Week 15 NFL Picks

The Back Door Cover Week 15 NFL Picks

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My Picks

Last Week: 9-5-2

Overall: 89-114-5 (43.8%)

Score Predictor Picks

Last Week: 10-4-2

Overall: 120-83-5 (59.1%)

(*The Score Predictor is a tool I created that takes over a decade’s worth of score and spread data to predict the final score of each game. It places higher weights on more recent games as well as games against the opponent that week. Ultimately, it outputs a final home team and away team score that is used to make a pick against the spread.)

Week 14 Whiffs

— Carolina was going to go in one of two directions. Either play out of their minds to prove their themselves after Ron Rivera’s firing, or continue to forget how to play football as they had the previous few weeks. They chose the latter.

— What in the world was Houston doing on Sunday? They looked like world-beaters against the Patriots and then get their doors blown off by Drew Lock. This sums up the NFL.

Make that four straight above-average weeks. I didn’t like a ton of the matchups last week, but the two I loved, both hit. This pushed my best bets to 10-2 over the past four weeks.

Here are how the numbers breakdown and the ATS rankings through 14 weeks:

As always, most importantly:

Disclaimer: Please do not take these picks and expect to make any real money. I enjoy picking games and the discussions they create so feel free to play along. I will provide information for each game, but please make your own decisions and BE RESPONSIBLE!

Here are my Week 15 picks…

Thursday – 12/12/19

New York Jets vs. Baltimore Ravens (-14.5, o/u 45.0)

From a betting perspective, I don’t like this spot for the Ravens, especially at this number. The reason is two-fold. First, we don’t really know the extent of the Lamar Jackson quad injury. Is it a pulled muscle or is it just a bad bruise after a direct hit? He says he’s 100%, but what else was he going to say? Second, we don’t know how long John Harbaugh will let Lamar go if they have a comfortable lead late in the game. I can see this being a game where the Ravens are up two touchdowns late and Jackson gets pulled, allowing the Jets to cover the 14.5 points.

Jackson is “questionable” on the injury report heading into the game which means us bettors really won’t know how much this injury will affect his running ability until we see it with our own eyes. The unknowns are why I’ll be staying away from this game. I’m confident the Ravens will pull this one out at home, but covering the 15 points is a stretch for me against a Jets team that ranks second in the NFL against the run giving up only 78.8 yards per game.

I’ll take the Ravens 27-13.

Baltimore is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games. The Jets have been road underdogs of 14 or more points twice already this season. In those games they are 0-2 straight up and 1-1 ATS.

Score Predictor: New York 18.0 – Baltimore 26.2 (New York +14.5)

My Pick: New York +14.5

Sunday – 12/15/19

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Detroit Lions (+3.5, o/u 47.5)

It seems like a year since the Detroit Lions started 2-0-1 beating the likes of the Eagles and Chargers who we thought at the time were Super Bowl contenders. Since that start, they have gone 1-9 and have slowly looked less and less competitive in the process.

The Bucs, on the other hand, have won three straight games and look like a team that has promise if they can just get out of their own way. By “they,” I mean Jameis Winston. Although he is tied for 2nd in the league in touchdowns with 26, he also has 7 more interceptions (23) than the next closest quarterback. Those interceptions are a big reason why this team is just 6-7. They can beat anyone in the NFL if they just protect the football.

I like Tampa Bay against a struggling Lions team that has given up an average of 28.5 points per game at home this season. Even without Mike Evans after his hamstring injury last week, they should have no problems in Detroit.

Detroit is 2-7-1 ATS in their last 10 games with a -5.4 average point differential. The Buccaneers are 4-2-1 ATS on the road this season with a 4.9 average point differential.

Score Predictor: Tampa Bay 29.5 – Detroit 27.1 (Detroit +3.5)

My Pick: Tampa Bay -3.5

Denver Broncos vs. Kansas City Chiefs (-10, o/u 46.0)

When betting on games, you have to try and limit your recency bias. We all have trouble doing that at times and I’m having struggling with that with this game. I think the spread in this game would have been much higher had it not been for the dismantling of the Texans by Drew Lock and co. on everybody’s mind. It now sits at the 10-point mark.

