Last Updated Sep 05, 2022, 2:05 PM

Total Talk - Week 17

We have arrived at Week 17 of the NFL regular season, and thankfully we didn't have any delays or postponements last week due to the omicron variant of COVID-19. There are some different protocols in place now, so hopefully the season will be able to end on time, without interruptions, and with everyone still safe and healthy.

This is also the final column of 2021, so we'll see you on the flip side in 2022. Have a Happy, Healthy and Safe New Year, everybody! More importantly, I hope it's a prosperous one from a betting perspective.

COVID did still rear its ugly head this week, and the timing couldn't be worse for the Indianapolis Colts. QB Carson Wentz, an unvaccinated player, has tested positive for the coronavirus. With the new protocols in place, even with a positive on Tuesday, he would have had to miss Sunday's game with a 10-day isolation window. The new protocols now call for five days, so there is a shot he plays Sunday, even without a vax, as long as he shows no symptoms and tests negative. In the meantime, QB Sam Ehlinger is working as the starter in practice. QB Brett Hundley, who has starting experience in Green Bay, is currently on the practice squad.

You can thank Santa COVID for some early UNDER gifts, if you're one of those glass half-full people. Me, I am not one of those individuals, as I tend to live the half-empty attitude, although I'm trying in my older age. I mean, I did just say something nice about COVID, and that's hard to do.

The Las Vegas Raiders-Cleveland Browns game from Week 15 was pushed due to 'vid problems within the Browns organization, and QBs Baker Mayfield and Case Keenum, as well as WR Jarvis Landry and head coach Kevin Stefanski STILL missed the game. It makes you wonder why it was moved in the first place. Anyhoo, the game ended up an EASY UNDER play, although Browns third-string QB Nick Mullens actually through more touchdown passes than future Hall of Famer QB Tom Brady last week, if you really want to talk about weird.

The Seattle Seahawks-Los Angeles Rams game was pushed to Tuesday, and they said, "30 points? Sure, let's do it, too." The Rams picked up the 20-10 for another COVID delay UNDER results.

Oddly enough, the highest scoring reschedule game was the Washington Football Team-Philadelphia Eagles (39.5), thanks to a Greg Ward Jr. touchdown catch from Jalen Hurts midway through the fourth quarter. That was the only OVER result, and that was with WFT signing QB Garrett Gilbert off the New England Patriots practice squad three days ago to make his second-ever NFL start. Insane.

Christmas Day Double

Cleveland at Green Bay (Sat.): The Browns have hit the UNDER in three of the past four games, including Monday's game against the Raiders. The Browns defense has managed 14, 24, 10, 13 and 7 across the past five games, as injuries and COVID issues have plagued the Browns since their 41-point explosive against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 9.

On the flip side, the Packers offense. QB Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense is humming along with 31, 45, 36 and 31 across the past four outings, hitting the OVER in each contest. Of course, the defense has allowed 30, 30, 28 and 34, so there is hope for the Browns, who should get some skill-position players back after this latest COVID situation.

The Packers hit the OVER in Baltimore last week, but they were 3-0 to the UNDER against AFC teams prior to that meeting. The UNDER is 3-1 for the Browns against NFC teams, including its most recent intra-conference in week 11 against the Detroit Lions.

Indianapolis at Arizona (Sat.): The Colts hit the UNDER in Saturday's game against the New England Patriots in a 27-17 victory. Indianapolis has cashed the UNDER in each of the past two games, including its most recent road game in Houston in Week 13. The OVER is 3-1 in the team's first four games against NFC foes, including each of the past three for the Colts. 

The Cardinals inexplicably were blown out by the Detroit Lions at Ford Field last weekend, 30-12. It was another road UNDER result for the Cardinals, although the OVER has hit in the past two games at home for Arizona. The UNDER has hit in three of the past four for Arizona against AFC teams this season.

Division Over-Under Notes

The OVER went 4-4 in the eight NFL Divisional battles in Week 15. We have six more divisional matchups on tap for Week 16.

N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia: The Giants have shut down QB Daniel Jones (neck) for the season, although the good news is that he will not need surgery. The bad news is fans of Big Blue have to watch either QB Mike Glennon or QB Jake Fromm steer the ship for the remainder of the season, as if watching Jones and banged up skill position players all season wasn't bad enough. Happy Holidays, G-Men fans!

These teams just met in Week 12, with the Giants scratching out a 13-7 victory as the UNDER (45) never threatened. You could have napped for long stretches in this game and never missed a thing. Now, they run it back in Philly, and you have to imagine it won't be much better.

The books adjusted the total, down to 41.5 as of Tuesday afternoon, down from as high as an open of 43.5 at some shops. The public is going after it hard after a total of just 20 points in the first battle. Be careful, though. Philadelphia has been pretty efficient at home, going for 40, 24, 22 and 30 in its previous four games at 'The Linc'. Of course, the UNDER is 5-2 in Philly's past seven divisional games, and 7-2 in the past nine for the G-Men inside the NFC East. The UNDER is also 5-1 in the past six meetings in this series, and 9-2 in the previous 11 in this series, so perhaps the tidal wave of UNDER bet is more than warranted.

