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Sportsbooks Take A Beating As Sunday NFL Games Sail Over The Total

Ross Everett
by in NFL on
  • After three weeks of play, NFL teams had combined for 51 PPG.
  • Week 4 NFL games averaged 54.2 PPG through Sunday action.
  • Games have gone ‘Over’ 61% of the time in the early NFL season.

When it comes to NFL betting the ‘worst case scenario’ is for a lopsided number of pointspread favorites to win and cover. The ‘second worst case scenario’ might be what happened on Sunday. Games sailed ‘Over’ the total with the six of eight Sunday morning games exceeding the total. Overall for the week, the ‘Over’ is 7-4-2 and for the season are hitting at a 61% rate going 36-23-2).

Bookmakers have struggled to find the right numbers to compensate for the increased scoring as well as the unique challenges of pro football in the COVID-19 era. Through Week 3, the average game total score has been 51–the highest ever after three weeks. In Week 4, scores through Sunday’s action averaged 54.2 PPG and there were nine games with totals of 50 or higher on the betting board. The two NFL games scheduled for Monday both have high totals. The New England/Kansas City total opened at 50 but has dropped to 48.5 or 49, likely due to the absence of Patriots’ QB Cam Newton. The other Monday night game between Atlanta and Green Bay is expected to be an offensive shootout with the total at 56.5.

Sunset Station sportsbook director Chuck Esposito shared his thoughts on the matter with the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

“Bettors continued to do extremely well on the totals. It’s just a crazy clip they’re hitting at. Without crowd noise, you can clearly hear the plays being called, and it’s easy to audible. Maybe it has something to do with no preseason. The offenses are way ahead of the defenses.”

Westgate sportsbook vice president Jay Kornegay added:

“The totals will probably be higher next week. They keep scoring a lot of points.”

VSIN reports that the ‘biggest bet of the NFL season so far’ came in on Sunday as a bettor at DraftKings wagered $1.4 million on an alternate total of 42 -263 in the Jacksonville Jaguars/Cincinnati Bengals game. He didn’t have to sweat the outcome, as the game exceeded 42 early in the fourth quarter netting the bettor a tidy profit of $532,319.29. The original total in the game was 49.5.

Astute handicappers know that the rash of totals are unlikely to continue longterm for a couple of reasons. The defenses will likely catch up to the offenses and sportsbooks will continue to shade totals higher. For that reason, you can expect a big run for the ‘Under’ later in the season.

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