Free NFL Bets and Teaser Picks for Week 15
Week 14 is one of those rare weeks in an NFL season that makes us all think we’re just living in a simulation. Or perhaps the best teams and players in the league just have it all figured out.
The top two seeds in the NFC belong to Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. Surprise, surprise – we’re heading into the final few weeks of the year and the two best quarterbacks of this generation are ticketed for one or two seeds, per usual. Over in the AFC, the top two seeds belong to the Patriots and Chiefs. Few expected New England to be here, but are we really all that surprised? I know I’m not. And after a slow start by Kansas City, they’re back and they’re absolutely rolling.
As for our best bets, we went 2-1 last week, making us 5-1 over the last two weeks and giving us five profitable weekends over the last seven. Our only miss last week was by a half-point on the Browns; other than that, blemish-free. Let’s keep it rolling this week, and don’t forget to check out all my picks right here.
This is a really important note too, by the way. The NFL’s COVID list is getting insane, and a lot of both mine and your favorite bets could be rendered useless in just a matter of minutes. Make sure you’re betting within your means just in case something goes sour, and if possible, try to find a book with a reasonable cash-out option – just in case.
Green Bay Packers Team Total Over 23.5 (-120)
Packers 10-3 vs. Ravens 8-5
I’d love to take the Packers laying the points this week, but the sharp bettor in me won’t let me do it. There’s a ton of uncertainty with Lamar Jackson, and the line has already flipped from Green Bay +3 on the lookahead line, to Green Bay -5. I lost eight points of value, so I simply can’t fall into the trap.
Instead, I’ll hop on a line that somehow is still posted nearly everywhere – Green Bay’s team total. It currently sits at 23.5, and there are some 24’s out there, but I would do my best to get a 23.5 at no more than -125 if possible. If 24 is the only number available, don’t lay more than -110.
This line makes no sense to me; are we still under the illusion that Baltimore’s defense is good? Because it’s not. I touched on this last week against Cleveland, and it was the driving force behind my Browns pick. Baltimore’s secondary is a wreck. They’re 24th in defensive DVOA, and even worse, they’re 27th against the pass. Good luck against Aaron Rodgers. The Packers are fifth in pass DVOA, making this the biggest mismatch of the week. The Ravens also get torn up by strong offenses, but dominate weaker offenses. It sounds obvious, but it’s providing the illusion that this is a good defense. Against Las Vegas (before they fell apart), Kansas City, Indianapolis, the Chargers, Cincinnati, and Minnesota, the Ravens have allowed 28.5 points per game. Against everyone else, they’ve only allowed 16.1 points.
Green Bay is also battling for home field, which is incredibly important in the NFC. Why? Well, if you’re new to the NFL, it’s really, really cold in Green Bay in January. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers know how to win in the cold, and they’re built to do it. What an incredible advantage it would be for the NFC to run through Lambeau, as the other contending teams are all from warm weather cities: Tampa Bay, Arizona, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco. They’re not going to take their foot off the gas. It’s going to be all offense, all the time for the Packers.
Aaron Rodgers became the first QB in Packers history to post 300-plus passing yards and no INTs in three straight games.
— Aaron Nagler (@AaronNagler) December 13, 2021
Finally, take a look at the Packers schedule. Here are the only weeks this season that Green Bay hasn’t hit the over on a team total of 23.5: Week 1 against the Saints which was a disaster, Week 9 against Chiefs when Jordan Love started, and Week 10 against the Seahawks in Rodgers’ first game back from COVID. That’s it, and Green Bay has topped 30 in each of the last three weeks. Jump on this one before the line rockets north.
Philadelphia Eagles -6.5 (-110)
Eagles 6-7 vs. Washington 6-7
Note: this was originally Texans +4.5 as mostly a fade of the Jaguars’ rebellion against Urban Meyer. But since Jacksonville fired him on Wednesday night into Thursday morning, I no longer have a play on that game. With so few viable options on the board due to the COVID mess across the league, I’ll pivot to a hungry Eagles team coming off a bye.
