
Bucs at Bills (-3, TBA): No total here yet and the line could move if Jameis Winston sits out. He injured his throwing shoulder early in Sunday's loss at the Cardinals and tried to play through it but was eventually pulled for Ryan Fitzpatrick, who nearly led a huge comeback. Winston has never missed a game since he was drafted in 2015. X-rays were negative, and he was due an MRI on Monday. It frankly won't matter if Winston plays vs. Buffalo or not if the Tampa Bay defense doesn't play way better than it did in the desert. It made Carson Palmer and Adrian Peterson both look like they were in their prime. I'm rethinking Tampa as my NFC South champion as the Bucs' two wins have come against teams that are a combined 3-9. Buffalo comes off its bye week. Bills receivers are averaging 4.8 catches and 63.2 yards per game. Those would be the lowest rates in the NFL since at least 2001. Their presumed No. 1 guy, Jordan Matthews, missed Week 5 with a thumb injury and he's "week-to-week." The Pick: Tampa if Winston plays.
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