Total Talk – Week 1

Primetime Points

The ‘over’ ended up at 26-25 (51.0%) during primetime games during the 2018 season. On Thursday night, the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears played a preseason-esque battle which resulted in an easy under result, but we have three more primetime games in Week 1. It also took well into the middle of the regular season before some of the primetime matchups started producing big-time points.

The new-look Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots will battle on Sunday Night Football. Last season, the 'under' was 8-2 across the first 10 scheduled games on SNF, and then the 'over' connected in six of the final eight games on the telecast. We saw similar slow starts in past seasons, too.

Sunday Night Football Results
Season O/U - Early Season (Week 1-8) O/U - Late Season (Week 9-17) Total Season
2018 2-7 6-3 8-10
2017 4-5 4-4 8-9
2016 5-4 7-2 12-6
2015 3-6 7-2 10-8

2018 Top Over/Under Teams
Team O/U Team O/U
Kansas City 10-5-1 Denver 3-12-1
N.Y. Jets 10-6-0 New England 5-11
Cincinnati 8-6-2 DET, JAX, MIN 6-10

Line Moves and Public Leans

Listed below are the largest line moves for Week 1 as of Friday evening per [...].

Indianapolis at L.A. Chargers: 48 to 45
Detroit at Arizona: 49 to 46 ½
Buffalo at N.Y. Jets: 38 ½ to 40 ½
San Francisco at Tampa Bay: 49 to 51
Pittsburgh at New England: 51 ½ to 49 ½

Listed below are the five largest leans for Week 1 per the betting trend percentages on the VI Matchup index as of Saturday morning.

Baltimore at Miami: Over 93%
Washington at Philadelphia: Under 93%
Pittsburgh at New England: Under 91%
Kansas City at Jacksonville: Under 87%
Houston at New Orleans: Under 87%

There is also a heavy lean on for the 'under' (84 percent) in the L.A. Rams at Carolina matchup, and heavy lean on the 'over' in Indianapolis at L.A. Chargers (86 percent)

Handicapping Week 1

We have four remaining divisional matchups set for Week 1 (with one already in the books), four NFC vs. NFC battles, five AFC vs. AFC contests and two tussles between AFC vs. NFC.

Let's take a look at Week 1 from the 2018 and how those type of matchups fared.

Week 1 Total Results
Year Over/Under
Divisional matchups 4-0
NFC vs. NFC 0-4
AFC vs. AFC 3-1
AFC vs. NFC 2-2

The ‘over’ went 9-7 last season in the opening weekend, with each of the divisional matchups cashing the over. Perhaps 2019 is going down a different road, as the Green Bay at Chicago matchup is already an under result for Week 1.

Taking a look at the remaining divisional battles for Week 1, here are some important trends to note:

Washington at Philadelphia: The under has connected in four of the past five Week 1 openers for the Redskins, and they have seen the total go under in five of their past seven games inside the NFC East. The under is also 7-3 across the past 10 road games for Washington dating back to the late part of the 2017 season. For Philly, the under is a perfect 4-0 in their past four Week 1 tilts, while cashing in 10 of the past 13 home outings since the middle portion of the 2017 season. However, this series has produced four over results in the past five meetings at Lincoln Financial Field.

Buffalo at N.Y. Jets: The under is 6-1 in the previous seven road contests for the Bills, while going 5-1 in their past six opening-weekend battles. However, in this series, the over is 7-2 in the past nine meetings at Met Life Stadium. For the Jets, that's a common theme, as they have seen the total go over is 6-1 of their past seven at home, while hitting in four of their final five in 2018. However, the under is 10-4 in the past 14 meetings inside the division.

N.Y. Giants at Dallas: When the 'Boys and G-Men hook up, points aren't necessarily sure to follow. The previous six meetings have seen the under cash in five of those outings. However, the over is 7-3 in the past 10 meetings at Jerry's World. The over also has connected in five of New York's past seven on the road, while hitting in six of the past eight at home for Dallas.

