The 2012 NFL regular season has three weeks of games in the books, and the total line has evened itself out with 23 games going “over,” 24 games staying “under” and one game ending in a “push”. So give credit to the oddsmakers for bringing a sharp edge to this line. For the third straight week, I posted a 1-2 record on my top picks for a less than stellar start to the season after going 27-19-2 last year.
Each and every week during the NFL regular season, I will be digging deep into all the games on Sunday’s NFL schedule in an effort to uncover a few golden opportunities to cash in on the total line. The following are my top three NFL picks for this week with lines provided by BetOnline. All times EST.
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Seattle Seahawks vs. St. Louis Cardinals (1 p.m. FOX)
Total Line: 38
As beneficiaries of one of the worst calls in recent memory, Seattle comes into this matchup 2-1 on the year. But that success is mainly a result of its defense. The Seahawks are ranked first in the NFL in points allowed and fourth in total yards allowed. Conversely, their offense is averaging 19 points a game, which is ranked near the bottom of the league.
St. Louis is 1-2 and equally as bad on offense. It ranks 28th in total yards and 25th in scoring as Sam Bradford continues to struggle behind a porous offensive line that gave up six sacks to Chicago last week. The Rams managed just six points against the Bears’ defense in that game.
The total line on this game has dipped to 38 after opening at 38.5, but that is still high enough for my tastes. The total has stayed under in four of Seattle’s last five games and in 14 of the Rams last 21 games against the NFC West. Head-to-head, the total has stayed under in four of the last six meetings overall and in three of the last five games in St. Louis.
Game Pick: UNDER
Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions (1 p.m. FOX)
Total Line: 45.5
The Vikings are flying high after last week’s upset over San Francisco and come into this NFC North clash with a revitalized defense that is ranked in the top 10 of the league in several major categories, including points allowed and total yards allowed.
Detroit is riding a two-game losing streak after ending up on the wrong end of a wild 44-41 shootout in overtime against Tennessee. The big question for this Sunday is, will quarterback Matthew Stafford be ready to go after hurting his leg in that game?
There has not been much movement on the total line this week as everyone is waiting on Stafford’s playing status. Even if he does go, I see this game as a lower-scoring affair than anticipated based of the past trends between these two teams. The total went over in both games last season, but one of those games went to overtime. It has stayed under in six previous meetings and in four of the last five meetings in Detroit.
Game Pick: UNDER
Oakland Raiders vs. Denver Broncos (4:05 p.m. CBS)
Total Line: 47.5
Oakland posted its first win of the season last Sunday in a thrilling 34-31 final-second victory over Pittsburgh. Carson Palmer finally returned to form throwing the ball, and the Raiders racked up 119 yards on the ground. Their defense still looked sketchy and is now giving up an average of 29.3 points a game.
Peyton Manning has been unsuccessful in come-from-behind attempts against Atlanta and Houston, but he still has this Broncos’ offense averaging more than 25 points a game. The problem for Denver has been a defense that has given up 58 points in its last two games.
The total line opened at 47.5 and has held steady all week, which means this number should stay stable. The total has gone over in the last five meetings overall and in four of the last five games in Denver. If you look back at the total score in the last four meetings, it has been higher than 61 points in three of the four games.
Game Pick: OVER
YTD Record: 3-6
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