In sports betting terms, the over/under is simply the total number of points the sports bookmakers feels that the two teams will put up. Just like anything else in that business, the people out in Las Vegas that set these numbers are very good at what they do.
Still, there are a few numbers every week that seem to be a little off one way or the other. In particular, I see three games that the sports books missed the over/under on. All over/under numbers are posted on FoxSports.com, but are courtesy of Bodog.
Houston at Miami (48)
The bookmakers are giving the new-look Texans defense a lot of credit here. That's all I can figure. You have to assume that Houston and their explosive offense will be good for at least 30 points. That leaves 18 for Miami.
That's too low. The Dolphins offense isn't as bad as many would have you think. They love to throw the ball and Chad Henne can pile up yards quickly.
If this game ends up getting out of hand fairly early on, it's even better for those betting the over, as garbage time scores are the bane of bookmakers' existence. Nothing is worse than a book losing an over/under because one team scored a bunch of points when it didn't matter.
Take the over here and don't look back.
Cincinnati at Denver (40)
I'm a bigger believer in the Broncos offense than most, but I don't think they'll be good enough to make up for the Bengals offense.
Quarterback Andy Dalton has been cleared to play, but he was going to struggle enough if he was healthy. How much can be expected of a hurt rookie quarterback in his second regular season game?
I can't see Cincinnati putting up more than ten points and there's no way that Denver will get 30 if that is the case. Take the under.
Chicago at New Orleans (48)
Simply looking at last week's scores should be enough to make you want to take the over. New Orleans scored 34 points in a loss to Green Bay and Chicago put up 30 points in a win over Atlanta. That's 64 points right there.
New Orleans should score at least 34 once again. Chicago has a good defense, but it's not necessarily any better than Green Bay's. Chicago might actually score more points this week. New Orleans' defense isn't any better than Atlanta's and playing on the turf in the Superdome will only help the offenses.
This is the most egregious error the bookmakers made this week. There is no way this game ends with a score like 27-21. Take the over.