Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger
- Using The Action Network's NFL Power Ratings, we look at the teams the public are overrating and underrating in Week 15.
- Comparing our Power Ratings to current point spreads reveals the biggest differences in the perception of the betting market to real value.
Which teams will cover in Week 15? Bettors think they know.
Nine teams are receiving at least 60% of the spread tickets as of writing (see live data here), and there’s lopsided betting action in six matchups (with at least 70% of spread bets).
Which of these popular picks are being overvalued by casual bettors?
By comparing the projected point spread created using The Action Network’s NFL Power Rankings to the consensus number we can determine which teams the public is overrating and underrating in Week 15.
Overrated Week 15 Teams
Detroit Lions at Buffalo Bills
- NFL Power Rating Spread: +0.3
- Current Spread: –2.5
- Value on: Lions
- Time: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (FOX)
An early wave of money is on Buffalo. The Bills have moved from a pick’em to -2.5 behind 78% of spread dollars. No Sports Insights’ Bet Signals have been triggered, indicating this isn’t sharp action laying the points with Sean McDermott’s team.
This is only the second time the Bills have been favored this season. The first was last week against the Jets, a game that Buffalo lost.
Houston Texans at New York Jets
- NFL Power Rating Spread: +7.7
- Current Spread: +6
- Value on: Texans
- Time: Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET (NFL)
Houston’s nine-game win streak came to end this past Sunday — a painful result for bettors as a majority of spread tickets were on the Texans as 4-point favorites against the Colts.
Gamblers have not forgotten this transgression and have bet Houston from -7 to -6, but it’s important to not overreact to one loss, especially when a team has a good defense.
The Texans defense is one of five units allowing fewer than 20 points per game (19.9). Teams allowing fewer than 21 points per game that are coming off a straight-up loss are covering the spread 54.2% of the time since 2003 per our data at Bet Labs. Those teams are 51-32-1 (61.4%) against the spread over the past five years.
Underrated Week 15 Teams
New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers
- NFL Power Rating Spread: -0.4
- Current Spread: +1
- Value on: Steelers
- Time: Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)
The lookahead line for this Week 15 matchup was Pittsburgh -3. Ben Roethlisberger’s rib injury has swung this line and now New England is the betting favorite on the road.
Adam Schefter has reported that Roethlisberger expects to play on Sunday. He missed most of the second half but was healthy enough to return in the fourth quarter to lead a go-head drive that was answered by Derek Carr.
Assuming Roethlisberger plays, this could be a good opportunity to buy-low on Pittsburgh. The Steelers have lost three in a row but each by fewer than seven points.
Late in the season (December through the playoffs), it’s been profitable to wager on teams with a winning record that are underperforming their Pythagorean plus/minus, like the Steelers.
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers
- NFL Power Rating Spread: +5.4
- Current Spread: +6.5
- Value on: Panthers
- Time: Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Carolina has lost five in a row but somehow isn’t out of the playoff picture — the Panthers are currently seventh in the NFC. Bettors are loading up on the Saints as if the Panthers have nothing to play for. More than 70% of spread tickets are laying the points with the Saints as road favorites.
This is nothing new as elite teams are overvalued late in the season, but casual bettors should tread lightly.
Since 2003, teams that have won 80% or more of their games, like the Saints, have gone 114-146-3 (44%) ATS in December or later in the season.