The Green Bay Packers dominated the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night in frigid temperatures at Lambeau Field. By the end of the third quarter, there was little doubt which team would leave victorious. That doesn't mean there weren't plenty of bettors sitting on the edge of their seats and invested in the action as the total hung in the balance. A.J. Dillon's second touchdown of the night pushed the combined score over the closing total of 42, becoming only the sixth game to go over in Week 16.
Unders have been a solid bet this year, winning at a 55% rate. Sunday night's game was the perfect example of how important it is to target these bets early in the week. We bet the total at its highest point (47.5), giving us a winning bet on the under. The total dropped 5.5 points by kickoff mainly due to Kirk Cousins being ruled out because of a positive COVID test. If you waited until the weekend to place your wager on the under, the 5.5 points were the difference between winning and losing. The market is always moving, so let's not waste any time and lock in our unders for Week 18.
New Orleans at Atlanta (Under 40.5)
Why stop now when I have been cleaning up on unders all season with these two teams. The Falcons and the Saints each have uncharacteristically bad offenses, so the matchup immediately caught my attention. The two teams rank 25th and 30th in EPA per play on the season, respectively, with New Orleans ranking dead last since Week 9. Even with the total closing at 36.5 against Carolina, the Saints landed under the total for the sixth straight week and it hasn't been close. New Orleans having a top-five defense combined with a putrid offense has produced the following combined scores in its last three games: 9, 23, and 28.
The Falcons' run defense just allowed 223 yards to the Bills, so it's reasonable to expect some offensive output from a Saints team that needs to win to keep its playoff hopes alive. But how many points should we expect from Atlanta against one of the league's best defenses? Considering the Falcons have averaged 16 points in the last three weeks, I am betting on not much. Arthur Smith's Falcons are looking to next year and may use this game to evaluate some younger players. Atlanta is 7-1 to the under in its last eight. Grab this one today before the market drives it even lower.
Cincinnati at Cleveland (Under 44)
"Jackpot" Joey Burrow going under the total? How could I? The same Joe Burrow that just outdueled Patrick Mahomes to the tune of 446 yards and four touchdowns? There is no hotter player in the NFL right now, but he will have no choice but to cool off in Cleveland. The Browns' pass defense ranks eighth in success rate entering Monday night's game in Pittsburgh. In their previous meeting, Burrow was sacked five times in a 41-16 rout by the Browns. Cleveland made Burrow miserable by picking him off twice and holding him without a touchdown pass.
Weather is a critical factor when evaluating totals at his point in the season. If Cleveland can't slow down the Bengals' aerial attack, it will get some help from Mother Nature. The forecast in Cleveland is for 15 mph winds with gusts up to 27, with a wintery mix of rain and snow. Not ideal conditions for either offense. Zac Taylor has shown the willingness to lean on Joe Mixon when necessary. The more the ball is out of Burrow's hands, the better our chances are to hit this under. Cincinnati is 5-4 to the under when the total closed below 47 this season.
Stats provided by teamrankings.com and Ben Baldwin (based on 10/90 WP).