Betting NFL totals can be challenging, as one missed tackle or dropped pass can have a huge impact on how well a wager fares against that number. But these games went way above and beyond the total to provide over bettors with a win that they didn’t have to sweat out. And each of these highest total games of all-time followed a formula that made betting on them interesting beyond just the result.
These games, it should be mentioned, are from the modern era of the NFL. Sure, the Giants and Washington combined for an all-time high total of 113 points, but that was done in such a different era of the history of the league that NFL betting wasn’t even the same game that it is now.
In 2004, the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals had the second-highest scoring NFL game of all-time. They put up a combined 106 points, in a 58-48 thriller, where defense was as rare as could be in Cleveland. With Kelly Holcomb and Carson Palmer squaring off in this AFC North matchup, the game followed one of the two main formats of high-scoring games that you’ll see.
With both the Bengals and Browns being sub-.500 teams and teams that were thought to be among the worst in the league, they followed the template of being teams who were expected to see their total go under. The media was calling for an easy under in this game but, as we all know, listening to the media for betting advice can be a dicey proposition.
On the flip side of games that exceeded expectations with regard to the point total are games that are expected to be high-scoring and then deliver on that promise in a huge way. This was the case in 2015 when the Giants and Saints combined for over 1,000 yards of total offense en route to a 101-point game that was the second highest scoring game of the modern era of the NFL.
Both the Giants and Saints were known for explosive offenses at the time, putting up big yards per play numbers, especially with their passing attacks. That made the over seem like a good bet, which it turned out to be without any real suspense thanks to the offensive outbursts led by Eli Mannina and Drew Brees in that classic confrontation.
Of course, bettors have a better chance to find a total that is advantageous to them when the betting public tends to lean heavily in one direction or the other, as the movement of the total can make it so bettors can go against the line movement to grab a more favorable number. And no matter what pundits and so-called experts think about where the total will end up for a given game, it is important not to put too much stock into anything but the matchup and what will force the total over the number or cause it to remain under over the course of an NFL game.
Jay is a sports writer who has been featured on Deadspin, BetAdvisor. In addition to penning wager previews and features, Jay has broadcasted for MAAC school as well as ESPN Radio’s Northeastern Affiliates.