Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes put on a scoring clinic to close out the NFL's Sunday schedule with an entertaining 36-35 Ravens victory. Baltimore and Kansas City combined for 886 yards and 71 points in a game that soared over the total in the third quarter. Prime-time games are now 5-0 to the over entering Monday night's matchup in Detroit as Aaron Rodgers prepares for a Lions defense that allowed a league-worst eight yards per play in Week 1.
Teams may not be scoring at the historic rate of 2020, but they are still outpacing every other season. While fans are making their presence felt, it hasn't been a detriment to the scoreboard. This year's 23.9 points per game are more than a full point higher than 2019. Bettors are taking notice, and they are filling up their bet slips with overs. The average closing line total moved from 47.8 to 48.6 this week despite under bets hitting more often in Week 1.
Now that we have seen almost every team for two consecutive weeks, we can start to shape our opinions on which offenses are for real and which defenses will struggle. Targeting teams that have both is ideal as the defensive ineffectiveness puts continuous pressure on the offenses to score. I also look for teams that have had significant defensive injuries that may be more impactful than expected. Baltimore has been a prime example on both accounts, which is why they are the first team I circled when targeting overs in Week 3.
Baltimore is one of four teams that are 2-0 to the over despite having both totals close in the 50s. The Ravens' offense has averaged 31.5 points per game and is fifth in the NFL in offensive success rate. It's the defensive side of the ball that makes this bet so appealing. The Ravens can't seem to stop anybody and are allowing the third-most yards per play on defense.
I think there is going to be some opportunity with the Ravens while the market catches up to how significant the injuries to the secondary are. While I agree that a Jared Goff-led offense is a sight for sore eyes to a struggling defense, Dan Campbell has shown us that he is more than willing to rack up garbage-time points. The Detroit defense allowed 41 to the 49ers, and I wouldn't be surprised if Baltimore did the same. It's going to be a big year for Ravens' overs unless they make a trade to strengthen the defense.
Kyler Murray didn't do anything to quiet the MVP conversation with his 400-yard performance on Sunday. The Arizona offense leads the NFL in first-half scoring at 24 points per game and ranks second in total scoring only because it built a massive lead against the Titans so early last week.
Murray and the Cardinals should feast on a Jaguars defense with a struggling secondary. Jacksonville is 28th in EPA (expected points added) per dropback and 27th in yards per passing attempt. The Jags pass rush has been league average, but Murray's mobility should negate their only line of defense. We saw the Cardinals defense come back down to earth, allowing 33 points to the Vikings. If Trevor Lawrence can get more comfortable in his third game, I feel like it's a safe bet to expect the Cardinals to do the heavy lifting on this total.
The Chicago defense is not back despite holding the Bengals to 17 points on Sunday. I give the Bears credit for forcing four turnovers, but now they face Ohio's better half. Kevin Stefanski's Browns are the most efficient offense in the NFL this young season. Their 56.4% offensive success rate leads the league, and their seven yards per play is third best in the NFL. Baker Mayfield is coming off a 19-of-21 passing performance and I expect the Bears defense to look much more like the team that gave up 34 in L.A.
Adjusting to injuries is so important, and Andy Dalton knee has opened the door for Justin Fields. Despite having measured expectations for Fields, his mobility adds a more dynamic component and should increase scoring opportunities for Chicago. The Bears won't be able to go blow for blow with the Browns offense, but if Cleveland scores in the 30s like I expect, 17 Chicago points will be enough to make this bet a winner.
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