Betting News & Analysis

NFL Week 15: ATS picks for Sunday's games, including Washington Commanders vs. New York Giants (+4.5)

East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) runs with the ball as Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Javon Hargrave (97) and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (91) pursue during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Vikings vs. Indianapolis Colts (+4.5): The defense has been the chief concern for this Vikings team. Only the Detroit Lions (6.2) have allowed more yards per play than the Vikings (6.1), and they rank 27th in the league in expected points added (EPA) allowed per pass play.

Tampa Bay  Buccaneers (+3.5) vs. Cincinnati Bengals: The Bucs should get a boost on the injury front. They project to return both starting safeties this week, and other key contributors may again suit up.

Washington Commanders vs. New York Giants (+4.5): It is strange that the spread has adjusted this far Washington’s way, considering the team’s pedestrian home-field advantage, and such movement is likely a product of the Eagles’ recent beatdown over New York.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Last updated: Friday, Dec. 16, 7:00 am ET

There's arguably no sport more difficult or exciting to bet on than NFL football. Information is both scarce in utility and abundant in opinion. Markets are so finely tuned and heavily wagered that there are few opportunities to gain an edge over the oddsmakers.

Enter a model capable of making ATS picks with long-term success.

It is important to note that these projections are not gospel but merely a compass toward identifying an edge in the razor-thin market that is betting NFL spreads.

Week 15 Best Bets

Minnesota Vikings vs Indianapolis Colts (+4.5)

Model Line: Vikings (-6.5)

I wouldn’t usually endorse a play my model disagrees with, but the model isn’t privy to the situational edge the Colts have here.

Indianapolis is coming off a bye week and therefore has a massive rest advantage over the Vikings. That rest also favors the Colts’ injury report, as Minnesota is currently managing injuries to five impact players on defense.

VIKINGS IMPACT PLAYER INJURIES
Player Pos Injury Status Grade Pos WAR Rank
D. Hunter ED Head QUESTIONABLE 83.6 9th
H. Phillips DI Torso QUESTIONABLE 72.5 25th
G. Bradbury C Torso QUESTIONABLE 70.2 10th
P. Jones II ED Other QUESTIONABLE 68.4 56th
C. Dantzler CB Other QUESTIONABLE 63.1 60th

The defense has been the chief concern for this Vikings team and currently ranks 21st in the league in PFF's power rankings. Only the Detroit Lions (6.2) have allowed more yards per play than the Vikings (6.1), and they rank 27th in the league in expected points added (EPA) allowed per pass play.

The gap between these two teams is not as vast as their records, and we should continue to sell Minnesota when given the chance. Both PFF Greenline and trusted professionals love the Colts at this number. We’ll back them at +4.5, too.

Bet: Colts +4.5
Return: A $10 bet returns $19.09 on FanDuel — Click here to bet now!


Las Vegas Raiders (+1.5) vs New England Patriots

Model Line: Raiders (-2)

There is arguably no more fraudulent AFC playoff contender than New England.

The Patriots’ biggest strength has been their defense, which ranks first in EPA allowed per play on the season, but their opponents have heavily influenced this figure. Of New England’s seven wins, six have come at the expense of now backup QBs.

The New England offense has been especially average, ranking 27th in EPA per play and 16th in PFF's power rankings. And the unit now must endure an extensive injury report riddled with skill position players.

Second-year QB Mac Jones’ frustration with the offense has been palpable, and things won't get any easier with Maxx Crosby bearing down. Crosby has earned a 90.4 grade through 14 weeks, fourth among edge defenders, while his 59 pressures ranks third at the position.

To be fair, the Raiders have also underwhelmed this season. But their offense has been adequate — 10th in EPA per play and 13th in PFF power ratings — and they have the advantage of playing at home on extended rest. We’re getting Vegas at a discount because of their most recent performance in Los Angeles, they should be able to stress the Pats defense and win this game outright.

Bet: Raiders +1.5
Return: Click here to bet on FanDuel!