Buffalo at New England: The Bills and Patriots also recently met, facing each other on a blustery, icy, frigid night in western New York in Week 13 on a Monday night. The Patriots chipped away for a 14-10 win in the conditions, with QB Mac Jones attempting just three passes. Things weren't much better for the Patriots on Saturday in Indianapolis, as the Pats lost 27-17 in controlled conditions, hitting another UNDER. That's 3-1 to the UNDER in the past four games for New England.

The Bills put it on the Carolina Panthers, winning 31-14 to narrowly escape with an OVER, it's second straight since that Ice Bowl game against the Pats. The Bills offense is averaging 29.0 PPG across the past two games, which is more of what we expected to see from them over the entirety of the season.

Buffalo has a weird trend going, hitting the OVER in the past two games, while hitting the UNDER in the previous two. The OVER hit in two games before that from Weeks 10-11, with the UNDER cashing in Weeks 8-9, and the OVER hitting in two straight from Weeks 5-6. If you believe in that kind of circumstantial trend, an UNDER will be in the offing on Sunday. However, the OVER is a perfect 7-0 in the past seven for Buffalo as an underdog, and 5-0 in the past five as a road 'dog. The Pats have cashed the OVER in each of the past four at home, too, although the UNDER is 6-0 in its past six at home, while New England has cashed the UNDER in five of the past seven inside the division.

Tampa Bay at Carolina: In perhaps one of the biggest shockers of the season, the defending champion Buccaneers were blanked at home on Sunday Night Football by New Orleans Saints 9-0. Brady was frustrated all evening, and it was the first time he has been shutout in 15 years. In addition, it was the first time as a starter that a team beat him without scoring a touchdown. So yeah, it was weird. And remember, Mullens and Chicago Bears QB Justin Fields each had more touchdown passes than he did.

It was an unexpected UNDER, as the first meeting saw a total of 63 points and an easy OVER. Plus, the Bucs had posted 30 or more points in each of the past four outings, so it was even more shocking.

Angry Brady isn't good news for a Panthers team careening out of control down the stretch. In his two starts against the Cats last season, Brady and the Bucs rolled up 46 points in Charlotte on Nov. 15, 2020, and 31 points in a home game Sept. 20, 2020, hitting the OVER in both outings. The OVER is a perfect 3-0 in the past three meetings in this series overall.

Baltimore at Cincinnati: Revenge is a dish best served cold, and the Ravens REALLY need to serve some up quick. In Week 7, the Bengals went to Charm City and thrashed the Ravens 41-17, nearly cashing the OVER (46) themselves. It was a shocking day, with QB Joe Burrow and the pass offense on fire, WR Ja'Marr Chase going over 200 yards with a pair of scores, and the Bengals serving notice that they are here to stay.

That's the first-place Bengals, by the way, by virtue of tiebreakers, Cleveland's last-second loss on Monday, etc. The Ravens are on a three-game skid, although they played well without QB Lamar Jackson (ankle) in the past two outings. He was knocked out of the Cleveland game in the first quarter in Week 14, but QB Tyler Huntley has been efficient, with the team averaging 26.0 PPG under his watch, including a narrow 31-30 loss against the Green Bay Packers in Week 15. The Ravens went for two, again, and missed, again, trying to win it rather than go to overtime. Maybe the third time will be a charm for head coach John Harbaugh.

That's two straight OVER results for Balto after a 4-0 UNDER run, while Cincy is on a 2-0 UNDER streak. However, the OVER is 3-1 in the past four games in 'The Jungle' for the Stripes. One thing about Baltimore is that they bounce back with fire, hitting the OVER in five of the past six following a straight-up loss. The OVER is 7-1-1 in the past nine for Cincinnati as a home favorite, and 8-3-1 in the past 12 inside the division, so we might be in store for plenty of fireworks at Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday.

Denver at Las Vegas: The Broncos were clipped at home, losing 15-10 to the visiting Bengals as the UNDER easily hit. QB Teddy Bridgewater (head/neck) suffered a scary injury which saw him taken off on a stretcher, carted off and eventually transported to a local-area hospital for precautions. He has since been released, and is now in the concussion protocol. It's almost a near certainty backup QB Drew Lock makes the start in this ultra-important game in the AFC playoff picture, essentially an elimination game between two 7-7 clubs.

The last time these teams met in Mile High, it was interim head coach Rich Bisaccia's first game at the helm after the ugly Jon Gruden resignation situation. The Raiders put it on the Broncos 34-24, as the teams easily hit the OVER (45). Denver has hit the OVER just one time since, a 38-10 win over the Detroit Lions in Week 14. The UNDER is 7-1 across the past eight for Denver, and with Lock under center, another could easily be on the way.

