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Total Talk - Week 17

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Week 16 Recap

The ‘under’ went 9-7 last weekend and on the season the ‘under’ stands at 114-110-1. Like any other week, gamblers caught a couple second-half ‘over’ tickets, which helped the game outcome go ‘over’ as well. Oddsmakers had three totals listed at 40 points or less last Sunday and all three of those games jumped ‘over’ their numbers. It’s just something to think about as we head into Week 17, which is arguably the toughest week to handicap.

Meaningful or Meaningless

All of this week’s games are divisional battles, so we’ll provide a quick handicap of the entire afternoon board.

1:00 p.m. ET

Jets at Bills: These teams combined for 76 in Week 1 as the Jets won 48-28 at home. The total for this matchup is hovering around 39 points and it’s hard to see either club duplicate their offensive efforts from the opener. Both teams have been held to 17 points or less the past three weeks.

Ravens at Bengals: Even though these teams are in the playoffs, this game is meaningless. The Bengals are locked into the sixth seed and the Ravens are most likely the fourth seed unless they win and the Patriots lose. Baltimore routed Cincinnati 44-13 in Week 1.

Browns at Steelers:
The Browns will go with third-stringer Thad Lewis (Duke Blue Devils) at QB, which could set up an ‘under’ look. The LVH sent out a total on Saturday of 34 ½ points. At home, the Steelers have watched the ‘under’ go 6-1 and only one team (San Diego) scored more than 13 points.

Texans at Colts: It looks like a go for all starters here, especially with home-field on the line for the Texans. Colts are locked into the fifth seed so you wonder if they pull starters if the game is out of hand. Houston just beat Indy 29-17 and the game barely went ‘under’ the closing number of 48. Make a note that the Texans have scored 43 and 29 points off a loss this season and they just got embarrassed by the Vikings (6-23) last Sunday.

Jaguars at Titans: Four of the last five encounters have gone ‘under’ in this series, including Jacksonville’s 24-19 win over Tennessee on Nov. 25. That total was 45, this week’s is 42.

Eagles at Giants: New York still has a shot for the playoffs and the Birds will go with Michael Vick at QB, which could be his last game with the team. High total (46) but hard to ignore that the Giants have surrendered 27, 34 and 33 points the last three weeks. Philadelphia’s defense is just as bad, allowing 30-plus in five of the last seven games.

Bears at Lions: Chicago beat Detroit 13-7 in a MNF affair in mid-October. This game could get chippy and a lot of trash talk has been spewing this week. The Bears’ offense has trouble scoring, yet the Lions allow a ton of points. At Ford Field, they haven’t held an opponent under 20 this season.

Buccaneers at Falcons: The line opened 47 and dropped to 46. How much playing time Atlanta’s first-stringers get is unknown. After a nice midseason run, the Bucs have scored a combined 34 points the last three weeks, all ‘under’ tickets.

Panthers at Saints: This is the highest total (54) for Week 17 and you would expect the ball to be rolled out for this matchup. The Saints are an offensive machine and against weak teams, they light up the scoreboard. Carolina has potential to score too and it did beat New Orleans 35-27 in Week 2. Something tells me that New Orleans, in particular Drew Brees, will be looking for revenge.

4:25 p.m. ET

Dolphins at Patriots: If Houston loses, then this game becomes important for New England. Otherwise, the Patriots could rest and get ready for their playoff game next week. New England has watched the ‘over’ go 6-1 at home. Snow and wind is expected in the area, which is always tough to handicap.

Packers at Vikings: Green Bay stopped Minnesota 23-14 in Week 12 and the closing total (47) wasn’t threatened. Lots of eyes will be on this game with AP’s charge at the rushing record. Vikings are on a 4-1 run to the ‘under’ and surprisingly, Green Bay has seen the ‘under’ go 6-2 in its last eight.

Chiefs at Broncos: The ‘under’ has cashed in four straight in this series and the games have been real ugly. Low total here and even though Peyton gets all the press, the Denver defense has been real good lately.

Raiders at Chargers: The Raiders will give Terrelle Pryor the shot at QB, which makes this game a little interesting. San Diego has scored 7, 13 and 13 in its last three home games, all easy ‘under’ tickets.

Cardinals at 49ers: San Francisco stopped Arizona 24-3 on the road in late October and the ‘under’ (37) cashed rather easily. The 49ers have been on an ‘over’ run (5-0) and the defense does look weak without DT Justin Smith in the trenches.

Rams at Seahawks: St. Louis beat Seattle 19-13 in Week 4. The Seahawks are much improved team, especially on offense. The ‘over’ has cashed in five straight and seven of the last eight game for Seattle.
Line Moves

The smart money took it on the chin last week with a 2-4 record. Five of those moves leaned to the ‘under’ and that’s the case again this week. Here are all of the line moves of 1 ½ points or more at CRIS as of Saturday.

N.Y. Jets at Buffalo: Line opened 41 and dropped to 39
Miami at New England: Line opened at 49 ½ and dropped to 46
Baltimore at Cincinnati: Line opened at 43 and dropped to 41

Under the Lights

Last Saturday night the Falcons beat the Lions 31-18 and the game barely snuck ‘under’ the closing total of 50. Those who had the ‘under’ were fortunate since the Falcons settled for a late field goal and the Lions couldn’t score on the goal line at the end of the game. On Sunday, Seattle blasted San Francisco and cashed ‘over’ tickets for the fifth consecutive week. This season, the ‘under’ has gone 30-18 (63%) in primetime games.

Washington at Dallas: Three of the last four meetings in this series have gone ‘over’ the total, which includes the Redskins’ 38-31 road win over the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day. What some might forget about that game is Dallas was winning 3-0 after the first quarter and then RG3 led the Washington offense to 28 unanswered points in the second quarter. The ‘Skins did whatever they wanted offensively and so did Dallas quarterback Tony Romo (441 yards). For this matchup, RG3 could still be nursing a knee injury. Last week he only ran twice and he’s averaging close to eight carries a game. Both teams come into this game with four of their last five games going ‘over’ the number. This line opened at 50 and dropped to 48 at a few outfits but is now hovering around 49 points. If you get both teams to 24, you’ll have a winner provided it doesn’t end in a tie. Considering the playoff implications, you could get a tight game but at the same time, neither team should lay down in the end either.

Fearless Predictions

For the third straight week, we’ve turned up in the red. Fortunately, we stopped some of the bleeding with the Jets team total under but the deficit was still $220. On the season, we’re in the black for $620 and looking ahead to the postseason. As always, Press, Pass or Fade but in the end - Good Luck and Happy New Years to you and yours!

Best Over: Saints-Panthers 54
Best Under: Eagles-Giants 47
Best Team Total: Over 29 ½ Saints

Three-Team Total Teaser:
Over Saints-Panthers 43
Under Dolphins-Patriots 55
Under Falcons-Buccaneers 54 1/2

Chris David can be reached at

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