NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 15

Here at Bang the Book, we have all of the top matchups of the 2013 NFL betting campaign covered! Today, we’re taking a look at the best matchups for Week 15!

San Diego Chargers (6-7 SU, 7-5-1 ATS) @ Denver Broncos (11-2 SU, 8-5 ATS)
Spread: Denver -10.5, Total: 56

Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, CO – Thursday, December 12th, 8:25 ET

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NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 15NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 15

The Chargers badly need this one if they are going to play a factor in the playoff chase for the rest of the year. This is a daunting task, but it was daunting going on the road to Arrowhead Stadium as well. If there is a man in the AFC West who can shoot it out with QB Peyton Manning, QB Philip Rivers is the guy. There aren’t many who have played the Broncos tough this year, but San Diego was one of those teams, nearly completely erasing a three-touchdown second half deficit in the first go around of these two clubs. Denver meanwhile, can win the AFC West with a win and a Kansas City loss this week, and it would lock up the #1 seed in the AFC with that title as well. The Broncos have won the last four meetings of these rivals, and they are 3-1 ATS in those games dating back two seasons.

San Francisco 49ers (9-4 SU, 9-4 ATS) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9 SU, 6-7 ATS)
Spread: San Francisco -6, Total: 41.5

Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay, FL – Sunday, December 15th, 1:00 ET

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NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 15NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 15

The 49ers are in a bad spot in this game, and they need to be very careful to avoid the SU upset against a team that is playing fantastic football at the moment. The Bucs would have been in great shape had the season started in November, as they are 4-1 SU and ATS in their last five games, and it all started after the team blew a huge lead against the Seahawks and lost in overtime, yet easily covered the +16 point spread. The Niners beat those same Seahawks last week, and that’s what makes this one on the road clear across the country all the more dangerous. There aren’t many longer road trips than this one in the NFL. San Fran has covered eight of its last 10 games, but is there really a game in there that was THAT impressive? Sure, beating Seattle was great (but it didn’t cover). Sure, beating Washington by three TDs is great (so what? KC just beat it by 35). Then there were the losses to the Saints on the road and the Panthers at home and the Colts at home. It just makes you think – Should this team really be laying nearly a full touchdown against one of the hottest teams in the league with squat to play for?

New England Patriots (10-3 SU, 6-7 ATS) @ Miami Dolphins (7-6 SU, 8-5 ATS)
Spread: New England -2, Total: 45.5

Sun Life Stadium, Miami, FL – Sunday, December 15th, 1:00 ET

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NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 15NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 15

The Patriots had an offense which was playing well before losing TE Rob Gronkowski for the rest of the season with a torn ACL and MCL. Now, they’re back to having QB Tom Brady and a bunch of ragtag wide receivers who probably should barely be on NFL rosters, let alone playing the role of the biggest receivers on what is supposed to be one of the best offenses in the game. Miami still doesn’t look good, but its spot in the AFC playoff race cannot be denied. The team is still on the wrong side of the picture for now, but it’s only a tiebreaker away from being in the last Wild Card spot. Winning this game is very likely to give the Dolphins the edge over the Ravens, who are dogs this week on Monday Night Football. In the first game of the year between these two, Brady only led the Pats to 100 total passing yards, but they got the job done, winning 27-17 to cover the spread.

Chicago Bears (7-6 SU, 3-9-1 ATS) @ Cleveland Browns (4-9 SU, 6-7 ATS)
Spread: Cleveland -1, Total: 46

FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, OH – Sunday, December 15th, 1:00 ET

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NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 15NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 15

This might be the trickiest game on the board to try to handicap. The Bears may or may not have QB Jay Cutler in the fold, and they may or may not be better off with him in there. QB Josh McCown has been excellent in relief of Cutler, and he put up a monstrous game on Monday against the Cowboys to get the team back in a tie for first place in the NFC North. The problem is that Chicago only has three weeks to get past Detroit and fend off Green Bay, no easy tasks, especially for as easy as the Lions have it schedule wise for the rest of the year. The Browns meanwhile, are coming off of a crushing defeat against the Patriots, and it’s anyone’s guess how they are going to respond. This is one of the most embarrassing rushing games going against one of the most embarrassing passing games in the league. The home team has won and covered all three games in the history of this series since the new Browns were formed.