That makes me lean Chiefs here at home in Lock’s first divisional road game. It’ll be a raucous atmosphere with a Chiefs team still fighting for a first-round bye in January and I’ll take them to win by double-digits.

Denver is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games. The Chiefs are 2-9 ATS in their last 11 games at home against teams with losing records.

Score Predictor: Denver 20.7 – Kansas City 25.2 (Denver +10)

My Pick: Kansas City -10

Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans (-3, o/u 50.0)

Speaking of Houston, after a week of dreaming of a first round bye, they now are in a fight for their divisional lives against the Titans. The winner of this game will move into first place in the AFC South.

My gut tells me that one of two things occurred last week for Houston. Either they were unprepared for Drew Lock (which is an issue in and of itself), or it was a perfect spot for a letdown game sandwiched between the Patriots and Titans. I’m leaning towards the latter.

Outside of Baltimore and San Francisco, the Titans may be the hottest team in football ever since Ryan Tannehill took over under center. He’s been aided by the steady running of Derrick Henry which has set up his play-action game. However, Henry is a little banged up and I think that’ll put a damper on his game this week. I’ll take Houston to cover the 3 points.

Houston is 5-2 ATS in its last 7 games as an underdog. The Titans are 8-2 straight up and ATS in their last 10 divisional home games.

Score Predictor: Houston 26.8 – Tennessee 20.3 (Houston +3)

My Pick: Houston +3

Miami Dolphins vs. New York Giants (-3.5, o/u 48.0)

If any team is interested in tanking in the future, please do not follow in the footsteps of the 2019 Miami Dolphins. Miami has won three games and has been competitive in most after what looked like a team that might go 0-fer early in the season. I like them to win outright even with Daniel Jones potentially returning for a Giants team who have lost 9 in a row. If you have Ryan Fitzpatrick on your fantasy team, start him.

Miami is 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games. The Giants are 0-9 straight up and 3-6 ATS in their current 9-game losing streak.

Score Predictor: Miami 21.7 – New York 22.4 (Miami +3.5)

My Pick: Miami +3.5

Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers (-4.5, o/u 41.0)

This game could spell the end of the Bears’ season if they can’t pick up a win in Green Bay this week. The Packers will want to get out to an early lead to make Mitch Trubisky play catchup against a Green Bay defense that is only allowing an average of 20.4 points per game at home.

Aaron Rodgers will be able to move the ball against the Bears’ defense and as long as they can turn those drives into points, they’ll cover the 4.5 points with ease.

Green Bay is 7-0 in their last 7 games following an ATS loss and are 21-9 ATS in their last 30 games when favored by less than a touchdown. The Bears are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games.

Score Predictor: Chicago 17.9 – Green Bay 28.6 (Green Bay -4.5)

My Pick: Green Bay -4.5

Seattle Seahawks vs. Carolina Panthers (+6, o/u 48.0)

I think it’s fair to say that Carolina has mailed it in at this point. They have lost five in a row with two of those being against the Falcons and one being against the Redskins. However, they could look at this game as their Super Bowl with a chance to ruin the Seahawks’ chances at a division crown.

Seattle turned in an ugly performance against the resurgent Rams which I believe pushed this number down a bit from what it would have been. Prior to last week, Seattle had been undefeated on the road and still possess a 3.6 average point differential away from home. They’ll get back to their road dominance this week and beat Carolina just as everyone else has been.

Carolina is 2-7 ATS in their last 9 December games. Seattle is 9-3 ATS in their last 12 road games.

Score Predictor: Seattle 24.8 – Carolina 18.6 (Seattle -6)

My Pick: Seattle -6

New England Patriots vs. Cincinnati Bengals (+9.5, o/u 40.5)

Spygate 2.0. How dumb can you really be? Look, I’m fairly certain they weren’t spying on the Bengals’ sideline, but after the original Spygate, how do you put yourself in that situation? Anyway…

The Bengals rank dead last in stopping the run and even though the Patriots only rank 23rd in the league in rushing yards per game, I look for them to exploit this major weakness this week and run it down Cincinnati’s throat.

