For four weeks the National Football League gave us a welcome respite from the bleakest news year in memory. Unfortunately, even the NFL isn’t immune to 2020: the year from hell. Last week saw the much anticipated Chiefs-Patriots matchup devolved into a lackluster affair without Cam Newton.
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The fate of the Tennessee Titans is up in the air with as many as 22 players testing positive for COVID. New guidelines and procedures have been sent out to teams but thanks to travel and the number of personnel with NFL teams, keeping teams virus-free has remained a challenge. Nevertheless, the true national pastime rolls on and we offer you trends through four weeks to make you $$$.
An Over Outbreak
As teams continue to come to grips with the new normal, points continue to climb off the charts. For three consecutive weeks, there’s been an average of 50 points per game!
For the year, Overs are 37-25-1. 7-point total teasers, typically a loser bet, have hit an astounding 53 of 63 overs! As it turns out, practice matters and continuity matters, two things sorely lacking in this pandemic year.
The Zebra Factor
Another factor in the point explosion of 2020? Officiating. Thanks to this handy chart from Rob Pizzola, you can see how the refs are influencing the game. Offensive holding calls are way down and defensive pass interference whistles are up.
Naturally, the lack of crowds has also tempered false starts. It’s hard to say whether this is a concerted effort by the NFL to further promote points or just a statistical aberration that will even itself out.
A couple interesting overs in week 5:
Minnesota Vikings @ Seattle Seahawks 57.5. Russell Wilson continues his MVP campaign and the Vikings appear to finally be getting their act together.
Las Vegas Raiders @ Kansas City Chiefs 56.5. No one can stop Patrick Mahomes and the Raiders look to regain their early season form after losing two straight games.
Like any other year, injuries play a major role. A team can go from an unstoppable force to shuffling along thanks to a few key injuries. The team currently hit hardest by injuries is the shiny new Tampa Bay Bucs.
They lost TE O.J. Howard for the year just as he and Brady were developing chemistry; essentially all of their WRs have some kind of nagging injury. Chris Godwin and RB LeSean McCoy have been ruled out while Mike Evans and Scotty Miller are questionable. RBs
Leonard Fournette is doubtful and Keyon Barner was suspended four games for PEDs. Now could be a good time to short Tampa Bay @ Chicago Bears +5.5. The San Francisco 49ers are another team wrecked by injuries. Look for the Dolphins to cover the +8.5 in Miami.