NFL Tipsheet: Mini previews and recommended bets for Week 15 fixtures

Evergreen Charles Woodson can still cause chaos
Evergreen Charles Woodson can still cause chaos

After his featured tip won 38-0 last week, Luca Bercelli goes into week 15 full of confidence...

"Rodgers could spark into life at any time, but if the Mack problem is not solved, it won't be this week."


Recommended Bet
Back the Oakland Raiders +3.5pts @ 1.9310/11

New York Jets @ Dallas Cowboys
Sunday, 01:25

There's not much difference lately between the Dallas Cowboys on game day and The Lord of the Flies. Both involve a group of immature kids abandoned by authority and left to roam around doing whatever the hell they want. In both cases petulance, selfishness, brutality and eventually anarchy ensue but one is a work of fiction whilst the other, believe it or not, is a real-life NFL franchise. Eventually a coaching manual will result from this fiasco: 'How not to manage a football team,' but until owner and orchestrator of the madness Jerry Jones steps aside, the 'New Jerry (substitute Jones for Springer) Show' will run and run.

Occasionally brute strength and or athletic talent might result in the odd win for Dallas, but it's not a roll of the dice worth chancing. The Jets are a team with a capital T, and I think/hope/pray that they stuff the little 'Boys.

Recommended Bet
Back the New York Jets to win @ 1.635/8


Atlanta Falcons @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Sunday, 18:00

I'm not betting that the Falcons will get zapped by 38 points as they did last week; but I'm not betting against it either as they're taking on the franchise-record-score-busting Jags. Yes this is the Jacksonville that racked up 51 points whilst dismantling the Colts last week and put themselves very much in the play-off picture. There are no real reasons not to expect a seventh loss on the bounce for Atlanta and I'm still scratching my head as to why the Cats are available at 1.684/6 for the win when they should be around the 1.330/100 mark.

Recommended Bet
Back the Jacksonville Jaguars to win @ 1.684/6


Buffalo Bills @ Washington Redskins
Sunday, 18:00

Rex Ryan looked like all the air had been sucked out of him after last week's narrow loss to the Eagles. He pretty much blamed his players for the defeat, citing the '50 or so' penalties they gave away during the match. I felt a bit sorry for Buffalo (my wallet didn't!) because they came oh-so-close to the win and were, for the most part, the better team. However, the mental scars from the loss will still be raw when they visit Washington, and it doesn't help that they will be taking on a team that is hitting stride at the right time. The 'Skins had an off day v Chicago last week but still managed to eke out the win. Back at home and against a wounded opponent, I like their chances, especially as underdogs.

Recommended Bet
Back the Washington Redskins to win @ 2.0421/20


Carolina Panthers @ New York Giants
Sunday, 18:00

Wouldn't it be great to be the coach of the Giants; 'Now here's what I want you to do, give the ball to OBJ and get out of the damn way.' That's pretty much the game plan, or at least it should be considering the fact that Odell Beckham Junior is as near to unplayable as anyone in football. The Jets managed to stop him recently, but they have lock-down corners, one of the best D lines in the league, and a defensive genius as a head coach...not a combination many other teams can boast. The Panthers might look at triple coverage for the freak since they are stout in most other areas on defence. If they smother OBJ they should have way too much on offence and they are an excellent bet only giving up 4.5pts.

Recommended Bet
Back the Carolina Panthers -4.5pts @ 2.01/1


Chicago Bears @ Minnesota Vikings
Sunday, 18:00

This divisional match-up will not be pretty, but the Vikings have the perfect opportunity to banish the disappointment of losing a crucial game against the Cardinals last week. They should have won that match, and with a much inferior opponent to take on here I'm guessing they'll take out some frustration and pulverise the Bears. Five-and-a-half points is nowhere near enough for Cutler and co, who have little to play for. It's time to cash in those premium bonds and turn long term speculation into short term gain.

Recommended Bet
Back the Minnesota Vikings -5.5pts @ 2.01/1


Houston Texans @ Indianapolis Colts
Sunday, 18:00

Two teams desperately struggling to find a quarterback. For the Colts Andrew Luck and Matt Hasselbeck are questionable, and for the Texans Brian Hoyer is also more likely to be receiving treatment than snaps from his centre on Sunday. Next men up are Charlie Whitehurst and T.J. Yates respectively. That's too much uncertainty to have a meaningful wager, but if it does turn out to be Clipboard Jesus v T.J, I'll take the latter all day long. Whitehurst + Watt + Clowney = a rapid search for QB4.

