NFL Totals Betting: Week 1 Over and Under Predictions
by Dave Schwab - 9/7/2011
The 2011 NFL regular season kicks off this Thursday night when the Saints travel to Lambeau Field to take on the Packers in a showdown between the last two Super Bowl Champions. While you have probably been pouring over the pertinent facts and statistics to handicap the sides in this matchup as well the other 15 NFL games this weekend, do not forget about NFL totals betting as there is often tremendous value in this wager, especially in the first few weeks of the season.
The following are this week’s best ‘over’ and ‘under’ predictions for NFL totals betting as provided by BetOnline.
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Atlanta Falcons at Chicago Bears
Atlanta and Chicago were the top two seeds in the NFC last year, but they never got anywhere near the conference title game with disappointing home losses after their offenses let them down in the Divisional Round. The Falcons finished the regular season ranked fifth in the NFL in scoring with an average of 25.9 points a game, but the Bears were ranked 21st with an average of 20.9 points.
Defensively, these were two of the best units in points allowed, with each giving up an average of 18 points a game. The pressure will be on quarterbacks Matt Ryan for Atlanta and Jay Cutler for Chicago to get their team off to a fast start, but expect both coaches to try and grind it out on the ground with their running game.
The current NFL line has moved slightly in favor of the ‘under,’ opening at 41.5, and the past opening day trends for both teams tend to support the betting public in this one. The total has stayed ‘under’ in six of the Falcons last seven season openers and in every one of the Bears last seven openers. Head-to-head, the total has stayed ‘under’ in the last six meetings.
Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers
These NFC West rivals fully understand the importance of a division victory given that a 7-9 record was good enough to win the division title last season. Both teams come into this game with question marks at the quarterback position with Tavaris Jackson replacing Matt Hasselbeck in Seattle and Alex Smith getting the nod for San Francisco despite some less-than stellar results in 2010. These are two more teams that will look to grind it out of the ground as opposed to trying to air it out.
While you would think this gameplan would favor a low-scoring affair, you have to remember that the Seahawk’s defense was ranked 25th last year in points allowed, giving up an average of 25.4 points a game and the 49ers were not that much better, giving up an average of 21.6. Last season in San Francisco, the 49ers won 40-21 against a total line of 42.5.
The betting public is doing us a favor in this game by driving the line down after it opened at 41. The total has gone ‘over’ in nine of Seattle’s last 10 games against the NFC and in 10 of its last 11 games overall. The total has gone ‘over’ in four of San Francisco last five games overall and in its last four against the NFC.
Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders
The final game on the Week 1 NFL schedule is a Monday night AFC West clash between two teams searching for an identity this season. Denver has been caught up in a quarterback drama, despite the fact that Kyle Orton remains the only legitimate starter on the roster. Oakland has ushered in yet another head coach, Hue Jackson, to try and return this franchise to its former glory.
The thing that jumps out about this matchup is that both teams did a decent job putting points on the board last season, but both had some serious trouble at keeping their opponents from doing the same. This was especially true for Denver, which gave up an NFL-worst 29.4 points a game last year. Both contests between the two last season went well ‘over’ the total, including the Raiders 59-point outburst the first time they met.
The line movement in this game is favoring the ‘under’ after opening at 42, which is exactly what we want. The past trends paint a completely different picture with the total going ‘over’ in Oakland’s last four season openers and in nine of its last 12 games against the AFC. The total has gone ‘over’ in five of Denver’s last six home games and in seven of its last nine against the AFC West. The total has gone ‘over’ in six of the last eight meetings between the two, including the last three straight.
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