Week 1 in the NFL is in the books, and betting the total line was a mixed bag with nine games going "over" and seven staying "under" on 5Dimes' closing NFL betting odds. As far as my top three picks for this past Sunday's game, I ended the day 1-2 after the Baltimore at Denver game stayed well under the 49-point line.
This week's picks are all about adjustments after relying too heavily on last season's results to handicap the games. The oddsmakers will also adjust the betting lines accordingly, but I am confident that I can find three games to fall my way. The following are my top three picks for Week 2 of the 2015 NFL regular season based on betting odds by 5Dimes.
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Sunday, Sept. 20
Tennessee Titans at Cleveland Browns (1 p.m. CBS)
Total Line: 41.5
The Titans have to be thrilled the way they ran over Tampa Bay last week behind the solid debut of rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota. He only put the ball up 16 times, but he completed 13 passes for 209 yards and four touchdowns. Mariota should face a tougher test this week against a Cleveland defense that held the Jets to 179 yards passing.
Cleveland got off to a rough start in a 31-10 loss to New York last Sunday, and it looks like it will turn to Johnny Manziel as its starting quarterback against Tennessee after Josh McCown was knocked out of last week's game with a concussion. Manziel threw for 182 yards and a score in relief of McCown, but he was also picked off once and sacked three times as his lack of NFL experience running the Browns' offense was pretty apparent.
The total for this game opened at 41.5, and so far it has held steady throughout the week. The inexperience at quarterback plays right into the hands of both team's defense, and this game should remain a defensive battle all day long. The total has stayed under in four of the Titans' last five games and in 11 of the Browns last 13 outings, and my confidence level that it stays under this Sunday remains high.
Game Pick: UNDER
Houston Texans at Carolina Panthers (1 p.m. CBS)
Total Line: 40.5
The Texans started their season with a tough 27-20 loss to Kansas City as turnovers put them in a 27-9 hole at halftime. They did manage to make things close with 11 unanswered points in the fourth quarter after Ryan Mallet took over for Brian Hoyer, and he could very well get the start this Sunday afternoon. Houston's running game remains at a disadvantage with Arian Foster out of the lineup. Alfred Blue was the leading rusher in Week 1 with 42 yards on nine carries.
The Panthers relied on a heavy dose of defense to get past Jacksonville 20-9 on opening day. Carolina had its own issues on the other side of the ball with just 263 yards of total offense. Cam Newton completed just 58 percent of his 31 passing attempts for 175 yards, and he was picked off once and sacked twice. The Panthers rushed for 105 yards, but they averaged only 3.0 yards a carry.
There has been some downward pressure from the betting public on the current total line (40.5) after opening at 41.5, but I still feel that it is high enough for a solid play on the under. Neither offense appears to be in regular-season form, and this game is also shaping up to be a defensive battle from start to finish. The total has stayed under in four of Houston's last six road games, and it has also stayed under in four of Carolina's last six games overall.
Game Pick: UNDER
San Diego Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals (1 p.m. CBS)
Total Line: 45.5
Philip Rivers earned every penny of his new contract in San Diego's 33-28 victory against Detroit this past Sunday with 404 yards passing and two scores while completing 35-of-42 attempts. Keenan Allen also came up huge in that game with 15 receptions for 166 yards. Rivers completed passes to seven different players to help rally his team from a 21-3 deficit midway through the second quarter.
The Bengals also posted a big win in their season opener by upending Oakland 33-13. They jumped out to 24-0 lead at the half and coasted from there. Andy Dalton put the ball up 34 times, and he completed 25 passes for 269 yards and two scores. Tight end Tyler Eifert was Dalton's top target with nine receptions for 104 yards and both of his passing touchdowns.The Bengals added another 124 yards on the ground behind the running of Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard for an average of 4.1 yards an attempt.
The opening betting line for the total in this game was set at 45.5, and it has climbed slightly to 46. The offensive firepower on both of these offenses points to another high-scoring affair in this matchup that could easily be decided by which team has the ball last. The total has gone over in six of the last nine meetings between the two, and it is going over again this Sunday in Cincinnati.
Game Pick: OVER
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