With a mark of 2-2, Week 14 was a tricky one. Minnesota performed their best “ooh-aah-we-don’t-want-this-hot-potato-win-here-catch-it-Bucs” choke job, with three missed field goals and a missed extra point by the once-reliable Dan Bailey. That game should have gone down to the wire and covered 7, but definitely did not. The Texans and the Bears also needed just one lousy touchdown over the final 25 minutes of the game to go over, but alas they managed only a field goal. Those are the bad beats of the wagering world.
We’ll try to do better this week. Here are the Week 15 lines.....
Houston at Indy -7; O/U 51
Chicago at Minnesota -3; 47
Detroit at Tennessee -9.5; 53
Jacksonville at Baltimore -13; 48
New England at Miami -1.5; 41.5
San Francisco -3 at Dallas; 45
Seattle -6.5 at Washington; 43.5
Tampa Bay -6.5 at Atlanta; 49
NY Jets at LA Rams -17; 43.5
Philly at Arizona -6.5; 49.5
Kansas City -3 at New Orleans; 52.5
Cleveland -6.5 at NY Giants; 44
Pittsburgh -14 at Cincy; 40
Tough lines this week, but I’ll start with Miami. The Fins laying 1.5 at home seems like a relatively small number, but there’s little doubt Miami’s injury issues and depth concerns on the offensive side of the ball are factoring into that figure. New England ran miserably well in week 1, and while that’s still the recipe for success against Miami’s defense, it’s playing much, MUCH better than it was at the start of the season. I don’t see a struggling New England passing game doing much against Miami’s superior cornerback tandem. Miami does enough on offense to get past the number. I’ll take the Dolphins laying 1.5.
I’d probably buy half a point here just to make sure I avoid the hook, but I like Washington +6.5 at home against Seattle. Sure, the Seahawks are a problem offensively, and it even looks like Dwayne Haskins will get the start for an injured Alex Smith, but the Redskins have been a problem for everyone they’ve played recently, and I don’t think Sunday will be any different. Their defense is playing as well as any in the NFL right now. Rookie Chase Young is really coming into his own as a difference making defensive cornerstone type of player, which is double trouble for a QB when he can’t find anyone open down the field. Washington has also been almost impossible to run against. Good luck, Russ.
The Jags are a weird team; seemingly devoid of sufficient talent in several key areas, but often right there at the end of games. They compete and fight most weeks, losing close games to decent teams like Cleveland and Minnesota at the very end, but also get boat raced by Tennessee last week to remind us of why they have their record. Logic dictates a suddenly surging Baltimore should handle this easily, but they’re coming off a thriller against Cleveland on Monday Night Football, and thirteen is a big number to lay against anyone. I’ll take Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville, and 13 points in a late cover.
I’m not an under fan, but Tampa Bay - Atlanta seems to be trending that way. Traditional Bucs killer Julio Jones is out today, Calvin Ridley is hobbled with a sore foot, and the Falcons passing game just hasn’t looked right for much of this year. Their running game has been even less effective recently. Where they’ve been more competitive is on the defensive side of the ball. The Bucs are without LT Donovan Smith and likely RB Ronald Jones today, so things will be a bit tougher than usual for their offense today. 49 points is a high bar - I’ll say these teams don’t get there today.