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NFL Expert Picks: Patriots-Steelers, Seahawks-49ers, More Week 15 Bets

Dec 16, 2018 1:00 PM EST
Credit:

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown

  • The Action Network experts break down their favorite Week 15 NFL bets, including Patriots-Steelers and Cowboys-Colts.
  • We've also got against-the-spread and over/under picks for Packers-Bears, Bucs-Ravens, Eagles-Rams and much more.

Week 15 got off to a wild start with a crazy Chargers comeback win in Kansas City. With that win, not only did Los Angeles end its nine-game losing streak to the Chiefs, it also clinched a playoff berth.

Believe it or not, the Chargers became the fourth team to have clinched a playoff spot headed into this weekend, joining:

  • Rams
  • Chiefs
  • Saints

We could see that number grow by the end of the weekend, as three teams can join those four postseason squads with a win. Those teams include:

  • Cowboys
  • Bears
  • Seahawks

The Patriots and Texans could also clinch with a win — but they need help elsewhere. Regardless of what happens this weekend, the sixth spot in both conferences and the AFC North will remain up for grabs headed into the final two weeks of the season

Our staff has angles on a number of the most highly-anticipated Week 15 matchups — many of which have enormous playoff implications. In addition to the many games with direct and indirect playoff implications, we will cover plenty of other action, including a consensus bet on Cowboys at Colts (-3), numerous over/unders and bets for both primetime games on Sunday and Monday.

And for even more in-depth analysis, check out our betting guides for every single game.

Let’s get into our 15 favorite bets for Week 15, which can hopefully help you find a winner or two you otherwise wouldn’t have spotted. After a nice 11-5-1 week, our NFL staff picks now sit at 114-105-13 (52%) for the season.

Let’s make it four straight profitable weekends as we inch closer to the postseason, starting with  that consensus pick in Indianapolis.


>> All odds pulled on Dec. 14, so slight line variations are possible. Download The Action Network app to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets.


SUNDAY EARLY ACTION

Stuckey: Colts -3 (vs. Cowboys)

1 p.m. ET on FOX

Defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus will be a huge asset for the Colts this weekend, as he previously served as the Cowboys’ linebackers coach from 2011-17, including the role as passing-game coordinator the previous two seasons.

He should be very familiar with the strengths, weakness and tendencies of the Cowboys defensive personnel — particularly at linebacker, which the Colts can exploit with their efficient short-passing attack.

Red zone efficiency should also play a huge role. The Colts lead the league with 19 tight end touchdowns, while the Cowboys have just one. That discrepancy shows in regards to offensive production within the 20.

Dallas ranks 30th in the NFL in red zone touchdown percentage at 46.34%. And if you think the signing of Amari Cooper has helped address that problem, you’d be mistaken. Over their past three games, the Cowboys have scored touchdowns on just 33.3% of their trips inside the 20. That’s worst in the league over that span.

Conversely, Indianapolis’ offense has had no such issues, ranking seventh in the NFL with a 68% red zone touchdown percentage. The Colts have been even better in Indy, where they have the third-highest home red zone touchdown percentage (78.26%), trailing only Pittsburgh and and Atlanta.

This is a tough spot for the Cowboys to go on the road after an enormous win over their rival that essentially clinched the NFC East title.

It’s time to sell Dallas here after five straight wins, all of which came by one possession, with the last three coming at home.

Scott Miller: Colts -3 (vs. Cowboys)

1 p.m. ET on FOX

I agree with Stuck here.

The first metric I look at for the team playing the Cowboys: Rushing defense. Indianapolis ranks fifth in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric and sixth in yards per rush.

If you want to get real fancy, the Colts are third in a metric called Stuffed Rate, which measures how often a defense tackles a running back at or behind the line of scrimmage.

Dallas runs the ball at the fourth-highest rate of any team on first down (36.7%), and the Colts have the defense to turn those early down rushes into losses.

On the offensive side, Indy’s stellar line should be able to keep Andrew Luck upright (fourth in adjusted sack rate allowed) against a Cowboys defense that is much better to attack through the air (12th in DVOA) than on the ground (fourth).

Luck and T.Y. Hilton have shined when playing at home together, and I expect that to continue in a game the Colts will be far more motivated to win.

Dallas has a 99.5% chance to make the playoffs, according to our simulations, while Indy needs a win to keep pace with the Ravens for the wild card.

Travis Reed: Lions +2.5 (at Bills)

1 p.m. ET on FOX

This isn’t exactly the marquee game of the week, but it is the best value on the board according to the Bet Labs simulations. A few weeks ago the Bills were the laughing stock of the league and for some reason they are now getting some respect from the betting market.

Giving 4.5 points to the Jets last week was too much and the numbers say the Lions should be small road favorites this week.

I am still holding out hope that this line gets to the key number of three points, but I will also have some money on the Lions moneyline for the outright win.

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