Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:53 AM

Over-Under NFL Week 1 Total Predictions, Odds

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The 2020 National Football League season kicked off on Thursday night and the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs ran past the Houston Texans, earning a 34-20 decision. 

It's not uncommon to see a middle in any football game and some savvy total bettors were able to cash both sides in the season opener. The number was hovering between 54 and 55 points but most sportsbooks closed the line at 53, which created a win for those who bet the 'under' early and the 'over' late.

We've got 15 more NFL totals to bet in Week 1 and there is something for everybody.

Over-Under Line Moves

Listed below are the largest line moves for Week 1 based off our VI Odds as of Friday.

L.A. Chargers at Cincinnati: 46 1.5 to 41.5
Miami at New England: 44 to 41.5
Philadelphia at Washington: 45.5 to 42
Arizona at San Francisco: 45 to 48

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

Over-Under Betting Trends

Arizona at San Francisco: Over 95%
L.A. Chargers at Cincinnati: Under 95%
Indianapolis at Jacksonville: Under 94%
Dallas at L.A. Rams: Over 87%
Pittsburgh at N.Y. Giants (MNF): Under 85%
Cleveland at Baltimore: Under 82%

There is also a heavy lean on for the 'over' (73 percent) in the Tampa Bay at New Orleans matchup, and heavy lean on the 'under' in Green Bay at Minnesota (72 percent) battle.

2019 Total Notes

2019 Top Over/Under Teams
Team O/U Team O/U
Tampa Bay 12-4-0 Buffalo and Pittsburgh 4-12-0
Carolina 11-5-0 Chicago and Green Bay 6-10-0
DAL, DET, NYG, TEN 10-6-0 9 teams tied 7-9-0

Looking above, you can see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had the best 'over' mark in the NFL last season, going 12-4 to the high side while Carolina wasn't far behind with 11-5. When looking for an 'over' team, most folks try to find the most explosive offense but you could be better suited basing your lean on a poor defense. 

The Bucs were ranked 29th in scoring defense last season, allowing 28.1 points per game. Meanwhile, the Panthers allowed 29.4 PPG and were ranked 31st in scoring defense. 

Sticking with the defensive angle, the Buffalo Bills were ranked second in scoring defense (16.5 PPG) and they owned a 12-4 record to the 'under.' Pittsburgh also had a 12-4 'under' record and it was helped with the fifth-best scoring defense (18.9 PPG). Both clubs also weren't great offensively but the defensive theme certainly resonates with totals. 

Handicapping Week 1 Totals

We have nine divisional matchups set for Week 1, one NFC vs. NFC battle, three AFC vs. AFC contests and two tussles between AFC vs. NFC.

Let's take a look at Week 1 from the 2019 season and see how those type of matchups fared:

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

The ‘over’ went 9-7 last season in the opening week of games, with the AFC battles especially high-scoring with the 'over' at 4-1.

Non-Divisional Total Trends to Watch

Looking ahead to Week 1, here are some important trends to note:

Seattle at Atlanta: The over edged the under 8-7-1 for the Seahawks in 2019, while the under went 9-7 for the Falcons. The under cashed in their Week 8 meeting in Atlanta, a 27-20 win by Seattle.

Las Vegas at Carolina: The Raiders play their first regular-season game as the Las Vegas Raiders. They hit the under in 23 of their past 32 on a grass surface, and the under is 5-0 in their past five road games. The Panthers hit the over in five of their final six home games in 2019.

L.A. Chargers at Cincinnati: The over has hit in each of the past five regular season openers for the Bolts, and the over went 4-0 in their final four road games. The new-look Bengals went winless in 2019, but hope springs eternal in the Queen City. The under is 12-4-1 in the past 17 for the Bengals as a 'dog, although the over is 7-3 in their past 10 regular season openers.

Dallas at L.A. Rams (SNF): The over has connected in seven of the past 10 road games for the Cowboys. The Rams will be opening up a new stadium, so there are obviously no trends for SoFi Stadium. The under is 7-3 in the past 10 for the Rams as a 'dog.

Pittsburgh at N.Y. Giants (MNF - Game 1): The under has cashed in seven of the past eight for the Steelers, while going 22-5 in their past 27 as a road favorite. The over has cashed in four straight at home for the G-Men, although the under is 5-2 in their past seven MNF battles.