Seattle Seahawks (11-2 SU, 9-4 ATS) @ New York Giants (5-8 SU, 5-8 ATS)
Spread: Seattle -7, Total: 41.5

MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ – Sunday, December 15th, 1:00 ET

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NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 15NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 15

DE Justin Tuck promised his team on Wednesday that it would be “embarrassed” by the Seahawks if it didn’t come to play at its best. The Giants were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs last week with their loss to the Chargers. Both of these teams had long road trips to get here, as they were both coming from California to get to the Meadowlands. The hope for Seattle is that this is the only other stadium it will play in aside from its own for the rest of the year. It’s the last road game on the Seahawks’ schedule, and there is no reason why they wouldn’t be the top seed in the NFC as long as they don’t fall apart. This is the type of game which QB Eli Manning could win SU, and it’s the type of game where he could throw five picks and get yanked in the third quarter. The Seahawks, in spite of their loss last week, have covered four in a row.

Buffalo Bills (4-9 SU, 6-7 ATS) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9 SU, 5-8 ATS)
Spread: Buffalo -2, Total: 43

EverBank Field, Jacksonville, FL – Sunday, December 15th, 1:00 ET

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NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 15NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 15

This is the first of the two “NFL Draft” games we are going to talk about in this article. The loser of this game is clearly in a lot better shape than the winner. This is a tricky looking line, though. The Bills are in a pinch, knowing that they were crushed last week on the road against the Bucs, and they were beaten the week before by the Falcons. These are two really bad teams which they played against and lost to, and yet they are favored once again on the road in the Sunshine State for the second straight week? It doesn’t make all that much sense. Jacksonville has played well these last few weeks, and beating the Texans last week was like winning the Super Bowl to the hometown fans. These two teams have gotten to know each other a lot these last few years since they are seemingly always finishing last in their respective divisions. Buffalo won 34-18 last year and covered at -6, and that marked their third cover in the last four meetings in this series.

Washington Redskins (3-10 SU, 3-10 ATS) @ Atlanta Falcons (3-10 SU, 5-8 ATS)
Spread: Atlanta -7, Total: 51

Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA – Sunday, December 15th, 1:00 ET

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NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 15NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 15

If you thought that last game was bad, this one is the worst of the week. It’s the first meeting this year of two teams with at least 10 losses, and it is a game that will live up to its stinky billing. The loser is most likely to end up with the #2 pick in the NFL Draft, while the winner will slip to #4 or #5 for the time being. The Redskins are a mess. They’ve benched QB Robert Griffin III in favor of QB Kirk Cousins, and Head Coach Mike Shanahan knows that he is a dead duck at the end of this season. He already has his sights set on his next job, which very well could be with Houston. The Skins are coming off of their worst loss of the season against the Chiefs by 35 points. If there is a team in the NFC which can blow a game in a situation like this at home when favored by a touchdown though, it’s definitely Atlanta. To the Falcons’ credit, they have played better ball these last few weeks, but we know this is still one of the worst teams in the league as well. Both of these clubs were playoff teams last year, and they look absolutely nothing like it in 2013.

Philadelphia Eagles (8-5 SU, 7-6 ATS) @ Minnesota Vikings (3-9 SU, 7-6 ATS)
Spread: Philadelphia -6, Total: 51.5

Mall of America Field at the HHH Metrodome, Minneapolis, MN – Sunday, December 15th, 1:00 ET

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NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 15NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 15

You’ve seen all of the memes. RB Adrian Peterson is the Vikings, and if he isn’t out on the field on Sunday, it is pretty darn hard to see how they can win this game. QB Matt Cassel figures to be the starter for this one once again, partially because he was pretty darn good last week in that wild loss to Baltimore, and partially because QB Christian Ponder is still getting over his concussion. The Eagles have won five games in a row, and they have stormed to the top of the NFC East. They can move very close to winning the division title with a win in this game, and don’t be all that surprised if they get the job done. Still, this is a tricky looking line in a relatively difficult road game. Remember that Philly hasn’t played a road game since November 10th, and that came against a Green Bay team which didn’t have QB Aaron Rodgers.

