Week 15 NFL Betting Recap: Packers Clinch, Books Rebound
The big winners during Week 15 of NFL betting season include the Green Bay Packers, who clinched the NFC North and the league’s first playoff spot Sunday, and the nation’s sportsbooks, which rallied back financially after a disastrous week. But the scourge of COVID looms above it all.
With three games postponed and more than 150 players on the reserve/COVID-19 list, Week 15 remains an unfinished symphony with a cacophony of high and low notes for all involved. Coming off the “worst weekend of the year,” the nation’s betting sites and sportsbooks rebounded Sunday.
The books enjoyed success against most lopsided NFL odds liabilities as the public shifted toward underdogs that failed to cover. At FanDuel, the book carried more than 75% spread liability on five games, and won on four of them. Here’s a breakdown:
|DAL at NYG||DAL, 21-6||NYG +11.5||96%|
|CAR at BUF||BUF, 31-14||CAR +14||92%|
|ARI at DET||DET, 30-12||ARI -13||86%|
|GB at BAL||GB, 31-30||GB -7||83%|
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Week 15 Behind The Numbers
The numbers from DraftKings told a mixed tale. DK had four games with 75% or greater liability, and two of those fell on the side of the book. Arizona (-12.5) lost outright and Green Bay was unable to hold for a cover/push but stopped a two-point conversion to hold off host Baltimore 31-30. The public at DK backed the Bills and the Cowboys, earning some Christmas cash with those two easy covers of double-digit spreads.
The New Orleans Saints (+11.5) beat host Tampa Bay 9-0. It was a disastrous night for Tom Brady and the Super Bowl champs. It was Brady’s first shutout in 256 games, going back to Dec, 10, 2006 at Miami. The Saints became the first team to beat Brady four consecutive times in the regular season. The game was mainly a two-play play. Our consensus analysis saw the public backing the Buccaneers with 54% of the spread handle. But the masses also supported the under off the 45.5-point total with 58% of its handle.
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It was a “generally solid Sunday” at WynnBET, as well. The three biggest markers nationwide were the Cowboys (-11.5), the Cardinals (-12.5) and the Packers (-6.5/-120). The public lost on two of three. The book’s top three liabilities include one game postponed on Sunday: Philadelphia (-6) at Washington. The other is the Monday night contest between the host Chicago Bears and the Minnesota Vikings (-6).
Of the three most-bet spread lines at BetMGM in Week 15, the book won on two (Packers -5.5 and Patriots +2). The third (Raiders -3.5) was pushed until Monday.
COVID Infects Betting Landscape
Three games saw postponements due to COVID-19. The Cleveland Browns play host to the Las Vegas Raiders Monday afternoon. That game was originally scheduled for Saturday. The NFL has a Tuesday-doubleheader to close out Week 15. The Washington-Philadelphia and Seattle-LA Rams games will kick off at 7 p.m. ET.
“We're pretty much on our back heels all the time with the current COVID landscape. While we're taking bets and moving lines, our sharp customers are hunting for the latest piece of injury info that can provide them with a huge edge. This leads to some lopsided decisions where we need a team missing key players. We've tried mitigating our risk by keeping limits lower, but more often than not, we're still in an unpleasant position,” WynnBET Senior Trader Matt Lindeman told Bookies.com.
All Bets Are ‘On’ Despite COVID Postponements
The NFL schedule changes have kept oddsmakers busy and forced flexibility. FanDuel issued a statement over the weekend reminding bettors about its rule concerning the three postponed NFL games. All bets on those games remain active because the games are being playing within the original week in which they were scheduled. “Abandoned or postponed games are void unless played within the same scheduling week,” the book said.
Borgata AC Race and Sports Book Director Thomas Gable notes that is “a little odd” to be talking about Week 16 when there are still four game remaining on the schedule as of Monday morning.
