Betting NFL Totals: It's not over until it's over

Tips and advice for making over/under bets in the NFL, where this week every game opened with a total of at least 42 points.

While Summer may be officially over this weekend on the calendar, the quiet secret is it's traditionally NOT in the NFL. And that means if you're smart to expect plenty of beautiful, clear football fields and scoring upon them. And in our wagering world, the opportunity to take advantage of that fact.

The lines makers at all preferred offshore sportsbooks certainly have noticed. Of the 14 remaining games to be played on Sunday and one on Monday night, not one game opened with a Over/Under Total of less than 42 points. I must agree with their judgement. Here's some solid reasons why:

TOTAL-LY Makes Sense

Even in the most traditionally frigid NFL cities expect very nice weather on Sunday. The forecast for Arizona Cardinals at Buffalo Bills game is 68 degrees and sunny. Enjoy that Bills fans, for maybe another 10 days. No problems in Kansas City or Philly either for the big Steelers-Eagles game late in the day. If the riots move the Panthers-Vikings game from Charlotte, they are likely headed to Washington, where it is expected to be about 75 degrees. All in all, perfect weather for football and clear breathing offense.

Another factor to consider is history. Of the 16 games played in 2015 in Week 3, 10 games had combined scoring over 50 points!! Some memorable games including the Colts big comeback win over the Titans 35-33. The Falcons then going 3-0 with a 39-28 win in Dallas. Patriots killing the Jaguars 51-17 in Foxboro with the Cards likewise over the 49ers 47-7. You felt like you could collect your Over bet at halftime last year on Monday Night when the Packers beat the Chiefs 38-28. Btw...the O/U line that evening was an intimidating, but telling, 49.5

NFL totals betting tipsRead Those Trends

Should you be intending to bet the "Over or Under" in a total it is always wise to read weather game day forecasts throughout the week. But this week it should not be nearly as big a factor not having to deal with storms, cold, ice, rain, snow, etc. The better principle to consider this week is traditional human nature. Most bettors, especially more casual bettors simply prefer to wager the "over" in a total bet given a choice.

The reason is simple. No one wants to be out of a game or a bet early having zero chance of success. For example, if the total is 39 and the score is 23-17 at the end of the 3rd quarter we can tear up the ticket. The other reason is a threat of overtime. It counts toward all point totals in the final score and all wagers as well. A fear bettors live with playing "the under".

Don't think all Nevada and online sportsbooks don't scientifically account for this establishing the Total? Often a point or two in the total accounts for the large group of bettors who always prefer playing Over in the total, no matter who is playing. A very popular and successful sportsbook like Bovada, with many more traditional "favorite and over" players, often post a betting line that a half point to a full point higher than other sportsbooks by NFL game time. That could often be exploited to a bettor's advantage should the underdog or under be the preferred play.

Another great way to use this to your advantage and keep an eye on this situation is to check out sports wagering monitor website Vegas Insider. They have a tab for "line movements" posted by many preferred sportsbooks including Heritage, Diamond Sports and BetPhoenix. Like checking the weather, often line movement indicators can be very helpful to where the public or sharp money is headed.

NFL Week 3 Over Forecasts

Back to "the number is telling you something" comes the most reliable flag of where to begin this week.

The San Diego Chargers at Indianapolis Colts game looks textbook. Playing in a dome stadium, both teams are healthy with mega octane scoring quarterbacks (Phillip Rivers and Andrew Luck). Also both have less than proven reliable defenses as yet and were involved in shoot-outs thus far. The game line should rest on Colts -3 at kickoff. Another indicator of a close, score-fest type game. No wonder the opening total was a hefty 51. I would believe it will close at around 53 and a strong suggestion to wager now if you prefer Over to obtain the best advantage.

The other high Total game is scheduled for Monday Night with the Atlanta Falcons traveling to New Orleans to take on the Saints in the Superdome.

These two teams always play big scoring, close slug-fests and this game should be no exception. The only shaky variable is not Drew Brees at QB for the Saints but the lack of his supporting cast offense. Not as strong as in the past. But account for the Saints defense is young, unproven and will likely have problems with the Falcons playing at full strength and no injuries this early in the season. The current total at 53.5 at Bovada, BetOnline and most other preferred sportsbooks is for good reason. As it is the only isolated game on Monday night, we can also expect this total to go higher. Not an automatic lock to go Over, but very difficult to wager Under as a confident choice.

As we move toward Autumn, there will be plenty of excellent weeks and opportunities to play UNDER in many NFL games. But this week should be our opportunity to go OVER-BOARD.

Glenn Greene covers the games from a betting angle every week exclusively at For weekly betting insights, inlcuding previews and picks from Glenn, click here.

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