Denver at Oakland: The under has hit in five straight meetings in this series, while cashing in five of the past seven battles in the Bay Area. In addition, while the under is 5-0-1 in the past six inside the division, and the under is 4-0-1 in Denver's past five road games, the over is 8-1 in their past nine seasons in Week 1. The under is an impressive 17-4 in the past 21 games inside the AFC West for the Raiders, while going 5-2 in their past seven in Week 1. The under is also 9-3 in Oakland's past 12 games in the Black Hole.

Heavy Expectations

There are four games listed with spreads of a touchdown or greater for Week 1, with one battle listed in double digits. The totals are ranging from 43 ½ to 53 ½ in these contests and cashing a total could come down to which teams lay off the gas in the second-half.

Washington at Philadelphia (1:00 p.m. ET): Both of these teams saw the under cashed in nine of the 16 games in 2018, including each of the two meetings against each other. The battle in Philly on Monday Night Football back on Dec. 3, 2018 was a 28-13 victory in favor of the Eagles, while they also took a 24-0 decision in D.C. in the regular-season-finale. The last time the over cashed in both games between these teams was during the 2016 regular season.

Cincinnati at Seattle (4:05 p.m. ET): The Bengals usually fire out of the chute with plenty of points, hitting the 'over' in seven of their past nine Week 1 battles. The over cashed in Seattle's final four of 2018, and the over has connected in four of their past five games at Century Link Field.

N.Y. Giants at Dallas (4:25 p.m. ET): These rivals split the totals during the 2018 season battles, with the under hitting in the meeting in Arlington in Week 2 on Sunday Night Football during a 20-13 win by the Cowboys. The 'Boys won a 36-35 shootout in Week 17 in New Jersey in what amounted to a meaningless result.

Houston at New Orleans (7:10 p.m. ET - Mon.): The ‘under’ has cashed in four of the past five opening games for the Texans, while going 8-3-1 in their past 12 in the month of September. For the Saints, the 'over' is a perfect 5-0 in their past five openers, and the total has gone over in four of their past five appearances on Monday Night Football.

Under the Lights

We'll have a pair of Monday Night Football battles to kick off the 2019 once again. There is an interesting trend, too, in these doubleheaders. The over is cashed in seven of the previous eight 'early' MNF kickoffs, with the 'under' 5-2-1 in the past eight 'late' MNF kickoffs. We've only seen six divisional matchups across the past 16 MNF games in Week 1, but the 'over' has been a solid 4-1-1 in those meetings, including a push in the 2011 battle between the Raiders and Broncos, who kick it off in the late window this week.

2018 -- N.Y. Jets 48 at Detroit 17 (EARLY) (Over 44)
2018 -- L.A. Rams 33 at Oakland (LATE) (Under 47 ½)
2017 – Minnesota 29 vs. New Orleans 19 (E) (Over 47 ½)
2017 – Denver 24 vs. L.A. Chargers 21 (L) (Over 41 ½) 
2016 – Pittsburgh 38 at Washington 16 (E) (Over 49)
2016 – San Francisco 28 vs. L.A. Rams 0 (L) (Under 43)
2015 – Atlanta 26 vs. Philadelphia 24 (E) (Under 56)
2015 – San Francisco 20 vs. Minnesota 3 (L) (Under 42)

Fearless Predictions

I am not a huge bettor, as far as the preseason games are concerned. I am excited to offer up my selections for the 2019 season, especially since I place a lot of importance on totals. With those outcomes, so we start out at ($0) with no preseason total results. My documented total record since the start of the 2013 season is 154-136-5 (53.1 percent) ($640), and we'll look to improve that even more here. As Chris David, who has penned this column for many years would say, always, Press, Pass or Fade but in the end – Good Luck!

Best Over: Buffalo-N.Y. Jets 40 ½
Best Under: San Francisco-Tampa Bay 51
Best First-Half Total: Tennessee-Cleveland 22 ½

Three-Team Total Teaser (+7, +135)
Over 39 ½ Atlanta at Minnesota
Over 33 ½ Buffalo at N.Y. Jets
Under 58 San Francisco at Tampa Bay

Joe Williams can be reached on Twitter at @JoeWilliamsVI


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