Week 5 was a winner for the public as favorites and overs each went 9-6 over the 15 games. It marked the first time this season that either bet was profitable for the weekend. It was a perfect storm of totals getting pulled down to their lowest point met with what should become the highest-scoring week of the season.
Teams enter Monday night averaging 24.9 points per game, coming off two consecutive weeks averaging 23. The difference can appear to be minor, but it equates to the total of a game landing on 46 or 50. A minimal shift of one or two points from the opening to closing line can be the difference between a wager on totals being a winner or a loser.
Scoring was up in Week 5, and as long as Baltimore and Indianapolis exceed 21 points tonight, it will hit the highest mark of the season. High scoring can lead us to some great opportunities to capitalize on inflated totals. That's the ebb and flow of sports betting. When the market adjusts, you have to adjust as well. Here are two NFL games on Sunday's slate that caught my eye as totals that should fall under the current number.
Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers (Under 46)
Sam Darnold is coming off a brutal performance versus Philadelphia where he threw for only 177 yards and three interceptions. The Panthers' offense generated only 3.8 yards per play against an Eagles defense that allowed 83 points the previous two weeks. The soft schedule early in the season masked Darnold's deficiencies and Mike Zimmer will have his defense ready to exploit them. Carolina is 4-1 to the under with an average total of 45.7, which is consistent with our total this week.
On the other side of the ball, the Vikings have become extremely conservative offensively. It almost cost them the game against Detroit, marking the second straight week they scored fewer than 20 points. Minnesota has hit the under in each of its last three games since starting the season with two straight losses. As the games get critical, the Vikings get tight. Last week's win against the Lions will only reinforce this conservative behavior and ensure it continues this week. Let's take the under.
Cincinnati Bengals at Detroit Lions (Under 48.5)
Cincinnati hasn't scored over 24 points in regulation this season and Detroit hasn't exceeded 17 since Week 1. I'm not sure how we are getting to a 48-point total. Dan Campbell has found a way to keep his Lions competitive and he is going to drag his opponents into a slugfest every chance he gets. A banged-up Joe Burrow will be up for a good fight.
Burrow's Bengals have been money in the red zone this season but they sure take their time getting there. Cincinnati entered last weekend as the second-slowest team according to Football Outsiders' pace-of-play metrics. Another key to watch is the kicking game. Evan McPherson went 0-2, missing two chances to win the game versus Green Bay. It's fair to wonder if the rookie will be able to bounce back on Sunday. Slow pace from both teams and missed scoring opportunities are exactly what we look for in an under. Both teams are 4-0 to the under the last four weeks. I'm betting they make it five.
Stats provided by teamrankings.com