Sunday Spreads Vol. 15: Run it Back
Last week I went 10-4 straight up and 9-5 against the spread in my picks. I think this structure of just picking every game is the best way to go going forward with this column, so without further ado, here are my moneyline and spread picks for Week 15.
1 PM Games
Houston Texans vs Indianapolis Colts
It hasn't been a good year for betting on teams based in Texas. At 4-9, the Texans are one of the worst teams against the spread this season, second only to the Cowboys. They've only been favorites five times, but covering just twice out of those five is pretty disappointing. You can thank Houston's offensive line for this subpar performance this season. So far this season, DeShaun Watson has been sacked 39 times, third most in the NFL, and defenses have forced a safety on Houston in each of their last two games.
This week, they'll be taking on a hot Colts team, spearheaded by a 39 year-old Phillip Rivers who's hunting for a playoff spot before the bell tolls on his career. They're boasting a pretty diverse roster led by Phillips, T.Y Hilton (5 Rec, 86 yards against Vegas) and a solid ground unit led by Jonathan Taylor (150 yards, 2 touchdowns against Vegas). I think Indy will take the win, but a 7.5 spread is just enough for Houston to cover if DeShaun can get hot.
M/L: Colts (-375)
ATS: Texans +7.5 (-110)
Detroit Lions vs Tennessee Titans
The Colts' main competitor for the AFC South are the Tennessee Titans, who are coming off of a solid win of their own against Jacksonville. They currently rank 3rd in the league in total offense with 394.5 yards per game, due in large part to Derrick Henry's MVP-caliber season, leading the league in total rushing yards. Ryan Tannehill hasn't been too shabby either, throwing 3,209 yards along with 28 touchdowns.
The Lions are just not equipped to handle a team like Tennessee, with the fourth worst defense in the NFL in both total defense and rushing yards allowed per game. In a game that could determine who represents the AFC South in the postseason, don't expect Tennessee to keep this close.
M/L: Titans (-500)
ATS: Titans -10 (-105)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Atlanta Falcons
While clinching the NFC South might be a bit of a reach for this Tampa Bay team, they are still very much alive in this playoff race. They were able to snap a two game slide last week by taking down Minnesota, and defensively, they won't have much of a problem against the Falcons. The Falcons rank 21st in pass offense, failing to score more than 20 points in three of their last four outings.
The only major advantage I see for Atlanta is their pass rush offense, who currently rank third in the league according to metrics courtesy of ESPN. The spread is pretty narrow at 7, meaning that if they can rattle Brady early, they may have a chance, but it's going to be tough. Without Julio Jones on offense, however, I just don't think the Falcons will be able to keep up with a fully healthy Tampa offense.
M/L: Bucs (-275)
ATS: Bucs -7 (-110)
New England Patriots vs Miami Dolphins
The Patriots are a shell of their Brady-Belichick self, 6-7 on the season going up against the league's best betting team in the Miami Dolphins. 10-3 ATS this year, Miami has had no problem covering against some tough opponents, including Kansas City last week. Maimi's defense has been on a roll lately, ranking second in the NFL in terms of points allowed per game, and have been exceptional in forcing turnovers, tied with the Steelers for most takeaways in the league at 25. New England has done a decent job at protecting the ball, but they've played a lot more poorly than expected since beating Miami in Week 1. If the spread was a bit wider, I'd consider New England, but I think the books are being very stingy making Miami only a two-point underdog. Look for them to take this one by at least a touchdown.
M/L: Dolphins (-125)
ATS: Dolphins -2 (-110)
Seattle Seahawks vs Washington Football Team
I thought the Niners were going to be the one to snap Washington's win streak, and I was wrong. They've strung together four really solid wins to take control of the NFC East, who went from becoming the worst division in football to the most successful in the second half of the season. However, risking the possibility of over-doubting this team for the second week in a row, I think Seattle is going to take them down. Russell Wilson threw five touchdowns last week against the Jets, and does not want to risk the possibility of dropping another one to an NFC East opponent this season after losing to the Giants. Their defense is finally clicking, allowing 17, 17, and 3 in their last 3 games respectively to finally give Russ some room to cook. Look for them to take this one by a touchdown or two.
