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Last Updated Sep 22, 2021, 8:00 PM

Total Talk - Week 3

Far better weekend with the totals results in Week 2, as going low with those teams coming off games where they had a +3 edge in turnovers really couldn't have worked out much better. New Orleans only scored 7 points (in garbage time) in their loss, and even in a Cowboys SU win as road underdogs, Dallas still only finished with 20 points, never threatening the full game total at all.

The 'under' in Houston/Cleveland brought the only loser as fears of Houston's team total number being too low proved to be true with the two early scores being the dagger for any 'under' look there. Even still, it wasn't until a Browns TD with just under 6 minutes left to put the game away that the full game 'under' was officially cooked.

It was the Cowboys 'under' connecting with relative ease that was the most surprising in the end though, as that game got off to a fast offensive start to begin with and it looked like Dak Prescott and company could do no wrong offensively.

But the whole point of trusting findings like these to be part of the basis behind plays made is that the ups and downs within a particular game are far less stressful. Backtracking these scenarios only bring up the “how many” and not the “how” of the end result.

This week I see no reason to change from an idea that should fundamentally find success more often than not – playing 'unders' on teams that just had +3 turnovers – because scores are naturally going to be slightly inflated based on the short fields etc that those turnovers created.

With two more teams fitting that bill this week, that's where we will start.

Best Bets

  • Chicago Team Total Under 18.5
  • New England Team Total Under 22.5

Chicago and New England are the two NFL teams that finished last week at least +3 in turnovers, and yet with both teams winning their respective games and still going 'under' by a significant margin in the process does make this week a little trickier. Hopefully I'm not getting too cute avoiding the full game totals, but in both instances the number still feels a little low.

Being +3 in turnovers – one accounting for a Chicago TD – and only putting up 13 points offensively suggests that it's the same old Bears offensively. Chicago ranks 29 th in points per play on offense, and I'm not sure that can drastically change even with a QB change, as it's still going to be a rookie making his first career start.

With Cleveland being a very good team with the pass rushers they do, unless Chicago's defense continually flips the field with turnovers for their offense, Chicago's offense could really look like they are stuck in mud again this week.

Cleveland's offense could get rolling enough if they make plays early and demoralize a Bears defense that has to watch their own offense not move the ball, the Browns could do all the heavy lifting in getting the full game total up and over 45.5. But Chicago's ceiling feels like it's 17 right now.

The full game total in the Saints/Patriots game has seen some downward pressure to get to 42 currently, and to score on 25 points on a +4 TO margin like the Patriots did a week ago doesn't suggest everything is great with New England's offense either.

This Saints team sits 3rd in the league in Opponent Yards per point (21.1) behind the Eagles and this New England team. Yes, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers may have stunk in Week 1, but the Saints defense was on the field that day too, as they are ranked 5 th in Opponent Points per play (0.232) through two weeks as well. New Orleans is also 3rd in the league in rush yards against/game (66), as that could be working against this Patriots offense too.

Interestingly enough, both of these games are non-conference tilts that have been 'under' bets so far this year (3-7 O/U), and that could be partly behind the full game totals getting bumped down already during the week. Tease these two totals up higher to take the 'under' would be the way to play these full game totals now, but the team totals on these two teams have remained relatively consistent in terms of flat wagers.

Prime Time Overs 6-0

Best Bets

  • Carolina/Houston Under 43
  • Philadelphia/Dallas Under 51.5

The showcased night games have been nothing but scoring bonanzas so far in 2021, as the perfect 6-0 O/U run to start the year is rather unheard of. The last time we even got through Week 1 without an 'under' cashing in prime time was back in 2013, and the Week 2 prime time games then finished with 23, 32, and 30 points.

'Over' streaks like this one are ones I do prefer to go against too, simply because it doesn't take a whole lot of betting pressure to bump these numbers higher as word of the streak continues to get brought up and prime time games are an 'over' haven of action to begin with.

Week 3's matchups do bring some teams that have put up some numbers conducive to expecting defense though. Looking at just these four stats through two weeks, in order: Offensive pts/play, Offensive yards/point, Opponent pts/play, and Opponent yrds/point, we've got some pretty good defenses to look at in prime time this week.

Now, it's only two weeks and quality of opponent matters, but the Philadelphia Eagles rank 20th, 27th, 1st, and 2nd across those four categories. That's the profile of a team that relies on their defense to stay in check because the offense struggles to sustain drives and move the ball. They sit top two in the two defensive categories and are in the bottom third in both offensive categories. That screams 'under' to me.

Dallas, for all the praise their offense has gotten this year, they are still more of a yard churner unit than anything, plagued by age old issues in converting drives into TD's and/or protecting the ball. The Cowboys rank one spot worse than Philly at 28th in the NFL in Offensive yards per point and now they are going up against one of the league's top defenses so far. With a total in the 50's in a MNF divisional game? Easy to get behind the 'under' there.

With TNF, we've got a Houston team that's now turning to a QB further down the depth chart and facing a team with a similar profile to the Eagles. Carolina ranks 23rd, 24th, 4th, and 8th, in those four categories in order, as they are another team that is comfortable relying on their defense when necessary, preferring to be more methodical on offense. Put that top defense up against a Texans team with a rookie QB making his first career start and this could be another game where defense wins the day.

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