Christmas time and Saturday games! I like college football as much as the next guy, but does it get any better than this? Decorating the tree (I may be a holiday procrastinator) and watching some NFL action. That’s what I’m talking about. The final quarter of the season starts this week. It’s nut-cracking time! Here are my takes on the NFL Week 15 Betting Lines.
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I went 2-3, and ELO struggled to 1-4. Unfortunately, my Best Bets got hammered at 1-3, so another disappointing week all around.
Last week: My picks, 2 – 3; Analytics, 1 – 4; Best Bets, 1 – 3
Minnesota at Detroit – “Much has been made of the Lions being favored over the 10-2 Vikings.”
Yet again, Vegas was correct. The books are good at what they do.
Jacksonville at Tennessee – “The Jags are 0-4 in road games since their “breakthrough” road win in LA in Week 3.”
Sigh. Another sign things just aren’t going your way. Vikings and Titans Money Lines were lousy (i.e., losing) Best Bets.
Tampa Bay at San Francisco – “Anyone expecting a classic Brady game here is feeding into a narrative situation that no longer exists.”
Just when things were at their lowest (I hope), the late games came and got us back on track.
Carolina at Seattle – “I’m inclined to take the points and run.”
Gasp! Was this a “two bad teams, take the points” game? As a Packer fan clinging on to (very) faint hope of making the playoffs, seeing Seattle and the Giants collapse is heartening but likely just setting me up to be hurt.
Miami at Los Angeles Chargers – “Miami going to the west coast in back-to-back weeks is a rough go, but…”
If I were smart, I would have put a period after “go,” moved on, and taken a W.
Season: My picks, 31 – 48 – 3; Analytics 39 – 40 – 2; Best Bets, 14 – 20 – 1
Both sides of the ball matter when placing NFL bets, and Club Fantasy covers defense too. Check out You Down with IDP?, every Thursday at 7 PM EST.
NFL Week 15 Lines
(Standard disclaimer – All opinions are my own and may or may not reflect those of this website. “Analytic Lines” are ELO point spreads from fivethirtyeight.com, and “Vegas Lines” are courtesy of thelines.com, current as of the writing of this article. Predicted Line (“PL”) is my early week estimate of where the Vegas line would be set. Chosen games are those with a multiple-point variance between the Vegas and Analytic Lines.)
As a super fun bonus, we’re picking the Saturday games to celebrate Saturday Games!
Game of the Week
Indianapolis at Minnesota – Analytic Line: MIN (-5.5), Vegas Line: MIN (-4), PL: MIN (-6.5)
The Colts are coming off a bye, but the last time we saw them, they were imploding against Dallas. Feels like the shine is off the Fighting Jeff Saturdays. But wait, does Jeff Saturday coaching on a Saturday help? The Vikings’ defense is in full collapse mode, but I’m not seeing Matt Ryan being able to exploit that on the road.
Pick: Minnesota (-4)
Make It A Parlay
Baltimore at Cleveland – Analytic Line: CLE (-3.5), Vegas Line: CLE (-3), PL: CLE (-2.5)
Never pass up an opportunity to bet against the Ravens with “not-Lamar” at quarterback.
Pick: Cleveland (-3)
Miami at Buffalo – Analytic Line: BUF (-8.5), Vegas Line: BUF (-7), PL: BUF (-7.5)
Brutal spot for Miami. Third straight road game, a short week, warm weather team in bad weather. There’s no way you can take the Dolphins. I would look to tease this number under 7.
Pick: Buffalo (-7)
Atlanta at New Orleans – Analytic Line: NO (-6), Vegas Line: NO (-4), PL: NO (-6.5)
Last week we talked about Atlanta winning in Seattle in Week 3 and wondering if it was a fluke. They haven’t won a road game since. And now they’re giving Desmond Ridder his first career start in a tough environment against a still-solid defense. Woof.
Pick: New Orleans (-4); Best Bet: Under 43.5
Dallas at Jacksonville – Analytic Line: JAX (+7), Vegas Line: JAX (+4), PL: JAX (+3.5)
Was Dallas looking two weeks ahead to next week’s game with Philly on Sunday when they almost lost to Houston? I like the Jags getting anything over a field goal at home.
Pick: Jacksonville (+4)
Tennessee at Los Angeles Chargers – Analytic Line: LAC (-1), Vegas Line: LAC (-3), PL: LAC (-3.5)
If we’ve learned anything in this NFL season, it’s that whatever happened last week just doesn’t matter. So in a strength-on-weakness (Tennessee running game vs. LA run defense) against strength-on-weakness (LA passing game against Tennessee pass defense) game, I’ll take the points and the Over.
Pick: Tennessee (+3); Best Bet: Over (46.5)
Additional Best Bet: New England (+1.5) at Las Vegas
Is there a universe where Bill Belichick loses to an inferior Josh McDaniels team? It staggers the mind to comprehend.