I was reading this article at pro-football-reference.com and stopped for a while to muse about may really happen.
Those teams that do have good ST return men will probably be impacted the most. BUF, CHI, CLE, and SEA in mind will be most notable. These teams won't be able to change field position as easily on kick returns and thus should punt more often and total scores for their games should have a greater tendency to go under the total.
Of course, if this labor dispute continues and we have a shortened seasoned, again under the total should occur more often even if the books adjust the lines. The only teams that will be able to score int 35+ range will be the veteran teams w/a good QB, thus over the total should occur in less games than normal.
I wonder what the normal over/under will be for this upcoming season? I also wonder how many overs and unders has occurred for the past 5 seasons as well as the O/U tendency for each team.
Safety is good for the game/players. Kick offs will become more like the 25yd FG attempt. The 25yd FG I would guess is successful about 95% of the time and perhaps touchbacks to the 25yd line will be just as routine. Eventually coaches will place less emphasis on the KO and thus ST play which perhaps could lead to more practice on the offensive side or the ball, after all the team with the most points wins right?
A few teams have FG kickers who can also do kickoffs from the 35yd line and get the touchback. OAK comes to mind and I think the kicker in ARI perhaps as well (unless I'm thinking of someone else). This could help on game day with the team activating another player (instead of carrying ST player).
The average teams has 10 - 12 possessions a game, if both teams score 21pts (or 3 out of 10 possessions) then 42 will be the ending total for the game. The average total must sit somewhere in between 42 and 45 pts is what I'll guess for right now.
Now if instead of scoring a TD, you have to punt or settle for a FG, total should be lower at the end of the majority games. Thus if the total is set somewhere between 42 - 45 pts the under should occur more often the over. We'll see if this occurs or I hope to remember to check on this later on this year.
via NFL, the touchback has been returned to the 20yd line (instead of 25yd) and I still state we will see more punts from the returning team, and w/more 'field position punts', there will be less scoring TD's and more FG's.
Those teams w/good QB's & WR's will move the ball and continue to score TD's. The teams w/questionable QB's will only be able to score TD's perhaps 1 of 4 or 5 possessions, but more likely score FG's
So for a TD team vs a FG team, 3.5 pts won't make much of a difference, the fav will win.
A FG team vs a FG team, that .5 pts will really make a difference.
I suspect that we may see those odd numbers again of 4.5 and 5.5 spread, where depending on the team, the dog may start to bark loudly.