Week 14 of the NFL season produced nine underdogs covering against the spread (ATS), but seven of those dogs managed to win their games outright. What can we expect to happen on the NFL Week 15 odds?
The most unlikely pretender to prevail outright last Sunday was Oakland, with the Raiders (3-10) managing to tip the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5-1) by the score of 24-21 getting a heavy (+10) number as home dogs. And the Dolphins (7-6) used the improbable “Miracle in Miami” to shock the New England Patriots (9-4) on the last play of regulation, winning 34-33 as (+9) home dogs.
But if last week was ripe for the picking where undervalued underdogs are concerned, based on the early NFL Week 15 odds posted by online sportsbook Bovada, this week might offer even more opportunities for bold bettors.
Before the Dallas Cowboys (8-5) traded a first-round draft pick to tanking Oakland in exchange for wide receiver Amari Cooper, “America’s Team” was stuck in a 3-5 rut.
Five weeks and five straight wins later have turned that trade into a rousing success, as Dallas is quickly closing in on yet another NFC East title. After a huge overtime win over the Philadelphia Eagles (6-7) last week, the ‘Boys can clinch a division banner by beating the Indianapolis Colts (7-6).
The Colts are fighting for a playoff spot of their own, but after last Sunday’s disappointing defeat to the Houston Texans (9-4), their AFC South window was all but closed. That leaves a Wild Card berth as Indy’s last resort, and a loss this week to Dallas would effectively end those hopes too.
Andrew Luck is playing the best quarterback of his career after more than a year off recovering from arm injuries, so the Colts will bring all they have on Sunday. Coupled with home field advantage, Indianapolis is listed as (-3) favorites on the NFL Week 15 odds, making Dallas a prime target for dog bettors looking to take the moneyline on an outright win.
The Colts were shut out 6-0 by a Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9) defense that has seen better days, which doesn’t bode well heading into a pivotal contest against a Cowboys defense that holds opponents to just 18.9 points per game (second in NFL).
Pittsburgh has lost three straight after last week’s dispiriting defeat in Oakland, sending the Steelers from a sure playoff spot to the brink of missing the postseason dance.
New England hasn’t missed that dance since 2008, and a win here coupled with a Miami loss clinches the Pats’ 10th straight division title.
With these two teams heading in decidedly different directions, the Steelers are (+2) home dogs defending Heinz Field.
Thursday Night Football (TNF) gets a bad rap for putting subpar teams on the primetime pedestal, but for once, the NFL got this one right.
The Kansas City Chiefs (11-2) host the Los Angeles Chargers (10-3), and the winner will stake their claim to the AFC’s best overall record. Of course, a Chargers win would leave this pair of powerhouses tied in the standings, but they’d have the inside track towards an AFC West title and the conference’s top playoff seed going forward.
Kansas City is still coping with the sudden release of running back Kareem Hunt, while wideout Sammy Watkins has been ruled out already, and wideout Tyreek Hill has been listed as questionable.
Los Angeles isn’t exactly healthy either, as backup running back Austin Ekeler won’t play Thursday, and starting running back Melvin Gordon is hanging the questionable tag.
Thursday night games are never pretty, and given the offensive injuries afflicting both teams, bettors on the NFL Week 15 odds probably won’t see the high-octane scoring Chiefs and Chargers backers have come to expect.
Los Angeles is listed as (+3.5) underdogs entering the lion’s den of Arrowhead Stadium, but if veteran quarterback Philip Rivers can school second-year sensation Patrick Mahomes, the Chargers have every chance to win this one outright.