Updated on 09/15/2011 1:14PM

Favorites, "unders" are hot in NFL


LAS VEGAS, Nev. - In the NFL so far this season, favorites are covering at a 63.6 percent clip (35-20-3) and the under is hitting at 58.2 percent (33 unders, 23 overs, 2 pushes). Will those trends continue? Probably not. Bookmakers see those trends, too, and adjust numbers accordingly.

If they feel a team should be favored by 6 points but figure the public is jumping on the favorites bandwagon even more than usual, they'll post a 7 or 7 1/2. The same goes with totals. If the public starts betting unders more and more, a total that normally might be posted in the 39 range will be shaded lower to 36 1/2 to take advantage of the key number 37, which hits in NFL totals more than any other.

So, unless you're looking to blindly bet all favorites and all under this week (which isn't advisable), you just have to look at each game on its own merits in relation to the currently available lines.

Dolphins (-3) at Jets

This game opened at pick-em, but this is a case where I don't mind laying the extra points. The Jets haven't been able to stop the run so far this season (allowing 5 yards per rush), especially the last two weeks against the 49ers and Bills, and that plays into the Dolphins' hands. Lamar Smith should be able to run freely, and if the Jets stacked the line, Miami QB Jay Fieldler will have his pick of receivers downfield in man-to-man coverage. The Jets' offense will also be grounded by the Dolphins' smothering defense that has only been figured out by the Rams. The Jets aren't the Rams. Play: Dolphins for 22 units.

Browns (+2 1/2) at Bengals

Coach Butch Davis must have the Browns thinking they're closer to Miami-Fla. than Miami-Ohio. After easily beating the Lions in Week 2, they've won hard-fought battles over the previously unbeaten Jaguars and Chargers, including a clutch performance by QB Tim Couch that will only lead to the offense's confidence in him. They now face an improved Bengals team that was dominated by that same Chargers team. I gotta take the Dawgs. Play: Browns for 11 units.

Lions at Vikings (-10)

The Vikings have been hurt by the lack of a running game, but that won't matter against the Lions. On Monday night, the Rams ran on their first play (for a 2-yard loss) and then threw 18 straight passes. The Vikings will be able to do the same against the Lions weak pass defense. And the Lions don't have the firepower to stay close enough to even get a backdoor cover, even against the Vikings' mediocre defense. Play: Vikings for 11 units.

Steelers (+3) at Chiefs

The Steelers haven't been pretty so far this year - beating the Bills and Bengals the past two weeks after losing their opener to the Jaguars - but that's partly why I like them in this spot. They play smash-mouth football (averaging 5.7 yards per carry) with Jerome Bettis and a tough defense. The Chiefs have had problems with those types of teams in losses to the Giants and Broncos, who knew they didn't have to play wide-open football to handle the Chiefs. Play: Steelers for 11 units.

Raiders (+3 1/2) at Colts

The Colts offense is among the best in the league, but the defense continues to show it can't stop anybody. The Jets scored 24 against the Colts, the Bills 26 and the Patriots 44, so how can they be expected to hold the Raiders under 30? People who like the Colts will say they're coming off a bye week; well, the Raiders are coming off a bye week, too (they played the Cowboys). Getting more than a field goal is a bonus. Play: Raiders for 11 units.

Over/under plays

As noted above, I wouldn't bet the unders in all the games, but the totals I like are unders again this week. The Rams won't be able to move the ball as easily on the Giants, and the total of 45 seems too high. The Saints and Panthers have yet to go over in any game so far (with Carolina having one push), and that shouldn't change with this week's total of 39 1/2. Both will be trying to establish the run in this divisional battle to stay within striking distance of the Rams, and will be playing it close to the vest. The Lions weren't able to go over against the Rams despite giving up 35 points, so I don't see them going over 44 with the Vikings either. Unders on the Giants-Rams (45), Saints-Panthers (39 1/2), Lions-Vikings (44) for 11 units each.

Starting bankroll: 1,000 units.

Bankroll entering last week: 1,002 units.

Last week: 3-2 on sides (including double play loss on Vikings) and 2-0 on totals for net win of 17 units.

Current bankroll: 1,019 units.