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Total Talk - Week 6

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Week 5 Recap

The 'under' produced an 8-6 record last week and that number could've easily been 12-4 if it wasn't for some second-half outbursts. In particular, our apologies go out to anybody who had the 'under' (39) in the Bears-Jaguars matchup. The line dropped, deservingly, and the score was knotted 3-3 at the half. Chicago led 10-3 late in the third quarter before a barrage of big plays, including two defensive touchdowns, happened. The final dagger was 44-yard scamper late in the game as the Bears were trying to run out the clock. Despite that lucky 'over' ticket, the 'under' stands at 40-37 on the season.

Round 2 - Already?

In Week 2, Cincinnati stopped Cleveland 34-27 at home and the combined 61 points easily jumped 'over' the closing number of 42 ½. Four weeks later, the Browns and Bengals will meet again, this time from Cleveland. The opener came out at 45 and it quickly dropped to 44 and most books have the line down to 43. Why the drop? For starters, there is a 60% chance of precipitation for Sunday's game, plus this is a divisional matchup so these teams are familiar with one another. However, Cleveland's defense is banged up but it does get back stud defensive back Joe Haden, who missed the Week 2 affair. Bengals QB Andy Dalton had 318 yards and three touchdowns in the first meeting against a defense without Haden.

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The 'over' has cashed in the last three encounters between the two teams but this total seems too high for this matchup and we delved into the number. In the last 20 meetings between the Bengals and Browns, the total was listed in the forties 12 times. The 'under' went 8-4 (67%) in those games and more importantly, it was 6-0 to the 'under' in totals listed above 42 points.

Off the Bye

We touched on this last week and with four teams off the bye, be aware of the rust vs. rest factor. Last season, the 'under' went 24-8 (75%) last season in games that featured at least one team playing with rest. Pittsburgh and Indianapolis were in these spots last week. The Steelers went 'under' while the Colts saw their game go 'over' but it wasn't easy for them. Indy got a tremendous effort from rookie quarterback Andrew Luck as the team posted 29 points in the second-half.

The four teams on bye this week:

Tampa Bay: The Buccaneers will host a banged-up Kansas City team.
Oakland: The Raiders will play an early game (10:00 a.m. PT) in Atlanta.
Dallas: The Cowboys visit Baltimore.
Detroit: The Lions head to Philadelphia (see below)

Something's Gotta Give!

With five weeks of action to analyze, it's a little easier to pinpoint 'over' and 'under' teams and their tendencies. It's easy to handicap a total when you have two 'over' or 'under' squads going up against one another, but what do you do when they're the opposite? Below are four contests where that issue exists.

Detroit at Philadelphia: The Lions are off the bye, so they should be prepared. Detroit has seen the 'over' go 2-1-1 and they've given up 27 and 44 points in its two road games. Philadelphia has watched the 'under' go 4-1 behind a turnover prone offense. The Eagles have only managed to bust the 20-point barrier once and they were fortunate (24) to do that. The total is hovering between 47 and 48 points, which might be too high for these inconsistent squads.

Minnesota at Washington: After starting the season with four straight 'over' winners, the Redskins saw the 'under' cash last week in their 24-17 loss to Atlanta. What we've learned from Washington is that you can score on them (29.4 PPG) but the offense has been shaky past two weeks. Minnesota has watched the 'under' go 4-1 and it should be 5-0 if it wasn't for some miraculous plays in Week 1's matchup against the Jaguars. The Vikings' defense (15.8 PPG) has been lights out this season, plus the offense prefers to grind rather than glow. No early total was released due to injuries but a number in the low to mid-forties should be expected.

Buffalo at Arizona: Can an average offense score on a suspect defense? Gamblers will ask themselves that question when the Bills, who have allowed 97 points the last two weeks, visit the Cardinals. Buffalo has watched the 'over' cash in four of five, due to its aforementioned weak defense. Meanwhile, Arizona has seen the 'under' go 4-1 and similar to Minnesota, the 'under' should be 5-0 if it wasn't for the late bursts in a Week 4 overtime win over Miami (24-21). Betting the 'over' in the desert was once a solid look but a weak offense and strong defense has changed that trend. Despite that fact, the total is still pretty healthy at 43 ½ points.

New England at Seattle: Another question for gamblers - can a great offense score on a great defense? The Patriots have seen the 'over' go 3-2 behind an offense that's scored 30 or more in four games this season. Defensively, Seattle is ranked first in total defense (258 YPG) and second in points per game (14) and the unit has played talented units in the Cowboys, Packers and Panthers. This will easily be the toughest test for Seattle, who has seen the 'under' go 5-0. New England is starting to run the ball more with a hurry-up look but the Seahawks have been beasts on the ground (66.6 YPG). The total is hovering around 44 ½-points, which is the lowest total for the Pats this season and not surprisingly, the highest for the Seahawks. Make a note that New England made two trips to the West Coast last season and they scored a combined 72 points against the Broncos (41) and Raiders (31) respectively.

Line Moves

The smart money went 3-1 (75%) last week with their total moves in Week 5. Below are the Week 6 totals that have been adjusted by 1 ½ points or more at CRIS as of Saturday.

Cincinnati at Cleveland: Line opened at 45 and dropped to 43 ½ (See above)
Indianapolis at N.Y. Jets: Line opened at 42 and jumped to 43 1/2
Kansas City at Tampa Bay: Line opened at 42 ½ and dropped to 40 ½ (Chiefs QB Matt Cassel 'out')

Fearless Predictions

If it wasn't for the Chicago-Jacksonville bad beat that we mentioned above, it would've been a clean sweep. Still, the profits were $190 for the week and now $350 on the year. As always, Press, Pass or Fade but in the end - Good Luck!

Best Over: Atlanta-Oakland 48.5

Best Under: Cleveland-Cincinnati 43

Best Team Total: Over Oakland 18 1/2

Three-Team Total Teaser (9-Point, +100):
Over 39 ½ Atlanta-Oakland
Under 52 Cleveland-Cincinnati
Under 46 ½ Miami-St. Louis

Chris David can be reached at cdavid@vegasinsider.com

  
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