Recommended Bet
Back the Houston Texans to win @ 2.01/1


Kansas City Chiefs @ Baltimore Ravens
Sunday, 18:00

Kansas struggled to overcome the 3-10 Chargers at a rain-drenched Arrowhead last week and I think we just have to chalk that one down to the conditions. Only 13 points scored in total and plenty of mistakes, drops and slips so not a real reflection of where the Chiefs are. To recap, they are 8-5 having won their last seven games and are right in the thick of play-off contention. A weak schedule means they could easily stroll into the play-offs with a ten-game winning streak and in fact they have been given a 94% chance of post-season play. The banged-up and disheartened Ravens actually performed better than their 6-35 scoreline v the Seahawks, even with Santa's brother at QB. Jimmy Clausen was at least one bright spot for Baltimore - will he be able to deliver a Christmas present for the Ravens? No, but he might do enough to keep it close.

Recommended Bet
Back the Baltimore Ravens +7.5pts @ 1.910/11


Tennessee Titans @ New England Patriots
Sunday, 18:00

The fact that the Jets beat the Titans 30-8 last week tells you pretty much all you need to know about this one. Tennessee has no chance of the win and very little of overcoming the handicap, especially with Mr Gronk in the house (even if he practically has one hand tied behind his back). Unless the Pats take their foot off the gas, and I see no reason why they should, this should be pretty stress-free.

Recommended Bet
Back the New England Patriots -13.5 @ 1.855/6


Cleveland Browns @ Seattle Seahawks
Sunday, 21:05

The only surprising thing to me about Johnny F's quality outing versus the 49ers last week is that so many people are surprised about it. He's always been a good player in my mind and while I've never seen him do too much wrong, I've regularly seen the players around him stink to high heaven. That little detail seems to get lost amid the overriding media desire to see him fail. The 49ers are not great, we all know that, but just take a look at what Manziel did in that game and you'll quickly appreciate that he's got the lot. Probably the fastest release in football, bottle to stay in a collapsing pocket, and exceptional scrambling ability. In fact, he could turn out to be what Russell Wilson is now... one of the most complete QBs in the league. This is a fascinating match-up, two similar quarterbacks, two wildly different teams. I detect the faint whiff of a minor upset here (on the handicap), and think the Browns are worth a nibble.

Recommended Bet
Back the Cleveland Browns +14.5pts @ 2.01/1


Green Bay Packers @ Oakland Raiders
Sunday, 21:05

An upset is very much on the cards in Oakland as Green Bay's shaky season collides with the Raiders' renaissance. All the stats point to a strong showing from Oakland: they have the run defence to nullify the source of Green Bay's recent success, Eddie Lacy; Aaron Rodgers' completion percentage is lower than it's ever been (not helped by Randall Cobb's disappearing act); and in Khalil Mack the Black and Silver have found a sack machine worth his weight in gold. Of course Rodgers could spark into life at any time, but if the Mack problem is not solved, it won't be this week. Oakland +3.5 is a very solid bet.

Recommended Bet
Back the Oakland Raiders +3.5pts @ 1.9310/11


Cincinnati Bengals @ San Francisco 49ers
Sunday, 21:25

Rookie QB A.J. McCarron comes in for crocked Andy Dalton, and with that one move the mood of most Bengals fans has plummeted from delirious to devastated. The AJx2 combo (McCarron to Green) might be profitable in weeks to come, but it's not going to compare with the spectacular AD to AJ route that has given so many headaches to so many defences for so long. Cincinnati had one eye on the Super Bowl, now they've got a minor panic on about even reaching the play-offs. We'll see what Macca is made of v the nosediving Niners. If he doesn't take the W here his career will be a short one.

Recommended bet
Back the San Francisco 49ers +4.5pts @ 2.01/1


Denver Broncos @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Sunday, 21:25

Pittsburgh are pretty strong favourites for this one and deservedly so after their recent offensive fireworks. However, the last time they came up against a defence as good as Denver's (Seattle three weeks ago), they lost, so there's a good chance they might trip up against Brock and the boys. Osweiler has been playing well, much better than Pick Six, and if it wasn't for a couple of dropped passes last week he'd still be unbeaten as a starter. Denver with a 5.5pts start is a half volley in the six yard box. Smack it home.

Recommended Bet
Back the Denver Broncos +5.5pts @ 2.1211/10


Miami Dolphins @ San Diego Chargers
Sunday, 21:25

The key to this game revolves around analysing Miami's pass defence and deciding whether you think it's good enough to stop the Bolts through the air. That's because the Chargers have no running game to speak of but can rule the skies. Miami's Passing D ranks 26th so it doesn't look good for the Fins. If you factor in San Diego's decent play against a contender (Kansas) last week, and their strong incentive for a victory in what might be their last home game at Qualcomm Stadium (before a possible move to LA), a send-off win has to be the play.

Recommended Bet
Back the San Diego Chargers @ 1.910/11

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