After seven weeks of the 2011 NFL regular, there is now a good bank of facts, figures, and statistics for all 32 teams in the league to help you in your handicapping efforts moving forward through the rest of the season. The odds makers have access to all the same information and constantly utilize it to keep the lines as sharp as possible, but there are always edges to be found on a weekly basis.
While a good portion of the betting public tend to focus mainly on the point spreads in NFL matchups, there is often a tremendous amount of value to be found in the total line for each week’s games. There is often much less information to process as all you are focusing on is the scoring potential of each team as opposed to which one will come out of top against the spread. The following is a look at some of the current trends for some teams at each end of the spectrum that should make handicapping the total line for their particular games a bit easier.
On the low-end of the spectrum as a solid play on the ‘under’ are Jacksonville and Houston, who just so happen to be playing one another this week. The total has stayed ‘under’ in five of each of their six games so far. It is easy to see why with the Jaguars, given the fact they are ranked 31st in scoring, with an average of just 12 points a game. To add the equation, their defense has been stingy; giving-up just 19.9 points a game.
Houston is a bit more of a mystery with an offense that is putting up 26 points a game and holding opponents to an average of just 18.7 points a game. One of the reasons is its lines tend to open-up higher than they should because of the betting public’s illusion that the Texans cannot play defense. This has not caught up with reality that Houston is a much better defensive team this season.
Another team that has been a solid play on the ‘under’ line has been Miami. The total has stayed ‘under’ in five of the Dolphins six games this season and for good reason. First, this is one of the most inept offense’s in the league when it comes to scoring; averaging just 15 points a game. More importantly, the betting public has yet to grasp just how bad this offense is.
On the high-end of the scale are the Buffalo Bills at 5-0-1 on the total line. This is to be totally expected given how bad the Bills have been on offense over the past few years matched against the reality of this year’s team that is averaging 31.3 points a game, which ranks third in the league. Their defense has also helped the cause by giving-up an average of 24.5 points a game.
The New York Giants have been the next ‘best bet’ on the ‘over’ with five of their six games going ‘over’. The Giants’ offense has always been able to put points on the board and this year’s team in no exception with an average of 25.7 points a game. Their defense is often thought of being better than it really is which also helps. This season it is ranked 22nd overall and 24th in points allowed; giving-up 24.5 points a game.
The trends mentioned above do not tend to hold-up long as once the betting public adjusts their perspectives; the odds makers adjust the lines. Their goal is for every team to end up 8-8 against the spread and 8-8 on the total line. Fortunately for us, that is never the case.
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.