Aaron Rodgers had an amazing postseason last year, leading the Green Bay Packers to a Super Bowl title. This season, he hasn't slowed down at all, and neither have the Packers. They are 6-0 -- albeit against teams with a combined 12-22 record -- and Rodgers has already thrown for over 2,000 yards, connected on 70.2 percent of his passes and has a TD-INT ratio of 17-3. Not exactly a Super Bowl hangover.
However, all good gamblers know that winning on the field doesn't necessarily translate into a good ATS record. Consider the San Diego Chargers, 4-1 straight up but only 2-3 ATS. Which brings us to the NFL Sweat Barometer, something we introduced last week. For a more detailed explanation of the Sweat Barometer, check out the box to the right. The nuts and bolts? It measures the margin by which teams cover -- or don't cover -- the spread each week.
It also gives us an instrument to measure just how impressive Green Bay's start has been from a gambling perspective. For one, the Packers had the highest average closing line in the NFL (8.75-point favorites, a full two points higher than the New England Patriots), and that's likely to rise this week as they travel to face the Minnesota Vikings in Christian Ponder's first start.
"The Packers continue to be a betting machine," says Jay Kornegay of the Las Vegas Hilton. "The public can't get enough of them and I suspect that will continue this week. We opened Green Bay minus-7 and it has quickly jumped up to minus-9. We expect the line to get to double figures sometime on Sunday. The sharps will try to keep it in perspective, but the public will over run them and it should close at minus-10, or even minus-10.5 if the Sunday morning games don't go well for the books."
Wunderdog from Wunderdog Sports agrees: "The sportsbooks are getting killed on the Packers this season. It's no surprise that the Packers are this season's most public team. Their games have seen them average 75 percent of the action prior to this week -- the Saints are a distant second at 70 percent -- and as of this writing, they were getting over 90 percent of the bets this week."
Despite having the biggest lines to cover, the Packers are 5-1 ATS and own a Sweat Barometer number of 5.08, sixth-best in the NFL, which means you don't have to perspire much when gambling on them. The one ATS loss? It came against the Carolina Panthers in Week 2, when Cam Newton threw a touchdown pass with 37 seconds left to give Carolina a back-door cover.
In case you are Pondering (sorry, it had to be done) taking the Vikings in this one, just remember that Minnesota is 2-8 ATS in its last 10 games as home underdog.
In other words, that Green Bay ATS record seems likely to improve.
Here's the Week 7 NFL Sweat Barometer: