NFL Odds & Picks: The Week 15 Spreads To Bet Right Now
Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images. Pictured: Jalen Hurts
We have our first Saturday NFL games of the 2020 season, making it even more important to lock in early-week value.
Our staff has highlighted the spreads they’ve already bet for Week 15 below. Let’s dive right in.
NFL Odds & Picks
Panthers at Packers
Raheem Palmer: Teddy Bridgewater has been historically great against the spread (ATS) throughout his six-year career. He’s 33-13 (71.1%) ATS overall but 23-6 (79.3%) against the number as an underdog — a role he finds himself in this Saturday in Green Bay.
Digging deeper into the numbers, Bridgewater and the Panthers are 0-3 as a favorite this season, but 6-3 as underdogs. Two of those losses came at the hands of the Buccaneers, who have clearly had the Panthers’ number. Otherwise they’ve covered as a 10-point road underdogs against the Chiefs, 7-point road underdogs against the Saints with Drew Brees at the helm, and as 6-point road underdogs against the Chargers.
Nevertheless, this role is perfect for the Panthers, who are expected to welcome the return of wide receiver D.J. Moore against a Packers team that ranks 20th in Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA.
The Packers are scoring a league-best 31.5 points per game and ranks first in offensive DVOA and red-zone touchdown percentage, scoring on 77.1% of trips inside the 20-yard line. The Packers are also second in expected points added per play and first in total success rate (54%), led by Aaron Rodgers, who is in the midst of an MVP-caliber season.
Still, this Packers team has had trouble putting away opponents.
The Packers barely escaped with a victory against the 1-12 Jaguars as 13.5-point home favorites in Week 10, were an Aaron Jones 77-yard breakaway in the final minutes from not covering against the struggling Eagles in Week 13, then failed to cover as 7.5-point favorites against the Lions in Week 14.
Despite a prolific offense, the Packers defense is giving up 24.8 points per game. They’ve particularly struggled to stop the run, ranking 23rd in defensive rushing success rate — allowing 52% of runs to grade out successfully — while giving up 4.6 yards per carry, sixth-worst in the NFL. While Mike Davis picks up yards on the ground, Bridgewater should have no problems throwing against this Packers defense that ranks 22nd in pressure rate (21.1%).
Overall, the Packers are the better team and looked poised to make a Super Bowl run as the first seed in the NFC. They should still win this game, however, my projections make them closer to 6.5-point favorites and I see this matchup finishing closer than the market indicates. It feels like we’re getting a few extra points of value based on the Panthers’ 32-27 home loss to the Broncos in Week 14.
At +8.5 (or better), I see this a positive expected value proposition on the Panthers.
Seahawks at Washington
Brandon Anderson: My eyes just about popped out of my head when I saw this line. Seattle is a 5.5-point favorite?? Seattle is a favorite at all? That may sound crazy, but my projections had Washington as the slight favorite at home, making this a huge swing in potential value.
The Seahawks are pretty good. We know this is true. Russell Wilson probably isn’t going to win the MVP anymore, but he’s still having a terrific season, and his moonshot deep balls to D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett have been shredding defenses all season.
Seattle is tied at the top of the NFC West and fighting for a home game and maybe even home field in the playoffs, with an outside shot at the 1-seed — a 3.1% chance, according to the Action Network model. They need this one and are coming off their most dominant win of the season, a 40-3 pantsing of the New York Jets.
The Washington Football Team are not the New York Jets. Two months ago, we might have thought otherwise, but Washington has been quite respectable and even good since then. Washington has won four games in a row to take the NFC East lead and can even get to .500 if the Football Team wins this one — the last time they lost by more than a field goal was longer than two months ago, on October 11.
Washington is winning games with defense, particularly pass defense. The Football Tea’s pass rush lived in San Francisco’s backfield this past Sunday, and corners have gotten the job done most of the season, too. Metcalf and Lockett are another challenge altogether, but Washington’s terrific pass defense matches Seattle’s greatest strength: Its pass offense.
Weakness meets weakness, too, with Seattle’s pass defense ripe for the picking but Washington potentially unable to do so.
And that’s another reason this line seems a bit off to me — we don’t know yet what’s happening with Alex Smith, and it’s possible Dwayne Haskins will have to make the start if Smith is out. Or it’s possible Smith could come back and swing this line a point or two in Washington’s direction. But should it? Smith has not been very good — a statue in the pocket — and it’s entirely possible Haskins is just as good or better at this point. He was the starter, after all.
This line appears boosted by Smith’s injury and by the recency bias of Seattle’s blowout win, and it could move back to a field goal or lower and cross that key number. I’ll grab these Washington points and expect its defense to make this game a grind and keep it close.
Eagles at Cardinals
Matthew Freedman: I don’t loath Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury the way that Action Network Podcast producer Matt Mitchell does, but there’s no getting around his utter inability to perform as a home favorite.
Road underdogs are 4-1 ATS (53.1% Return On Investment) against Kingsbury’s Cardinals.
On top of that, the Eagles seem ready to soar with rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts, who last week was a competent 167-1-0 passing and dynamic 18-106-0 rushing en route to a 24-21 victory over the Saints.
It’s sad to say, but without veteran quarterback Carson Wentz, Philadelphia looks like a much better team.
Eagles QBs against the spread in the Doug Pederson era:
– Jalen Hurts: 1-0
– Nick Foles: 9-4
– Carson Wentz: 32-37
– Without Wentz: 10-4
– With Wentz: Not great
— Matthew Freedman (@MattFtheOracle) December 14, 2020
Without Wentz, head coach Doug Pederson is 10-4 ATS (38.2% ROI), including the playoffs.
I would bet the Eagles to +3.5 (-110).
Chiefs at Saints
Michael Arinze: It’s almost hard to fathom that the Chiefs have won eight consecutive games while at the same time failing to cover the spread over their last five games. This anomaly was so intriguing to me that I wanted to see if there was any record of something like this occurring in the NFL.
The only result I could find was in 2008, when the Patriots came up short in Super Bowl XLII against Giants. I’m not sure if that’s an ominous warning for the Chiefs, but it could be something to keep an eye on later in the season.
The Chiefs are second in offensive DVOA and are averaging 31 points per game. Their only blemish this season was a 40-32 loss to the Raiders. In fact, four of the Chiefs’ last five losses occurred in high-scoring games with at least 55 points on the scoreboard.
If you’re going to beat Kansas City, then there’s a good chance that you’re going to have to outscore them. The Chiefs are never seemingly out of a game, especially with Patrick Mahomes under center. The All-Pro quarterback is lethal in the fourth quarter and can run the two-minute drill as well as any quarterback ever.
This week, the Chiefs head to New Orleans to take on the Saints in what could be a Super Bowl preview.
While Taysom Hill has done a good job in Drew Brees’ absence, out-dueling Mahomes would be a tall order for any first-year NFL quarterback. The Saints are averaging roughly 24 points per game with Hill under center, and their defense deserves a ton of credit for limiting their opponents to 13 points per game over the past four weeks.
However, that number is greatly skewed because in one of those games, they gave up only three points against a Broncos team that was essentially without an NFL quarterback on their game-day roster due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Andy Reid has done well throughout his career against teams with a winning percentage of at least .500, and he’ll get his players’ attention by using this game as a barometer leading into the playoffs. Reid is 39-30-1 against the spread for +7 units in this spot with a 10% ROI.
DraftKings is offering the Chiefs at -2.5 and I’ve got no problem backing them with the best player on the field and laying the short price. Grab it before it moves to -3.