NFL Totals Betting: Week 4 Over and Under Predictions
by Dave Schwab - 9/24/2014
Looking back at BetOnline's closing betting odds on the total line, the "under" paid-off in 20 of the first 32 NFL games this season, but last week the tide turned a bit with 10 of the 16 games on Week 3's schedule going "over" the closing line. My impressive 3-0 start to the new NFL season has turned into a pedestrian 5-4 record after a second straight week of going 1-2 with my top three weekly picks. This is the fourth straight season I will be releasing my weekly picks on the over/under betting lines for Doc's Sports.
Two straight weeks of posting a losing record has to stop, so I have gone back to work breaking down this week's NFL matchups to come up with my top three picks on the total line for Week 4 in the NFL based on betting odds by BetOnline.
Sunday, Sept. 28
Carolina Panthers vs. Baltimore Ravens (1 p.m. CBS)
Total Line: 40.5
The Panthers came back to earth last week after a 2-0 start in a 37-19 loss to Pittsburgh at home. Carolina now faces its second straight AFC North opponent on the road. To have any shot at staying above .500 on the year this team is going to need a much better effort from its defense. This unit allowed just 21 points in its first two games against Tampa Bay and Detroit, and it remains the primary strength of this team. The big matchup in this game will be the Panthers' secondary against Baltimore's passing game.
Baltimore moved to 2-1 on the year with last week's tight 23-21 win over Cleveland in a game that just went over the closing 43-point line. I have used the Ravens twice so far as a pick on the under because of what I have seen from a revitalized defense. This unit continues to play more to the form of what you would expect from a John Harbaugh-coached team. The key statistic here is 16.7, which is the average amount of points the Ravens have allowed so far.
The total line for this contest opened at 41.5, and the line has remained steady ever since. These teams do not know each other all that well, which should only enhance the play of each team's defense. The total has stayed under in the Panthers' last five road games, and it has also stayed under in nine of Baltimore's last 12 games played at home.
Game Pick: UNDER
Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears (1p.m. FOX)
Total Line: 50
Packers' fans may be a bit on edge with their team's unexpected 1-2 record, but as quarterback Aaron Rodgers put it when he was asked about the slow start, "relax". I would have to agree as it is way too soon to panic, especially with the weapons that he does have at his disposal to put points on the board. Green Bay has only averaged 18 points a game so far, and it managed just seven points in last Sunday's loss to Detroit, but this game presents a golden opportunity to light things up against a defense that is ranked 23rd in the league in yards allowed.
Chicago has been able to overcome some letdowns on the defensive side of the ball with an offense that knows how to quickly put points on the board. Led by veteran gunslinger Jay Cutler, the Bears scored 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter of a Week 2 win over San Francisco, and this past Monday night they jumped out to a fast start against the Jets to win 27-19. Cutler has thrown for 750 yards and eight touchdowns in his first three games.
The total in this NFC North showdown opened at 49.5, and some early money on the over has pushed this number to 50 on BetOnline's current board. I normally do not go with the betting public or against some strong betting trends that weigh heavily for the under in recent matchups, but that is the case with this pick. You can't keep Rodgers under wraps forever, and Cutler is poised to match him score for score this Sunday afternoon.
Game Pick: OVER
Atlanta Falcons vs. Minnesota Vikings (4:25 p.m. FOX)
Total Line: 46.5
It is highly doubtful that Matt Ryan and the Falcons' offense will be able to match last Thursday's 56-point explosion against Tampa Bay, but there is no doubt that this team does have one of the most explosive offenses in the league. Ryan has been lighting it up so far with 965 passing yards and seven scoring strikes, and his favorite target Julio Jones is back in the lineup and playing at 100 percent with 23 receptions for 365 yards and three touchdown catches.
The Vikings stunned St. Louis 34-6 on opening weekend, but it has been all downhill since then with double-digit losses to New England and New Orleans. Part of the slide can probably be attributed to the whole Adrian Peterson mess, but he does not play on a defense that has given up 50 points in its last two games. The distractions should be at a minimum this week, which should yield better production on offense, but Minnesota will be tested through the air by Atlanta.
The total line for this game was first set at 47, and it has dipped slightly to 46.5 points, which is in the right direction for me. I can't see the Vikings holding Atlanta to less than 30 points, and they should be able to tack on another 20 points or so against a Falcons' defense that is ranked 27th in the league in yards allowed. It also helps that the total has gone over in seven of Minnesota's last 10 home games.
Game Pick: OVER
YTD Record: 5-4
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