It’s getting more difficult to make midweek projections on games when you hear things like a starting quarterback and head coach have both tested positive for COVID and a handful of starters may or may not play this weekend.
It’s hard enough when you have injury questions (see Lamar Jackson), but when it comes to potentially a dozen players on a given roster, it makes the decision-making process more difficult. I would strongly suggest waiting until the morning of games and the inactives lists being announced to place bets, but for now, here’s what we’ve got.
NFL Betting Odds and Lines: Week 15
Kansas City Chiefs (-165) at Los Angeles Chargers (+133)
The Chiefs have been on a roll, and one of their losses was at home to the Chargers earlier this season. The Chiefs are a solid road favorite (3.5 points at +102 Chiefs, -135 Chargers). While I believe L.A. has the team to beat the Chiefs, Kansas City hasn’t allowed more than 17 points in its last five games. If the defense can play anywhere close to the level, I’m comfortable giving away some points. Take the Chiefs and lay the 3.5 points (+102).
Las Vegas Raiders (-117) at Cleveland Browns (-103)
The impact of COVID is on full display here as the Raiders have moved into being a road favorite by 1.5 points. To be honest, I think the Browns offense can be just as explosive with backup Case Keenum at quarterback as Baker Mayfield. While the Browns are being given little respect that they can win with some of their top dogs down, I don’t believe enough in the Raiders, losers of five of their last six games, will come into the Dawg Pound and make noise. Take the Browns on the Moneyline (-103).
New England Patriots (+120) at Indianapolis Colts (-145)
Two of the hottest teams in the league battle as the Patriots are the No. 1 seed in the AFC, and the Colts are winners of six of the last eight. Indy is a modest favorite (2.5 points). One thing Bill Belichick has done consistently is devise a scheme that takes away an opposing offense’s top weapon. In this case, that is clearly running back Jonathan Taylor. I believe if the Pats require Carson Wentz to beat them, he will fold like a card table. Take the Patriots on the Moneyline (+120).
Dallas Cowboys (-475) at New York Giants (+340)
The Giants have won their last three home games, so I take some pause in seeing how big a favorite the Cowboys are (10.5 points at -103 Cowboys, -117 Giants). A point like that is begging people to bet on Dallas. But, five of New York’s last six losses have come by more points than Dallas is laying and one of those losses was 24-point blowout to the Cowboys earlier this season. The Giants have proven me wrong before, but I still aren’t buying what they’re selling. Take the Cowboys and lay the 10.5 points (-103)
Tennessee Titans (-130) at Pittsburgh Steelers (+105)
The Steelers playoff hopes are flicking candle, which is why the Titans are a road favorite. It’s clear Ben Roethlisberger is at the end of the line, but the comeback engineered against the Minnesota Vikings still resonates with me. With a long week of prep time and the Titans being without Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown, I’m not as bullish on the Titans as others. In our Office Pool Pick ‘Em, if I don’t win it will likely be because of my misguided faith in Pittsburgh getting the job done. Take the Steelers on the Moneyline (+105).
Washington Football Team (+225) at Philadelphia Eagles (-290)
I have no faith in either team because they tend to win ugly or as the result of tipped pass-turned-Pick 6. In this case, I’m focusing on the Over/Under (43.5 points at -103 Over, -117 Under). I do see either team marching up and down the field on the other given their familiarity. While it’s possible that they can surpass this numbers, this has the smell of a 20-23 or 20-17 type of game. Take the Under (-117).
Arizona Cardinals (-800) at Detroit Lions (+520)
The Cards are coming off a short week after a loss and are going on the road, which limits meaningful practice time. That said, they’re still a heavy favorite (12.5 points at -110 for both teams). I don’t like giving away almost two touchdowns, but I can envision the Cardinals winning by 24 points, not 14. Take the Cardinals and lay the 12.5 points (-110).
Carolina Panthers (+440) at Buffalo Bills (-650)
The Panthers are on their third quarterback and don’t have Christian McCaffrey. It will be tough for anyone to project them to win games down the stretch. The Bills are the most erratic, underperforming team in the league, but continue to get a ton of respect as a home favorite (10.5 points at -115 Panthers, -105 Bills). Buffalo is fighting for its playoff life after seemingly in cruise control for back-to-back division titles. They play a complete game, and I might even boost the points higher. Take the Bills and lay the 10.5 points (-105).
Houston Texans (+155) at Jacksonville Jaguars (-190)
I want nothing to do with either of these teams, but AVOID is not an option. I see more turnovers than anything, which can result in short fields for one of these awful teams. The Over/Under is shockingly low for a reason (39.5 points at -108 Over, -112 Under). In Week 1, the teams combined to score 58 points because they were playing each other. I don’t think we’ll see that high a number, but 40 is well within reach. Take the Over (-108).
New York Jets (+400) at Miami Dolphins (-550)
I can’t stand the Jets but was a little surprised the Dolphins were that big a favorite (9.5 points at +100 Jets, -120 Dolphins). But, Miami has won five straight and is coming off its bye week, while five of the Jets last six losses have been by double digits. That combination works for me more times than not. Take the Dolphins and lay the 9.5 points (-120).
Cincinnati Bengals (+120) at Denver Broncos (-145)
Once again, I am confronted with a team that I’ve been on the bandwagon of that doesn’t play with consistency. Denver is a modest home favorite (2.5 points), but, much like the Steelers, I’m more likely to show the Bengals more respect and love than they have deserved. I’m stubborn that way. Take the Bengals on the Moneyline (+120).
Atlanta Falcons (+290) at San Francisco 49ers (-380)
The Falcons offense is a shell of itself and despite a 6-7 record, their wins are against the Giants, Jets, Dolphins, Saints, Jaguars and Panthers. The 49ers play in the toughest division in the NFC, and while healthy favorites to earn a W (9.5 points at -110 for both teams), they have the ability on both sides of the ball to win all key matchups to cover. Take the 49ers and lay the 9.5 points (-110).
Seattle Seahawks (+175) at Los Angeles Rams (-220)
Seattle is on a modest two-game winning streak, but the Legion of Boom isn’t going to show up. The Rams are coming of defining road win in Arizona and don’t want to lose that momentum here. Both teams are going to take a lot of deep shots through the air and enough of them should come through that the Over/Under (45.5 points at -108 Over, -112 Under) should be well within reach. Take the Over (-108).
Green Bay Packers (-250) at Baltimore Ravens (+200)
I’m predicating this bet on my lack of belief that Lamar Jackson will play and, if he does, will be playing with a bad wheel that the Packers will target when he takes off running. Green Bay is an impressive road favorite (5.5 points at -110 for both). All the injuries the Ravens have on both sides of the ball makes this a tough game in which to support them. Take the Packers and lay the 5.5 points (-110).
New Orleans Saints (+440) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-650)
The last thing you ever need to do is give Tom Brady motivation in prime time. He is 0-3 against the Saints in the regular season as a member of the Bucs, and it’s obvious Brady is a man who holds a grudge. While the Bucs are huge favorites (10.5 points at -110 for both teams) Brady is going to look to get one of his few career blemishes on his career slate and put the boots to a depleted Saints offense that won’t have an answer. Take the Buccaneers and lay the 10.5 points (-110).
Minnesota Vikings (-200) at Chicago Bears (+160)
We all know the struggles Kirk Cousins has at Chicago, in prime time, and in division games. Yet, Minnesota is favored by 3.5 points (-112 Vikings, -108 Bears). While I believe Minnesota is likely going to win this game, I’m not forcing them to win by four or more points. Take the Bears and lay the points (-108).
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