Houston Texans (2-11 SU, 3-10 ATS) @ Indianapolis Colts (8-5 SU, 7-6 ATS)
Spread: Indianapolis -6, Total: 45.5

Lucas Oil Field, Indianapolis, IN – Sunday, December 15th, 1:00 ET

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NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 15NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 15

It was only a little over a month ago when the Texans held a three-score lead on the Colts at home and looked to be getting back in the race in the AFC South. That lead disappeared on a day when then Head Coach Gary Kubiak collapsed on the sidelines just before the half. Kubiak has since been dismissed, and Houston is coming off of an embarrassing loss against Jacksonville on the road in which it was never the better team. Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips has taken over the team for the second time this year as the interim coach, and he is determined to get this squad turned around. The oddsmakers are seemingly teasing us by making the Colts just -6, knowing that they really should beat this team. Then again, Indy was only -4 against Tennessee two weeks ago, and it was fortunate to win and cover that game. The Texans have never won a game in Indy all-time, and this really doesn’t figure to be the first, especially knowing that they are a lot more focused on the offseason and the #1 pick in the NFL Draft than anything else.

Kansas City Chiefs (10-3 SU, 7-6 ATS) @ Oakland Raiders (4-9 SU, 7-5-1 ATS)
Spread: Kansas City -6, Total: 41

O.co Coliseum, Oakland, CA – Sunday, December 15th, 4:05 ET

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NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 15NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 15

This is definitely a rivalry game, and that means anything can happen. The Raiders also have played four of their last five games on the road, and they have really played a lot better than a 4-9 record suggests. They probably aren’t winning this game, but QB Matthew McGloin has definitely shown some promise. What in the world Head Coach Dennis Allen is doing rotating his quarterbacks and letting QB Terrelle Pryor play from time to time is completely foreign to us. KC came off of its three-game skid last week in a big way when it blew out Washington, but was that a case of beating up a dead team, or have things really turned around? We’ll find out on Sunday, as the Chiefs are taking on a team which they are just 2-5 ATS against since the beginning of the 2010 season.

New York Jets (6-7 SU, 7-6 ATS) @ Carolina Panthers (9-4 SU, 8-5 ATS)
Spread: Carolina -11, Total: 40.5

Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC – Sunday, December 15th, 4:05 ET

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NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 15NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 15

The Panthers have to be careful of overlooking the Jets here, as they have that second game against the Saints next week. Remember that both the Broncos and the Chiefs lost their sandwich game in between the two games they played against each other, and this could be a very similar spot for Carolina (and for New Orleans… more on that in a second). The Jets have looked rather hapless offensively for most of the season, but they did come up big, scoring 37 last week in the win over the Raiders that, for the time being, saved the season. They probably have to win out to get into the playoffs, and that just isn’t going to happen. But, we will say, this is the type of game that really could be winnable when push comes to shove if the defense can hold down QB Cam Newton and this offense the same way that the Saints did last week. New York leads the all-time series 3-2 SU, but is trailing the series 2-3 ATS.

New Orleans Saints (10-3 SU, 7-6 ATS) @ St. Louis Rams (5-8 SU, 5-8 ATS)
Spread: New Orleans -6, Total: 47.5

Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, MO – Sunday, December 15th, 4:25 ET

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NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 15NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 15

Here’s the trap game for the Saints. They actually can win the NFC South with a win in this game and the game against the Bucs in Week 17, but they aren’t going to want to take any chances next week against Carolina. The Rams didn’t have a bad year this year, and it would have been interesting to see what would have happened had QB Sam Bradford not gotten hurt at the halfway point of the season. With two Top 10 picks on the docket, there is a real chance to make next season the really difference maker. New Orleans is a much different team on the road than it is at home, and this is a test of a game for sure. It’s not nearly as much of a test being played in a dome though, than it will be next week on grass in Charlotte. The Rams have covered four of the last five in this series, including winning SU as an 0-6 team two seasons ago when these teams met here at the Edward Jones Dome.

