Over the past three weeks of the NFL season, the oddsmakers have done a phenomenal job at setting the total line with 20 games going “over,” 19 games staying “under” and two games ending in a “push”. My top three picks last week went an even 1-1-1 to leave me at 10-6-1 over the past six weeks and 13-11-1 on the year. We all know that weather becomes more of a factor once November rolls around, so I am going out on a limb to forecast a three-game sweep for Week 10.
Each week of the NFL regular season, I try and uncover the value in the total line in an effort to come up with a few golden opportunities to beat the book. The following are my top three over/under plays for this week in the NFL with lines provided by BetOnline.
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Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints
Total Line: 53.5
The Falcons managed only 19 points in last week’s win over Dallas after averaging 28.7 points in their first seven games. This minor downturn should remain an anomaly as opposed to a trend behind a Matt Ryan-led offense that is ranked eighth in the NFL in total yards and seventh in points per game.
The one thing that New Orleans can still do is put together drives and put the ball in the end zone. The Saints are coming off their best performance of the season in Monday night’s win over Philadelphia as Drew Brees looked like a man on a mission to get his beleaguered team back into the playoff race.
Game Betting Trends
The total line for this game opened at 53.5 and has held firm ever since. Since both teams play their home games in a dome, this sets up as the ultimate fast-track game. The total has gone over in the each of the team’s last four games against the NFC South, and it has also gone over in the last four meetings between the two in New Orleans.
Game Pick- OVER
St. Louis Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers
Total Line: 38.5
Before its bye week, St. Louis managed to score just seven points in a lopsided loss to New England and has only scored 20 or more points three times in its first eight games. Overall, the Rams offense is ranked 28th in the league in scoring with an average of 17.1 points a game.
San Francisco is also coming off a bye week after a very successful first half of the season in which they tallied an average of 23.6 points a game while holding its opponents to just 12.9 points a game, which is the lowest average in the NFL. The combination of a powerful running game with a defense that has been solid against both the pass and the run have worked to help keep the total under in five of the 49ers first eight games.
Game Betting Trends
The line for this game has held steady at 38.5 since it was first released. And while it is set rather low in comparison to a normal total line, it is high enough for me. The total has stayed under in 16 of the Rams last 23 games against the NFC West and in five of the 49ers last seven games against the division. The total has also stayed under in three of the last five meetings when the line was set lower than 40 points.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Total Line: 44.5
While the Cowboys’ offense has struggled to put points on the board all season long, it has been especially bad on the road with an average of just 18.4 points a game. Dallas has been plagued with turnovers, including 13 interceptions by Tony Romo. Overall, the Cowboys have a turnover ratio of -11, which is ranked 31st in the NFL.
The Eagles have mirrored the Cowboys’ performance this season almost across the board. Both teams are 3-5 with five of the eight games staying under the total. Philadelphia is averaging just 16.6 points a game and its quarterback, Michael Vick, has turned the ball over 14 times (nine interceptions and five lost fumbles). The Eagles’ overall turnover ratio is -9.
Game Betting Trends
The line for this matchup has remained steady as well at 44.5. While weather will not be a factor in Philadelphia this Sunday, the current mental state of both these teams will. Expect a conservative approach from both sides as neither head coach wants to be the guy that loses this game. The total has stayed under in five of the last seven meetings and that was when these teams knew how to put points on the board.
Game Pick- UNDER
YTD Record: 13-11-1