If there’s one thing you can count on, it’s her majesty being angry after losing two straight. I feel bad for what’s about to happen to the Bengals this week.

New England is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 December games. The Bengals are 2-9-1 ATS in their last 12 home games.

Score Predictor: New England 24.1 – Cincinnati 17.8 (Cincinnati +9.5)

My Pick: New England -9.5

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Redskins (+4.5, o/u 40.0)

The Eagles were lucky to eke out a 23-17 overtime win in Week 14 over the Giants. However, the probable losses of Lane Johnson and Alshon Jeffrey may outweigh the victory. Their receiver corps was already depleted and if they were to lose Jeffrey, that could be a back-breaker for this team.

On the other side, the Redskins have looked, dare I say, competitive over the past few weeks. They’ve gone 5-2 ATS over their past 7 games and are on a 3-game ATS winning streak.

This game opened at +6 to start the week but has already dropped a whole point and a half, which is telling to me. I had Washington getting 6 points initially but with all of the action coming in on the Redskins, I’m going to have to switch my play to Philly in this one.

Philadelphia is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games against the Redskins. Washington is 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games against the NFC East.

Score Predictor: Philadelphia 25.2 – Washington 19.6 (Philadelphia -4.5)

My Pick: Philadelphia -4.5

Cleveland Browns vs. Arizona Cardinals (+2.5, o/u 48.0)

I have this weird feeling that this game will determine if Freddie Kitchens is back next season with the Browns. This week will prove whether or not his team has quit on him with three weeks to play.

I do believe that the Browns will come ready to play and will win this game. The only thing I can see working against them is that they have Baltimore coming to town next week and they may be looking ahead to attempt to ruin the Ravens’ AFC top-seed bid. Regardless, there’s just too much talent on this roster to drop this game. Browns by a touchdown.

Cleveland is 2-4 ATS on the road this season. Arizona has lost 6 straight games and are 3-6 ATS in their last 9 games against the AFC North.

Score Predictor: Cleveland 22.0 – Arizona 22.7 (Arizona +2.5)

My Pick: Cleveland -2.5

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Oakland Raiders (-6.5, o/u 45.5)

I’m taking Jacksonville, but I’m not sold. Neither of these teams have shown much over the past month of the season. The Raiders come in on a three-game losing skid and the Jags have a five-game losing streak of their own.

This will be the last game for the Raiders in Oakland and I can see them coming out wanting to give their fans a proper send off, but with Josh Jacobs out, I think the Jaguars defense will do just enough to cover.

Jacksonville is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games against the Raiders. The Raiders are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games at home.

Score Predictor: Jacksonville 23.0 – Oakland 25.8 (Jacksonville +6.5)

My Pick: Jacksonville +6.5

Minnesota Vikings vs. Los Angeles Chargers (+2.5, o/u 44.5)

The combination of the Vikings’ struggles on the road this season and the strong performance by the Chargers last week in Oakland has most likely driven this number down to where it sits today at 2.5.

When I look at what’s on the line for these teams and the season in its entirety, I lean Vikings. They’ll be able to ride a bit banged up Dalvin Cook and suddenly effective Kirk Cousins to the cover. Oh, and Philip Rivers will throw one or two to the purple guys this week. That’s probably a safe bet.

Minnesota is 8-1 straight up in it’s last 9 games as a favorite. The Chargers are 7-3 straight up and ATS in their last 10 games as an underdog.

Score Predictor: Minnesota 22.2 – Los Angeles 22.1 (Los Angeles +2.5)

My Pick: Minnesota -2.5

Atlanta Falcons vs. San Francisco 49ers (-11, o/u 47.0)

The 49ers have not been good as favorites (7-14-1 ATS in their last 22 games as favorites) and they lost some key contributors recently in Richard Sherman, Dee Ford, and Weston Richburg. This team, however, can withstand some of those losses, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

They’re going up against a Falcons team that has been on the uptick, but are still a far cry from what they were expected to be this season. This week, they are flying across the country to face the NFL’s top defense. It’s not going to be a pleasant trip. San Francisco to cover.

