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NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions: Why Experts Are Betting on Bengals and Packers To Cover vs. Broncos and Ravens

NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions: Why Experts Are Betting on Bengals and Packers To Cover vs. Broncos and Ravens article feature image
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Jim McIsaac/Getty Images. Pictured: Bengals QB Joe Burrow

  • What are the most valuable picks based on the latest NFL odds for Week 15?
  • Our experts reveal their favorite bets for Sunday's late afternoon games, featuring the Bengals-Broncos and Packers-Ravens spreads.

NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions 

Click on a pick to skip ahead
Bengals +3 at Broncos
Packers -6.5 at Ravens
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Bengals at Broncos

Pick
Bengals +3
Best Book

Time
4:05 p.m. ET

Chris Raybon: I bet against the Bengals for three straight weeks and went 2-1, but I love them this week.

Schematically, this is a perfect matchup for the Bengals, as the Broncos play the most man coverage in the league and the Bengals are averaging an NFL-best 11.3 yards per target against man coverage while no other team even cracks double digits.

The Broncos have talent on the backend and can suffocate lesser teams like the Lions with their coverage, but receivers like Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins have proven they can consistently win in one-on-one matchups. If Denver keeps its two safeties back as Vic Fangio loves to do, Cincinnati will be able to gauge them on the ground with Joe Mixon.

Thanks to an easy schedule, the Broncos rank second in points allowed (17.5) despite ranking 21st in defensive DVOA, which is a major indicator that their defensive performance will be unsustainable. They’re below-average against both the pass (19th in DVOA) and the run (25th).

On offense, I’m not sure Denver can keep up. After starting the year averaging 25.3 points per game against the Giants, Jaguars and Jets, the Broncos have failed to crack 20 points in six of their past 10 games and now face an above-average defense in the Bengals, who rank 12th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA on that side of the ball.

The key for the Bengals is their 10th-rated run defense, which can take the Broncos out of their offensive comfort zone of going run-heavy with Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams.

Getting the +3 with the Bengals is a major edge, as they’ve lost by exactly three points four times and by more than three only twice all year, meaning this number would have a 7-2 record this season after removing pushes.

Late in the season, the market tends to be overconfident in small-to-moderate home favorites, thinking they have enough information to warrant spreads that are oftentimes larger than they should be. Since 2003, road underdogs between +3 and +8.5 in Weeks 15-16 facing home favorites with a straight-up winning percentage of .400 or better have covered at a 65% clip, beating the spread by 2.54 points per game, per our Action Labs data:

I would bet the Bengals to +1.


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Packers at Ravens

Pick
Packers -6.5
Best Book

Time
4:25 p.m. ET

Raheem Palmer: The Ravens come into this game potentially missing Lamar Jackson, who is on the wrong side of questionable due to an ankle injury. Even if Jackson suits up, this offense has been struggling — Baltimore has scored at least 20 points in just four out of its last six games.

Even more problematic for the Ravens is that the defense will be missing cornerback Marlon Humphrey for the season and will now be without safety Chuck Clark, who was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. The other starting cornerback, Chris Westry, was also placed on the COVID list. Even with those players, this defense is 23rd in Dropback EPA and 31st in explosive pass play rate, allowing 11% of passes to go for 20 or more yards.

Baltimore is going to have trouble stopping Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams, while the offense should have trouble keeping up with Green Bay. Even if Jackson plays, he’s unlikely to be as mobile coming off an ankle sprain.

I’ll lay the points with the Packers up to -7.5 (check real-time NFL odds here).


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