During the NFL season, Stadium sports betting analyst Nate Jacobson will break down every single point spread using lines as of Thursday morning. Here are his thoughts on the Week 15 slate.
Note: Nate will discuss all of his college football and NFL bets on the Sharp Lessons podcast that drops every Wednesday and Friday. Subscribe on Spotify and Apple for episodes and follow Stadium Bets on Twitter for more sports betting content.
Sides I’m Considering
Colts (-2.5) over Patriots: Both teams were on a bye last week, and the early numbers before Week 14 had the Patriots as a small favorite in this game. I was hoping the Colts would continue to be an underdog when all the numbers became available on Sunday night, but that was not the case. Indianapolis has taken all the early money and this line has trended toward the Colts being favored by a field goal.
I’m not surprised to see money coming on the Colts even though they are playing a team on a seven-game winning streak that is currently the No. 1 seed in the AFC. The 7-6 Colts are trending in the right direction with an elite run game led by Jonathan Taylor and competent QB play from Carson Wentz. They’ll have a chance to expose a Patriots defense that has played a soft group of offenses recently and benefitted greatly from bad weather. There’s also questions about rookie QB Mac Jones playing in a big game on the road, and he’ll certainly have to throw more than three passes this week.
If you look strictly at the number in this game, I think there’s line value on the Patriots. But I can only look toward the Colts with this game being huge for Indy in terms of the AFC playoff race.
Jaguars (-4) over Texans: The Jaguars fired head coach Urban Meyer after less than one season in Jacksonville on Wednesday night. I will be looking to bet on the Jaguars now because Meyer was disliked by players and assistant coaches if some of the recent reports out of Jacksonville are correct. This is the perfect spot for a team to rally together and play well so that the fired head coach will be blamed for the 2-11 start to the season.
I would’ve preferred if the Jaguars were playing a better team and were in the underdog role. However, a matchup against Davis Mills’ Texans is a good enough to back the rejuvenated home team.
Broncos (-2.5) over Bengals: I usually like playing against big movement from the look-ahead line to the re-opened point spread on Sunday night (the Bengals were a three-point favorite in this game before Week 14, and now the Broncos are the favorite). But in this case, I didn’t agree with the look-ahead line, and I now believe it’s exactly where it should be.
I really like the matchup of the Broncos defense against Zac Taylor’s offense. Denver’s secondary is the strength of the unit, so they should be able to have success against Joe Burrow and his wide receivers.
I wouldn’t talk anyone out of teasing the Bengals in this game through two key numbers in a game with a total of 43.5. However, I can only took at betting the Broncos straight, so I’m going to wait and see if this line goes back toward the Bengals before hopefully betting on Denver before kickoff.
Seahawks (+4.5) over Rams: The Rams were a 6.5-point favorite in the aftermath of an impressive performance on Monday night where they beat the Cardinals despite missing several players due to COVID-19. It was Los Angeles’ best performance since their Week 3 win against the Buccaneers, and I’m expecting a letdown for them this week. The problem is they are going through more COVID issues and the line in this game has dropped where a lot of the value is extracted from the Seattle side.
The Seahawks have a glimmer of hope after two-straight wins, making them one game out of the No. 7 seed in the NFC playoff standings. Seattle’s next two games after this week are against the Bears and Lions, so they would be a real contender for the playoffs if they can pull off the upset. Russell Wilson looks healthy again and they are catching the Rams at the right time on a short week. I’m hoping the Rams have some positive news later in the week so I’m able to bet the Seahawks at a better number than the current point spread.
Saints (+11) over Buccaneers: The Saints snapped a five-game losing streak last week against the Jets. RB Alvin Kamara returned after missing four games, and he’s a serious difference-maker because of New Orleans’ lack of wide receiver options.
