Jason’s record on his final NFL picks for 2013, up to November 30 inclusive:
1-1 ML (+0.71 units)
The two worst teams in the NFL’s worst division are about to get up close and personal, and on national television to boot. Our latest episode of Sunday Night Football features NFC East rivals New York (OVER 6-5) and Washington (OVER 6-5) as they try, probably in vain, to stay in the playoff picture. I’ve already recommended the Giants as 1-point road faves; now we turn to the NFL totals, where the over/under was available at either 45 or 46 points as we went to press.
Not So Special
Here’s a puzzle for you: How can the G-Men have the OVER at 6-5 when their offense ranks No. 26 in the league in efficiency, and their defense No. 9? Could be simple dumb luck. But there are some underlying reasons. For one, check out that No. 31-ranked special teams unit. New York has allowed three return TDs this year (all on punts), more than any other club, and one more than Washington’s NFL-worst special teams.
And those are just the times the opposition took it immediately to the house. On the whole, the Giants have the worst punt coverage in the league; Washington is second worst in that department. All those short fields place a serious burden on the Big Blue defense. According to Football Outsiders, New York has given up 8.4 “hidden” points on special teams this year, in addition to the actual points from those return TDs. Washington has allowed 5.3 hidden points. It all adds up.
Then you have to consider the teams New York has faced this season. Like the Denver Broncos (OVER 9-2), and the Dallas Cowboys twice (OVER 7-5), and a couple of games against the Philadelphia Eagles (OVER 6-5), although the Giants managed to split the totals against Philly. We’re talking three outstanding offenses here, and three defenses that rank in the bottom half of the league in terms of efficiency.
I could go on, but let me wrap up for now by pointing at those pesky football totals themselves. This being the Giants, who have built a reputation as a defensive juggernaut, the over/under in their games has reached 50 points just twice thus far, in Week 2 against Denver and in Week 5 against Philadelphia. How does that song go again? The only thing worse than a public underdog is a public UNDER?
Let's have a look at the betting odds page~
That’s exactly what we’ve got on tap for Sunday night (8:30 p.m. ET, NBC). As we go to press, our consensus figures show 62 percent support for the UNDER with the total at 46 points. That smells like public money, too, because the total opened at 45.5 points, which suggests that deeper-pocketed sharps were pounding the OVER right out of the gate, as they are wont to do. A closer look at the betting patterns from Vegas does indeed reveal an early burst or two of action on the OVER.
Perhaps they were looking at the weather report. Now that Gobblegeddon is behind us, the forecast for kick-off calls for mostly clear skies and temperatures just above freezing. As I pointed out in my article on the Steelers-Ravens total (OVER 40, ka-ching), games played in cold conditions favor the OVER on the NFL betting market, provided you don’t add wind, rain or white-out blizzards to the recipe.
Put all that together, and I’m not afraid to look foolish if these two lousy teams end up tying the game 6-6 when all is said and done. I’ve got nerd math on my side for this NFL picks.
NFL Pick: Take OVER 45 at Bet365