Here’s a theory about scoring in 2018 NFL games. We all know that outlandish over/unders like the 64 on Rams-Chiefs in week 12 have been matched (or topped, really) by outrageous scores like, well, 54-51. But these presumptions – borne out by statistics – were formulated in the first half of the season while much of the U.S. even in the era of climate change still enjoy mild-to-crisp autumnal temperatures.
You see where NFLbets is going here, right? Take a look at the scoreboard for a weekend on which the under went 8-5-1: Games in Baltimore, Buffalo, Chicago, Denver, New Jersey and Pittsburgh all went under. Games in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco (where the temperature was 61°F at kickoff) all went over. The game in Cincinnati between the low-offense Raiders and no-offense Bengals pushed.
The exceptions to the under winning in sub.-55° weather in week 15:
• Houston Texans at the New “York” Jets, a game in which the score was still 13 points under the O/U line heading in the 4th quarter; and
• the Washington-Jaguars game in Jacksonville, which y’all really should have known would be well under – do these teams even *have* offenses at this point?
New Orleans Saints -6 at Carolina Panthers, over/under 50½ points
The truth is the NFLbets will readily admit to ignorance vis-à-vis the state of Cam Newton’s injury/injuries right now, nor why they’ve thrown away chances in each of the last four games, all single-score SU losses. We’re also not foolish enough to believe in the Carolina seesaw (beginning in 2012, the Panthers have finished 7-9, 12-4, 7-8-1, 15-1, 6-10 and 11-5; they're currently 6-7) despite the continuity of Ron ‘n’ Cam.
Normal circumstances would suggest that, with at least two hyper-talented “skill players” on the offense and an okay defense combined with the very realistic possibility of elimination from playoff contention, the Panthers would bring the house creatively speaking and surprise the Saints with an “upset” in Carolina. But if the 2018 Carolina Panthers were that easy for NFLbets to peg, we’d be a lot better than 2-5 betting on them and overs in their games.
On the other side are the Saints who, in NFLbets’ opinion, look like the NFC representative for Super Bowl LIII (to meet the Los Angeles Chargers). Strictly pragmatically speaking, however, wagering on New Orleans should be giving NFL bettors the yips a bit. To this point, the Saints are an incredible 11-3 ATS; winning out ATS would give the 2018 Saints the best record ATS this century. Heck, even figuring that they’ll likely be able to throw away the week 17 game thanks to the Rams’ recent incompetence, they’d be the first team to go 12-4 ATS since the ’03 New England Patriots.
In more subjective terms, NFLbets is still unsure about this offense a bit after getting its wings clipped in Dallas. The Saints chased this SU loss with a win at Tampa Bay in which a bottom-5 NFL defense held them to 11 points in the first three quarters. This game at Carolina represents New Orleans’s third straight on the road and we’re assuming that these Saints are at least mortal enough to feel the effects of such a schedule at least a tiny amount.
But again, who can tell? The Panthers have easily been one of the year’s big disappointments (not just for NFLbets, either) along with fellow 2017 playoff competitors, the Atlanta Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars, and we wouldn’t be surprised one whit to see the Panthers get smoked followed by a press conference filled with choice words from a nattily-coiffed and petulant Cam Newton.
So we’re going with the easy pick: Warm weather, clear skies, Carolina desperation and lots of points: Take the over on an O/U of 50½ points or a few more.
NFLbets Best Bets record in 2018: 35-27-2.