NFL Totals Betting: Week 1 Over and Under Predictions
by Dave Schwab - 9/4/2013
While a good majority of the people that enjoy wagering on the NFL tend to focus much of their attention on a particular matchup’s pointspread, many times the real value in the lines can be found in the “over/under” for that game.
Each and every week during the NFL regular season, I will be digging deep into all the matchups to uncover a few golden opportunities to cash in on the oddsmakers’ mistakes when setting the over/under. The following are my top three picks for Week 1 with lines provided by BetOnline.
Sunday, Sept. 8
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New York Jets (1 p.m. FOX)
Total Line: 39.5
The Buccaneers ended the 2012 season ranked 13th in the NFL in scoring with an average of 24.3 points a game, and they gave up almost the exact amount on defense, which helps explain why the total went 8-7-1 that year. What caught my eye was that five of their final six games last season stayed under the total.
New York had its fair share of problems scoring last season with an average of 17.6 points a game, but this situation may have actually gotten worse this offseason and training camp with a complete fiasco of decision-making at the quarterback position. The bottom line is that a player that struggled against the better teams in the Big 12 last season will be leading the Jets’ offense on opening day as Geno Smith is getting the starting nod at quarterback.
The total for this game opened at 41.5 and has been driven down two points since then. While I normally do not like to follow the betting public on line moves, current form and past trends heavily favor the under in this game. The total has stayed under in eight of Tampa Bay’s last 10 season openers and in four of New York’s last five games overall.
Game Pick: UNDER
Arizona Cardinals vs. St. Louis Rams (4:25 p.m. FOX)
Total Line: 41
The Cardinals will be relying on 11-year veteran Carson Palmer to get this season off to a fast start with a win. He inherits an offense that was ranked 31st in the league in scoring last season with an average of 15.6 points a game. The only thing that made Arizona somewhat competitive in 2012 was a defense that was ranked 12th overall.
St. Louis purposely used the draft to add a few playmakers on offense with the addition of wide receivers’ Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, who played together at West Virginia, but it could take some time for those moves to pay off. The loss of Steven Jackson in the running game will only put more pressure on Sam Bradford and an offense that was ranked 25th in scoring last year.
The total for this contest opened at 40 and has climbed to 41, which suits me just fine. Neither one of these offenses will be able to click right out of the gate. Given the fact that the total has stayed under in eight of the last 10 meetings, I expect this to be a low-scoring affair.
Game Pick: UNDER
Monday, Sept 9
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Redskins (7:10 p.m. ESPN)
Total Line: 51.5
No one is quite sure what to expect from Chip Kelly’s offensive scheme this season, but with a healthy Michael Vick at quarterback it could be downright explosive on opening day. You have to heavily discount the past scoring trends of this team given that players such as LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson remain in the starting lineup. These guys can be explosive.
The question with the Redskins’ offense is just how rusty Robert Griffin III will be after spending the entire offseason rehabbing his knee. The good news is that is first game back is against a defense that allowed an average of 27.8 points a game last season and looked even more porous during this year’s preseason.
The total for this NFC East clash opened at 51 and has crept up half a point, which means there is probably some early money on the over. Once again I’m going with the betting public on this one in what could easily turn into an aerial shootout between Vick and RG III. Past betting trends favor the under in this game, but I think it is going to be a whole new ball game with Philly this season when it comes to scoring points.
Game Pick: OVER
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