We’re entering the final stages of an incredibly entertaining football season. Heading into NFL Week 15, the playoff picture remains wide open. Only the Philadelphia Eagles have guaranteed themselves a post-season berth through 14 weeks, and our window to use key betting concepts grows smaller by the week.
Our profitable run of picks has stalled a bit, as we tallied yet another 50/50 weekend. The Lions took care of business against the Vikings, but the Steelers ran into injury trouble when Kenny Pickett left with a concussion. I had no intention of putting my hard-earned dollars to work backing Mitch Trubisky as a 2-point favorite against … anyone.
Alas, the gambling gods are a fickle bunch that keep us honest. Onwards!
Let’s tackle some NFL Week 15 Betting Tips and Strategies.
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Betting Tips for NFL Week 15
One of my favorite angles is to fade the betting public. Sportsbooks don’t stay in business by losing, so when heavy public action comes in on one side of the ball, it’s often profitable to bet the other way. That strategy is amplified when the public is backing the underdog, giving sharp bettors a chance to bet the better team.
There are two teams getting a ton of public money in NFL Week 15. And, frankly, neither of them are as good as people might think…
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Tennessee TITANS vs. Los Angeles CHARGERS (-2.5)
The Tennessee Titans, in the midst of a three-game losing streak, are getting more than 90% of the public money in this matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers.
After a dominant stretch that saw five straight wins, the Titans have come crashing back down to earth. An outright loss to the Jaguars marked the Titans’ third defeat in a row. They once owned a stranglehold atop the AFC South, but their division lead looks more like the weak grip of a 90-year-old man wrestling with a pickle jar.
The one area the Titans have struggled most is passing defense; Tennessee ranks dead last in passing yards allowed per game. That’s tough news against a Chargers team that refuses to run the ball. Head Coach Brandon Stalley opts to throw more than 67% of the time, and QB Justin Herbert ranks second in passing yards in the NFL this season.
In their primetime matchup against the Dolphins, Herbert looked as sharp as he has all season and more like the dominant force we’ve known him to be. Herbert went down hard mid-season and was dealing with some pain, and it’s possible he’s been playing hurt for an extended stretch. Against the Dolphins, however, he looked mobile, accurate, and devastating with his long passes. He racked up 367 yards without breaking a sweat.
With their star quarterback playing to his potential again, the Chargers are within striking distance of the AFC playoff picture. Finishing the season with four winnable games against the Titans, Colts, Rams, and Broncos, it’s possible the Chargers run the table. Don’t be surprised if they finish the season at 11-6, which should be enough to snag a wild-card spot.
I would be happy playing this up to the key number of -3.
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Dallas COWBOYS (-4.5) vs. Jacksonville JAGUARS
This game checks a lot of boxes for sharp bettors.
Betting against the public? Yep! The Jaguars are getting more than 85% of public money.
Line move? Yep! The look-ahead line was Cowboys -6, so we’re getting an extra point and a half of value.
Buying low on a great team after a dumb game while selling high on a bad team after a great game? Yes, yes, and… yes! It’s a classic setup. We’ve had success using this strategy, most notably targeting these same Cowboys in Week 11 against the Vikings, whom they rolled, 40-3.
A lot has been made about the Cowboys defense in 2022, but their offense has been equally impressive. They’ve scored more than 40 points on three separate occasions, with a 54-point effort against the Colts two weeks ago. They’ve also scored 27 points or better in six straight weeks and should have no trouble moving the ball against the Jaguars, a team ranked in the bottom half of NFL defenses.
Jaguars backers will be quick to point out their most recent win over the Titans as a sign of things turning around. As you read above, I’m not too crazy about the Titans, and I don’t take much away from that victory. Trevor Lawrence threw three touchdowns and racked up more than 360 yards in the air, which, frankly, is excellent. But against a Titans pass defense ranked dead last in the NFL? It would be like beating a toddler in a game of chess. Congrats I guess?
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Lawrence will have a MUCH tougher time against Dallas, a team ranked second against the pass, holding opposing quarterbacks to fewer than 185 yards per game. And while the Cowboys rush defense has been a weak spot, Jaguars running back Travis Etienne is having a fairly average season. Unless the Jaguars get out to an early lead, Lawrence will be forced to throw the ball and play catch up. That could spell trouble against this defense.
All of this is assuming Lawrence even plays. He’s had a nagging toe issue which could see him miss this game altogether. The scenario is unlikely, as he looked great against the Titans, and the Jaguars’ season is on the line in Week 15. But, the added wrinkle makes this bet even more alluring. On the slight chance he’s ruled out, this spread would explode into the double digits.
We’re getting the better team, and we’re fading the masses. Sign me up. I grabbed the Cowboys at a reasonable -4.5, but would be comfortable playing it up to -6.