Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:56 AM
Hot & Not Report - Week 5
Editor's Note: Don't miss out on NFL Winners on VegasInsider.com from Matt Blunt. Click to win!
Week of September 30th
There were some interesting results from the two games covered in last week's piece, as the Chiefs/Lions game was the first to buck that 'under' trend of 2019 with a non-conference home underdog. Even still, that game needed a TD late in the contest by Detroit to sail 'over' the number (before KC scored again).
But it was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 55-40 wild win out at the Los Angeles Rams that was one that shocked many, but not if you caught the “Who's Not” part last week.
That topic touched on just how bad home favorites have been early in the year prior to a road game on TNF, and the Rams SU and ATS loss pushed home favorites in that pre-TNF road role to 2-10 ATS and 2-10 SU during the first five weeks of the year over the past three seasons. I discussed how there had been some big upset winners in there before, and as a 9-10 point underdog on Sunday, Tampa Bay added themselves to that list of big paydays for those that were ballsy enough to ride that trend.
No rest for the wicked though, as it's on to Week 5's potential spots. And while I did mention that I wasn't intentionally picking on L.A. Rams fans, just that their team kept finding themselves in these situational angles, Rams fans will find their team involved in this week's piece as well.
Staying away from Rams angles is going to have to wait at least another week!
Playing on 'Unders' after a team scores 40 or more points
1-8 Over/Under since Week 15 of 2018
5-12 O/U since start of 2018 season when it's divisional rivals squaring off
In 2019 alone, this trend is 1-4 O/U overall, as we actually had nobody live in it this past Sunday. Interestingly enough too, is the lone 'over' (New England/New York Jets in Week 3) came after a team (New England) put up their 40+ points and didn't cash an 'over' ticket in the process. That came in their 43-0 win over Miami in Week 2, as that's a rare scenario in of itself.
But generally speaking, getting one side to put up 40 points typically cashes an 'over' ticket along with it, and we've got three different teams fitting this role for Week 5.
I'll begin with the Rams and Buccaneers, who each put up 40 or more points in that wild Sunday afternoon game yesterday. They are somewhat grouped together this week as well, as they are both out on the road, and both squaring off against division foes. Remember, since the start of last year, divisional games that fit this 40+ scenario have hit the 'under' at a 70% clip.
The Rams have that short week ahead of them as we already know, travelling north to Seattle for a big game with the Seahawks. A total of 49 is no slouch of a number for guys on a short week, and considering how many yards quarterback Jared Goff threw for on Sunday (517), and how many points the Rams scored (40) and allowed (55), it's easy to assume there will be plenty of love for the high side of this total as Thursday draws near.
Chances are we could see this number even climb a bit, but it won't be because of support from me if that's the case.
Goff's big day statistically was great, but first and foremost, LA's defense has to tighten things up to avoid putting Goff and the offense in that spot needing so many points. Granted, the three interceptions that Goff threw didn't help things, but getting the defense to turn around things on a short week isn't unfeasible. Can't imagine they took Tampa Bay too seriously given how that game played out, and that just won't be the case with a road divisional game against Seattle this week.
NFL prime time games have still been 'under' machines in 2019 despite a 2-1 O/U record the last three, and with how sloppy these short-week, TNF games can be, I do think going low on this total makes a lot of sense in general. Add in this great 'under' role, and I hope this number climbs.
Tampa Bay's the other team visiting a divisional rival in Week 5, as they take a trip to the Big Easy to face a New Orleans team off a big SNF win. The Saints defense completely wrapped up the Cowboys in that one, and there shouldn't be any worry about them taking Tampa lightly as a divisional foe, and after the offensive performance they put up in LA.
The Bucs total is a little lower at 47.5, and with the way the Saints are trying to win games now with Teddy Bridgewater as a “game manager” QB and the defense doing plenty of the heavy lifting, the 'under' generally makes sense here as well. There is more time to dig into a game like this to either confirm or pass on the low side of this total, but given the history of these 40+ point teams the following week, it's hard not to like going low.
The final team that fits this role in Week 5 of coming off a game where they scored 40+ are the Cleveland Browns. The Browns get the national spotlight treatment once again as they head to San Francisco for MNF, with the 49ers coming off a bye.
The bye week for the 49ers makes things a bit more tricky here as they've had two full weeks to prepare to attack this Browns defense, although the last three times it's been AFC vs NFC in this situational angle with one side coming off a 40+ effort, the 'under' is a perfect 3-0. That includes an 0-2 O/U record this year, with one of those games including the 49ers themselves in their 24-20 win over Pittsburgh last time out.
Backing teams ATS after scoring 40 or more points in their last outing
4-8 ATS (33%) since Week 14 of 2018 and 1-4 ATS (20%) in 2019
Sorry Rams fans, I know the first half of this piece could be taken as positive in terms of your defense turning things around in a few days, and they probably will. But recent history suggests that it probably doesn't turn out to be a SU victory for your team given what the point spread is (+1) and the ATS history the following week for these 40+ point scoring teams.
That being said, the ATS record might be 1-4 ATS this season the following week for these squads, but the SU record is 4-1 SU. All four of those outright winners off a 40+-point day were laying at least -6 in all of those wins though, and only the Kansas City Chiefs in their Week 2 win over Oakland was able to bring home the ATS cash. The virtual pick'em point spread here for the Rams/Seahawks game on TNF is a different situation in that regard, so we will just have to see how it plays out.
We already know that Tampa and Cleveland are the other two teams in this spot for Week 5, as both teams are catching a little more than a FG (Tampa +4.5, Cleveland +3.5) for their respective games. Given that the situation does look tougher for Cleveland on paper as it is – an undefeated opponent coming off a bye week and not playing a backup QB – this history does the Browns no favors as well, so we might see another prime time stinker from Cleveland this time next week.
The last five times this scenario has applied to a non-conference game, the team coming into that contest off a 40-point effort is just 1-4 ATS, a run that includes a 0-2 ATS record this season. The 49ers themselves couldn't get it done when they hosted Pittsburgh last time out, and neither could the Ravens in Week 2 when they hosted Arizona.
So Cleveland fans, don't get too over-hyped this week after a great win in Baltimore over the weekend, because we saw the impact a completely full bandwagon for your team can do in their Week 1 blowout loss.