As is always the case, some NFL bettors got really lucky in Week 14 while others got extremely unlucky. Those that bet the Browns certainly felt as though they suffered a bad beat, as the Browns led by 18 at halftime but failed to cover a 2.5-point spread despite backup quarterback Tyler Huntley replacing Lamar Jackson. Bills bettors were in the same boat, as the team stormed back to tie the Buccaneers only to watch their chances of covering a 3.5-point spread dissipate thanks to a Breshad Perriman touchdown.
And even the Bears gave those that bet them as 11.5-point underdogs some hope, as they stormed out to a 10-point lead against the Packers and had a six-point lead at halftime. But in the second half, they collapsed and Aaron Rodgers and the Packers earned the cover, which they held for just 4:33 of game time.
Thus is the life of NFL gamblers, but as always, these types of losses and bad beats tend to even out. If you suffered one, you’ll bounce back. If you benefit from a one, then you can smile sheepishly and hope that good luck follows you into Week 15. But even if you’re confident it will, it’s still important to pay attention to the latest odds, trends, results and injuries that are impacting spreads and potential best bets.
NFL bye weeks are over, so Week 15 will be the first 16-game NFL slate since Week 5. That will give bettors plenty of options as they look to pick their favorite bets of the week.
Of course, with such a large slate, there are now four double-digit underdogs in action. They could scare off bettors considering how much success double-digit dogs have had this season, but there is one in particular that we are looking at as an opportunistic bet.
Elsewhere COVID-related absences could have a big impact on these spreads. The Browns are dealing with a pretty big COVID outbreak, as eight of their players landed on the COVID list Monday. They play on Saturday, so they are the side to watch as COVID issues become a bigger issue in the waning weeks of 2021.
Injuries will be key to watch as well. Jackson (ankle) is uncertain to play in the Ravens-Packers game while Josh Allen (toe) is also being treated as day-to-day. If either passer misses time, that could cause a massive swing in each game, though it should necessarily mean that you fade the Ravens and Bills automatically.
For more expert NFL predictions, check out Sporting News’ picks straight up and against the spread for Week 15.
NFL WEEK 15 PICKS: Against the spread | Straight up
NFL odds for Week 15
Below are the latest Week 15 NFL odds, including point spreads, money lines and over-under totals for every game, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Last updated: Wednesday, Dec. 15.
NFL point spreads Week 15
NFL money lines Week 15
NFL over-unders Week 15
NFL POWER RANKINGS: Where Packers rank among NFL’s best
NFL best bets for Week 15
Saints (+10.5) at Buccaneers
The Bucs may be one of the better teams in the NFL, but they don’t always win in blowout fashion. They have won half of their 10 wins by double digits this year and will need to do that again versus the Saints to cover this spread.
However, those five double-digit wins all have something in common. They have come against some of the NFL’s weaker teams in terms of Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric, which “breaks down the entire season play-by-play, comparing success on each play to the league average based on a number of variables including down, distance, location on field, current score gap, quarter, and opponent quality.”
In fact, all of the opponents that the Buccaneers have beaten by 10-plus points — the Bears, Dolphins, Giants and Falcons (twice) — rank in the bottom-10 of the metric on a year-long basis. The Bucs are beating such opponents by an average of 23.8 points per game. The other five wins, which have all come against top-15 teams in the metric, were won by an average of 4.6 points per game.
Even with their starting quarterback situation unsettled, the Saints have a solid DVOA ranking thanks to their defense, their offensive line and their running game. New Orleans currently ranks 13th in the NFL in DVOA. That means it should be hard for the Buccaneers to beat them by double digits even with Taysom Hill at quarterback.
It also helps our cause that Brady is 1-12 against the spread in his last 13 prime-time games and that he hasn’t beaten the Saints yet in the regular season with the Bucs. Oh yeah, the Saints also haven’t lost to the Bucs by double digits since 2011, and they haven’t lost by more than 10 since 2007.
This looks like a prime spot to fade the Buccaneers against the spread, and BetQL agrees with us. They believe that the spread of the Saints’ game should have opened at -10 instead of -11, so we’re getting a full point of value with that pick. The sharp bettors are favoring the Saints as well, as they have a 27 percent advantage in terms of pro money early in the week.
For more top betting picks from BetQL, click here.
RIVERA: Why the Jaguars might not fire Urban Meyer after this season
Seahawks (+6.5) at Rams
The Rams have long been a thorn in the side of Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson. They have both been good in recent years, but even when the Seahawks were Super Bowl contenders with the “Legion of Boom”, they struggled to close out the Rams. That’s part of why Wilson has a record of just 8-11 against the Rams during his career, his most losses against any opponent.
So, why go with the Seahawks here if the Rams tend to have the advantage in this matchup and are the better team this season? It’s all about Wilson.
Seattle is starting to play well again now that Wilson appears to be healthy again. The team struggled with him out of the lineup and also struggled when he first returned from his finger injury as he wasn’t able to throw the ball as well as usual. But that’s because he came back after just four weeks out instead of the original 6-8 week timeline that had been established.
Since progressing through the seven-week mark, Wilson has gotten better and led the Seahawks to wins over the 49ers and Texans. Can Wilson do the same against the Rams? It will prove difficult, but they should at least keep it close. After all, they lost by only nine to the Rams earlier in the season despite Wilson suffering his mallet-finger injury during the contest. Geno Smith kept them competitive, but with Wilson available and fully healthy, they should have at least a chance.
Of course, Matthew Stafford also dealt with an injury to his throwing finger in that early-season meeting. As such, the Rams will probably be also better, especially with Odell Beckham Jr. rounding into form.
However, the Rams are coming off a short week after beating the Cardinals on “Monday Night Football.” They needed to win that game to stay in the hunt for the AFC West title, so they may, understandably, revel in that glory a bit.
But at the same time, McVay’s teams are just 3-5 ATS with a rest disadvantage since he became coach in 2017, good for the sixth-lowest cover percentage in the NFL during that time. So, if the Rams are out of focus for even one day as they prepare for the Seahawks, Carroll and Wilson can make them pay.
The Seahawks shouldn’t lose by more than a touchdown in this one, all things considered. BetQL agrees, and rates the Seahawks a three-star bet out of five, noting that they are receiving a full point of value against the spread. So, getting them as 6.5-point underdogs looks like a good value.
NFL PLAYOFF PICTURE: Updated AFC, NFC playoff races
Chiefs (-3) vs. Chargers
Pop quiz: Do you know the last time the Chiefs lost to the same divisional opponent twice in one season? It was in 2014 against the Peyton Manning-led Broncos.
That was nearly seven years ago. Since then, the Chiefs have endured 20 divisional series during which they haven’t lost both games. They can make the Chargers the 21st series on Thursday.
The Chiefs know that a win over the Chargers would give them a two-game lead in the division. At this point in the season, that would be a commanding one. Meanwhile, a loss would tie them with the Chargers, and Los Angeles would own the tiebreaker because their head-to-head record against the Chiefs would be 2-0.
That’s something that the Chiefs can’t let happen. And they shouldn’t. Frankly, their loss to the Chargers in Week 3 was a mess of their own making. The Chargers won 30-24, but the Chiefs outgained them 437-352 and won the time of possession. How did they lose? They lost the turnover battle 4-0 and blew threw key scoring opportunities inside the Chargers’ 36-yard line as a result.
If the Chiefs can clean up the turnovers, they should win this game and do so by more than three points. Reid and the Chiefs simply don’t lose twice to the same opponent, even one that’s as good as the Chargers.
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