I handicap Week 15 in just a few lines for every game along with my picks.
Broncos at Colts +2.5, 40.5 – The Colts rank worst in the NFL in yards per play this season and the Broncos rank second worst. Both teams have played decent D for much of the last four games. So this one seems to have UNDER written all over it. The Colts are slightly worse on offense lately with 3.9 ypp over their last three but the Broncos are the worst bet in the NFL on the road this season at 0-6 ATS.
Bears at Lions -5.5, 44 – Five of the last six Lions games have gone OVER, and a bit of a weird one here, but the OVER is 28-12 in the last 40 games after a Bears win. The Lions are 1-7 ATS in their last eight divisional games at home, for whatever that’s worth. They also start slower than any team in the league this season. Opponents are scoring an NFL-high 6.4 points in the first quarter while the Bears are a little better but not a ton. First-quarter OVER maybe?
Chargers at Chiefs +1, 46.5 – The Chargers and Chiefs are the top two teams in the NFL in yards per play over their past three games (7.0 and 6.4). I’m expecting scoring in this one even though seven of the last eight Chargers games have gone UNDER. The Chargers have lost seven straight to the Chiefs and won only three of their last 18 divisional games. Ew!!! The Chiefs, meanwhile, are 8-1 ATS in their last nine divisional games. I’ll take the OVER in what could end up being the surprise game of the week.
Miami at Buffalo -3.5 (but OTB at nearly every book) – Another Bills line is OTB this week as their QB situation remains up in the air. This one sort of has letdown for Miami written all over it after a MNF win over the Pats. Miami just isn’t as good on the road this year where they score about five fewer points and allow about five more points than their season averages. They’re 2-4 ATS on the road compared to 3-2-2 ATS at home. I’ll say UNDER. The UNDER is 56 percent over the past four seasons when it’s 32 F or colder so watch the weather.
Ravens at Browns +7, 40 – The Browns are actually getting a little offense going lately with a respectable 5.8 yards per play over their last three. The Ravens are second worst in the NFL over the same span. What’s more is Baltimore’s once-staunch pass D has gotten roasted for 339 ypg over its last three. So I kinda think this might be the game the Browns win if they actually win one this year, not the Bears game. But it’s the Browns. Sigh. I hate myself but I really like the Browns this week and this one goes OVER also.
Texans at Jags -11.5, 39 – Looks like the Jags are finally being taken seriously and even though this line is clearly inflated, I’m not sure it’s enough. Jax is the best team against the pass in the NFL and the Houstonians are a pass-heavy team with 41 pass attempts per game over their last three.
Bengals at Vikings -11, 42 – If the Bengals had any sort of rushing game, I’d like them a lot here because the Vikings are giving up 5.1 yards per play on the ground over the last three – a big slip for them. Still, a big worry for me in this one is that the Vikings had three O-linemen leave last week’s game and they stunk as a result. The Bengals also love to throw a million blitzes so this could be a tougher matchup than the spread suggests.
Jets at Saints -16, 47 – This is the second-highest line of the NFL season, which has a lot to do with the fact some guy named Petty is starting for the Jets. He’s 1-3 with three TDs and 7 INTs as a starter and this is not a team you want to turn the ball over against. I love this New Orleans O-line this season and I’m really not sure how the Jets find a way to cover. Jets 1-4-1 ATS on the road this season and 6-1 ATS at home. Totals in non-conference games are 31-22-1 O/U this season, fyi.
Eagles at Giants +7.5, 40 – The big story here, of course, is that Carson Wentz is done for the season. But this O-line has really helped him thrive and I think Nick Foles will be OK (not amazing, but OK) for the Eagles. Especially against a Giants team that gives up the second-worst yards per play in the NFL. The Eagles are the best bet in the NFL this season and 14-5 ATS in their last 19 against the Giants. Hook don’t scare me.
Packers at Panthers -2.5, 45 – The Sportsbook line of -2 was made with the expectation Aaron Rodgers would be back this week and it looks like he will be. The line moved to -6 in a hurry after he was medically cleared and then books took it OTB and started releasing it again at -2.5. I really like the OVER here. The Panthers offense is cruising with four straight OVERs and the defense’s weakness is against the pass, where they rank 28th in the league. Expect lots of Packers money.
Cardinals at Redskins -4.5, 43 – Arizona is 1-9 SU and 0-10 ATS in its last 10 early afternoon games. If they weren’t a team in the Pacific time zone, I’d dismiss it, but I feel oddsmakers are factoring it into the line also.
Rams at Seahawks +2.5, 48 – Seattle is allowing about 40 more yards passing per game over its last three than it has on the season as the defense suffers attrition. That’s a concern against a Rams team that is tied for tops in the NFL in yards per completion (7.8). I promised I’d never bet the Seahawks again and I’m sticking to it. Go Rams.
Patriots at Steelers +2, 53 – I think we’ll see the wise-guy money on the home dog here but I’d be careful with that one. The Steelers defense is allowing 6.2 yards per play over its last three – a huge drop-off from its 5.1 ypp on the season. The Pats will also have Gronk back and they’re coming off their worst offensive half under Tom Brady on MNF in Miami. It was also the first time New England failed to convert a third down since 1991. Hard for me not to like the Pats in a bounce-back spot with a small number here.
Titans at Niners -2, 44 – Everything seemed to be wrong with the Titans offense last week and Marcus Mariota isn’t having the season he hoped for. But it seems to be helping teams when they play two western roadies this season and stay out west for the second one. Worked for the Eagles and Pats this year. Maybe it can work for the Titans? The Niners have won a couple in a row under new QB Jimmy G. and the defense is only allowing 170 yards passing over its last three but the Titans are a run-first team. I’m confused. Tease the Titans.
Cowboys at Raiders +3, 46 – The Cowboys pass D has gotten lit up for almost 300 yards passing per game over its last three while at the same time, a healthy O-line has them scoring some points again. So the OVER sounds good to me here. Amari Cooper is a question mark for the Raiders but if he’s healthy my lean would be to take the points.
Falcons at Bucs +6, 47.5 – Tampa Bay’s defense ranks at or near the bottom of the NFL in a bunch of spots including: worst in opponent third-down conversion and opponent passing yards per game. We all saw the Falcons benefit from some home calls last week, though, and I don’t think they can expect the same luck this week. This is kinda Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl this season and it could ruin the Falcons’ season, so I’m hesitant to take Atlanta here. But the Falcons are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 night games so they seem to shine under the spotlight. I’ll take Bucs, though. Barf.