NFL Picks And Predictions - Cash When Betting The Closing Line On These Two Sunday Games

Andrew Luck

Sunday, September 11, 2016 1:33 PM GMT

If Week 1 of the regular season is all about getting your offense up to speed, then the UNDER might be the smart football pick for Sunday's Raiders-Saints matchup.

The logic appears sound enough: Offense requires more timing and precision than defense, so in Week 1 of the NFL regular season, defense should have the advantage. In turn, the UNDER should have betting value against the highest totals on the Week 1 NFL odds board. Casual fans already overvalue offense as it is; they'll be even less likely to appreciate how many moving parts there are, and how many reps it takes to get all those parts working in harmony.

And yet... you may remember this little nugget from a couple of years ago, when the OVER was on a 29-18-1 stampede in Week 1 between 2011-13 inclusive. All those rule changes to punish defenses took their toll. Things have evened out somewhat since; in 2014, the UNDER was 9-7 in Week 1, then the OVER went 9-7 last year. Maybe it's safe to come back into the marketplace and make that most basic of contrarian NFL picks. And we've got two totals higher than 50 points to work with.
 

Allen Key
The biggest total of the bunch, shockingly (cough cough), involves the New Orleans Saints. They're hosting the Oakland Raiders Sunday at the Superdome (1:00 p.m. ET, FOX), and the total at press time is 52 points, up from 50 at the open. Our consensus reports show heavy support throughout for the OVER. We expect the betting public to push the total even higher by kick-off.

It's common to see the sharps jump on the OVER right out of the gate – the opening totals are generally going to be lower than the closing totals, especially with that extra seed money injected into the market. But the UNDER is where the value is now. We've crossed the somewhat magical total of 51 points, which ranks behind only 37 and 41 points in terms of frequency for final combined scores in the NFL. And New Orleans should have a stronger defense this year under new co-ordinator Dennis Allen. It could hardly be much worse. Don't sleep on the loss of TE Michael Hoomanawanui (leg) for the rest of the season, either.

Free NFL Pick: UNDER 52 (–105)
Best Line Offered:  at Bovada where you can get a 100% Cash Sign Up Bonus!

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Luck Hurts
Our other 50-plus total is at the Oil Patch, where the Indianapolis Colts will host the Detroit Lions on Sunday (4:25 p.m. ET, FOX). This total has also risen two points since the open, moving from 49 to 51 at press time. Not quite as magical a move, since we're landing on 51 instead of surpassing it. The consensus isn't as heavy on the OVER, either, but it's still the popular pick.

We'll go ahead and recommend the UNDER here for a small wager. Colts QB Andrew Luck is coming off a lacerated kidney that forced him to miss the last seven games of the 2015 season. Oh, and he's got a sore shoulder, which cost him another two games last year. The Lions don't have WR Calvin Johnson (retired) anymore, and both teams are dealing with injuries on the offensive line. Stay healthy, my friends, and may the prolate spheroid be with you on Sunday.

Free NFL Pick: UNDER 51 (–105)
Best Line Offered:  at Heritage

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