Sports

Bettor’s edge: The wonder of the under

Here’s advice worth considering: take the under in division games during the final quarter of the NFL season.

After 12 games, division opponents have either already played each other or have seen each other on film versus common opponents.

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The familiarity is undeniable.

If you know your opponent’s tendencies and personnel, chances are you’ll have an idea how to keep that rival from reaching the end zone.

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Fewer touchdowns means a higher success rate for under bets, and the numbers back up this claim.

I looked at over/under wagers in division games for the last five years during Week 13. The results:

2014: overs 2, unders 4.

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2013: overs 3, unders 6.

2012: overs 2, unders 6.

2011: overs 1, unders 2.

2010: overs 3, unders 6.

Twenty-four of these 35 division games went under, for a success rate of nearly 69 percent.

If your interest is piqued, consider the under in the following Week 13 divisional matchups (not counting Thursday night’s Green Bay-Detroit tilt, which had an over-under of 46½): Cincinnati at Cleveland (43), Jacksonville at Tennessee (43½), Carolina at New Orleans (50), Arizona at St. Louis (43), Atlanta at Tampa Bay (46), Denver at San Diego (43½), Kansas City at Oakland (44), and Dallas at Washington (41½).

Let’s depart from the norm of taking games against the spread and stick with the over-under theme.

This week’s picks (home team in caps):

Arizona-ST. LOUIS, under 43: The Rams can’t get any traction, but they are typically a tough out in division games (3-0 thus far in the NFC West). Risking $110 to win $100.

Jacksonville-TENNESSEE, under 43½: The perfect recipe for an under bet might be Jacksonville’s play-calling and Tennessee’s lack of weapons. As a bonus, these teams have already played each other. Risking $165 to win $150.

Dallas-WASHINGTON, under 41½: In the battle of Matt Cassel versus Kirk Cousins, I’m sprinting to the window to get in on the under. Risking $110 to win $100.

Denver-SAN DIEGO, under 43½: Two factors that should result in a low-scoring game: Brock Osweiler playing away from home, and San Diego facing Denver’s defense. Risking $110 to win $100.

Last week: 2-2, minus $20. Season: 23-25-2, minus $455.

Ed Ryan can be reached at edward.ryaniii@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @EdzoRyan.
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