Green Bay Packers (6-6-1 SU, 5-8 ATS) @ Dallas Cowboys (7-6 SU, 8-5 ATS)
Spread: Dallas -7.5, Total: 48.5

AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX – Sunday, December 15th, 4:25 ET

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NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 15NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 15

It’s time for the Cowboys and the Packers to pee or get off the pot, essentially. These two teams have been dabbling for most of the season as playoff teams or not playoff teams, and the loser of this one is very likely to certainly not be a playoff team. Both can still win their division, as Dallas is just a game back and Green Bay is a half game back of two teams. Both could still perhaps factor into the Wild Card race as well if Carolina and/or San Francisco fall apart at the end of the season as well. Still, it’s not likely to happen for the losing team, especially if it is Green Bay. The Packers are still not managing without QB Aaron Rodgers, though they did hold on for a precarious win over Atlanta last week. They aren’t optimistic to get Rodgers back this week, and this line reflects just that. Dallas had better win this one, or Head Coach Jason Garrett is in a lot of trouble, regardless of what GM/Owner Jerry Jones says.

Arizona Cardinals (8-5 SU, 9-4 ATS) @ Tennessee Titans (5-8 SU, 6-6-1 ATS)
Spread: Arizona -3, Total: 41.5

LP Field, Nashville, TN – Sunday, December 15th, 4:25 ET

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NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 15NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 15

This is a tough game for the Cardinals, because they haven’t had a lot of these games on the road where they are expected to win. Not only are they expected to win, but they really have no choice but to do so as well. Carolina and San Fran are both a game up on the Cards with three to lose, and losing this game might very well essentially be the end of the season. Tennessee has nothing left to play for unless it is going to hop over a zillion teams to get into the last Wild Card spot. Winning out is the only option, and it might be all that keeps Head Coach Mike Munchak with a job. Here’s the difference between these teams, though. Arizona has covered four in a row and has won five out of six. Tennessee has gone just 1-4 SU and 1-4 ATS in its last five games, and it is just 2-7 SU since the beginning of October.

Cincinnati Bengals (9-4 SU, 8-4-1 ATS) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (5-8 SU, 6-7 ATS)
Spread: Cincinnati -3, Total: 41

Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA – Sunday, December 15th, 8:30 ET

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NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 15NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 15

The Steelers are used to being the favored team in this series, even when Cincinnati is perceived to be the better of the two teams. In fact, the game earlier this year was the first time that the Bengals have been favored in this series in more than a half of a decade. This is the first time that the Bengals have been favored since the Steelers left Three Rivers Stadium. If Cincy wins this one and the Ravens lose on Monday, the AFC North crown will be clinched. Pittsburgh will be eliminated from the playoffs if it loses this game, and that might put Head Coach Mike Tomlin at least in a little bit of trouble, something that we haven’t said in decades about a Steelers’ coach. Cincy did win the game last year here at Heinz Field, and that’s what put it in the playoffs and kept the Steelers out.

Baltimore Ravens (7-6 SU, 6-7 ATS) @ Detroit Lions (7-6 SU, 6-7 ATS)
Spread: Detroit -6, Total: 48

Ford Field, Detroit, MI – Monday, December 16th, 8:40 ET

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NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 15NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 15

Two weeks ago for Thanksgiving, the Lions played one of their most important games in Ford Field history when they beat the Packers. This one might supersede that one, knowing that it is a Monday Night Football game against the defending champs in a game that will feel like a playoff game to both sides. Baltimore is two back of the Bengals for the lead in the AFC North, and it is holding that last Wild Card spot for the time being in the AFC. Detroit is tied at the top of the NFC North, but essentially, it is a half game up on both the Bears and the Packers thanks to the fact that it is holding the tiebreaker over Chicago after a regular season sweep. These two played to a 48-3 shellacking in favor of the Ravens the last time they met, but this is a much different situation four years later.

Adam Markowitz

is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.