Why value lies on Bills-Chiefs total


The latest edition of Patrick Mahomes against Josh Allen will deliver perhaps the most hyped game of the entire regular season.

The two star quarterbacks sit atop the MVP betting board, and the same goes for their respective teams in Super Bowl futures. The winner will take a giant step towards strengthening its AFC championship path.

Bettors obviously are excited to watch but they are more focused on winning money. Mahomes is a home underdog for the first time in his career, and an extremely respected bettor wagered on the Chiefs +3 (-120) earlier this week. While I can understand that wager, for the life of me, I just cannot pick a side. Allen and Buffalo are just as potent.

The numbers you need to know

Personally, I believe the betting value lies with the total on over 54. Scoring is down this season but it really stems from issues only impacting about half the league. After 68% of unders cashed in the first two weeks, the betting market adjusted and now all totals skew lower than they normally would.

“There are a whole bunch of teams where their totals are so low. When they play each other, you have a total around 40 or less,” Super Book oddsmaker and Las Vegas veteran Ed Salmons told ESPN. “If you get away from that and get a high-low matchup, such as Seattle and Chicago, that’s where your totals are more variant.”

Building on that premise, when you get a matchup of two high-scoring teams like Buffalo and Kansas City, you can actually get line value on the over. If this exact matchup occurred last year, the total would be around 57.5. The Bills and Chiefs own the NFL’s two most efficient offenses, and these quarterbacks are as talented as we’ve ever seen.

Styles make fights. I certainly would not want to hold a ticket on the under.

The numbers you need to know, Part 2

Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles (-4.5, 45.5)
Sunday, 8:20 p.m ET, Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia

The Eagles are such an interesting team to handicap, particularly if you like to attack the derivative markets. They seemingly approach each half so differently and that offers betting value, if the stars align properly.

Last week, I highlighted how Philly leads the NFL in first-half scoring, time of possession and point differential. Coincidentally, their opponent, the Arizona Cardinals, ranked dead last in first-half point differential. I made that my top play and thankfully, the Eagles prevented an Arizona touchdown just before intermission and covered the first-half line.

Philly has a certain game script they want to implement and so far, they have been able follow it to an undefeated record. The Eagles typically shock the system with their unique rushing attack, often going for it on fourth down, and that has led to halftime leads in every game.

That script allows them to bleed clock in the second half and shorten the game. Four of Philly’s five games have gone under the second-half total. And that matches well with Sunday’s opponent.

The Cowboys rank in the bottom third of second-half scoring and also clamp down defensively after halftime, allowing the eighth-fewest. Since Cooper Rush became the starter, Dallas has leaned on its defense, considering it ranks sixth in efficiency.

You can actually wager on the second-half total (20.5) before the game even starts. I prefer to wait and see if Philly does in fact lead at the break. If it does, I will look to play the under.

Line of the week

Cincinnati Bengals (-2.5, 43) at New Orleans Saints
Sunday, 1:05 p.m ET, Caesars Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana

play

0:27

Doug Kezirian explains why he is taking the over in the Bengals vs. Saints matchup.

This is a great situational spot for Cincinnati. The biggest weakness is the offensive line, ranking in the bottom five with 3.8 sacks allowed per game. However, New Orleans ranks second-worst in pressure rate (20.3%). Bengals QB Joe Burrow thrives in a clean pocket, ranking second since the beginning of last season with 8.61 yards per attempt. Injuries are also mounting for the Saints. Jameis Winston, Michael Thomas and Chris Olave all have uncertainty.

In this very column, I backed the Panthers against New Orleans in Week 3 because Baker Mayfield shines when he’s not pressured. Sure enough, that turned out to be Carolina’s only win. I’ll fade the Saints again this week. Give me Cincy -2.5.

Sharp Report

By now you understand how professional bettors operate. They prefer to rely on larger sample size and ignore what occurred most recently. Having amnesia is perhaps the most valuable trait when betting the NFL. So you will often see pros fade teams that just played well or back teams coming off a brutal performance. The thought process centers around gaining line value where the masses overreact to one game.

From a consensus standpoint, sharp money is on the Vikings -3, Bucs/Steelers over 44, Bengals -2.5, Ravens/Giants over 45.5, Packers -7, Cots -1.5, Panthers +10.5, Chiefs +3 and Eagles -5.



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