Before their win against the Jets, the Saints’ last win was back on Oct. 31 when they beat this Buccaneers team in New Orleans. The Saints closed +3.5 with Jameis Winston starting at quarterback before he was injured later in the game. But now, the Saints are getting healthier, and I believe there’s an opportunity to buy low on New Orleans before the betting market catches up to them. The Saints have won all three regular season meetings against Tom Brady’s Buccaneers, and I believe we’ll get an all-in effort from a New Orleans team trying to stay in the playoff mix.
Sides I Plan to Use in a Six-Point Teaser
Steelers (+1.5) over Titans: This checks the key boxes of a basic strategy teaser. You can tease the underdog through the key numbers of three and seven, plus the game has a low total of 41.5. Even if the Titans win, it’s less likely it’ll be by more than one possession, especially with their lack of an offense with the injuries they have. If this line gets to Steelers +3, I’ll look to bet on Pittsburgh at that price.
Chiefs (-3) at Chargers: The most important game of the week is the Thursday night game between the two top teams in the AFC West. The Chiefs lead the Chargers by one game, but the Chargers won the previous regular season meeting in Kansas City. A lot has changed since then, especially the improvement of the Chiefs’ defense. I’m likely going to stay away with both teams going through COVID issues.
Raiders (-1) at Browns: On Tuesday morning, the Browns were a six-point favorite in this game. After the news they placed eight players on the COVID list, including two starting offensive linemen, the line dropped to Browns -3. Another wave of COVID news hit on Wednesday impacting QB Baker Mayfield and head coach Kevin Stefanski. Now the Raiders are a short favorite for this Saturday game and the total is down to 38.5.
Washington at Eagles (-7): The look-ahead number for this game was Eagles -2.5. Why’d the line go up? Because Washington lost to the Cowboys and is dealing with injuries and COVID cases. The line was in the Eagles -4 to -5 range on Wednesday morning before more news about COVID pushed this to a full touchdown.
Panthers at Bills (-11): The Bills had a valiant comeback against the Buccaneers, but it fell short in overtime, and now QB Josh Allen is day-to-day with a left foot sprain. I’m guessing Allen will play given the Bills are 7-6 and need to win this game before a trip to New England in Week 16. There might be some temptation from me to back the Panthers at a large number, but I don’t trust the QB tandem of Cam Newton and P.J. Walker.
Jets at Dolphins (-10): I was thinking of using the Dolphins in a six-point teaser to get them under a field goal when they were an 8.5-point favorite earlier in the week. The line has gone up, which will force me to pass the game entirely.
Cowboys (-11) at Giants: This is a game I don’t want any part of. It’s too big of a number to lay on the Cowboys, and the Giants can’t be trusted given the state of their team.
Packers (-5) at Ravens: My bet is dependent on the Ravens’ quarterback situation. The look-ahead line for the game was Packers -2, but it re-opened at -7 hours after Lamar Jackson’s ankle injury. The line went back to Packers -5 when John Harbaugh said that he’s planning on Jackson to play this Sunday.
I would be interested in betting on the Ravens at +7 or more if Tyler Huntley starts. He’s obviously not as good as Jackson, but I’m not sure a five-point drop is warranted from Jackson to Huntley, especially since Jackson has struggled since the middle part of the season. If Jackson starts, the line for this game would be much shorter, and I wouldn’t have confidence in a less-than-100 Jackson because he relies so much on his legs.
Cardinals (-12) at Lions: The Cardinals are coming off another home loss to the Rams and are now 3-3 in Glendale this season. They’ve played their best football on the road, winning all seven games by 10 points or more. I never bet on a road favorite giving double digits, but I’m in no rush to bet on a Lions team that barely fielded a full roster in Week 14.
Falcons at 49ers (-9): The 49ers would’ve been a strong teaser leg when they were an 8.5-point favorite. They are much better than their 7-6 record indicates, while the Falcons aren’t as good as their 6-7 record. I’m going to wait and see if the line ticks back down so I have something to pair with the Steelers.
Vikings (-3.5) at Bears: The line for this game aligns with my personal number. Since it is a Monday game and COVID cases are up throughout the NFL, I want to wait.