One month into the NFL season and the primary storylines are unders (59.0%) and underdogs (59.3% cover rate). Those numbers are interesting, but if we drill down a bit deeper, there are stronger trends that could put you a step ahead of the field.
Projected total over 46 points 2022: Favorites (55.0%), Overs (30.0%)
Projected total of 46 points or less 2022: Favorites (35%), Overs (45.2%)
Of course, we are only dealing with a months' worth of data, but those are some pretty significant splits. In an effort to gain context to those numbers, I took a look at the recent past to see if these trends were supported. Here's what that research turned up.
This would be the third time in four seasons that favorites were better ATS when the total was over 46 points than when it's not.
In games with a total over 46 points:
2020: 53.8% over
2021: 44.7% over
2022: 30.0% over
If you're picking a favorite to cover, you want the projected total to be over 46 points, and if you want to pick an over, the numbers suggest you are better off targeting the games with a lower total. The Week 5 opening lines featured seven games with a projected total north of 46 points. Let's take a look at the team trends that are prevailing as we enter Week 5.
Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos (-3.5, 43.5)
Colts ATS: 1-3
What we know about the Colts: They barely got there last week, but they did. That's now nine straight unders in games involving the Colts.
Broncos ATS: 1-3
What we know about the Broncos: Six of eight Broncos home games since Halloween have gone under the total, and in four of those instances, it wasn't close (under by at least 18 points).
New York Giants at Green Bay Packers (-8, 41.5)
Giants ATS: 3-1
What we know about the Giants: Another under last week for the G-men, giving them five in their past six games.
Packers ATS: 2-2
What we know about the Packers: Green Bay failed to cover last weekend as a 9.5-point favorite, but that's been the exception, not the rule. Prior to last week, the Pack had covered five of their previous seven games when favored by at least seven points. They will get a chance to get back on track this weekend in London.
Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-8, 48)
Falcons ATS: 4-0
What we know about the Falcons: The Falcons were one of four teams to see all three of their road divisional games go over the total (Chiefs, Titans and Giants). Those three games went over the total by an average of 13 points.
Buccaneers ATS: 2-1
What we know about the Buccaneers: The Bucs are 4-1 ATS in their past five divisional games, and four of those games have gone under the projected total.
Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings (-7, 44)
Bears ATS: 1-2-1
What we know about the Bears: The Bears have had a tough go of it since the beginning of 2019, but it's been highlighted further when playing the division. Over that stretch, they are just 5-14 ATS, cashing tickets at a pathetic 26.3% clip.
Vikings ATS: 1-3
What we know about the Vikings: The Kirk Cousins era started with five straight unders when the Vikes played a divisional opponent at home, but that has since flipped. Five of the past seven have gone over the number (including the past three in Minnesota against the Bears).
Detroit Lions at New England Patriots (-3, 46.5)
Lions ATS: 3-1
What we know about the Lions: Detroit games have gone over the projected total by 84.5 points through four weeks. Only one team (Chargers) ended last season with an over margin of even 70. Regression coming or historic outlier?
Patriots ATS: 1-2-1
What we know about the Patriots: Location, location, location. Over tickets have cashed in seven straight New England home games (unders are 6-2 in the Pats' last eight road games).
Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars (-7, 44.5)
Texans ATS: 2-1-1
What we know about the Texans: The Texans are 7-2 ATS in their past nine divisional games (3-1 when playing on the road).
Jaguars ATS: 2-2
What we know about the Jaguars: Over the past two calendar years, the Jaguars have been favored twice. Both of those games went over the total. Both of those games saw the Texans cover the number.
Miami Dolphins (-3, 44.5) at New York Jets
Dolphins ATS: 3-1
What we know about the Dolphins: The Dolphins get a long work week as they look to avoid consecutive ATS losses for the first time in nearly a calendar year (lost four straight ATS from Week 4 through Week 7 last season).
Jets ATS: 2-2
What we know about the Jets: The bad news: The Jets are 1-7 ATS in their past eight divisional games. The good news: That one cover came last December in Miami as a 10-point underdog (they managed to only lose by seven points).
Tennessee Titans (-2.5, 42.5) at Washington Commanders
Titans ATS: 2-2
What we know about the Titans: Under tickets have come through in four of the past five instances in which the Titans were favored.
Commanders ATS: 1-3
What we know about the Commanders: The Commanders are a respectable 4-3 ATS over their past seven home games, but it's been anything but exciting ... six unders over that stretch, four coming by more than eight points.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills (-14, 47)
Steelers ATS: 1-2-1
What we know about the Steelers: Pittsburgh extended their streak of ATS losses that go over the point total to five last week against the Jets.
Bills ATS: 2-1-1
What we know about the Bills: No one circles the wagons like the Bills, and few teams cover big numbers like the best team representing New York: 8-2-2 ATS over their past 12 when favored by at least a touchdown.
Los Angeles Chargers (-3, 48) at Cleveland Browns
Chargers ATS: 3-1
What we know about the Chargers: Over tickets have cashed in eight of their past 10 games.
Browns ATS: 2-2
What we know about the Browns: Think the Browns cover? If so, pairing with the under is likely the play as under tickets have cashed in four of Cleveland's past five home covers (in those five games, the average total number of points scored has been 35.6).
Seattle Seahawks at New Orleans Saints (-5.5, 45.5)
Seahawks ATS: 2-2
What we know about the Seahawks: The Seahawks have covered seven of their past 10 when installed as an underdog by more than a field goal.
Saints ATS: 1-3
What we know about the Saints: Five straight games in New Orleans have gone under the total. Their lone true home game this season came in Week 2, a 20-10 loss to the Buccaneers with a 43.5-point expectation.
49ers ATS: 2-2
What we know about the 49ers: Each of the past four times that the 49ers played a game on short rest, the game went under the projected total by at least 5.5 points.
Panthers ATS: 1-3
What we know about the Panthers: That's three straight unders in Carolina games, a run coming after a 7-2 stretch for overs.
Cowboys ATS: 3-1
What we know about the Cowboys: Dallas is 16-5 ATS since the beginning of last season, two games better than any other team.
Rams ATS: 1-3
What we know about the Rams: The Rams have covered three straight games when playing on a short week, something they will be doing this week after playing the final game of Week 4.
Philadelphia Eagles (-5, 49.5) at Arizona Cardinals
Eagles ATS: 3-1
What we know about the Eagles: The Eagles are seeking a fourth straight cover, something they haven't done since Weeks 4-12, 2017.
Cardinals ATS: 2-2
What we know about the Cardinals: The Cards are 5-1 ATS at home in October during the Kyler Murray era (four of those games were decided by three or fewer points).
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens (-3, 48)
Bengals ATS: 2-2
What we know about the Bengals: The Bengals were one of four teams to go 3-0 ATS in road divisional games last season (Bills, Cardinals and Cowboys).
Ravens ATS: 2-1-1
What we know about the Ravens: The Ravens are just 1-3 ATS in their past four home divisional games. In those four games, their cumulative cover margin is -41 points.
Las Vegas Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs (-7, 51)
Raiders ATS: 1-3
What we know about the Raiders: Eight of the Raiders' past nine primetime games have gone over the total.
Chiefs ATS: 1-2
What we know about the Chiefs: Each of the past four meetings between these division rivals have gone over the total with three of those games blowing past the total by at least nine points. Also in three of those games ... a result that is at least 18.5 different than the spread. Buckle up!