NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions: Experts Align on Steelers, Plus Cowboys and Cardinals To Cover As Big Favorites
Emilee Chinn/Getty Images. Pictured: Steelers WR Diontae Johnson, TE Pat Freiermuth
- A consensus on the Steelers-Titans spread, plus the Cowboys and Cardinals to cover as double-digit favorites.
- Our experts reveal their favorite picks for Sunday's early afternoon slate based on the latest NFL odds for Week 15.
Titans at Steelers
Sean Koerner: This is a must-win game for the 6-6 Steelers in what will be Ben Roethlisberger’s last season. I expect a maximum-effort game from the Steelers here. They are also surprisingly healthy given the amount of injuries/COVID cases across the league this week. T.J. Watt was forced to exit Week 14 due to a groin injury, but after getting in a full practice on Friday, he should be close to 100% for Sunday. The Steelers also might be getting back CB Joe Haden.
Meanwhile, the 9-4 Titans are sitting pretty atop the AFC South right now. They qualify as an “overrated” team according to my expected wins model, which projects them closer to a 7-6 expected record. The Titans have benefited from one-score luck this season, going 4-1 in close games.
Rodger Saffold has been ruled out for Week 15 and his backup, Aaron Brewer, suffered a late-week toe injury and he is now listed as questionable. In a corresponding move, the Titans elevated Daniel Munyer from the practice squad. If Brewer is unable to play or suffers an in-game setback, the Titans will be forced to play a third-stringer or significantly shuffle their offensive line.
The sharks have bet the Steelers from +2 earlier in the week to 1.5 point favorites at time of writing (check real-time NFL odds here). The most likely outcome of this game is the Steelers winning by three points, so I still like them at -1.5 and would bet it up to -2.5.
Titans at Steelers
Chris Raybon: The Steelers had their bi-weekly meltdown last week, so now it’s time to back them again.
Derrick Henry has been out for five games, and the Titans are already down to 23rd in Football Outsiders’ offensive DVOA – one spot below the Steelers. Even with Julio Jones back, the rest of the Titans skill players are the type of guys that the average fan has to Google. In five games without Henry, the Titans are averaging 19.4 points per game, and even that is misleading as they got a pick-six and started another touchdown drive two yards out in a 28-16 win over the Rams.
With T.J. Watt (groin) and Joe Haden (foot) practicing in full Friday, the Steelers defense should be back to full strength in a hostile home environment that will expose the undermanned Titans offense. The Steelers offense has its share of struggles and is averaging just 20.9 points per game (21st), but this is the rare game where that should be enough.
This is also a game you’d expect the Steelers to get up for at home – a classic “rah-rah” Mike Tomlin spot. Under Tomlin, the Steelers have cashed against the spread at a 56% clip coming off a loss, beating the spread by an average of 2.0 points per game, per our Action Labs data:
I would bet the Steelers to -2.
Cowboys at Giants
Raheem Palmer: You have to continue fading the Giants with Mike Glennon under center. The veteran is 46th in EPA + Completion Percentage Over Expected (CPOE) and 47th in Success Rate among all quarterbacks this season.
New York will face a Dallas defense that is third in DVOA, despite facing the seventh-toughest schedule of opposing offenses. The Cowboys are also fourth in EPA per play and Success Rate, and I’m expecting Randy Gregory, Demarcus Lawrence and Micah Parsons to wreak havoc on a Giants offensive line that is 25th in ESPN’s pass block win rate (55%).
While the Cowboys offense has struggled recently, a lot of that has to do with their poor red-zone performance. Against Washington last week, the Cowboys were just 1-for-6 in the red zone. They could regress toward the mean against a Giants defense that’s 23rd in red-zone touchdown percentage (53.8%).
The Giants will be missing cornerbacks Adoree’ Jackson and Aaron Robinson, who are on the reserve/COVID list, but they hope to get safety Xavier McKinney back from that.
I’m expecting a bounce back from Dak Prescott and this Cowboys offense. This is a steep price, but I’m backing them to hand the Giants another blowout loss.
I would bet the Cowboys to -12 (check real-time NFL odds here).
Cardinals at Lions
Billy Ward: The Lions are one of the best teams against the spread (ATS) this season, but their games have followed one of two basic archetypes: The Lions either keep it extremely close against good teams like the Rams and Ravens, or get completely destroyed, like last week against the Broncos and earlier in the season against the Bengals.
This week, the Lions are hosting the Cardinals, who are also one of the league’s best teams against the spread. (One of only four teams better than Detroit, as it were.) Arizona is without DeAndre Hopkins, which is a ding to its offense for sure. However, Detroit is missing running back D’Andre Swift and tight end T.J. Hockenson — the Lions’ two best (and perhaps, only NFL-caliber) skill position players.
Detroit is also extremely banged up on defense, with 10 different members of its secondary missing this week. (Counting players on IR, like Jeff Okudah.)
Can the explosive Cardinals offense put up enough points to cover 12 points against a practice squad team? Of course they can, and they should see limited push back from the Lions offensively.
I’m taking the Cardinals -12, which I’d bed down to -13.5.