The 2012 NFL regular season gets underway tonight with the Dallas Cowboys paying a visit to MetLife Stadium to square-off against the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants in a classic NFC East showdown. This matchup sets up as a defensive battle that should probably stay “under” the total, but I am turning to Sunday’s slate of games to uncover this week’s top three plays on the total line.
Each and every week during the NFL regular season, I will be digging deep into the matchups to uncover a few golden opportunities to cash in on the oddsmaker mistakes. The following are my top three picks for NFL totals betting for Week 1 with NFL odds provided by BetOnline.
Washington Redskins vs. New Orleans Saints (1 p.m. EST, FOX)
Total Line: 50
The second overall pick in this year’s draft, Robert Griffin III, will make his NFL debut in this game. While expectations are running high for the Redskins’ new franchise quarterback, this game could be a ‘welcome to the NFL’ reality check that he is not facing the Big 12 anymore.
The weight of the world has been trust squarely on the shoulders of New Orleans all-pro quarterback Drew Brees as he assumes the role of both on- and off-field leader in the absence of head coach Sean Peyton, who has been suspended by the NFL for the entire season. It may take a few games for Brees to settle into this role, which could have a direct impact on the Saints’ overall offensive production.
The total line for this game opened at 50 and as not waivered since. The betting public remembers the Saints’ offense at the end of last season, but not the one that managed an average of 21.8 points in the preseason. The total has stayed under in seven of the Redskins last nine opening-day games and nine of the Saints last 13 games in Week 1.
Game Pick: UNDER
Miami Dolphins vs. Houston Texans (1 p.m. EST, CBS)
Total Line: 42.5
Miami has been searching for a quarterback to lead this team ever since Dan Marino retired. The Dolphins are hoping they have finally found their man in first-round draft pick Ryan Tannehill from Texas A&M. He won the starting nod over Matt Moore and will get the chance to prove he is the right choice against one of the top defenses in the league.
Houston’s signal-caller Matt Schaub is chomping at the bit to get the regular season started after missing the last six games in 2011 with a foot injury. He will have a full complement of weapons back with running back Arian Foster and wide receiver Andre Johnson in the lineup.
This game opened with the total line set at 43 and has dipped slightly to 42.5. There is little doubt that the Texans will be able to put some points on the board in this game, but it is doubtful that the Dolphins will be able to follow suit. The total has stayed under in 11 of Miami’s last 15 games overall and in 21 of its last 28 games on the road. The total has also stayed under in five of Houston’s last seven opening-day games.
Game Pick: UNDER
Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4:25 p.m. EST, FOX)
Total Line: 47
The Cam Newton show in Carolina is ready for its second-season encore after turning one of the worst offenses in the NFL into potentially one of the best. The skeptics are out in force, stating that the former Heisman Trophy winner from Auburn will take a step back this season. However, I will have to see it to believe it.
Tampa Bay will try and pick up the pieces from a 10-game losing streak to close out the 2011 season. Josh Freeman will be under the gun to prove he is a legitimate starting quarterback in this league, and the Buccaneers will try and patch some sizable holes in a defense that ranked near the bottom of the NFL last year in a number of major categories.
The betting public has remained firm on this total line since it opened at 47. I was hoping to see it move down. However, it is still low enough to make it one of my top plays. Past trends in this series point to a high-scoring game with the total going “over” in five of the last seven meetings overall and in seven of the last eight games played in Tampa Bay. The total has gone over in Carolina’s last four games against the NFC South and in four of the Buccaneers last five games overall.
Game Pick: OVER
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