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Total Talk - Week 17

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Week 16 Recap

The ‘under’ produced an 11-5 record last week, which sort of helped the guys behind the betting counter. Unfortunately, the two primetime games both went ‘over’ and Monday’s outcome between the 49ers-Falcons summed up totals in the NFL this season. Atlanta led 10-3 at the break and anybody who had ‘over’ 46 ½ was probably ready to chalk up the loss. Even after the 49ers took a 13-10 lead heading into the final 15 minutes, things didn’t look great but that was before the 35-point explosion in the fourth quarter. On the season, the ‘over’ now holds a 126-110-5 (53%) edge. 

AFC vs. NFC

Since every game is a divisional battle this week, the non-conference trend won’t be in play until the Super Bowl. I’ve personally never seen a trend perform at such a consistent rate throughout an entire season. For those keeping records, in a day of low-scoring affairs the Cincinnati-Minnesota and Pittsburgh-Green Bay matchups still went ‘over’ their numbers last Sunday. After 16 weeks, the ‘over’ finished with a 50-15 (77%) mark in non-conference games this season. Congrats to all who followed and a special thanks to VegasInsider.com handicapper Marc Lawrence for bringing it to our attention.

Line Moves

The Line Moves went 1-4 last week and those results aren’t surprising, especially with the inordinate amount of ‘under’ tickets. Overall, the moves are now barely ahead (40-35-1) after 16 weeks. Listed below are this week’s matchups that have had a total move by 1 ½ points or more at CRIS’s opening lines, which were sent out Sunday evening. We haven’t seen much movement and two of the games listed below moved due to the status of QBs.

San Francisco at Arizona: Line opened 43 and dropped to 41 ½
St. Louis at Seattle: Line opened 44 ½ and dropped to 41 ½
Green Bay at Chicago: Line opened 51 and jumped to 52 ½  
Philadelphia at Dallas: Line opened 55 ½ and dropped to 53

Meaningless

The NFL has done a pretty good job by making Week 17 relevant and this week’s slate will only have three games that have no playoff implications whatsoever. If you’re out and about this Sunday afternoon and you’re dialed into one of the below games, you might hear somebody say, “Who the hell is watching this game?”

Houston at Tennessee
Washington at N.Y. Giants
Detroit at Minnesota

Meaningful

Since three games are meaningless on Sunday, that means 13 games will have at least one team going all out.

Carolina at Atlanta: The Panthers beat the Falcons 34-10 at home on Nov. 3, which saw the ‘under’ (46 ½) cash. Carolina has been a great ‘under’ bet (10-4-1) all season but Atlanta has seen the ‘over’ go 5-2 and I would be surprised to see the Falcons lay down in their finale. The loss of wide receiver Steve Smith (leg) will likely hurt Carolina's attack.

Green Bay at Chicago: Very high total for a matchup that has seen the ‘under’ go 9-1 in the last 10 meetings. The Packers offense should get a boost with QB Aaron Rodgers and WR Randall Cobb back in the lineup, especially against a shaky Bears defense. Both Green Bay (4-1) and Chicago (5-1) have closed the season with strong ‘over’ runs.

Cleveland at Pittsburgh: The 'under' is on a 4-1 run between these teams, which includes Pittsburgh's 27-11 road win over Cleveland on Nov. 24. Make a note that the Steelers have watched their last four games go 'over' the number.

Baltimore at Cincinnati: The ‘under’ has cashed in each of the last two encounters, which includes Baltimore’s 20-17 win over Cincinnati on Nov. 10.

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Jacksonville at Indianapolis:
The Jaguars and Colts have seen their last five meetings go ‘under’ the number, yet this week’s total is hovering around 45 points.

N.Y. Jets at Miami: The Dolphins captured a 23-3 road win over the Jets on Dec. 1. Including this outcome, the ‘under’ is on a 5-1 in this series.

Buffalo at New England: The Patriots stopped the Bills 23-21 in Week 1 on the road and the combined 44 points fell ‘under’ the closing number of 50 ½. Prior to this result, the ‘over’ was on a 4-0 run and New England scored 31, 49, 52, 37 points during this span.

Tampa Bay at New Orleans: Even though the Saints score in bunches at home, the ‘under’ is 4-3 in the first seven games played at the Superdome this season. This is another matchup with a high total (47 ½), yet bettors have watched the ‘under’ go 9-1 in the last 10 meetings between the pair.

Denver at Oakland: Tough game to handicap because Denver might call off the dogs in the second-half if they get up big. The first-half total or team total seems doable on the Broncos, especially when you know that Peyton and company have put up 37, 26 and 37 in his last three battles against Oakland.

San Francisco at Arizona: The 49ers beat the Cardinals 32-20 at home on Oct. 13 and the ‘over’ 40 ½ connected. The number on the rematch (41 ½) is in the same neighborhood and both teams will be looking to win here. The ‘over’ is on a 3-1 run in this series.

Kansas City at San Diego: The Chargers outlasted the Chiefs 41-38 in the first encounter this season and the rematch is expected to feature plenty of reserves from Kansas City, who have already clinched the fifth seed in the AFC.

St. Louis at Seattle: The oddsmakers made a mistake opening this game at 44 ½ and the number has dropped to 42 ½. The ‘under’ is on a 6-1 run in this series and St. Louis hasn’t scored more than 13 points in its last six trips to Washington.

Philadelphia at Dallas: (See Below)

Under the Lights

As mentioned above, the ‘over’ went 2-0 in the primetime games last week. Overall, the ‘over’ has gone 28-21 (57%) in contests played under the lights this week.

The Week 17 SNF finale will feature Philadelphia at Dallas from Arlington, Texas. The winner will claim the NFC East and the loser will be sent packing. Obviously this game has lost some luster with Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) ruled ‘out’ and Kyle Orton taking his place. The oddsmakers adjusted the number up on the Eagles and the total dipped as well.

In the first meeting, Dallas dominated Philadelphia 17-3 on the road in Week 7. The Cowboys defense arguably played their best game of the season and Eagles QB Nick Foles (11-of-29, 8- yards) looked horrible before he exited early with an injury. Since this matchup, Foles has been incredible and the Dallas defense has been atrocious.

So what happens in the rematch? The Eagles cashed last week on SNF for the public with the Favorite-Over combo and some will likely press that button again. Since Chip Kelly is now the coach with the Eagles, I don’t believe the past head-to-head history should be weighed heavily, even more so with Orton starting for Romo. I did do some quick research on the SNF finale in Week 17 the past five years and there are some trends to watch. The ‘under’ has cashed the last three seasons and the home team has won the previous five SNF finales.

2012 – Washington 28 vs. Dallas 18 (Under 48)
2011 – N.Y. Giants 31 vs. Dallas 14 (Under 48)
2010 – Seattle 16 vs. St. Louis 6 (Under 42 ½)
2009 – N.Y. Jets 37 vs. Cincinnati 0 (Over 33 ½)
2008 – San Diego 52 vs. Denver 21 (Over 50)

Fearless Predictions

We went 1-3 last week and dropped $220. After 15 weeks of making selections within our fictitious bankroll, we’re up $20. Tough week to bet totals but I’m confident that we’ll be in the black come the playoffs. As always, Press, Pass or Fade but in the end – Good Luck!

Best Over: Houston-Tennessee 44
Best Under: Carolina-Atlanta 46
Best Team Total: Over Houston 19

Three-Team Total Teaser (9-Point, +100):
Over 35 Houston-Tennessee
Over 42 Detroit-Minnesota
Under 51 Seattle-St. Louis

Chris David can be reached at cdavid@vegasinsider.com
 

  
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