Tampa Bay  Buccaneers (+3.5) vs Cincinnati Bengals

Model Line: Bengals (-3)

We’ve been searching for the bottom of the market for the Bucs, and this may be it. The team was miserable last week in Santa Clara, but this is no deviation from the norm for the team on the road. In their last four true road games, Tampa Bay has:

  • Gone 0-4 straight-up and against the spread
  • Failed to cover by an average of 16.625 points
  • Lost by an average of 13.5 points
  • Averaged only 11.25 points per game

Neither the Bucs' offense nor their ATS record has been much better at home this season, but they’ve tended to play teams much closer at Raymond James Stadium. The average margin of victory in Tampa home games, in either direction, is 4.5 points.

In addition, the Bucs should get a boost on the injury front. The team’s defense projects to return both starting safeties this week, and other key contributors may again suit up. Conversely, the Bengals' fortune may be running out, as three of their top pass-catchers all carry injury designations into this contest, as does pass-rusher Trey Hendrickson.

Player Team Pos Injury Status Grade Pos WAR Rank
T. Wirfs TB T Leg DOUBTFUL 86.8 4th
T. Higgins CIN WR Leg QUESTIONABLE 81.5 12th
T. Hendrickson CIN ED Arm QUESTIONABLE 81.4 26th
J. Dean TB CB Leg QUESTIONABLE 79.0 7th
A. Winfield Jr. TB S Leg QUESTIONABLE 78.4 11th
T. Boyd CIN WR Arm QUESTIONABLE 71.6 19th
M. Hilton CIN CB Leg QUESTIONABLE 70.6 21st
C. Awuzie CIN CB Leg IR 69.9 43rd
S. Barrett TB ED Leg IR 68.3 25th
C. Nassib TB ED Torso QUESTIONABLE 67.7 48th
H. Hurst CIN TE Leg DOUBTFUL 66.2 10th
J. Jones TB WR Leg QUESTIONABLE 66.1 85th
J. Tryon-Shoyinka TB ED Leg QUESTIONABLE 62.1 90th
J. Davis CIN CB Arm QUESTIONABLE 60.4 109th

Admittedly, there is not a lot to love with this rendition of the Buccaneers. But sometimes we have to plug our noses and bet on a good number. This is an opportune spot to sell high on the overbought Bengals and back the Bucs.

Bet: Buccaneers +3.5
Return: A $10 bet returns $19.09 on FanDuel — Click here to bet now!


Washington Commanders vs New York Giants (+4.5)

Model Line: Commanders (-3)

The Giants and Commanders played each other to a tie in Week 13, a game New York let slip away after blowing multiple opportunities to win outright.

It is strange that the spread has adjusted this far Washington’s way, considering the team’s pedestrian home-field advantage, and such movement is likely a product of the Eagles’ recent beatdown over New York.

Too much weight is being attributed to the Commanders coming off their bye and spending the past three weeks game-planning solely for the Giants. It is not as if New York has lost its previously exhibited edge over Washington by virtue of having played the Eagles in Week 14. The Giants also exited that game rather unscathed injury-wise, and RB Saquon Barkley should be back to full health after playing a season-low 20 snaps last vs. the Eagles.

This number begs us to take the Giants, and I’ll comply. New York QB Daniel Jones has been a historically terrific bet as a road underdog (15-5 ATS), and we’ve seen the Giants outplay Washington as recently as two weeks ago.

Bet: Giants +4.5
Return: A $10 bet returns $19.09 on FanDuel — Click here to bet now!

 

 


Tommy’s ATS Picks are 28-24 this season (+1.6 units) and 19-11 (+6.9 units) since Week 7. 

How the projections work:

A myriad of both objective and subjective ratings are employed in a logistic regression model to determine the likelihood that each team will win the game outright. By this determined win probability, a spread is assigned to each game and compared to the consensus line.

This model has successfully identified the outright victor at a near 67% rate and has chosen the ATS winner at an efficiency greater than 53% since 2006. 

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