The sports betting world is already looking ahead to Week 7 of the 2011 NFL regular season, as betting odds for eight games have been released in Las Vegas.
Leading into Sunday night's prime-time event, favorites were slightly ahead with a 5-4-2 against-the-spread record, while the "under" made a comeback in going 9-2, including both totals that closed above 50.
Underdog bettors definitely felt like they got the worst of it in Green Bay, as the defending Super Bowl champions cashed a ticket as the highest-priced favorite of the year despite being outgained in total yards.
The New York Giants and Oakland Raiders landed on a couple of key numbers, winning as three- and seven-point favorites, respectively, causing many wagers to push.
Let's take an early look at next week from a betting perspective.
It is not surprising in the least bit that the Carolina Panthers have been sent out as home favorites in Week 7, which has rookie quarterback Cam Newton laying points for the second time in this career.
The first result produced a winning ticket, registering a 16-10 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the third week of the season as 3.5-point home favorites at Bank of America Stadium.
Washington came out of its bye week and suffered a 20-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles as three-point home underdogs, but the bigger story is under center.
Rex Grossman reverted back to his old self and threw four interceptions, causing Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan to make a move to bring in John Beck. Both signal-callers battled for the position during the preseason, and the nation's capitol has a storyline that bettors will be following closely.
There are no early signs of sharp movement in the early going, as I also think the line is spot on.
There's not much difference between Beck and Grossman, especially when the Redskins should be focused on running the football against a vulnerable Panthers' rush defense.
The Cleveland Browns provided a late-game push in terms of sports betting, but dropped a 24-17 road contest to the Oakland Raiders Sunday.
Oddsmakers felt comfortable enough in favoring second-year quarterback Colt McCoy for the fifth time this year, even with the status of star running back Peyton Hillis (hamstring) being unknown.
It's not surprising due to Cleveland's recent love affair with the passing game.
Looking at this line more closely, I think it lands on a key number due to some of this week's performances by teams that benefited from a bye in Week 5.
Traveling across the country will not be a big deal for a rested Seattle side.
Early Opinion: Seattle Seahawks (+3.5 or higher)
The first three lines on the odds board have favorites laying a field goal—quite a theme and a puzzling event for early betting.
This is a contest that I'd take a long look at the underdog, as Houston is known for toying around the .500 mark for years.
Tennessee is coming off its first-ever bye week under head coach Mike Munchak, which offers me little in trying to find an early reason to back the home team.
No opinion at this time, but I may have more on the Texans tomorrow.
Jim Schwartz's postgame event with San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh might actual fuel the Detroit Lions for another week.
If that event hadn't occurred, I'd automatically be firing on the Atlanta Falcons.
It's also very telling that sharp bettors have not moved the line in either direction, as Detroit holds steady as 4.5-point home favorites.
Atlanta evened its record with a 31-17 win over the Carolina Panthers, but I'm not about to back the NFC's top team from a year ago.
Professionals will circle the Falcons being outgained by the Panthers, while also noting their 0-3 ATS road record.
Early Opinion: Detroit Lions (-4.5)
The Oakland Raiders suffered an unfortunate injury just a week after the passing of owner Al Davis, as quarterback Jason Campbell is expected to miss the remainder of the season with a broken collarbone.
Oddsmakers felt comfortable enough in sending out the Raiders as a 3.5-point home favorite, as backup Kyle Boller completed 8 of 14 passes for 100 yards.
Sharp bettors will not find the injury to be much of a concern due to Oakland possessing one of the better rushing attacks in the league.
I'm surprised that the Kansas City Chiefs are getting the hook in this spot, entering off a bye week and needing a victory to move back to .500.
There's no question that the line value falls squarely on the visitor, being favored in both meetings last year, but also dropping each in straight-up fashion.
It's hard to imagine finding a team on next week's card with more motivation on its side.
Early Opinion: Kansas City Chiefs (+3.5)
Las Vegas wasn't going to mess around when sending out the Pittsburgh Steelers as four-point road favorites against the Arizona Cardinals.
I quickly suggest that everyone reading this article take a look at the teams the defending AFC champions have beaten this year:
Seattle, Indianapolis, Tennessee and Jacksonville.
The Titans are the only quality opponent of the group, and they were playing that game without star wide receiver Kenny Britt.
Arizona isn't going to get anyone rushing up to the betting window, especially after a 34-10 defeat as 3.5-point road underdogs to the Minnesota Vikings going into a bye week.
Pittsburgh will want to return quickly to the Steel City, hosting the New England Patriots the following week in a major revenge contest.
Early Opinion: Arizona Cardinals (+5 or higher)
It's very difficult to handicap this game until more is learned about New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, who will be undergoing surgery for a leg injury suffered on the sidelines in a 26-20 road loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Any preparation time lost is huge, even against such a futile opponent.
Indianapolis has the necessary speed on the edges defensively to create havoc on opposing quarterback Drew Brees.
Pass for the moment.
In my opinion, the Baltimore Ravens are not as good as the New Orleans Saints, but they will be laying nearly the same number in Jacksonville this season.
Oddsmakers had no choice but to open up Baltimore as 8.5-point road favorites for a Monday Night Football clash, but I wouldn't jump on that side in earnest.
Very hard to get excited with the home underdogs, as rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert just can't catch a break, facing Cincinnati, PIttsburgh and now Baltimore in three consecutive weeks.
Early wagering suggests that sharp money may drive this line up—before taking a major position on next week's prime-time underdog.
More on this game as the week moves along.