Let’s start with the obvious: Washington is ravaged by COVID. They have 18 players on their COVID list, and few if any have a chance of clearing before this weekend. And there are some big names on this list: Cam Sims, Montez Sweat, Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis, and Kendall Fuller, to name a few.
ICYMI: The list of Washington's 18 players on the covid list: pic.twitter.com/MxhIcH3ms3
— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) December 16, 2021
Let’s also not kid ourselves. I can throw as many stats and DVOA ranks and trends at you as I want, but the nucleus of the NFL this weekend, whether we’re talking betting or just straight-up winning the game, is COVID. Which team has a shorter COVID list? That team is probably the favorite. The Eagles, as I mentioned earlier, are coming off a bye and their only 53-man roster player on the COVID list is Quez Watkins. He’s one of their starting receivers, sure, but there isn’t much of a drop off to Greg Ward, who will probably replace him.
The biggest hit Washington took in terms of COVID is along their defensive front, coincidentally enough the strength of their team. They’re fifth in the league stopping the run, but essentially their entire defensive line is going to miss this game. That presents a huge problem for two reasons. One is obvious – Jalen Hurts can run and run well. Backups are not going to be able to keep him contained; let’s face it – a lot of starting units can’t do so. And two, with such a thin defensive group, Hurts’ ability to scramble is going to tire them out quickly. Backups aren’t used to playing this much – the Browns admitted the same thing about their backups – and the practice squad players who will serve as backups don’t have much if any NFL experience. Of course, Jalen Hurts is still questionable, but he’s trending towards playing. Gardner Minshew isn’t as mobile as Hurts, but he can certainly scramble. If Minshew plays, wait for this line to drop at least a point.
This is a really bad spot for Washington for unfortunate reasons, and the Eagles are hungry and hunting for a Wild Card spot. A touchdown is a lot to lay in a divisional game between two teams who, when at full strength, are relatively comparable. But this is a unique situation and as long as the Eagles keep their COVID list in check, they should roll.
Two Team Teaser of the Week:
Miami Dolphins -2.5 / New England Patriots +8.5 (-120)
The teaser of the week is four of its last five, so let’s continue this run of profit.
The first half of this teaser is a straight-up fade of the New York Jets. The Dolphins are absolutely rolling, too. They’ve won five in a row and they’re coming off a really important late-season bye week. They’re also at home and don’t have to travel to the blistering cold of the northeast. Miami’s defense has been airtight during their five-game win streak, allowing nine points twice, ten points twice, and 17 to these Jets in Week 11. They’re the best scoring defense since Week 9, and the Jets aren’t good enough to poke holes in how well they’re playing. Their receivers and running backs are decimated, Zach Wilson is simply not good, and Robert Saleh looks overwhelmed. Miami is fighting for a playoff spot and should have no problem knocking off the division-rival Jets.
New England also has a ton to play for – the number one seed in the AFC. I understand why they’re underdogs. They’re on the road against a red-hot Colts team, but getting them at more than a touchdown here is a gift. The Patriots have covered a +8.5 point spread in all but one game this season – Week 3 against the Saints in a fluky, turnover-filled mess. Their only three other losses are to Miami by one, Tampa Bay by two, and Dallas by six. The Patriots under Bill Belichick follow basically the same pattern every year: start slow while trying to incorporate as many new looks and formations as possible, and then master all the formations by late November, early December and become one of the best teams in the league. Check your calendars, it’s December. Don’t fade New England in December.
Mike is an avid sports bettor and fantasy football player, and has been writing since 2013. He previously worked for NBC Sports Philadelphia and Alliance Football Focus, and currently contributes to BettingPros as a featured writer. Mike is a resident of New Jersey, a graduate of Rider University, and currently works as a research analyst. When he isn’t searching for his next wager or watching the New Jersey Devils, Mike enjoys spending time with his wife, his dog and his two cats.