NFL Preseason Picks: Weekend's Totals Report, Week 1

Jay Pryce

Saturday, August 13, 2016 8:14 PM UTC

Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016 8:14 PM UTC

Week 1 of the 2016-17 NFL preseason sees five games cap off opening festivities this weekend. So far, the over-under record is 5-5-1. Here’s a look at each remaining game totals, complete with up-to-date line movement, analysis, and trends.

Seattle Seahawks vs Kansas City Chiefs

Opening Total: 35.5; Current Total: 36

The line has inched upwards by a half point hours prior to kick off after sitting stagnant for days. The movement is likely due to Chiefs head coach Andy Reid’s announcement that his starters will play the entire first quarter. Not only will Alex Smith be under center for the first 15 minutes, but also veteran Nick Foles will take the reigns for the rest of the half. The OVER is 39-28 all-time under Andy Reid in the preseason.

Seattle is banged up with 11 starters not suiting up for the game. The offense has some tight position battles that may necessitate aggressive play calling. The backup quarterback role, for example, is unsettled with Trevone Boykin and Jake Heaps expected to duke it out under center. Rookie tailback Alex Collins, who scored two TDs in the team scrimmage last week, is also aiming to nail down a position in the backfield.


Indianapolis Colts vs Buffalo Bills

Opening Total: 36.5; Current Total: 36.5

The total jumped a couple times to 37 over at Bookmaker during the week but keeps fighting back to its original offering of 36.5 points. Head coach Chuck Pagano did not reveal how long the Colts' first team will man the field, but expect a couple of series at most, including franchise QB Andrew LuckThe Colts have a new defensive coordinator (Ted Monachino), complete with new schemes and formations. Pagano admitted last week, there is a lot of work to be done on that side of the ball. Along with a running game that has ranked near the bottom of the NFL over the last few seasons, expect both to be the focus all preseason.

Rex Ryan will play his starters 12 to 15 plays. Defensively, Ryan says the plan is to keep it simple and not reveal regular-season formations. “Maybe play a little more straightforward than you would in a regular game,” says the head coach “That’s probably how we’ll play it.” Will it allow the Colts offense to move the ball easier? The OVER is 19-9 in the preseason with Ryan at the helm.


Dallas Cowboys vs Los Angeles Rams

Opening Total: 37; Current Total: 35.5

The greatest adjustment for Saturday’s slate has taken place in the Dallas Cowboys versus Los Angeles Rams matchup. Books opened the game at 37 points nearly two weeks ago, slowly dropping the number to its current 35.5 marks. Tony Romo is a scratch for the game; the front office taking cautionary measures assuring their franchise quarterback starts the season healthy. Romo has not played a full 16-game season since 2012. 

Bettors remember all to well Dallas’ anemic offense with Romo sidelined last year, the team going 1-11 SU and averaging 15.8 points per game in his absence. No. 2 quarterback Kellen Moore is out with a fractured ankle and fourth-round rookie Dak Prescott is likely the starter for today’s contest.

Including their QB woes, bettors are weighing head coach Jason Garrett’s recent preseason performances, too. The Cowboys scored a measly 48 points in four preseason games last season, and 60 total the prior year. The UNDER is 1-5-2 in this span, and the Cowboys 1-7 overall.

Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, known for his aggressive nature in August, owns a 43-33-1 OVER record in the preseason. He is expected to play his first team “two-to-three series.”


San Diego Chargers vs Tennessee Titans

Opening Total: 35.5; Current Total: 35.5

Ken Whisenhunt, former head coach of the Titans, is now the O-coordinator at San Diego. It is the preseason, but will he attempt to stick it to his old team?  Zach Mettenberger, former QB at Tennessee, publicly declared the trip “awkward,” and will have extra incentive to play well with Kellen Clemens, and Mike Bercovici on his heels for the No. 2 QB role.

The Titans offense may be a bit aggressive for this matchup with plenty of positions to be won at wide receiver and running back. Look for reigning Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry to see a lot of action. Mularkey also revealed he is going to play the first-team O-line extendedly after a solid performance in the team scrimmage.

On defense, the Canton-bound Dick LeBeau will not unleash any exotic blitz packages against the Chargers, but it is his modus operandi in the preseason to build a little confidence and momentum among his units. Don’t expect the Titans D to roll over much, even with the youngsters at  play late in the game.


Houston Texans vs San Francisco 49ers

Opening Total: 35; Current Total: 37

Sunday’s feature game has seen the greatest adjustments to the total, skyrocketing to 37 from an initial offering of 35 points. This may be the Chip Kelly effect, who makes his debut with San Francisco. Don’t expect high-tempo, exotic playcalling to be the norm from the offensive guru, though. Offensive and defensive installations and personnel make-up is priority number one.

Each offense reportedly played well in the 49ers-Texans joint practice on Friday. Kelly will want to make a good impression, and will likely want to see plenty of position battles play out. The OVER is 10-2 in Kelly’s preseason tenure. 


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