Koerner: The Best Week 15 NFL Betting Picks Based on My Power Ratings
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4).
- The Seahawks-Panthers spread. The Rams-Cowboys over/under.
- Sean Koerner reveals which NFL bets to make on Sunday morning based on his Week 15 power ratings.
- He likes a pair of underdogs, one home favorite and one side of the Sunday Night Football showdown between the Bills and Steelers.
Every week I use my NFL Power Ratings to project spreads and over/unders for every game and find the best bets. So which are still showing value?
Let’s take a look at five picks to make based on my power ratings in the following games:
- Seahawks at Panthers: 1 p.m. ET
- Bears at Packers: 1 p.m. ET
- Patriots at Bengals: 1 p.m. ET
- Dolphins at Giants: 1 p.m. ET
- Rams at Cowboys: 4:25 p.m. ET
Now let’s dig in.
Odds as of Sunday morning and via DraftKings, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.
Panthers +6.5 vs. Seahawks
One metric I’ve been tracking lately is fumble recovery luck. I’m essentially looking at how many expected lost/recovered fumbles each team should have if they had a league-average recovery rate. The assumption is that we shouldn’t expect teams to be better or worse at recovering fumbles, therefore teams that have seen either good or bad luck are likely to regress to the mean.
The Panthers should have recovered 3.5 more fumbles (bad luck) while the Seahawks have a -2.5 rating (good luck) — that’s a +6 advantage in fumble luck for the Panthers, the second-highest mark of the week. Now I’m not saying they should recover a ton of fumbles in this game, rather I’m saying that turnovers tend to have a huge underlying impact on how we view the strength of teams.
The Panthers also have a +3.2 edge in Pythagorean expected record differential, in large part because the Seahawks have a 9-1 record in one-score games.
This is a buy-low opportunity for the Panthers. Many have written them off after firing head coach Ron Rivera, but this offense is more than capable of hanging with the Seahawks and pulling off a backdoor cover (if needed).
Giants -3 vs. Dolphins
Luckily I didn’t end up pulling the trigger on Jets -5 last week — sometimes the best bet you can make is by not making one at all. But between the strong wings and their significant edge in the running game, Giants -3 has turned into a pick for me.
This could be Eli Manning’s last home start as a Giant if Daniel Jones isn’t able to return for Week 17.
Bengals +10.5 vs. Patriots
Let’s set the record straight: The Bengals are a very bad football team, but they’re not as bad as their record indicates. Their Pythagorean expected record is 3.1-9.9 despite letting rookie Ryan Finley — arguably one of the worst quarterbacks to start a game this season — start three games.
I’m also betting the scandal involving the Patriots allegedly having a video crew record Cincinnati’s sideline last week disrupted their game planning enough to be a minor factor.
Bears-Packers Under 40.5
My projected total is right in line with the market, but I don’t always simply make bets based on my power ratings as they’re only one piece of the puzzle.
This matchup lends itself to the under based on a few factors: First, this graded as my second-slowest paced matchup of the week. Second, we can expect a low percentage of explosive plays. In fact, this is the lowest-graded game for explosive play potential at -10%.
Rams-Cowboys Under 48.5
This market has been fascinating to follow.
The Cowboys opened at -3, but a majority of the action has poured in on the Rams to move it all the way to Rams -1.5. That’s a massive line move that required both public and sharp money to move off a key number of 3 and even flip the favorite. It’s likely due to Dak Prescott spraining his left hand and injuring his right index finger. Any time a quarterback as valuable as Dak is likely to play at less than 100%, it’s hard to handicap this early in the week.
However, the market hasn’t been correlating the injury with the total.
It opened at 48 and has been bet up to 48.5. I highlighted this type of inconsistent market behavior when Ryan Finley was benched for Andy Dalton. That over/under ended up moving up about three points while the spread only improved by a half point — the two line moves didn’t line up and it offered a ton of value on the Bengals at +3 against the Jets. We’re seeing that a bit here.
Prescott and Jared Goff both struggle against pressure. The Rams rank second in generating pressure while the Cowboys rank 10th. I expect both teams to lean on the running game more, which will keep the clock running and prevent it from becoming a shootout.
It’s worth pointing out that I do have this projected to be the fastest paced game of the week, but for the reasons above and the inflated number, I still like the under.
Steelers PK vs. Bills
My power ratings are not the main factor driving this play: The Steelers are a mismatch for the Bills.
Devlin Hodges is 3-0 as the starter and I expect the Steelers will continue to use him as a game manager while leaning heavily on the run game. James Conner is questionable, but the Steelers appear set to get their stud running back back and it couldn’t be better timed.
The Bills tend to play a softer zone defense that shuts down boundary wide receivers and limits the passing game at the expense of being vulnerable against the run. The Steelers offense sans Big Ben is equipped to do just that.
The Steelers also lead the league in generating pressure at a 31.0% clip, and Josh Allen is terrible against pressure as seen by his 54.2 QB rating when faced with it.
Koerner is 147-104-2 (58.6%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.