One of the trickiest wager types in sports betting is the Total. Vegas does an amazing job at gauging the spread and who the favorite is, and when they do that, they can map out an accurate Total.
Of course, sometimes even the sportsbooks miss the mark and every so often we should be able to see it coming. That, or Vegas hopes you don’t see what they think they see.
Week one brought an awesome example, as we looked at some Totals that could be traps and the one that stood out the most was huge 49.5 Total for the Seahawks vs. Packers contest at Lambeau Field.
We didn’t love that, as the Seahawks have one of the best defenses in the league and were also playing on the road. Going for the Under proved to be a great call, while we also picked the Total correctly for a Browns/Steelers game that Vegas thought would feature more scoring.
It’s not always to get it right (and you absolutely want to pick your spots) but we again get some sketchy Totals in week two. Here’s the five that scare us the most, as well as our pick for the way it’s likely to go:
Kansas City Chiefs
This is actually a pretty healthy Total, but it feels a bit high. Yes, both teams put up 30+ points in week one, but we need to consider the circumstance and the likelihood of both happening again.
Kansas City aired it out against the Patriots, but they needed a 21-point explosion out of nowhere in the second half to accomplish that. The Eagles were actually in a really tight (23-17) game with the Redskins, too, but a bad call gave them a defensive score to nab an easy 30-17 win.
Both of these teams have solid offenses and can put points on the board, but we’re also dealing with underrated defense and Philly marching into a tough environment on the road. Ultimately, logic favors the Chiefs in a defensive battle and fans could be disappointed by a game that isn’t going to be as explosive as some may hope.
Pick: Under 47.5
Our second game sports one of the lowest Totals on the slate, as the Browns hit up the Ravens in an effort to score their first win of the year. It’s understandable, too, considering Cleveland has a rookie quarterback under center and the Ravens pitched a shutout win in week one.
Baltimore isn’t going to hold their opponent scoreless every week, however, while the Browns might be better than we thought after giving the Steelers a run for their money in a tight 21-18 loss.
Cleveland isn’t a threat to win really and they shouldn’t contribute a ton of points, but this is a low bar to top. Baltimore’s offense looked good on the ground last week and as Joe Flacco gets situated, it’s possible their passing game will, too. Against a Browns pass defense that dropped Joe Haden ahead of the season, a big game out of Flacco certainly wouldn’t be shocking.
The Under isn’t without logic, but I think we get more points here than Vegas is letting on.
Pick: Over 38.5
New York Jets
This is another weird Total, as the Raiders didn’t even completely explode in week one, yet their 26-16 battle with the Titans almost topped this mark. Tennessee didn’t hold up their end of the bargain in what was supposed to be a shootout, while the Raiders didn’t even top 30 points, themselves.
I certainly don’t expect the Jets to light up the Raiders in a tough road game, but Oakland might put up enough points on their own to hit the Over here. Josh McCown is a little more competent than people allow, too, so I wouldn’t be that shocked if the Jets scored once or twice early and scored again late in garbage time.
The Raiders could easily run away with a 49-0 win here, but I think we get something closer to 37-13 and. Either way, this is a pretty tight Total, but I like the upside with the Over.
Pick: Over 43.5
The New York Giants made the Dallas Cowboys’ defense look good last week, but I don’t believe they’re as amazing as they looked (3 points allowed). They’ll look far less amazing when they take on a more balanced offense in Denver on the road.
Winning in Colorado is not an easy task, and once you factor in the Broncos’ elite defense, it gets harder. The Broncos have an Achilles heel defensively, though, and running back Ezekiel Elliott should be able to exploit it. After all, this is a defense that contained the Bolts a week ago, only to see them rally late and put up 21 total points.
That game was the type of game Denver loves (save for the near collapse) and it topped this modest Total (24-21). Dallas is a more reliable offense and they’ll need to compensate for playing on the road, so I think we get something similar, but slightly more explosive.
Pick: Over 42
Green Bay Packers
Some of these week two NFL Totals feel like traps in the sense that they appear to be “obvious”, but maybe they’re not. To be clear, with this Packers vs. Falcons game especially, I actually like the Over quite a bit at Bovada.
However, even with a Total at 54.5, it feels like most of the sports betting sites are trying to force us to pick the Under. That isn’t how this series between Green Bay and Atlanta is trending, however. Their regular season meeting last year produced 65 points, while a Falcons blowout win in last year’s NFC title game totaled the very same number.
This series has featured two MVP-level quarterbacks leading elite, explosive passing games. Both teams can run the ball and play a little defense now, as well, which really cracks this thing wide open.
Ultimately, there are too many points here in theory to not ride the wave. We’ve seen this matchup produce 65+ points in three straight contests and I doubt that streak snaps in front of the nation on Sunday Night Football.
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