December 14, 2021
The NFL returns with a full slate of games for Week 15 including the first edition of Saturday football. The Eagles return from their bye to host the Washington Football Team and we see four double-digit lines to open the week. The playoffs are heating up with nearly all the league in contention for at least a wild card spot.
Beyond the NFC East battles, we have an AFC West battle to open things up on Thursday night in Los Angeles. The two games on Saturday feature four teams all vying for a playoff spot, including the short favorite Colts hosting the Patriots. Sunday’s early action features a Cardinals team looking to bounce back in Detroit, and the Bills host the Panthers as an 11-point home favorite.
The late action was dampened a bit with injury news as we await word on both Aaron Rodgers and Lamar Jackson. The Ravens and Packers kick off Sunday afternoon in Baltimore. The Rams return home fresh off their MNF win to host Seattle. The weekend caps off with a huge favorite in the Bucs hosting the Saints on SNF. Let’s look at this week’s odds – including the Eagles and WFT game. All the lines and totals are from sidelines.io.
Chiefs (-4) at Chargers | Total: 51
Here come the Chiefs. Kansas City has won six straight and sits atop the AFC West. The Chargers come off a pounding of the Giants and find themselves just one game back behind KC. The line opened with KC as a 4-point favorite, but that also factors in any home field for the Chargers. The books have the “true line” (removing three points for HFA) as the Chiefs -7. The Chargers are just 7-6 ATS this season while the Chiefs have covered four straight games – all wins. The Chiefs defense has also held teams to only nine points in three straight games, good enough to limit the Chargers and Justin Herbert.
Raiders at Browns (-6) | Total: 42
The Raiders and Browns open Saturday football with a noticeably low total of just 42 points. The Raiders season is on life support as they appear to be in the middle of a nosedive – losing five of their last six games. They’ve covered just one game in their last six outings and take on a Browns team with one of the league’s best pass defenses. The Browns are seeing an average of just 37 PPG scored at FirstEnergy Stadium, with an O/U record of 3-4 on the season. Cleveland might be prime for the letdown following a tight win against the Ravens last week. The Browns are just 1-9 ATS in their last 10 games versus the AFC, but the Raiders are cooked.
Patriots at Colts (-2.5) | Total: 45.5
The Patriots will certainly ask Mac Jones to throw more than three times this week against the Colts as New England looks for its eighth straight win. The Patriots covered both games this year as road dogs yet slide just under the key number of three. Indy is just 2-2 this year as home favorites but has won four of their last five. The last time the Patriots failed to cover the spread was a loss in Week 6 to the Cowboys. New England enters the game 9-4 ATS and holds a two-game lead over the Bills. The Colts find themselves in a similar situation to Buffalo, looking up to the Titans with a two-game gap. The game features the league’s top scoring defense in New England taking on the third highest scoring offense in Indianapolis. Ultimately the Patriots are on fire and are the better team.
Washington at Philadelphia (-5) | Total: 44
Back from the Bye the Eagles return to work at home against Washington. The Birds are hot ATS, covering four of their last five as a favorite. WFT is just 2-3 ATS as a road underdog and comes off a loss to the Cowboys. COVID has become an issue for both teams so it’s worth monitoring as we get closer to Sunday. The Eagles are getting an extra two-point bump at the Linc – where they’ve covered their lone game as a home favorite. Washington loves the under as it’s hit in eight of their last nine games, so expect a lower-scoring Eagles win.
Panthers at Bills (-10.5) | Total: 43.5
Carolina’s last hope of remaining alive in the playoff hunt rests on beating a double-digit favorite Bills team – in Buffalo. It’s December in Orchard Park so keep an eye on the weather, from precipitation to wind. It may not matter for the Panthers as they look to avoid losing their fourth straight against a Bills team that’s coming off a loss to Tampa. Carolina is 2-1 ATS this year as a road dog but dropped eight of their last 10 games SU. Neither one of these teams are playing well, but the Bills are losing to better teams. Buffalo is 2-3-1 ATS as a home favorite which is good enough to effectively end Carolina’s season.
Cowboys (-10) at Giants | Total: 45
The Cowboys come off a big win against WFT to continue their stranglehold over the NFC East. Dallas is on a roll in the NFC with an 8-0 ATS record in-conference. The Giants are constantly dealing with injury and are losers of three of their last four games. They face a Cowboys team that’s won and covered two straight games and is now 10-3 ATS on the season. The combined O/U for both teams is 10-15-1. Expect Dallas to win the game but covering 10+ points on the road is never easy. If the Giants get healthy it’s worth a play getting 10 at home.
Titans (-2) at Steelers | Total: 41.5
It should come as little surprise that the Steelers at home are responsible for another low total on the board. The under is 5-2 this year at Heinz Field, but more importantly the Steelers are 4-1 in their last five home games. The Titans are still dealing with injuries at the WR and RB position, not to mention earlier injuries to their OL. It’s hard to ignore Pittsburgh’s success at home, but the best play may be the over. The Steelers are seeing an average of 42 PPG scored at Heinz Field and the Titans are 7-1 to the over in their last eight road games.
