NFL Luck Rankings: Week 15 Picks According to Expert Projections for Colts vs Vikings, Eagles vs Bears, More
Our Action Network Luck Rankings are in for NFL Week 15.
The unlucky teams from the Action Network Luck Rankings are 93-80-3 (53.7%) against the spread (ATS) overall. That includes a 48-36-1 (57.1%) mark when teams differ by at least 10 places since we started tracking in Week 3. That improves to 28-20-0 (58.3%) ATS when teams differ by at least 16 places.
If a bettor placed a bet on the unlucky team from every game where teams differ by at least 10 places in our Luck Rankings, that would produce a 9.0% ROI. The ROI jumps to 11.4% for games where the teams differ by at least 16 places.
Here are the matchups we’re eyeing for Week 15.
NFL Luck Rankings – Week 15 Notable Games
Each team’s luck ranking is in parentheses.
Nick Giffen: Chicago and Philadelphia are run-heavy teams, which could help run the clock here and shorten the game a bit.
That plays into Chicago’s favor. While the Eagles (12-1) are great against the pass with two excellent cornerbacks in Darius Slay and James Bradberry, they don’t have that same level against the run. Nowhere is that deficiency more evident than in DVOA — they rank second against the pass versus 24th against the run.
Not only do the Bears run a ton, but they are one of the most efficient teams doing so, ranking ninth in rush DVOA and first in yards per carry.
Our third-order Pythagorean win percentage make the Bears an 8.5-point underdog at a neutral field. While it isn’t a perfect measure of what the spread should be, it definitely gets us close.
By adding in a small home-field advantage boost, I’m happy to back the Bears at +9.
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Sean Koerner: This is the second week in a row I’m eyeing a team against the Vikings.
Last week it was the Lions, who sent the Vikings packing with an 11-point defeat, putting Minnesota in the negative on point differential for the year. That means the Vikings are still 9-0 in one-possession games, and just 1-3 otherwise.
If the Colts stop turning the ball over, they should be fine. Their turnover differential of -14 is 32nd, but it’s hard to continue to be dead last in that department. In fact, this is a spot where quarterback Matt Ryan can benefit.
Ryan has crumbled when facing pressure, ranking 33rd of 36 qualified quarterbacks in QB rating against pressure, but that jumps to 12th otherwise. The Vikings rank 25th in pressure rate this year, and are third worst over the last four games.
The Colts are currently first in my pick’em ranks ATS.
Nick Giffen: I’m going a bit off script here and taking a game with a Luck Ranking differential of just nine, but the underlying numbers strongly suggest to back Pittsburg here.
First, the Panthers have a -30 point differential, but should actually be -65 according to our expected score metric. That translates to a second-order Pythagorean win percentage of 33.4%, which is the worst in the NFL.
That comes against a significantly worse than league average schedule, making their third-order Pythagorean win percentage a paltry 29.6%.
Using the same calculations for the Steelers, they’ve had plenty of bad luck in the scoring department. Their -66 point differential should be closer to -20 according to expected score.
And they’ve done that against the league’s toughest schedule to date. Applying third-order Pythagorean expectation to the Steelers, we see they’ve been about a league-average team.
Overall, the Steelers would be about an 8.5-point favorite at a neutral site against Carolina according to these metrics. Of course, that’s mostly with Kenny Pickett numbers, but Mitch Trubisky hasn’t had bad results either. In games he’s played at least 80% of snaps, the Steelers …
- Beat the Bengals
- Lost to the Patriots by a field goal
- Lost to the Browns by 12
- Lost to the Ravens by two
Of course, it’s possible Pittsburgh uses Mason Rudolph if Pickett can’t play, but overall I’m not too worried about the quarterback situation. The line will adjust accordingly as more clarity develops around who will start.
So while it’s too early to place a bet here, I’ll probably end up backing the Steelers after the starting quarterback is announced.