NFL betting: The point total for the Saints' visit to Cleveland is the lowest in years

Can the Cleveland Browns and New Orleans Saints combine for five touchdowns on Saturday? Oddsmakers aren’t so sure.

The total at BetMGM is 32 points for the Week 15 matchup. Some books have it at 31.5. At 31.5, the total is the lowest NFL total since 2008. And at either 32 or 31.5, it’s not that far from some of the lowest totals in NFL history.

According to Stat Muse, there have been just 16 NFL games dating back to 1979 with totals at 31 points or lower. The lowest pregame total is 28. Both of those games at 28 came on Christmas weekend in 1993 and the over hit in both. The Patriots won 38-0 over the Colts and the Lions scored a 20-14 win over the Bengals.

The lowest total of the 2000s is 30.5. That came in 2006 when the Bears were 11-point favorites over the Panthers. Carolina covered and the over hit in a 29-21 Chicago win. In case you’re wondering, the over and under are tied at eight apiece in those 16 games with totals of 31 and below.

The Saints are allowing 22.5 points per game in 2022 and scoring just 20.4 points per game. The Browns are allowing 23 points per game and scoring 22 per game, though they haven’t been lighting up the scoreboard with Deshaun Watson.

The Browns have totaled just 23 points in their last two games after scoring 27 in Watson’s first game back against the Houston Texans on Dec. 4. And 21 of those 27 points against the Texans came on special teams or defensive TDs.

Cleveland has just two offensive TDs in the three games Watson has played in his return from an NFL suspension after the sexual assault allegations against him. Overall he’s 56-of-92 passing for 568 yards and has also thrown two interceptions.

After scoring 24 or more points in six of its first eight games, New Orleans has hit that mark just once in its last six games. The Saints did score 21 in a three-point win over the Falcons in Week 15.

If you’re thinking about betting the over, turnovers may be a good guide. The Saints have intercepted just three passes and forced 10 turnovers overall on defense and have the worst defensive turnover rate in the league. The Browns, meanwhile, rank 25th in defensive turnover percentage and have recovered eight fumbles and notched seven interceptions.

Conversely, both offenses are outside the top 15 in turnover percentage. And it's going to be really cold in Cleveland. Really cold. It's set to be windy with a projected high of 12 on Saturday.

The total for the Saints' visit to Cleveland on Saturday is the lowest NFL total in quite some time. (AP Photo/Peter Joneleit)
The total for the Saints' visit to Cleveland on Saturday is the lowest NFL total in quite some time. (AP Photo/Peter Joneleit)