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There is a free $5K Sportsbook Pool for NFL Week 15. You have to pick each of the games that were originally scheduled for Sunday, and the higher you finish on the leaderboard, the more money you earn.
Let’s take a look at all the contests slated for Sunday, including my five personal favorites.
The Pick: Eagles -3.5
This game is no longer on the Sunday slate, and it’s being played on Tuesday instead. The reason for the time change is the Football Team’s COVID situation, which is dire. They currently have 21 players on the reserve/COVID-19 list, including their top two quarterbacks in Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen. Allen still has a chance to clear protocols before kickoff, but it will more than likely be practice squad quarterback Kyle Shurmur under center.
With that in mind, it’s not surprising that this line has moved significantly in the Eagles’ favor. They’ve reopened as 7.5-point favorites, so we’re getting four points of spread value in this pool. It’s hard to pass up that many points.
Carolina Panthers @ Buffalo Bills (-10.5)
The Pick: Bills -10.5
I am admittedly still high on the Bills, but it’s getting harder to defend them. They still grade out very favorably in terms of Football Outsiders DVOA – they rank fourth in that department – but they’re struggling to win games. Their loss to the Buccaneers last week dropped them to 7-6 for the year, which puts them on the bubble for a wild card spot in the postseason.
Still, there are reasons to remain optimistic. They made a furious comeback last week against the defending champs before ultimately falling in overtime. They lost a game against the Patriots in hurricane-like conditions, which made it nearly impossible to pass. That fit the Patriots’ skill set much more than the Bills’. Those kinds of losses scream “unlucky” more than “overrated.”
This is the perfect spot for the Bills to get right. The Panthers’ defense has fallen off after a strong start to the season, allowing at least 27 points in each of their past three games. Those games have come against the Falcons, Dolphins and the Football Team, none of which would be considered an offensive juggernaut. Carolina will have their hands full with Josh Allen and the Bills.
On the other side, the Bills should have no problems shutting down the Panthers. They’ve played quarterback roulette all season, and Cam Newton has been benched in each of the past two games. It’s unclear if Newton or P.J. Walker will draw the start this week, but neither player has been effective. Newton has averaged just 5.2 adjusted yards per attempt, while Walker has averaged 3.7.
Houston Texans @ Jacksonville Jaguars (-2.5)
The Pick: Jaguars -2.5
The Jaguars finally made the decision to jettison Urban Meyer, and his firing should be a breath of fresh air for the organization. He has been in the headlines constantly since the start of the season, resulting in a new headline seemingly every week.
I’m expecting to see the Jaguars look like a new team this week, and there’s no better matchup than the Texans. They rank 30th in DVOA, which makes them one of the few teams worse than the Jaguars in that department. The Texans will also have Davis Mills under center, who has been a disaster during his rookie season. He’s lost all seven of his starts, and he’s averaged just 5.7 adjusted yards per attempt.
Green Bay Packers (-7.5) @ Baltimore Ravens
The Pick: Packers -7.5
The Ravens are absolutely decimated at the moment, which is going to make it hard for them to keep up with the Packers.
The biggest news involves Lamar Jackson. He’s currently questionable with an ankle injury, and he’s missed practice all week. Head coach John Harbaugh told reporters that Jackson “has a chance” to suit up, but players who don’t get in even a limited practice rarely play. That means Tyler Huntley will likely make his second start of the year.
The Ravens managed to win Huntley’s first start of the year, but it was an ugly, hard-fought victory over the Bears. Huntley was not impressive in that outing, finishing with just 219 passing yards and one interception. Ultimately, he’s a significant downgrade from Jackson.
The Ravens are also down virtually every starting cornerback, which is a big deal against the Packers. Aaron Rodgers remains one of the best quarterbacks in football, so he should be able to have his way with this depleted unit.
Rodgers has historically been a better home quarterback than road quarterback, owning a record of just 5-9 against the spread when favored by a touchdown or greater. Still, the gap in talent between these two squads is massive. The Ravens are one of the more overrated teams in football at full strength – they rank just 16th in DVOA – so there’s plenty of appeal in fading them without Jackson.
New Orleans Saints @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-10.5)
The Pick: Saints +10.5
The Buccaneers have been arguably the best team in football this season, but that doesn’t make them invincible. They have covered in four straight games, but they’re still just 7-6 against the spread for the season.
Additionally, they have had their struggles with the Saints. I’m not sure why the Saints have given them so much trouble, but they’ve won each of their past three meetings vs. the Buccaneers.
The Saints have also shown a bit more life since transitioning from Trevor Siemian to Taysom Hill. He was fantastic last week, albeit against a weak Jets defense. I doubt the Saints call pull off their fourth win in a row over the Bucs, but I think they’ll keep it competitive.
Here’s who I’m targeting for the rest of the Sunday games. Remember, we’re looking to beat the competition and climb up the leaderboard, so I’ll be looking to gain leverage on the field and fade the public in situations where I don’t see a huge edge on the spread.
Dallas Cowboys (-10.5) @ New York Giants
Pick: Cowboys -10.5
Tennessee Titans (-1.5) @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Pick: Steelers +1.5
New York Jets @ Miami Dolphins (-8.5)
Pick: Dolphins -8.5
Arizona Cardinals (-14.5) @ Detroit Lions
Pick: Lions +14.5
Cincinnati Bengals @ Denver Broncos (-1.5)
Pick: Broncos -1.5
Atlanta Falcons @ San Francisco 49ers (-8.5)
Pick: 49ers -8.5
Seattle Seahawks @ Los Angeles Rams (-6.5)
Pick: Seahawks +5.5
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