Totally Covered – Week 12 NFL Tips and Picks

For a lot of football bettors this season is was either bet the side, bet the over or ‘pass’ as the new rule book threatened to shatter another round of scoring records. Our research shows that “Under” bets on any given Sunday this season haven’t been quite so bad – just as long as you get them in early

Week 11 was a huge week for unders in the NFL with 10 of 14 games finishing below the posted total but did you know that Week 11’s slate of games was also the highest average Over/Under odds from the entire season?

Thanks to the New England at Indianapolis game (O/U 57), the average total in Week 11 worked out to 46.9 points, seven-tenths of a point greater than the season average for all games. It’s no coincidence that the Pats-Colts game had a higher total; the primetime games from this season are going “Over” at a record setting pace and sportsbooks often can’t put a high enough number on these nationally televised events to keep up with the worldwide demand from over bettors.

Yes, it seems everyone wants to bet over on primetime games and as we all watch, glued to the set or the bar stool, the games go over again and again and again. The combined record for Thursday/Sunday/Monday night football games in 2014 is 25-8-2 O/U (76-percent). The average total in those games is 47.8 and the games are clearing by 3.69 points per game; just more than field goal.

But isn’t this rash of scoring pretty much what we all expected? The word from preseason was that we were going to see a ton more penalties called and we all thought it would lead to higher scores. Betting the under was a risky proposition this season, to be sure. And no total was safe.

The problem, though, is that those primetime games are not even half the battle. Including Kansas City’s royal defeat Thursday night in Oakland, there have been 162 NFL games this season and the 35 primetime games only account for 22-percent of them.

So what’s going on in the other 78-percent of games, you ask? Well, for starters, the “Under” is cashing quite nicely at 55-percent thus far and only two weeks of the entire season have finished with more overs than unders. The first was Week 4 (7-3 O/U) and the second was Week 6 (8-4 O/U). The combined record is 56-69-2 O/U (45-percent OV) but we’re noticing a gradual decline and one of the reasons is that officials are calling fewer penalties.

BETTING TIPS: PENALTY YARD MYTH

From Week’s 1 through 9 this season, officials called 15.2 accepted penalties per game; 8.3 on the visitor and 6.9 on the home side. In Week’s 10-11 that average has fallen with just nine teams taking more than seven penalties. The reduction can be traced back to Week 7 when an average 18 APPG were called. Week 8 dropped to 17 and Week 9 fell to 12 before the past two weeks where penalties hit a season low, posted totals hit a season high and non-primetime unders cashed at a rate of 82-percent (2-9 O/U).

Weather is a whole other thing to consider at this time of year and there is no guarantee the refs are going to keep their hankies where they belong for another game, let alone a whole week. The 11 non-primetime Week 12 Sunday totals as of tonight are showing an average of 45.5 points and that does not include the Jets-Bills game which has been moved to Monday in Detroit.

WEEK 12 PICKS

The highest totals for Sunday are Titans-Eagles (O/U 48.5), Packers-Vikings (O/U 49), Lions at Patriots (O/U 48), Jags at Colts (O/U 50.5) and Miami at Denver which we already issued an early pick for late Wednesday (UNDER 49 points). That total is now down to 48.5 and as weather/injury concerns mount, it’s not looking like it will reverse course anytime soon. Read our Week 12 Write-up on the Dolphins at Broncos here!

 

One acronym for ‘fear’ is ‘False Evidence Appearing Real’ and the widespread belief that no total is safe for an under bet has been exposed as a hoax. One of most important things to realize during this correction is that there is not suddenly more value on betting high-total games under. Rather, it’s that your sound principles and betting systems for late season handicapping need to given more consideration.

 

Totally Covered is written by Jarvis Simes, lead handicapper at Pick Sixty Sports. Contact us on Twitter for more NFL picks and winning systems or to comment on this article and good luck this weekend!

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