My Week 8 NFL picks feature a couple of ATS predictions from Sunday’s divisional slate, but I’m also looking at a few divisional totals. Coming into Week 8, divisional home teams were 20-12 ATS (63%). The home side has outscored its guest 28-22, with totals going OVER at a rate of 55%.
- 11 of 17 (65%) divisional overs in 2020 finished above the mark by 10 points or more
Scoring in divisional matchups historically edges down when teams meet for the second time. Defenders are up to speed and there is more game film to look over. Weather can also impact scoring in cities like Green Bay, Chicago and Philadelphia. Oddsmakers will adjust, but how are bettors supposed to modify their approach given the way rule changes have increased offensive production by 25% in the past 20 years?
- In 2001, NFL games averaged 40.4 points. Thus far in 2020, the scoring average is 50.7 points per game.
Read on and I’ll show you a way to adjust your settings while looking for value in your Week 8 NFL picks.
Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe Burrow passed for 406 yards and three touchdowns in a 37-34 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday
The Divisional 10% Rule
Hindsight is always 20-20, but I know more than one football handicapper that was scratching their head on Sunday, wondering why they hadn’t pounded the Bengals vs. Browns rematch to go OVER the total.
In the past seven meetings, Cleveland and Cinci have played OVER six times. The total throughout the week was only 50.5, and the weather was fine. The problem is that 50.5 points was 3.0 points higher than any previous total between these two teams. Remember, the book is only looking for balanced action on a matchup. They are not trying to predict the score, just nail down a number that will fetch an equal amount of money to both the high and low side.
This is one way to identify line value with current Over/Under odds.
Take the past 10 meetings between these teams and average the final combined score.
In the case of Cincinnati and Cleveland, their 10 previous games averaged 47.1 points which was +3.45 points over the average posted total of 43.6.
Take 10% of their combined average from those 10 games, and add the two figures.
In this example, 47.1 + 4.7 = 51.8 points. Call this the Divisional 10% Total.
Compare the Divisional 10% Total with the actual game total. As long as our comparative total is higher than the posted total, we have ourselves an OVER play to consider. If the Divisional 10% total is lower, perhaps the UNDER is worth a closer look.
There are six divisional matchups listed on Sunday’s NFL schedule. I took the liberty of averaging the scores from the past 10 meetings for you. The comparative value is listed against current NFL Over/Under odds.
Minnesota at Green Bay
Line: Packers -6 and O/U 50
Average from past 10 meetings = 42.2
Divisional 10% Total = 46.4
Comparative Value = UNDER by 3.6 points
New England at Buffalo
Line: Bills -4 and O/U 41
Average from past 10 meetings = 40
Divisional 10% Total = 44
Comparative Value = OVER by 3.0 points
San Francisco at Seattle
Line: Seahawks -3 and O/U 53.5
Average from past 10 meetings = 43.2
Divisional 10% Total = 47.5
Comparative Value = UNDER by 6.0 points
Los Angeles at Denver
Line: Chargers -3 and O/U 44.5
Average from past 10 meetings = 36.6
Divisional 10% Total = 40.3
Comparative Value = UNDER by 4.2 points
Pittsburgh at Baltimore
Line: Ravens -4.5 and O/U 46.5
Average from past 10 meetings = 45.1
Divisional 10% Total = 49.6
Comparative Value = OVER by 3.1 points
Dallas at Philadelphia
Line: Eagles -11 and O/U 43
Average from past 10 meetings = 40.6
Divisional 10% Total = 45.2
Comparative Value = OVER by 2.2 points
Checking the weather is ultra important when betting totals, especially at this time of year. Injuries to key personnel such as the starting quarterback also need to be carefully factored. Yeah, I’m looking at you Cowboys. And remember, this is just one of many strategies you can use while making your Week 8 NFL picks. For more on the NFL, check out my trends and tips feature.