NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions: Cowboys & Packers Among 5 Picks To Target In Week 15
Stacy Revere/Getty Images. Pictured: Davante Adams.
NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions
I’ll be picking five NFL sides each week of the season for DraftKings‘ Pro Football Millionaire Pick’Em contest. Note that the spreads for this contest lock on Wednesdays, so some will be stale by the time you read this and thus not readily available outside of the contest. But you can check real-time NFL odds here.
I’ll also outline the rest of my betting card for the week below (click here to skip ahead).
NFL ATS Picks For Week 15
Here were the five sides for this week’s pick’em contest entry.
Due to COVID and injury concerns among NFL teams, as well as the lack of available information early in the week, we’ve changed many of our preliminary list of picks given out in our weekly Youtube segment and have finalized our picks in this week’s Pick’Em Column.
- Colts -2.5: Saturday 8:15 p.m. ET
- Steelers +1.5: Sunday 1 p.m. ET
- Cowboys -10.5: Sunday 1 p.m. ET
- Dolphins -9.5: Sunday 1 p.m. ET
- Packers -5.5: Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET
1. Indianapolis Colts -2.5
These are two of the NFL’s hottest teams, with the Colts having won four out of their last five and the Patriots seven straight.
During that span, though, the Patriots haven’t truly been tested with wins over the Jets, Browns, Falcons and Titans. Even New England’s win over the Chargers was a bit deceiving, while the victory over the Bills was hugely aided by the weather.
This seems like a good matchup for Carson Wentz and the Colts’ passing attack against a Patriots team that has played against a 19th-ranked schedule of opposing passing offenses. Strong defensive performances against Tampa Bay and Buffalo were hugely aided by weather and need to be taken with a grain of salt.
On the other side, Indianapolis is averaging 34.2 points over this span, while Wentz ranks seventh in Expected Points Added (EPA) per play since Week 9. During this stretch, the Colts QB has thrown eight touchdowns to just two interceptions while completing 65.2% percent of his passes.
Fortunately for the Colts, Jonathan Taylor is the NFL’s leading rusher in terms of yards and touchdowns. Combine that with Wentz’s recent success, and the Colts should have no problems scoring.
Although Indianapolis has also seen its defense slip, with a bye week and time to prepare, I’m expecting a max effort from a team that is desperate to get into the postseason.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers +1.5
This is a classic Mike Tomlin underdog spot in which the Steelers have thrived during his tenure. Since 2007, the Steelers are 43-22-2 (66%) against the spread (ATS) as an underdog. As a home underdog, the Steelers are 13-3-2 (81.3%) ATS. That makes this feel like a great spot to back Pittsburgh, which had extended rest after its loss to the Vikings in Week 14 on Thursday Night Football.
Trends aside, I love this spot for the Steelers against a Titans team that will be missing Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown. Over the past five weeks, Tennessee ranks 23rd in EPA per play, and this Steelers defense welcomes back T.J. Watt and Joe Haden.
Defensively, the Titans struggled with both Davis Mills and Trevor Siemian, so I expect Ben Roethlisberger, Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson to do enough to get the win and keep the Steelers’ playoff chances alive.
3. Dallas Cowboys -10.5
You have to continue fading this 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 Cowboys defense that is third in Football Outsiders’ DVOA, despite facing the seventh-toughest schedule of opposing offenses. Dallas is 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 pass block win rate (55%).
While the Cowboys offense has struggled recently, a lot of that has to do with 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 Dallas to hand the Giants another blowout loss.
4. Miami Dolphins -9.5
Although I’m reluctant to lay 9.5 points with the Dolphins, this feels like yet another spot to fade a Jets team that’s among the worst teams in the league on both sides of the ball.
Defensively, New York is a league-worst 30.5 points per game, ranks dead last in Football Outsiders Defensive DVOA and EPA per play. The Jets are all the way up to 31st in explosive pass play rate, allowing 12% of passes to go for 20 yards or more.
Tua Tagovailoa should have no problems in this matchup after going 27-of-33 passes for 273 yards with two touchdowns and one interception back in Week 10 against the Jets. The Dolphins have won five games straight and since Week 9, Tagovailoa is top 10 in both EPA + CPOE and Success Rate.
The Jets are also 27th in explosive run play rate, and the Dolphins welcome the return of RBs Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed, who come off the reserve/COVID list and should be able to run the ball well.
This Dolphins defense should dominate Zach Wilson, who is dead last in EPA per play and Success Rate and struggles against the blitz, something the Dolphins do at the highest rate this season. Wilson isn’t great when not under pressure, completing 59.8% of his passes, but when blitzed he’s down to 45.1%.
When under pressure in general, Wilson is completing just 41.4% of his passes. Expect him to struggle against the Dolphins, particularly in the absence of left tackle George Fant, who is doubtful with a knee injury.
The Jets could also be missing two other starters on the offensive line with right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (knee) and backup lineman Dan Feeney (back) listed as questionable. When you factor in the injuries to Elijah Moore (quad) and Corey Davis (core), I’m not sure how the Jets find any success in the passing game.
This is a mismatch on both sides of the ball, and I’ll lay the 9.5 points with the Dolphins.
5. Green Bay Packers -5.5
The Baltimore Ravens come into this game potentially missing Lamar Jackson, who is questionable due to an ankle injury. Even if Jackson in the lineup, this is an offense which 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 Ravens 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 5.5 points with the Packers.