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by Ben Burns - 09/11/2008
The 2008 regular season began with a defensive affair between the Giants and the Redskins. The defending champs prevailed by a score of 16-7. That set the stage for what would prove to be a relatively low-scoring Sunday. When the dust settled, eight of 13 Sunday games had finished 'under' the total.
Both Monday night games went over the projected total leaving under bettors with a modest 9-7 advantage heading into Week 2, with the games averaging slightly more than 40 points each.
The Week 2 board features totals ranging from the mid-30s to the high 40s. The Monday Night game between the Cowboys and Eagles has the highest number, currently 46.5 or 47 at most books. Both teams put up big points in Week 1. Not surprisingly, the Raiders and Chiefs, a pair of teams which struggled to score, have the lowest total. The number came out at 34.5 but quickly climbed to 36. I've posted one opinion below. Enjoy the games and best of luck.
Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
These teams both saw their opener finish above the total. The Bucs' game against the Saints snuck above the total with 44 combined points, while the Falcons combined with the Lions for a whopping 54. Those results have helped keep tonight's total above the key number of 37, which I feel has provided us with solid value. A look at the recent meetings in this series show that all four games from the past two seasons produced 40 points or less. Those four games averaged just 29.5 points.
Give the Falcons credit for their opening day win. Everything went right and rookie QB Matt Ryan even threw a touchdown on his very first pass. That being said, Ryan and the Falcons will likely find things quite a bit tougher in their first road game.
The Bucs have gone under the total seven their last 11 home games and they've held six of their last nine opponents at Raymond James Stadium to 14 points or less. Additionally, Tampa Bay has seen the under go 6-2 in its last eight home games played in the month of September. Looking back further and we find the under at a profitable 38-20 in Tampa Bay's last 58 September games overall.
The Bucs ran the ball effectively last week but Gruden became impatient with the rushing attack a little too early and they ended up throwing more passes than he probably would have liked. With Garcia banged-up, Brian Griese is expected to get the nod as the starting quarterback this week.
Regardless, I expect the Bucs to feature a larger percentage of run plays than they did last week. As for the Falcons, they threw just 13 passes last week to go along with their 42 plays on the ground. With Ryan still learning the offense and considering last week's success, we should see another heavy dose of the run. As you know, running plays generally help to keep the clock moving.
The Bucs have shown a tendency to play relatively low-scoring games when listed as favorites. The under is 81-51-1 (61%) the last 133 times Tampa Bay's been favored. Look for this contest to prove low scoring with the under improving to 16-5 the last 21 times that the Falcons played away from Atlanta. Consider the under at 37 or better.