The first three-plus weeks of the NFL season has seen the "over" cash at a profitable 55.1 percent. This is above the historical norm, and note Week 4 opened Thursday night with an easy "under" cover.
As for the rest of the Week 4 slate, three games have had the total moved by more than a point as of Friday morning. Lions-Bears (48) opened at 46; Seahawks-Jets (40) has moved from 41.5; and Broncos-Bucs (43) has fallen from 44.5.
Here are this week's NFL total picks:
Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons (50)
The Falcons are humming on offense. Atlanta ranks fourth in passing yards (312.0 per game), fifth in rushing yards (136.0) and leads the league in scoring (34.7 PPG). That's the good news. Unfortunately, the Falcons haven't stopped anyone. They've also allowed the fifth-most points in the league (30.3 per game).
As for the Panthers, they've yet to show that same vintage form from a season ago that resulted in an NFC championship. But don't worry, it's coming. Remember, "Riverboat Ron" and the Panthers started just 1-3 last year. And you can't overlook who it is Carolina has struggled to score against this season. Namely, the Broncos and Vikings-unquestionably the two best defenses in the NFL.
So, it says here the Panthers have a breakout performance offensively in the ATL.
Pick: Over, 4 Units
New Orleans Saints at San Diego Chargers (53.5)
Drew Brees returns to San Diego after 10 years to take on successor Phillip Rivers and the Chargers. This is the highest line of the week and for obvious reasons. Both of these teams score plenty of points and seem to allow just as many. The Bolts are third in scoring (29.0 PPG), while the Saints check in eighth (26.3 PPG). Conversely, New Orleans has allowed the second-most points in football (32.0 PPG) while San Diego ranks 20th (24.3 PPG).
That's the nuts and bolts of things, but there seems more to it in this one. Look for Brees and Rivers to turn this into a showdown in San Diego. Among Chargers fans, it's still a thorny issue the decision to let Brees walk after the 2006 season and hand the team over to Rivers. Would history have turned out different if Brees would have stayed? We'll never know. In any event, look for Brees and Rivers to be slinging it all over Qualcomm on Sunday.
Pick : Over, 3 Units
New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings (43.5)
The Giants invested significant dollars this offseason to boost what was a historically-bad defense in the 2015. So far, that investment is yielding acceptable dividends. New York comes in ranked fifth against the rush (77.3 YPG) and just outside the Top 10 in points allowed (20.3 per game). The defense is playing winning football, but the one concern is the secondary is banged up and thin on numbers this week. However, if that's ever to be the case the Vikings would seem an ideal opponent. Minnesota remains a run-first offense, even without Adrian Peterson in the backfield.
Then we get to the Vikings defense. This is a premiere unit: young, athletic, ball-hawking, nasty, you name it. In Minnesota's 3-0 start, the defense has allowed just 13.3 PPG while scoring a couple touchdowns of its own on returned interceptions.
It's forecasted to be a postcard perfect day in Minnesota on Sunday with sunny skies and a daytime high of 71 degrees. So weather won't be a factor. Still, given the prowess of these two defensive units, points would seem to be at a premium in this one.
Pick: Under, 4 Units
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