After seeing the two highest totals go ‘over’ in Week 1, bettors watched the highest numbers in Week 2 go ‘under’ the number. (Saints-Giants 54, Buccaneers-Cardinals 49).
Five teams (Buccaneers, Redskins, Jaguars, Raiders, Colts) in the NFL are allowing 30-plus points per game through two weeks and four of them are allowing 395 total yards of defense. The one outlier is Jacksonville (325 YPG) and it’s actually outgained its first two opponents but turnovers (4/1) have been killers.
The Chargers are averaging 21 points in the first half this season, which is the best in the league. The Raiders lead the league with 23 PPG in the second-half. For those interested, Cleveland has only scored three points in the second-half this season and Baltimore hasn’t allowed a point in the final 30 minutes of each of their first two games.
Cody Kessler will be the fourth rookie quarterback to start a game this season when he suits up for Cleveland against Miami. Bettors could be hesitant to back the young guns but Carson Wentz (29 PPG) and Dak Prescott (23 PPG) have been decent and the Patriots just scored 27 on Thursday with Jacoby Brissett under center.
Through two weeks of the season, we’ve seen the ‘over’ go 7-5 in 12 non-conference games and this week’s card has two matchups on tap. I dug up some numbers on this week’s games and there are some strong scoring tendencies for both visitors.
Arizona at Buffalo: This will be the first road game of the season for the Cardinals and bettors saw the club go 6-3 to the high side last season when away. Digging deeper into Arizona, we found out that the team is averaging 26.4 PPG on the road in non-divisional games since head coach Bruce Arians took over. The Buffalo defense (400 YPG) hasn’t looked sharp this season and followers of this column are aware that this matchup fits the “Thursday Night Total” system since the Bills played the midweek game in Week 2. The Bills offense will have a new coordinator in Anthony Lynn running the show this Sunday.
Pittsburgh at Philadelphia: The Steelers have seen the ‘over’ go 11-3 in their last 14 games versus the NFC and they’re averaging 29.7 PPG during this span, which includes their 38-16 win at Washington in Week 1. The Eagles defense (286 YPG, 12 PPG) has started off very strong but facing Big Ben is a huge step up in class from RG3 and Jay Cutler.
Washington at N.Y. Giants: Tale of two different tapes for this matchup with the Redskins 2-0 to the ‘over’ while the Giants have seen the ‘under’ connect in their first two games. New York’s defense (16 PPG, 308 YPG) has looked much better early in the season while Washington’s unit (408.5 YPG, 32.5 PPG) continues to look suspect. QB Kirk Cousins has struggled in his career (1-3) versus the Giants with 8 interceptions (3 TDs) and this appears to be a better New York defense. The ‘under’ is 7-3 in the last 10 meetings.
Detroit at Green Bay: Three of the last six meetings in this series have seen exactly 50 points scored, while the pair combined for 31, 26 and 34 points in the other three contests. Those outcomes have produced a 3-3 total mark during this span. You might be surprised but Detroit’s offense (411.5 YPG) is much better than Green Bay (287 YPG) thus far and even though the Lions put up 15 points last week, three touchdowns were called back on penalties.
San Francisco at Seattle: This is the lowest total (40 ½) on the board and it could be hard making a case for the ‘over’ based on what we’ve seen from Seattle. The Seahawks defense (9.5 PPG) is miles ahead of their offense (7.5 PPG) and the health of QB Russell Wilson remains a concern behind an average offensive line. Surprisingly, the 49ers are averaging 27.5 PPG after two games but that number was helped with plenty of short tracks due to turnovers. The ‘under’ has gone 8-2 in the last 10 meetings and San Francisco has scored a total of 26 points in the last four encounters.
Under the Lights
Including Thursday’s easy ‘under’ winner between the Patriots and Texans, I’m guessing the bookmakers are happy with the primetime results this season. We’ve seen one unexpected shootout, a few low-scoring affairs and some great middle opportunities for savvy players. Headed into this weekend, the ‘under’ holds a slight 4-3-1 edge.
Chicago at Dallas: Very tough total to handicap here due to the quarterback situation for both teams but the early money has pushed the odds from 45 ½ to 44. Brian Hoyer will get the start at QB for Chicago and while he’s not special, he’s capable. In 10 starts for the Texans last season, the team scored 20-plus in seven of those games. Dallas QB Dak Prescott hasn’t looked like a rookie but he’s been held back with the club trying to establish the run (60 carries) the first two weeks. Defensively, Chicago is better than advertised while the Cowboys “bend but don’t break” plan has worked, so far. These teams have played three times since 2012 and the ‘over’ has connected easily with combined scores of 52, 73 and 69 points posted.
Atlanta at New Orleans: These “indoor” teams always seem to warrant a high total when they get together based on public perception but bettors should be aware that the ‘under’ is on a 6-3-1 run in this series. Atlanta has seen the ‘over’ cash in its first two games behind an offense (451 YPG) that is clicking on all cylinders and it will be facing a New Orleans defense (452 YPG) that has looked atrocious. The Saints offense has always played better at home and the Falcons defense has surrendered 59 points in their first two games.