Free NFL Bets Week 15
Week 15 is notoriously semi-finals week in fantasy football, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make a little cash on the side by hitting a few bets. The final few weeks of the season are nearly as tricky as the first few weeks, as some teams have already been mathematically eliminated from the playoff race, while others are fighting for seeding. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some trends through 14 weeks before we pick out our two favorite bets on the slate:
- There are two Saturday games this week, making Friday the only day where an NFL game hasn’t been played this season. Tuesday Night Football averages the most total points at 54.5 per game, while the lone Wednesday night game saw just 33 points, making it the lowest-scoring day of the week.
- The stadium with the highest average points per game is AT&T Stadium in Dallas, where games are totaling 64.2 points. FedEx Field in Washington is seeing the fewest points per game at just 38.7.
- Games in which the under has cashed are falling short of the total by an average of 8.5 points per game. Overs are cashing by 11.5 points per game.
There are some decent teaser options this week, and it’s a bit unusual for me to pass on a good teaser, but I’ve got a divisional favorite and a divisional under on tap for Week 15:
Vikings (-3) vs. Bears
Minnesota opened as 3.5-point favorites, and I’ve been burned enough times by the hook to have learned my lesson. However, as soon as this one dropped to an even 3, I locked it in.
The last game between these two teams was really ugly, a 19-13 victory in Chicago for the Vikings. But, Nick Foles was under center for the Bears, and David Montgomery didn’t suit up, so we’ve got to be careful with the conclusions we draw from that meeting. While Mitch Trubisky has actually played decently over the past few weeks, I think now is the time to sell high on the Bears, especially in a divisional matchup against a team and a coach that knows them pretty well.
This line is a bit strange to me. I genuinely wonder what it would have been had Dan Bailey not left ten points on the table last week against the Bucs. For those keeping track at home, Bailey went 0/3 on field goals and missed his only extra-point attempt, yet the Vikings still only lost by 12 to one of the best teams in the NFC, in their home stadium, off a bye. I think the market is seriously devaluing how strong Minnesota actually played last week and is overrating the Bears a bit coming off a blowout win over the injury-depleted Texans.
In the first meeting, Chicago bottled up Dalvin Cook, holding him to his lowest yards per carry output of the season (3.2). It’s hard to envision that happening again, considering how well Cook has performed this season. He’s averaging 112.7 yards per game and 5.0 yards per carry, and the Bears run defense ranks in the bottom half of the league in yards allowed per game. They’re even worse on the road, allowing 138.0 yards per game on the ground, the sixth-worst in the NFL.
Speaking of being on the road, Chicago has been very poor on the road over the past two months, dropping each of their last three away games by an average of 12.3 points per game. The Vikings, on the other hand, have been excellent at home of late, winning three of their last four home contests.
I’m trusting the far better coach in Mike Zimmer to keep his team’s season alive in this one. Vikes -3.
Dolphins/Patriots Under 42
By the time this article comes out, this line will most likely be stuck at 41.5, so I recommend buying a half-point to bump it back up to 42, if your book allows you to do so. The majority of books I have access to have the under 42 priced around -115/-120, so I wouldn’t recommend laying more than -125.
There are three factors in this handicap; the first is the New England offense. Or whatever you want to call it when the Patriots have the ball. Because very few times this season has it actually looked like an NFL offense. In his last three games, Cam Newton has thrown for a combined 272 yards on 30 completions. And now he’s going up against a vastly improved Dolphins defense with one of the best secondaries in the league. It’s hard to envision Newton deviating too much from his recent streak of ineptitude here. New England also loves to run the ball, which is fantastic for the over since the clock will continue to tick.
On the other side of the field, Miami’s offense isn’t exactly that much better, especially with Tua under center, and double-especially with nearly every skill position player poised to miss the game with injury or COVID. Last week was a shootout with the Chiefs; the Dolphins really had no choice. If you want to beat Kansas City, you’ve got to put up 30-points, or you don’t have a prayer. However, in their three prior contests against the Broncos, Jets, and Bengals, Miami scored a combined 52 points. I like them to deploy the same conservative, ball-control game plan here against another non-explosive opponent.
The final factor is Bill Belichick and his ability to make rookie quarterbacks see ghosts. Shoutout Sam Darnold. Thanks to Stuckey of the Action Network for this stat: since Russell Wilson beat the Patriots as a rookie in 2012, rookie QBs are 0-11 against New England, averaging just 162 pass yards per game. He just knows how to knock young quarterbacks off their game, confuse them, and thus limit points.
Don’t be alarmed if this one starts a bit fast, it’ll slow down regardless of who takes the lead because both teams prefer to play at a snail’s pace. New England is 25th in offensive plays per game, and Miami is 27th. This one may be a bit of a snoozer to watch, but we’ll all have fatter wallets by the time it’s over.