NFL expert Mike Carlson recommends his best bets for week 15 starting with a tight game between Denver Broncos and Buffalo Bills on Saturday...
"The Bills are on a roll but I expect Fangio to be able to keep it close. On the other side, the Bills’ D tends to keep everything close, not giving up big plays, and they ought to create problems for Drew Lock."
Santa, please give me that half-point! Someday soon the NFL is likely to appoint a panel of "independent" judges to games who will award bonus points for "artistic impression", or for "heavily hyped player generating material to be further hyped" and helping the league create stars.
Of course, I may have a slightly personal interest in this, because an extra half-point for the Packers in their seven (but not 7.5) point win over the Lions would have made my week a solid winner. It would have been even better if I'd remembered to advise you to go with Robert Tonyan for the second week in a row as an anytime TD scorer. I'd forgotten the Lions are just the kind of defense that forgets to see who Rodgers' favourite end zone targets are!
I fell victim to the Eagles, as the Saints failed to notice that Jalen Hurts is a run-first kinda guy, but Dallas delivered, as did their under against the Bengals and the under in Steelers/Bills. If you listen, as you ought to, to Betfair's NFL Only Bettor podcast on Wednesdays, you'd also have had the Titans covering easily against the Jags. And you might have had the Chargers getting points in Loss Vegas (as I now call it) last night!
One word of warning for this week: the big snowstorm in the northeast ought to have cleared by Sunday, but keep an eye on Washington Football Team, Baltimore and the New York (sic) Football Giants weather reports just in case. And Denver too, where December can often be windy and very cold, if not snowy, and add to the mile high advantage the Broncos have. Though Saturday against the Bills, who ought to be used to the weather at least, it should be an interesting game, and I like one of the bets here.
Defences to keep it tight in Denver on Saturday
Note this is a Saturday game, so you'll have get the wager down early. Although the Broncos have a substantial home-field advantage, they also have a solid defense which Vic Fangio manages to game-plan as well as almost anyone in the league. Josh Allen and the Bills are on a roll right now, but I expect Fangio to be able to keep it close. On the other side, the Bills' D tends to keep everything close, not giving up big plays, and they ought to create problems for Drew Lock, who hasn't yet delivered on whatever it was John Elway saw in him. This all adds up to something like 27-17 to me and that limbos under the bar nicely. My pod best bet (if you haven't listened) was Indy (-7 at 10/11) v Houston.
QB uncertainty strengthens case for backing unders
This one was suspended earlier in the week, because we aren't sure if Matt Stafford or Chase Daniel will be the starter at QB for the Lions. Stafford, who does not lack courage after standing firm in the pocket all these years for Lousy Lion Lines, keeps making noises about starting, but I'm not sure what the point would be. I also don't see what the point of starting Daniel is when we know full well what he can and can't do. You could say the same about David Blough but, after what we saw last week, that might be more fun.
In any case, this is another game where I see something like the Titans' win over the Jags last week (31-10) which gives some leeway. I also might consider the Lions (-10.5 at 10/11), though I'd wait and see if that drops to 9.5 before it actually represents value.
Points advantage should give Dallas the edge
This is sort of the definition of an outside bet. The problem is that while injuries have rocked the Niners' offense, their D remains much better than the Cowboys, which is why I want the points instead of the 11/8 on the money-line. In many ways I like the Bears (+3.5 at 10/11) at Minnesota; they get the extra half point but they are on the road. However, the Vikes are 3-4 at home this year. Tampa (-6 at 10/11) at Atlanta is also a good one, as well as the under (50.5 at 10/11).