Atlanta is 2-12 straight up in their last 14 games in San Francisco. The 49ers are only 3-3 ATS at home this season, but boast a 17.7 average point differential in those games.

Score Predictor: Atlanta 22.3 – San Francisco 27.9 (Atlanta +11)

My Pick: San Francisco -11

Los Angeles Rams vs. Dallas Cowboys (+1, o/u 48.5)

This may be the most interesting line for me this week. The Rams have looked like their 2018 dominant selves since the loss to the Ravens and the Cowboys can’t seem to get out of their own way, having lost three straight. So how is this just a 1-point spread? Especially since the Rams are 4-1-1 ATS on the road this season with a 9.7 average point differential. Something seems off…

That normally means I’d be taking Dallas in this spot because it tells me that Vegas wants us to think this spread is off and drop big money on the Rams. I’m going to fall into their trap because the Rams have figured out this one very simple thing: if you give the ball to your best player, you have a good chance to win. It’s a brilliant idea, I know. Todd Gurley has averaged 21 rushing attempts over the past two games, both big wins by the Rams. They’ll continue that this week in big D.

The Cowboys are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games after consecutive ATS losses. Los Angeles is 9-0 straight up in their last 9 games on the road against teams with losing records.

Score Predictor: Los Angeles 24.4 – Dallas 21.9 (Los Angeles -1)

My Pick: Los Angeles -1

Buffalo Bills vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (-2, o/u 36.5)

I really want to pick Pittsburgh here. As much as we rail on the Steelers here in Baltimore, you have to respect what they’re doing and how they’re doing it this season. I’d like to see them make the playoffs.

After watching Buffalo against the Ravens last week, I think Duck Hodges’ successful run is over. The Bills’ defense will expose him for the fourth-stringer he is in a low scoring affair as the over/under suggests.

Buffalo wins outright.

Buffalo is 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 games as an underdog. The Steelers are 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 games.

Score Predictor: Buffalo 19.3 – Pittsburgh 21.2 (Buffalo +2)

My Pick: Buffalo +2

Monday – 12/16/19

Indianapolis Colts vs. New Orleans Saints (-9, o/u 46.0)

New Orleans should be fired up coming into this game after losing a heartbreaker at home last week against the 49ers. With injuries continuing to pile up for the Colts’ receivers, the Saints should roll easily.

The only hesitation I have is that the Saints’ defense is also starting to get hit by the injury bug a bit. They’ll be able to overcome those injuries against a reeling Colts team and win by double-digits.

The Colts are 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 games against the NFC. New Orleans is 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games as home favorites.

Score Predictor: Indianapolis 23.9 – New Orleans 26.6 (Indianapolis +9)

My Pick: New Orleans -9

There are a few games I love this week to hopefully improve on my 10-2 record over the past month of the season:

Minnesota -2.5

Buffalo +2 (or on the moneyline)

Los Angeles Rams -1

I’ll play that on a parlay card this week and hope for the best. Happy hunting!

Good luck in Week 15!

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Drew Kordula

About Drew Kordula

I was born and raised in Baltimore. I'm a graduate of Eastern Tech and UMBC. Baltimore/Maryland sports have always been a huge part of my life. Whether it be going to University of Maryland Football games with my dad as a kid, or climbing to the top of Mt. M&T Bank Stadium for my seats in section 540 today. I'm a Joe Flacco apologist, Buck Showalter groupie, and Wild Bill Hagy disciple. I love writing about Baltimore sports because I know how passionate of a fan base we have here. Everyone has an opinion and I invite you to share yours on any of my blogs no matter if you agree or disagree. Feel free to follow me on twitter @DrewKordula More from Drew Kordula
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