The New York Giants & Dallas Cowboys have one of the biggest totals on the Week 1 NFL odds board. And it just keeps getting higher as we get closer to kick-off.
Jason's 2015 record as of Sept. 12: 1-0 ATS; 1-0 Total
Betting on totals used to be simple: Just carpet-bomb the UNDER on the most popular games, sit back and enjoy a beverage or two, and wait for the money to roll in. Okay, maybe it was never that simple. Whatever the case, contrarian betting on totals is out the window.
Or is it? There's a big Sunday Night Football game coming up (8:30 p.m. ET, NBC) between the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys, and there are going to be millions of recreational bettors in the marketplace. Many of them will be the OVER, as they often do. It's already happening; at press time, our NFL odds board shows a total of 51.5 points, up from 49.5 at the open.
Let's not start pining for halcyon days of yore just yet. True, 51.5 points is one of the highest totals on the board, just high enough to tempt us with an automatic UNDER bet. And true, that total should climb even higher before kick-off, as all those Cowboy and Giant fans flood the market over the weekend. But where is the sharp money?
It might be on the OVER. The earliest action according to our consensus reports was unanimously on the OVER, back when the total was still 50 points. At press time, we're still looking at a super-majority of 68 percent consensus at the higher total. A couple of years back, we noticed that many sharps were auto-betting the OVER right out of the gate, looking to grab some value before the betting public pushed the totals higher. We could be looking at the same dynamic this year.
The Public Gets What the Public Wants
Only one way to find out. After scouring every single matchup on the Week 1 dance card, we can safely say that auto-betting the OVER is not the master plan. Our consensus reports show tons of early support for the UNDER in most cases. There are three other games with immediate 100 percent support for the OVER: Saints-Cardinals, Ravens-Broncos, and Eagles-Falcons.
Interesting. These are also three high-profile games featuring public teams with talented offenses – we're including the Cowboys in that group after they finished No. 4 overall in efficiency last year, according to Football Outsiders. If you were going to use the insta-OVER strategy, these would be the games to attack. Unfortunately for our purposes, it's too late to turn back the clock and follow the same strategy.
This doesn't mean we should bet the OVER at the higher price our NFL pick Sunday night. Now that we're up to 51.5 points, the value is already gone. Instead, we'll recommend a tiny bet on the UNDER, and we suggest you hold off until Sunday night, looking for a bigger total before kick-off.
Free NFL Pick: Take UNDER 51.5 (–108) at Bovada