The results on the NFL total line have basically remained even for the last nine weeks of the season with 64 games going “over” the total, 66 games staying “under” and three games ending as a “push”. Despite the oddsmakers’ ability to sharpen these lines down to a razor-thin edge, another 2-1 record for last week raised my overall record on the year to 23-18-1. Since we are down to the final two weeks of the regular season, I decided to dig even deeper into this Sunday’s matchups to find where the value lies in the total line.
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Each week of the NFL regular season, my goal is to discover a few golden opportunities to cash in on the total line using Sunday’s schedule of NFL games. The following are my top three selections for Week 16 with lines provided by 5Dimes.
Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins (1 p.m. CBS)
Total Line: 41.5
Buffalo pretty much appeared to be phoning it in this past Sunday in front of our neighbors to the north by getting completely blown out 50-17 by Seattle at the Rodgers Centre in Toronto. The Bills have now scored an average of 19 points in their last five games, starting with a 19-14 victory against the Dolphins in Week 11.
Miami continues to battle for victories in an effort to get to .500 for the season. It is coming off a 24-3 win over Jacksonville this past Sunday, which was just the second time the team scored more than 20 points in its last seven games. The Dolphins’ defense continues to show up week in and week-out and is now ranked sixth in the NFL in points allowed by giving up an average of 19.9 points a game.
Game Betting Trends
The total line for this game opened at 41.5 points, which was a bit higher than expected. The line for the first game between the two closed at 46 and it stayed under. The total has actually stayed under in four of the last five meetings between the two overall and in five of the last six meetings in Miami.
Game Prediction: UNDER 41.5
New England Patriots vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (1 p.m. CBS)
Total Line: 48.5
No lead is safe against New England after they erased a 31-3 deficit against San Francisco this past Sunday night only to lose, 41-34. The Patriots remain the highest-scoring team in the NFL with an average of 36.1 points a game. If they rolled up 34 points against one of the top defenses in the league, how many points can they score against one of the worst?
Jacksonville has just two victories this season, and it is easy to see why with an offense that is ranked 31st in the NFL in scoring to go along with a defense that is allowing opponents to score an average of 27.4 points a game. With next to nothing to play for in this game, it is hard to see the Jaguars forcing New England to punt the ball once in this game as it moves up and down the field at will.
Game Betting Trends
The total opened at 48.5 points, which is just the third time in the Patriots last seven games it has opened lower than 50 points. Despite high lines all season long, the total has gone over in 11 of New England’s last 12 games. There is some concern about Jacksonville’s ability to kick in the necessary points to take this game over the total. Assuming that the Patriots do not score all 49 points on their own, even some of the worst teams in the league have been able to rack up some points against their porous defense.
Game Prediction: OVER 48.5
New York Giants vs. Baltimore Ravens (4:25 p.m. FOX)
Total Line: 47
It has been a tale of two teams with New York over the past several weeks. First you have the home Giants that rolled up 38 points on Green Bay in Week 12 and 52 points on New Orleans just two weeks later. Then you have the road Giants that scored 13 points against Cincinnati, 16 points against Washington and were shutout by Atlanta 34-0 this past Sunday.
Baltimore has struggled with consistency on offense all season long, but now it is losing games due to its inability to put points on the board. Quarterback Joe Flacco has completed less than 60 percent of his passes in four of his last five games and has thrown at least one interception in each of his last three games. The Ravens are still banged up on defense, but they hope to have a few of the walking wounded back for this game.
Game Betting Trends
The total opened at 47, which, to me, is based more heavily on past results than each team’s current form. The total has stayed under in eight of the Giants last nine road games and in five of their last six games overall. The total gone over in four of the Ravens last six games, but they have scored 20 or less points in five of their last six games.
Game Prediction: UNDER 47
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