As the season progresses and oddsmakers get a better feel for the NFL teams, making picks on the over/under lines becomes an infinitely more difficult task.
The sportsbooks have advanced metrics, people working around the clock, running algorithms and thousands of game simulations to come up with these numbers—something that you and I certainly don't have the financial wherewithal to do.
Nonetheless, even the oddsmakers make mistakes. That's where the smart bettor will jump in, make a few shrewd bets and walk away with the glorious feeling of getting free money.
Which games stick out on the Week 11 schedule as egregious errors in judgment? Here is a look at the best over/under bets for this Sunday's slate of games.
(All odds are courtesy of Bovada.)
Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots (Over/Under: 55)
Tied for the biggest total of the week, the Colts and Patriots have been two diametrically opposite teams in terms of over/unders this season.
Indianapolis has become one of the league's most reliable "under" teams. Coming into Week 11, Indianapolis has hit the over just twice, which is tied for the lowest number in the NFL.
On the other hand, the Patriots have hit the over seven times, which is tied with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the most in the league.
In other words, something will have to give and I'm betting it will be the Patriots' habit of hitting the over.
Obviously, any game with this New England offense is going to hit a high total. However, the oddsmakers put the total so exorbitantly high that it would take a massive blowout win for the Patriots or a back-and-forth shootout to make this happen.
Though the Colts are one of the most pleasant surprises in football, it seems like a story destined to end on Sunday. According to Football Outsiders' team efficiency rankings, Indianapolis is only the 27th-best team in the NFL based on advanced metrics.
New England is second, behind only the Denver Broncos. Many are hyping this into a "game of the week"-type situation, but it feels far more like a comfortable win by the Patriots. That being said, barring New England hitting 40 points, this is a relatively safe under.
Pick: The Under
New York Jets at St. Louis Rams (Over/Under: 38.5)
What do you get when you cross two of the NFL's most anemic offenses? Why the lowest total line of Week 11, of course.
The Jets offensive problems have been well-documented by just about everyone in the media. Then re-documented to drive home the point. And then brought back up again just to make us throw our remotes at the television.
Mark Sanchez has put up QBRs of 12.1 and 6.2 in the past two weeks and Shonn Greene has exactly three games all season with 75 or more rushing yards.
On the other side of the field, the Rams haven't been a whole lot better. Through the first 10 weeks, St. Louis ranks 28th in the NFL, scoring a mere 18.1 points per game.
That being said, I'm taking the over with this minuscule total. Danny Amendola's return last week did wonders for Sam Bradford, who turned in one of his best career performances against the vaunted 49ers defense. Using Amendola as a security blanket, the embattled signal-caller completed 26-of-39 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns.
That performance gave Bradford the second-highest QBR (82.0) of his career, but also signified what Amendola means to the Rams offense. Look for St. Louis to continue its slight offensive surge and come away with a shocking semi-blowout to spur the over on Sunday.
Pick: The Over.
Cleveland Browns at Dallas Cowboys (Over/Under: 43.5)
Over/under bets are almost impossible to call locks, but there is almost no earthly circumstance where I see the Cowboys and Browns hitting the 44-point mark.
In the past three weeks, Cleveland has gone from a team many thought was emerging offensively right back into its early-season hole. Facing very mediocre competition, the Browns scored a meager 35 points in those contests, coming out somehow with a 1-2 record.
Quarterback Brandon Weeden in particular has been the catalyst of the dreadfulness. The rookie signal-caller has gone 31-of-64 for 305 yards with zero touchdowns and two interceptions in the past two weeks.
While the Cowboys have far fewer problems offensively, but they're still there. Coming into Week 11, Dallas ranks 28th in the NFL in rushing offense, are tied for the fifth-most giveaways and score an uncharacteristically low 20.9 points per game.
In fact, when the team scored 38 points last week against the Philadelphia Eagles, it was the first time all season it hit the 30-point mark. And 21 of those points were non-offensive touchdowns.
If you want to bet on more of those coming on Sunday, be my guest. But this feels more like an ugly slugfest that the Cowboys pull out more because of the ineptitude of the Browns than anything else.
Pick: The Under.
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