Jets at Dolphins (-8.5) | Total: 42
Two teams heading in the opposite direction as reflected by this gigantic line for the Dolphins. It’s not often a team under .500 is laying over a touchdown, but this is more a reflection on how bad the Jets are this year. New York was dominated by the Saints and are now 3-10 SU/ATS. The Dolphins have won five straight games and are 7-4-2 ATS. Don’t overthink this one, the Dolphins are one of the hottest teams in the NFL and the Jets are bad at everything.
Texans at Jaguars (-3) | Total: 40.5
Someone has to be favored, right? This is by far the worst game on the schedule by a mile but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any value. The combined record for these teams is 4-22 so it’s shocking that either team would be laying points. The Jags are just 1-5 ATS at home this year and their opponent this week shouldn’t change anything. Jacksonville is a bad team that’s falling apart from the inside, whereas the Texans are just a bad team. The Texans ML is a great option here as is the under. The Texans don’t score a ton and the U is 8-0 for the Jags last eight games.
Cardinals (-14) at Lions | Total: 47.5
Don’t be surprised if the Cardinals go over the 47.5-point total on their own. Arizona comes off a rough loss at home – where they’ve struggled all season. The good news for Arizona is Detroit struggles no matter where they play, the most recent example being a blowout loss to Denver. It’s been nearly two years – 13 straight games – since the Lions covered a game as a dog of 7+ points, and Arizona covered seven straight road games. The Lions are 8-5 ATS but face a Cards team that’s both great on the road and desperate for a bounce-back win. Arizona needs a blowout win — take them at -14.
Falcons at 49ers (-8.5) | Total: 45.5
These are two teams holding on for dear life in the hunt for a playoff spot. Both teams are coming off wins and are still alive in their respective divisions. Atlanta has won five of their last six on the road and have seen four of their last five games go under the point total. Atlanta doesn’t have one top ten metric from a team standpoint on offense or defense yet is 6-7 and 2nd in the NFC South. It’s a big number for SF to cover at home, as the Niners haven’t covered a spread at home against a team with a losing record in five straight games. It’s a good spot for Atlanta – really anything over 7.5 points.
Packers (-5) at Ravens | Total: 43.5
Two things that should immediately jump out with this game are the Ravens do not know if they will have Lamar Jackson, and that total is way too low. Not having Jackson didn’t slow the Ravens offense down to a halt last week, and they should be able to throw on Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers is dealing with a toe injury that may impact your confidence in the line, but this one is simple. If Jackson does not play, then you must take lay the points with GB. If Jackson is in, then pound the over on the total. M&T Bank Stadium has seen the over go 4-2 with an average PPG just under 53.
Bengals at Broncos (-1.5) | Total: 43.5
Suddenly, the Broncos have won four of their last six games and are far from out of it in the AFC Wildcard. The Bengals fell to the Niners in overtime last week – their second straight loss. The battle here should be on the ground as the Bengals have the 4th best rushing defense in the NFL and the Broncos are 11th in the league in total rushing. The Bengals efforts in OT were cut short by the Niners and the Broncos pounded the Lions. Any regression back to the middle would indicate the Bengals are a 2–3-point favorite in Denver. Take the Bengals bouncing back.
Seahawks at Rams (-6.5) | Total: 47
The Rams come off their biggest win of the season in Arizona but return on a shorter week to host another division rival. Seattle is 5-8 and in last place in the NFC West but is getting just under a TD in LA. Somehow the Seahawks are 11-4 ATS in their last 15 as road dogs, but this year has been a true test for everyone involved. The worst possible matchup for Seattle comes in the form of the Rams passing attack. Seattle is 32nd in the league in defending the pass, and the Rams put up the 3rd most passing yards each week in the NFL. The Rams are a good bet under a TD.
Saints at Buccaneers (-10.5) | Total: 46.5
New Orleans just pounded the Jets into the ground and are a double-digit underdog against the Bucs. It’s in part because the QB situation in NO is so volatile, but the biggest factor is Tampa. Tom Brady and company have won and covered four straight games. Before that stretch they were just 3-6 ATS on the year. It’s worth noting how ridiculous this spread is inside the division, especially since the Saints aren’t “Jets or Jags” bad. The Saints are getting a lot but be careful. It took the Jets to stop a five-game skid. 10.5 points are a lot no matter what the circumstances are, but Tampa is playing like a champ and Brady is throwing like the MVP. Take Tampa.
Vikings (-3.5) at Bears | Total: 44
The week closes with another division matchup as the Vikings are still clinging to playoff hopes. The Bears are on the verge of being shut down as another loss would put them at 4-10. Chicago can’t seem to do much right, including covering spreads. The Bears are 0-6 ATS versus the NFC and have lost seven of their last eight games straight up. Chicago has the worst passing offense in the NFL and won just one of their last five games. It doesn’t matter how bad the Vikings have looked at times, they simply aren’t as bad as the Bears. Lay the points with Minny.
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