Tennessee at Denver (MNF - Game 2): The over hit in five of the final seven road games for the Titans in 2019, while going 6-1 in their final seven as a favorite. The under is 17-7-1 in the past 25 for the Broncos, while going 5-2 in their past seven appearances on Monday. The over is 8-2 in their past 10 regular-season openers, however.

Division Over-Under Trends

While we don't have any data to play with this season, here are some trends to watch for the nine divisional matchups for Week 1.

N.Y. Jets at Buffalo: The under has cashed in three of the past 13 divisional games for the Jets, including both meetings last season against the Bills. The under has connected in the past six games in the month of September for Buffalo.

Chicago at Detroit: The Bears have gotten off to a slow start offensively in recent years, with the under going 11-5 in their past 16 Week 1 games, including last season's 10-3 game against the Packers. The over is 12-1 in Detroit's past 13 Week 1 games, but the under is 7-2 in their past nine divisional games.

Green Bay at Minnesota: The under has cashed in nine straight divisional games dating back to 2018, while the Vikings have hit the under in 26 of their past 35 games inside the NFC North. In this series, the under is 5-1 in the past six meetings, and 6-0 in the past six battles in the Twin Cities.

Miami at New England: The Dolphins were lit up in Week 1 by Baltimore last season, and the over is 6-1 in their past seven as an underdog. The Patriots have hit the under in nine of their past 13 divisional matchups, and 19-9 in the past 28 as a favorite.

Philadelphia at Washington: The Eagles have hit the over in four of their past five games in the month of September, while the Washington Football Team has hit the over in five of their past six divisional matchups.

Indianapolis at Jacksonville: The over has cashed in Indy's past four regular season openers, and 4-1 in the past five AFC South battles. For the Jaguars, the under is 9-4 in the past 13 games at home. 

Cleveland at Baltimore: The Browns are an underdog for their opener in Charm City. The under is 8-2 in the past 10 as an underdog for Cleveland. The under is also 5-2 in the past seven meetings in this series, splitting 1-1 in the two meetings in 2019. The over is 6-2 in Baltimore's past eight divisional battles.

Tampa Bay at New Orleans: The over has cashed in 10 of the past 11 games against NFC foes for the Bucs, and five straight inside the division. The over is also 4-1 in the past five in this series, and 5-2 in the past seven tussles in New Orleans. The over has hit in six straight regular-season openers for the Saints, too.

Arizona at San Francisco: The Cardinals have hit the over in six of their past eight on a grass surface, while the over is 4-0-1 in San Francisco's past five divisional games and 6-2 in the past eight at home. 

Primetime Points

The ‘over’ went just 17-31-1 (35.4%) in primetime games during the 2019 season, a stark contrast from previous seasons when the 'over' dominated under the lights.

The Week 1 schedule will feature three more games under the lights after Thursday's matchup between Kansas City and Houston.

  • SNF - Dallas at L.A. Rams
  • MNF - Pittsburgh at N.Y. Giants
  • MNF - Tennessee at Denver

Sunday Night Football Notes

The 'under' went 13-4 in the Sunday Night Football matchup last season and that included an 8-1 run in the first nine games.

The Cowboys and Rams total is the only remaining game listed in the fifties and both teams have conflicting trends (see above) that could have you undecided.

Sunday Night Football Results
Season O/U - Early Season (Week 1-8) O/U - Late Season (Week 9-17) Total Season
2019 1-8 3-5 4-13
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

Monday Night Football Double-Header

We'll have the usual doubleheader on Monday night to kick off the season and 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.

2019 -- Houston 28 at New Orleans 30 (EARLY) (Over 52)
2019 -- Denver 16 at Oakland 24 (LATE) (Under 42 ½)
2018 -- N.Y. Jets 48 at Detroit 17 (E) (Over 44)
2018 -- L.A. Rams 33 at Oakland 13 (L) (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 excited to offer up my selections again for the 2020 season, although it's going to be interesting seeing how the lack of fans affect the totals. We start out at ($0). My documented total record since the start of the 2016 season is 68-57 (54.5% +$576), and we'll look to improve that even more here.

Best Over: Tampa Bay-New Orleans 45 ½
Best Under: Philadelphia-Washington 51
Best First-Half Total: Tampa Bay-New Orleans 23

Three-Team Total Teaser (+7, +135)
Over 38 ½ Tampa Bay-New Orleans
Over 36 L.A. Chargers-Cincinnati
Under 59 Dallas-L.A. Rams

Joe Williams can be reached on Twitter at @JoeWilliamsVI

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