The Raiders managed to slip by the Browns 16-14 by the skin of their teeth despite facing a COVID-depleted roster and a third-string quarterback. The UNDER-OVER has alternated in each of the past eight for the Silver and Black. It's no thanks to the offense, which has 16, 9, 15, 36, 13, 14 and 16 across the past seven outings. The defense is the reason any OVERs have been hitting lately, allowing 14, 48, 17, 33, 32 and 41 across the past six. But Lock and the Broncos aren't likely sniffing any of those high totals, and the books understand that. This game is set in the low 40's, going down from a high of 42.5 at some shops to as low as 41 in a matter of days.

Washington at Dallas (SNF): (see below)

Non-Conference Angles

Week 15 featured just two non-conference matchups, with the OVER cashing in each. That's 7-1-1 in the past nine AFC vs. NFC battles in the previous two weekends. We have four more AFC vs. NFC battles on tap for the Week 16 schedule.

San Francisco at Tennessee (Thu.): The 49ers do not look like a team which wants to be home for the holidays. The offense has kicked it into high gear lately with 31, 26, 23, 34, 30 and 31 across the past six games. Oddly enough the UNDER is still 4-2 across the past six outings, as the defense has yielded 13 or fewer points in three of those outings.

Against AFC teams, the Niners have hit the UNDER in two of the three outings, with two games against the other conference on tap in the next two games, including Thursday.

The Titans have cashed the UNDER in three of the past four outings, with the offense posting 13, 20, 13 and 13 during the span, while the defense has allowed 19, 0, 36 and 22.

One thing to note about the Titans, RB Derrick Henry (foot) remains on the reserve/Injured list as he recovers from a Jones fracture in his foot. He hit the IR early in November, and a seven-week timetable for recovery means Week 16 could potentially mean a return, but a Thursday game likely doesn't do him any favors. Henry last played on Oct. 31 in Week 8 in Indianapolis. The OVER was 5-3 in the eight games he has played, with the UNDER 4-2 in Titans games since. The Titans averaged 28.4 PPG with Henry in the backfield for eight games, and 18.3 PPG in six games without him.

Cleveland at Green Bay (Sat.): (see above)

Indianapolis at Arizona (Sat.): (see above)

Miami at New Orleans (Mon.): (see below)

Primetime Notes

The UNDER was a 3-2 in the five primetime games in Week 15, if we include the two Tuesday rescheduled games. The UNDER has produced a 25-19-1 (56.9%) clip in 45 primetime games so far this season. 

Sunday Night Football Notes

The Washington Football Team and the Dallas Cowboys renew acquaintances on Sunday Night Football in a rematch of a Week 14 battle in the nation's capital.

The Cowboys have hit the UNDER in three consecutive games, while hitting the UNDER in seven of the past eight outings. The lone OVER was that Thanksgiving Day shootout against the Las Vegas Raiders, falling 36-33 in overtime at home.

The last time these teams played in Week 14, Dallas led 27-8 heading to the fourth quarter. WFT made it interesting with a pair of touchdowns within 56 seconds of each other, including a pick-six by LB Cole Holcomb with 4:13 to go. It was 27-20, and Dallas had it near the red zone inside of two minutes, but it was victory formation, no additional scores.

WFT was forced to play with Gilbert as its starting QB, and he did a pretty good job in a 27-17 loss in Philadelphia Tuesday, all things considered. It's just about as well as Washington was doing on offense lately, going for 20, 17 and 17 in the previous three games. In fact, it was the first OVER result since Week 11 in Carolina. The OVER leans 4-3 for Washington in seven road games to date, while the OVER is 4-2 for Dallas in six games so far.

Monday Night Football Notes

The Miami Dolphins-New Orleans Saints game looked like a potenial piece of coal in the stocking a few weeks ago, but not it has blossomed into a nice little gift.

Both of these teams are 7-7, although each have certainly taken different paths. The Dolphins have won six in a row, with defense a big part of the turnaround. Well, except for last week, as Miami hit the OVER in a 31-24 win over the New York Jets. But the Fins have allowed 24, 9, 10, 17, 10 and 9 across the past six, with the UNDER cashing in five of the previous seven. The OVER is 3-1 in the past four games for Miami against NFC teams, however.

For the Saints, they stunned the Bucs 9-0 last weekend for the obvious UNDER, their fourth straight. The offense is averaging 15.5 PPG during the four-game run, while the defense has allowed 16.8 PPG. For New Orleans, the UNDER is 3-1 in four prior games this season against AFC foes, including an UNDER in their only previous home game against an AFC team, the Buffalo Bills, on Thanksgiving night. The UNDER is also 2-0 in NOLA's two primetime games this season.

Fearless Predictions

Last week's predictions were so-so at 2-2 (+55 ), hitting the three-team teaser thanks to a low-scoring COVID game between the Seahawks-Rams. That's a season total 19-12-1 and (+855). Let's keep building that bankroll for the playoffs and Super Bowl.

  • Best Over: Over 44.5 Ravens at Bengals
  • Best Under: Under 47.5 Washington at Cowboys
  • Best First-Half Total: Under 20.5 Broncos at Raiders

Three-Team Total Teaser (+7, +135)

  • Over 42.5 Colts at Cardinals (Sat.)
  • Over 37.5 Ravens at Bengals
  • Under 48.5 Broncos at Raiders
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