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“The line moves we saw in the Browns-Raiders game and the Eagles-Washington game were really extreme as the market reacted to the news that kept coming out about who was testing positive and then who may be available to play. I think there was an overall hesitancy from the public to jump in earlier in the week with all of the COVID news, and not knowing who was going to play,” Gable said.
He said the handle at his book Sunday “was really strong.” The book did well with underdogs covering and winning outright, which killed off the bulk of teasers and parlays.
“Unfortunately for us, we had some bigger wagers that hit that kind of sunk us for the day but that happens. $345K on Pittsburgh at pick ‘em and $360K on Baltimore plus the points. $210K on Houston second half +6.5 points. All of them came in,” he said.
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Week 15 NFL Betting Trends
Traffic Jam On Road To Playoffs
With four games remaining on the Week 15 schedule, there are 28 teams still mathematically alive for a postseason berth. Only one of the available 14 playoff spots in the league has been reserved, with the Packers winning their third-straight NFC North championship Sunday at Baltimore. The Cowboys can wrap up the NFC East in time for Christmas if the Eagles beat Washington on Monday. The Rams can earn a spot in the postseason with a victory over Seattle Tuesday. No team will be clinching a playoff berth in the AFC until at least Week 16.
A total of 29 games, or nearly two full weeks of play, have been decided by a game-winning score on the final play this season. And 39 games have seen the game-winning score happen in the final minute of regulation or OT this year. Thus far in 2021, 18 games have gone into overtime. Week 15 began with the AFC’s top-seeded Kansas City Chiefs beating the host Chargers in OT on a 34-yard TD pass from Patrick Mahomes II to Travis Kelce. The score also delivered a cover for KC (-3) backers.
In the 12 games played thus far in Week 15, the underdogs are 7-5. After 218 games this season, the canines enjoy a 117-100-1 (53.6%) advantage ATS.
Major Week 15 Wagers
There were Big Bets aplenty in Week 15. Here are some notable net wins and losses:
- Win $477,272: Saints +11.5 (-110) Over Buccaneers at BetMGM
- Loss $500,000: Falcons +9 (-110) Over 49ers at BetMGM
- Loss $300,000: Giants +11.5 (-11) Over Cowboys at BetMGM
Plays Of The Day
If we only knew.
The Saints (ML +450, +11.5) upset and shutout Brady and the Bucs, sweeping the regular season series for the 2nd year in a row.— Caesars Sportsbook (@CaesarsSports) December 20, 2021
This is just the 3rd time Brady has been shutout in his career and the first since 2006.
TB was +3500 to not score a TD. 😱pic.twitter.com/EFVDBN9d2y
All Cam, needed was a chance.
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NFL Tuesday Preview
Two Sunday games that were postponed have been moved to Tuesday. We look ahead at them here:
Washington Football Team at Philadelphia Eagles (-6), 7 p.m. (FOX)
The line on this game has soared 4.5 points since the Eagles opened as 2-point favorites. Injuries and the reserve/COVID-19 list have sideswiped Washington. The total has shortened, as well. It is now 42 after opening up at 46. Intra-divisional contests are always a challenge. This one features two teams still mathematically viable in the playoff hunt but they have more realistic expectations in terms of focusing on the 2022 draft. The Cowboys can clinch the NFC East if the Eagles win. According to our consensus analysis from multiple sportsbooks, the public is backing the Eagles with 74% of the spread handle.
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Check out: Washington vs Eagles odds, injury report, betting lines and more.
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Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams, 7 p.m. (FOX)
The Rams have more than a dozen players in COVID protocol, including Odell Beckham Jr. Still, the line on this game has moved 6 points in the Rams’ favor since they opened up as 1-point favorites on betting apps last week. LA’s decisive win over the Cardinals provided much of the push. LA beat Seattle 26-17 in their first meeting this season. That’s the game in which Russell Wilson’s finger was injured. The Seahawks’ path to victory here is via forcing turnovers.
Check out: Seahawks vs Rams odds, injury report, betting lines and more.
All odds are current as of publication. Check out our DraftKings vs FanDuel comparison of the two books.