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The Top TOTAL Plays of Week 5 – Which UNDERS and OVERS To Bank On

Posted by Matthew Forrester on 10/3/2015 9:19:56 PM

First off, I’ve never fully understood why us handicappers have to capitalize the word TOTAL when talking about the combined points scored by either team. As we shake down spread takes, and tasty moneyline underdogs to cash in on, let’s take a moment to assess some of the best OVER and UNDER teams in Week 5.


Oakland Raiders at Chicago Bears (44)

The Raiders are one of those delightful teams that can score a bunch of points (25.7 per game, 10th) and allow a whole lot at the same time (28.7 points against, 28th). That makes them a natural candidate for the OVER, which they’ve smashed in all three of their games this season.

The problem is that Chicago might not be able to score enough points to help out. Where Oakland is terribly weak, is in linebackers covering tight ends. Martellus Bennett is about to have a field day, and you can hope that the Bears can score more than the 15.3 points they’ve averaged so far, or the goose egg they dropped in Seattle last week.

Making this OVER take a bit easier to digest is the fact that Chicago has allowed the most points against in the entire NFL, with 35.0 points allowed. I’m not sure if I totally trust the Raiders as road favorites, but I totally love this low hanging TOTAL.

Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers (48.5)

Mostly because Green Bay can basically score that many points by themselves.

Colin Kaepernick and San Francisco haven’t been anything special since their insane performance in Week 1 against Minnesota, but they’ve also gone 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS when playing Green Bay, and those games have gone 3-1 O/U.

I know that San Francisco isn’t the same team, but Green Bay is on some sort of bloodthirsty revenge tour this season and they won’t hesitate to drop as many points as possible on a Niners team that is in a fragile state after losing their last two games by combined scored of 25-90.

New York Giants at Buffalo Bills (45.5)

The Bills are scoring an absurd amount of points considering that they’re:

a) coached by Rex Ryan

b) quarterbacked by Tyrod Taylor

c) the Buffalo Bills

So how are they ranked 3rd in scoring with 33.3 points per game? Well they just unloaded on Miami for 41 points, but also managed 32 against New England. They have a terrific defense that can create turnovers, and their offence not only leads the league in rushing, it has very few turnovers of its own.

The crazy part is that the Giants are pretty protective of the football too, having not thrown a pick all season. This might be the game where Eli turns the ball over five times, with two pick-sixes. Basically, there’s a lot of things that could happen in this game, which is why I prefer taking the TOTAL and simply rooting for touchdowns.

I can envision a lot of scenarios where this game amasses points in a hurry. The Giants are a grizzly team sometimes that can generate scores, and Buffalo seems incapable of keeping games in the UNDER. I know it doesn’t feel like a TOTAL take on the OVER in this matchup makes sense, but trust me, it does.


Cleveland Browns at San Diego Chargers (44.5)

I would never in my right mind trust Josh McCown with any of my money, and this front-five for the Chargers makes me terribly nervous as well. So this game wreaks of an UNDER play. The Chargers feel like they should drop 30+ points at any given time, but they don’t, which is why they’ve held matchups in the UNDER in 20-of-26 games when playing AFC opponents. They’re also held the UNDER in 5 of their last 7 games.

Cleveland has been an unexpected OVER achiever, but that train probably stops when Josh McCown starts reverting back to doing Josh McCown things. There’s just not enough splash on either offence right now to suggest this game pushing the boundaries of that 44.5 TOTAL.

Minnesota Vikings at Denver Broncos (43.0)

This game absolute terrifies me and I don’t know why. It might have to do with Adrian Peterson, or Peyton Manning’s noodle arm falling off halfway through. I’m not totally sure.

What I do know is that Minnesota has been horrifyingly underwhelming as an offensive team thus far, and Denver stacks up with one of the best defenses in the league. Adrian Peterson will be the main focus here while the stacked secondary for the Broncos deletes Mike Wallace from doing anything.

Denver is usually a no-brainer in the OVER because they tend to crush that number by themselves, but this team just doesn’t seem as efficient as they’ve been in the past. They’re actually the worst third-down converters in the NFL. That makes opportunities sparse, even against a defense as suspect as Minnesota’s.

When I don’t trust either team entirely, the UNDER always becomes my default setting.


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