Early NFL bets for Week 15
Week 15 brings us a 16-game slate, as all bye weeks are finished for the regular season. With just four weeks left to go until the playoffs begin, the games are increasing in importance for some teams and you may start to see a little bit of inflation on teams fighting for the playoffs and a little bit on teams that are going up against bad teams that appear to be tanking or looking ahead to next season.
We’ve also got three Saturday games this week as the NFL spreads out the schedule a little bit. We’ve also got Christmas and New Year’s falling on Sunday this season, so the schedule shifts primarily to Saturday for those weeks as well. It should be a fun stretch run, but one where you’ll really want to pay close attention to schedules and injury reports.
Check out the latest NFL odds and NFL betting splits.
Here are some early NFL bets to consider for Week 15:
Remember when everybody praised Jeff Saturday for that win against the Raiders back in Week 10? Well, we’ve come to find out that it isn’t hard to be better than Josh McDaniels and the Colts have been a mess the last two weeks after really hanging in there against the Eagles in Week 11. A bye week isn’t going to be all that beneficial with the situation in Indianapolis and the Vikings are desperate for a good performance.
The Colts are just not a good football team. They entered Week 14 in the bottom five in red zone touchdown percentage on offense and defense. They’re a bottom-five offense on third down. They’re -14 in turnover margin. None of these things are going to change as the season plays out.
It hasn’t been all unicorns and rainbows for the Vikings either, but they are 10-3 and have a firm grasp on the NFC North. Last week’s loss to the Lions was ugly, but Detroit is rocketing up the NFL power rankings for most people and really seems to have figured a lot of things out. Say what you will about how misleading the Vikings’ record is. The Colts are bad and all the hate for the Vikings has this line lower than it should be.
Pick: Vikings -4
The Falcons announced this past week that Desmond Ridder would be the starting quarterback going forward. Head coach Arthur Smith has done an excellent job creating a potent running game this season and now they’ll look for more in the passing game with the transition to the third-round pick out of Cincinnati. Marcus Mariota was by no means bad at playing the position, but the Falcons need to see what they have in Ridder and he’ll make his debut in the Superdome.
Both teams are coming off of byes and I like the over in this game. The Saints have only forced nine takeaways this season, so even a rookie quarterback like Ridder should be able to take care of the ball. Perhaps the Saints make some adjustments, but they did allow 201 rushing yards back in Week 1 to the Falcons.
But, I’m not sure that the Falcons can make any adjustments. Opponents have scored on 45% of their possessions and the Falcons went into the bye 30th in points per drive allowed. New Orleans has turned the ball over a ton this season and is -12 in turnover margin, while being +0.6 in yards per play. I think we see some point in this game with a couple of offenses that I find to be better than the market is showing with this total.
Pick: Over 42
The Cowboys had their hands full with the Texans last week, but ultimately survived with a 27-23 win. When Micah Parsons isn’t doing something special and the turnovers aren’t coming, this strikes me as a pretty pedestrian defense. They’ve been fortunate to have those two things more often than not. Houston’s 23 points were pretty misleading as a result of great field position from turnovers, but the Cowboys will be tested by a really solid Jacksonville offense.
The Jaguars just racked up 6.4 yards per play and 36 points on the Titans. That is a Jacksonville offense that went into the week in the top 10 in Dropback EPA and Dropback Success Rate and should be a top-five offense in both categories after Trevor Lawrence threw for 368 yards and three touchdowns. Dallas has a top-five defense against the pass, but has seen a lot of bad passers recently.
On the flip side, Jacksonville has a bottom-10 pass defense in most categories and ranks just slightly above average against the run. The Jaguars had allowed 415 or more yards before holding the Titans below that mark, but Tennessee still had 5.9 yards per play. This total looks low to me as well.
Pick: Over 46