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Total Talk - Week 2



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Took a straight up ass kicking with the totals last week, as the five games and there respective total plays outlined did go 1-4 overall, but the one win (Jacksonville/Houston Over) was the one play that was left off the card.

That does speak to my personal error there as the larger point behind all this past digging that I do is to find stuff that consistently works and consistently turn a profit blind. Bettors (including myself) have to be willing to play them all though and not try and pick and choose too often, otherwise you go 0-2 as I did last week with the Rookie QB 'over' angle when I really should have gone 1-2.

I'm always looking to simplify things as I'll always believe that over-complicating things with boatloads of various stats and information actually makes things much more difficult on a bettor. But hey, I'll always say find what works for you over anything (as long as it works). But a few more weeks of awful results in totals like last week could have me scrapping getting involved with totals all together going forward.

Can only go up from an 0-4 week, so why not start by shooting for the moon; trying to handicap luck.

Since 2017, NFL teams that had a +3 Turnover Margin or greater are 4-9 O/U in Week 2. Those same 13 teams put up an average team total of 19.61 points in Week 2, and only twice have they scored more than 24 points.

Applies to Houston (+3), New Orleans (+3) and Dallas (+3) in Week 2

It was the 2018 season that saw both occurrences of these +3 Turnover Margin teams score more than 24 points as the Minnesota Vikings tied 29-29 with Green Bay, and the LA Rams dominated Arizona in a 34-0 win. Three other teams – 2020 New Orleans Saints, and 2017 Baltimore Ravens and Detroit Lions - managed to put up 24 points on the nose, but to have five of the 13 teams finish with 24 or more points and the overall average being 19.61 points for these teams, it tells you there have been some ugly offensive performances for these teams as well in Week 2.

When you step back and think about the concept behind the idea, it does make a lot of sense. These teams benefited tremendously from turnovers in Week 1 (+3 or more), and a lot of times in the NFL, turnovers essentially turn into easy points for the opposition. Take all those extra possessions away because it's hard to sustain a great turnover margin over the course of time, and scores have no choice but to drop dramatically. It really makes looking at 'unders' in a variety of forms for these teams rather attractive.

This week we've got three teams that fit this role, as the Houston Texans, New Orleans Saints, and Dallas Cowboys all finished Week 1 with a +3 turnover margin, with Dallas being the only one of the three to lose SU. All three have interesting matchups for this theory as well this week.

New Orleans could do no wrong offensively in Week 1, as the 5 TD's Winston threw garnered plenty of praise. They are a team that's been dealt a brutal hand by being displaced for the foreseeable future and they were able to rally around one another in Week 1.

But eventually there is going to be a time where life on the road is going to wear down this Saints team, and although it's not likely to be Week 2, opening up the divisional schedule with a road game against a team in Carolina that prefers to play stout defense and run the ball is not going to be easy.

Because of that, I do believe the Saints are the best of the three teams involved in this scenario to go forward with and back the 'under' in both cases (FG and team total), especially as the Saints team total is 24.5 ('under' - 125). It's a number set right on that key number for these teams, a number that hasn't been surpassed since 2018 and has stayed at or below 24 points in six straight games starting in 2019.


Houston's team total as +12.5 road dogs in Cleveland is in the 16.5/17 point range which actually puts them below the overall four year average of 19.61 points for these teams. It makes following this idea with an 'under' team total play on the Texans tough to completely get behind, even with them expected to be one of the worst teams in the league this year.

It's still Week 2 though, so there is no need to abandon season long projections on teams. Meaning it should still be an 'under' on Houston's team total if anything gets played, but a full game 'under' might be the better option of the two.

Cleveland is coming off that huge game (and loss) to KC last week and it's going to be tough mentally to go from playing one of the best teams in the NFL to one of the worst. The Browns could easily not look sharp and stumble to something like a 20-17 win, or they could run away with things early and then sit on the football in the 2 nd half, killing all chances for an 'over' ticket to cash.

Finally there is the case of the Dallas Cowboys and after what the world saw from them offensively on Thursday night, a Dallas team total or full game 'under' play is really not on anyone's radar as they go and visit the Chargers. The full game total opened up in the 52/52.5 range and immediately saw 'over' pressure to now sit at a flat 55 juiced to the 'over'. The Cowboys team total sits at 25.5 as well.

With the team total being above that threshold of 24 points, a game total of 55 being a number that has only been surpassed twice (58 points in 2020 Saints game and 2018 Vikings game (tie) in the 13 games that fit this idea since 2017, and seemingly the entire market already showing their hand and looking the other way, taking the 'under' for the game and on the Cowboys team total has to be done in my eyes.

It's far from the most confident bet as a line doesn't necessarily move like that without some significant cash being laid down on the 'over', and Dak Prescott and Justin Herbert could go out there and put on an aerial show for everyone. But there is plenty there to go the contrarian route on an 'under' here, especially when you see that the Chargers non-conference home games the past two years have finished with 37, 37, 49, and 37 points.

Best Bets

  • Houston/Cleveland Under 47.5
  • New Orleans/Carolina Under 45
  • New Orleans Team Total Under 24.5
  • Dallas Cowboys Team Total Under 25.5
  • Dallas/LA Chargers Under 55

  
 
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