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Football System of the Week -- Over/Under Gold!

   by Al McMordie - 09/24/2010

Through the first two weeks of the NFL season, there have been more 'unders' than 'overs,' as 18 of the 32 games have gone 'under' the total; 13 have gone 'over' the total; and one has pushed. Ten teams have gone 'under' in each of the first two weeks (Baltimore, Buffalo, Cleveland, Green Bay, Kansas City, Miami, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Tampa Bay). And there are two match-ups in Week 3 between two of these 10 teams: Pittsburgh travels to Tampa Bay, and Baltimore hosts Cleveland.

When I reviewed the scores of those four teams' games, one thing jumped out at me: each has played exceptionally low-scoring contests. The Steelers defeated Atlanta 15-9 (24 total points), and Tennessee 19-11 (30 points). Tampa bested Cleveland 17-14 (31 points), and upset Carolina 20-7 (27 points). Cleveland fell 17-14 to the Bucs (31 points), and was upset by the Chiefs 16-14 (30 points). Finally, Baltimore eked out a 1-point win over the Jets, 10-9 (19 points), and then stumbled in Cincy, 15-10 (25 points).

So, my first instinct was to open my database, and review what happens when two teams, off very low-scoring games, play each other. Of course, the knee-jerk reaction might be to play the 'under' after watching two teams play tight, defensive games the previous two weeks. But, as we often discover, the knee-jerk reaction tends to be wrong. And, here, it is as well. Indeed, when two NFL teams match-up after each played two games that both produced less then 37 points, the 'over' has cashed the ticket 57.1 percent of the time (88 wins, 66 losses, 2 pushes) since 1980. Thus, playing the 'over' in the Steelers/Bucs and Ravens/Browns games would be a worthwhile venture.

Of course, 57.1 percent is perfectly fine -- especially if it keeps us away from doing the OPPOSITE and playing the 'unders' (there, one would be 66-88-2, which would be a "total" disaster). But we can tighten our system up a little bit by focusing on games which involve non-division games (division games have a tendency to go 'under' the total much more than non-division games, perhaps due to the familiarity of the teams). Then, our 88-66-2 system (playing on the 'over' in such games) moves to 60-37-1 (61.9%). Just one of our two NFL games this week is a non-division contest: Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay.

Best of luck this weekend in College and Pro Football. And be sure to get all of my award-winning plays at http://www.bigal.com/picks and get 2 Free Winners every day at http://www.bigal.com/free .... Al McMordie.

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