NFL Totals Betting: Week 1 Over and Under Predictions
by Dave Schwab - 9/3/2014
This Thursday night another season in the NFL gets underway, but Sunday's slate offers the best opportunity for bettors to cash in on the games. For the fourth season in a row I will be releasing my top three picks on the "over/under" NFL betting lines for Doc's Sports.
The key to success after going 29-21-1 with last year's picks is to dig deep into the stats and betting trends for all the matchups on the slate in an effort uncover a few golden opportunities to beat the sportsbooks at their game. The following are my top three picks for Week 1 in the NFL based on betting odds by BetOnline.
Sunday, Sept. 7
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens (1 p.m. CBS)
Total Line: 43
The Bengals open the new season as slight favorites to repeat as AFC North champs, but the futures odds suggest that this could be the tightest division race in the league. Andy Dalton is back at quarterback, and he still has AJ Green as his top target, but Cincinnati's defense is still the primary strength of this team after finishing the 2013 season ranked fifth in the NFL in points allowed (19.1).
Baltimore's vaunted defense took a major step backwards last season with the departure of a few key veterans, but you know that head coach John Harbaugh has made this one of his top priorities this past offseason. My question is how will quarterback Joe Flacco respond after suffering a major Super Bowl hangover in 2013. This side of the ball was ranked 29th in the league in total yards and 25th in average points (20.0)
The total line for this game opened at 43, and it has held steady throughout the week. The total has gone "over" in four of the last six meetings, but it has actually stayed "under" in five of the last seven games played in Cincinnati. I am looking for both defenses to be well ahead of the opposing team's offense in this one.
Game Pick: UNDER
Oakland Raiders vs. New York Jets (1 p.m. CBS)
Total Line: 39.5
It is a new season in Oakland, but it could be the same old story with a projected win total of just five games. The biggest change on offense is at the quarterback position, with rookie Derek Carr getting the start after coming to the team with the fourth pick overall pick in the second round of the draft. He won the starting job over Matt Schaub, who was ineffective in the preseason.
New York brought in Michael Vick to give second-year quarterback Geno Smith a push for the starting nod, but that race never materialized. Head coach Rex Ryan's main job with his team is to get back to the formula of running the ball and playing defense that led to back-to-back trips to the AFC title game in his first two years at the helm.
You knew that this total line was going to be set low for this matchup, and it has held steady at 39.5. Despite the low total, I still love the under in this game as I just cannot see either team scoring more than 20 points. The total has stayed under in 11 of the Raiders last 17 conference games, and it has stayed under in four of the Jets last five games against a team from the AFC.
Game Pick: UNDER
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4:25 p.m. FOX)
Total Line: 39.5
Carolina won the NFC South last season with a record of 12-4, but it is hard to attribute a great deal of that success to an offense that was ranked 18 th in the NFL in scoring (22.9 points) despite some solid play from quarterback Cam Newton. The Panthers' defense, on the other hand, was ranked second in the league in both total yards and points allowed (15.1).
It is the start of a new era in Tampa Bay with Lovie Smith in place as the team's new head coach. He became known for his shut-down defenses in Chicago, and he will undoubtedly try and do the same with a Buccaneers defense that was already ranked 17th last year in yards allowed. The main rebuilding job will be on an offense that only averaged 18 points a game in 2013.
This is another low total line that has remained steady after opening at 39.5. Newton is listed as probable for Sunday, but his rib injury could still be a factor. Tampa Bay starter Josh McCown should be under pressure all day long behind a very shaky offensive line. The total has stayed under in 13 of Carolina's last 18 season openers, and it has stayed under in 14 of Tampa Bay's last 18 Week 1 games.
Game Pick: UNDER
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Read more articles by Dave Schwab
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