M/L: Seahawks (-300)
ATS: Seahawks -6.5 (-115)
Chicago Bears vs Minnesota Vikings
The Bears were finally able to snap their six-game losing streak against the Texans last week, and could actually cause some trouble for the Wild Card-seeking Vikings. In their past three games, the Bears have scored an average of 30.3 points per game behind 383 yards, and both QB Mitch Trubisky and RB David Montgomery are trending upwards heading towards the end of the year.
For Minnesota, they've posted plenty of bad beats as a home underdog this year at 0-4 against the spread. 3 points is just wide enough to make a risky bet like this worth it.
M/L: Bears (+130)
ATS: Bears +3 (-115)
Jacksonville Jaguars vs Baltimore Ravens
The hunt for the playoffs combined with that for the first overall pick rarely bodes an interesting matchup. Baltimore has had some troubles this season in terms of managing their contact with Covid-19, with Marquise Brown the latest player to be added to the virus reserve list, but with Lamar fully healthy, they should be able to handle the Jags. Double digits spreads are always tough, and Jacksonville is 2-1 this season as an underdog by more than 10 points, but don't look for them to do much against Baltimore.
M/L: Ravens (-1000)
ATS: Ravens -13 (-110)
San Francisco Forty Niners vs Dallas Cowboys
The Niners are a pretty weird team. Still barely alive in the Wild Card race with two wins against a very solid Los Angeles Rams team, San Francisco is 1-2 against the NFC East so far this year. Dallas has been ok lately, taking down a Burrow-less Bengals last week, with Andy Dalton having a solid performance against his former team, throwing 2 touchdowns along with 185 yards. However, the biggest dagger in the Cowboys' chances of victory is their defense against the run. Without their starting QB, TE, or WR1 for a large portion of the season, San Fran has turned to the run for a major portion of their offense, which the Cowboys coincidentally rank last in the league in terms of defending. A 3.5 spread seems like just enough to give San Francisco the cushion they need to cover.
M/L: Niners (-190)
ATS: Niners -3.5 (-110)
4 PM Games
New York Jets at Los Angeles Rams
Last week, I was mostly trolling when I picked the Seahawks to cover that large of a point spread. I am a salty Jets fan, and decided that they no longer deserve to win a long time ago. Pick the Rams to cover.
M/L: Rams (-2000)
ATS: Rams -17 (-110)
Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals
The Jalen Hurts era in Philly began with a bang last week, taking down the New Orleans Saints 24-21. While not impossible, it might be a little too late to salvage the Eagles chances at making the playoffs, but a solid finish to the regular season might be just enough to generate a considerable amount of hype against the Alabama-alumnus quarterback. Going against fellow young-gun Kyler Murray, the Eagles are heading into one of their toughest matchups of the season. With a fully healthy defense, I think Philly would have a chance, but against Arizona's relentless dual threat offense, pulling off a win is going to be pretty tough.
M/L: Cardinals (-300)
ATS: Cardinals -6.5 (-110)
Kansas City Chiefs at New Orleans Saints
It's tough to call how this game will go since the announcement that Drew Brees will likely get the start against Kansas City. While I thinks the Chiefs will win, the level to which Brees has recovered could have some serious implications on the spread. Luckily for Brees, New Orleans has one of the best pass protection units in the league, so maybe throw a couple bucks in their way to cover.
M/L: Chiefs (-155)
ATS: Saints +3 (-110)
Sunday Night Football
Cleveland Browns vs New York Giants
This game has seen a lot of action on the point spread throughout the course of this week. Starting off at -3.5 in favor of Cleveland, the line has shifted a whole three points in the Browns favor. This shift can most likely be attributed to the announcement that Colt McCoy would be getting the start for New York, allowing Daniel Jones more time to recover from his hamstring injury. While McCoy helped lead the G-men to a surprise win over Seattle in Week 13, don't expect lightning to strike twice, especially against a team as hot as the Cleveland Browns.
M/L: Browns (-300)
ATS: Browns -6.5 (-110)