Betting the Total for Sunday Night Football: Packers vs. Saints

Jason Lake

Friday, October 24, 2014 8:07 PM GMT

Friday, Oct. 24, 2014 8:07 PM GMT

The Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints have driven the OVER to a combined record of 11-2. Seems only proper that they’ll have the highest total on the Week 8 NFL odds board when they meet Sunday night.

Jason’s Record After Week 7: 22-29 ATS, 7-11-1 Totals

Profit: minus-29.68 units

 

Scoring isn’t easy, but some people make it look that way. Nobody this season has scored more touchdowns after seven games than the Green Bay Packers; they’ve reached the end zone 25 times already, and on Sunday Night Football, they can add to that total against the New Orleans Saints, one of the worst defensive teams in the league.

Did you already add the OVER to your Week 8 NFL picks? According to our consensus reports, the full 100 percent of early bettors got it in when the total opened at 54 points. Then they kept pounding the OVER, inflating the total to 56 points at press time with nearly 70 percent consensus. We’re through the looking-glass, people.

 

Eclipse This
Funny things happen when totals get this big. When you look at the list of most common combined scores in the NFL, you’ll find the highest frequencies clustered between 33 and 55 points inclusive, with 37, 41 and 44 points at the top. Combined scores lower than 33 or higher than 55 are relatively rare; in these extreme situations, the betting market gets distorted, making the OVER the preferred bet on low totals and the UNDER on high totals.

That’s generally speaking, of course. High scores are considerably less uncommon when the Packers or the Saints are involved. In 2013, Green Bay games had an average combined score of 52.9 points, and the OVER went 9-7. Aaron Rodgers missed seven of those games, but the OVER still went 4-3, mainly because the Packers defense was No. 31 on the DVOA charts. Facing depressed totals in Rodgers’ absence didn’t hurt, either.

This year, Rodgers is back and in fine form (18 TD passes, one INT), and the OVER is 6-1 for Green Bay even though the defense has improved to No. 10 in efficiency (No. 6 pass, No. 22 rush). Packers games are still seeing an average of 49.4 points scored. The NFL odds haven’t been keeping up, though – only twice has the posted total eclipsed 50 points. Sunday night (8:30 p.m. ET, NBC) will make it three.

 

Defenseless
It’s normally the Saints whom we associate with runaway totals. In 2012, they only had one game with a posted total of fewer than 50 points, yet they managed to drive the OVER to a 10-6 record. However, the UNDER went 4-3 in games where the total was at least 54 points, and 2-0 when the total was 55 or higher.

That 2012 team was blessed with the No. 9-ranked offense in the league, and the worst defense of them all, thanks in large part to the Bountygate scandal. As a result, New Orleans games saw the highest combined scores of them all at 57.2 points per game. The replenished Saints turned the tables in 2013, fielding the NFL’s No. 10-ranked defense and making the UNDER the correct choice at 10-6 on the season. Their games only saw 44.9 points scored on average.

Well, here we are again with the Saints defense checking in at No. 32 overall (No. 30 pass, No. 16 rush). No Bountygate this time, although losing their major offseason singing, safety Jairus Byrd, is certainly not helping things. New Orleans still has a pretty good offense at No. 7 in DVOA (No. 15 pass, No. 3 rush), so naturally, we’re seeing higher scores again this year at 53.3 points per game, and the OVER is 5-1 for the Saints thus far. What we haven’t seen yet are a lot of posted totals over 50, and none as high as Sunday night’s game. We’ll have to be party-poopers and recommend the UNDER this time.

Free NFL Pick: Bet one unit on UNDER 56 (+102) at 5Dimes

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