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NFL Week 15 Betting Takeaways: Playoff Spots Are Solidified

Adam Thompson for Bookies.com

Adam Thompson  | 6 mins

NFL Week 15 Betting Takeaways: Playoff Spots Are Solidified

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Week 15 was a make-or-break Sunday for many NFL teams aiming to play in January.

With two weeks left in the regular season, eight of the 12 playoff spots have been locked up. Two teams are vying for two available spots in the NFC, and one will likely be decided Sunday when the Eagles (7-7) host the Cowboys (7-7) for NFC East supremacy.

Six teams are playing for two AFC spots, though the Texans (9-5) would need a lot of bad things to happen to not to take one of them. The Steelers (8-6) are holding off the Titans (8-6) while the Colts, Browns and Raiders are mathematically in it, too.

Here’s a look back at Week 15 and a quick look ahead to Week 16:

Streaks Live On …

Kansas City rolls

The Chiefs made short work of the Broncos in a 23-3 home win, and in the process won their 21st AFC West day game in a row. They got off to yet-another hot start, leading 13-0 after one quarter. KC has now led after 15 minutes in nine-straight AFC West games played in December.

The game finished well Under, the 10th Broncos road game in a row the Under has hit against the AFC.

Bucs Continue Scoring, Lions Continue Losing

NFL Week 15 Betting Takeaways: Playoff Spots Are Solidified 1
After the Buccaneers got off to a strong start against the Lions, the defense of Tampa Bay kept Detroit at bay.

The Buccaneers got off to a 14-0 first-quarter lead and beat the Lions 38-17. The 55-point game marked the ninth game in a row the Over had hit against NFC competition.

Meanwhile, the Lions not only lost their seventh straight, they failed to cover a Sunday game for the eighth-consecutive time.

Seahawks, Panthers Keep Trends Going

The Seahawks got off to a hot start but had to hold on late for a 30-24 victory over the Panthers. That hurt those who were feeling pretty good about Seattle -6.5, the line at kickoff. Many who made a pick during the week were left with a push at -6.

Regardless, Seattle has now won 19 in a row as a favorite coming off a loss. Tyler Lockett scored a TD for the fourth game in a row against the Panthers, and Chris Carson got into the end zone for the sixth time in seven December games.

Christian McCaffrey scored for Carolina for the seventh time in eight games when the Panthers are the underdog.

… And Streaks End

Texans Turnaround

NFL Week 15 Betting Takeaways: Playoff Spots Are Solidified 2
Deshaun Watson led the Texans to 10 points in the fourth quarter Sunday, helping Houston knock off the Titans on Sunday.

Houston bounced back from its blowout home loss to Denver the week prior and took care of Tennessee 24-21. That snapped a six-game streak between the Texans and Titans in which the home team won. It also snapped Tennessee’s 4-0 ATS run overall, and the 7-0 Over run in Titans games.

Player streaks were snapped too, as Derrick Henry had scored at least two TDs in four of the Titans’ last five games (he had none on Sunday) and DeAndre Hopkins had scored in three-straight AFC South games for the Texans.

Chargers Suffer Outage

The Chargers suffered a whopping seven turnovers in a crushing 39-10 defeat at home to the Vikings. It snapped a six-game streak in which the Under hit in Chargers games against the NFC North, and was just the second time in six games L.A. had lost as an underdog against the NFC.

Melvin Gordon had scored in four of five day games and Austin Ekeler had scored in four of five Sunday games, but both were blanked Sunday. Dalvin Cook also didn’t score for the second time in nine games (a shoulder injury knocked him out after nine carries).

Los Angeles rammed

The Rams’ playoff lives were at stake, and they got routed 44-21 by the Cowboys in Big D. They had won eight straight after winning an NFC West game the previous week. In addition, L.A. has covered in six straight road games against NFC foes and the total finished Under in seven of eight. Both runs were emphatically snapped.

Best Pick Of Week 15

Bills (+2) over Steelers

The Steelers had momentum and were 3-0 under QB Devlin Hodges, but the victories were against subpar competition and some of the bottom defenses in the league. Facing the Bills was to be a different story — and it was, as Hodges threw four INTs and Buffalo won 17-10 at Heinz Field, improving to 6-0-1 against the spread on the road.

Worst Pick Of Week 15

Broncos (+9) over Chiefs

The Broncos had found success and confidence with rookie Drew Lock under center, but the Chiefs jumped out to a quick lead and their maligned defense dominated the game. Denver held Kansas City to a below-average 23 points. I’m less disappointed in the Broncos than I am impressed with how the Chiefs played as the playoffs draw near.

A Quick Look Ahead

Lines change throughout the week. Here are three to consider for Week 16 before they move:

Falcons (-7) vs. Jaguars

The Falcons are finally playing up to their preseason standards. It’s too late to salvage this disappointing season, but not too late to back against a Jaguars team that had lost five straight, each by at least 17 points, before embarrassing the Raiders in their Oakland swan song.

Steelers-Jets Under 38.5

The Jets are going to struggle to put up many points against that ball-hawking Steelers defense. Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin hasn’t committed to Hodges yet, but the Steelers are averaging just 17.3 ppg in his four starts and the Jets’ run defense can contain James Conner.

Cowboys (-2.5) at Eagles

The Cowboys are 3-4 on the road, with the three wins against the Redskins, Giants and Lions. But they dismantled the Eagles 37-10 earlier this year and should have confidence after crushing the motivated Rams on Sunday. Philly has been unspectacular in barely beating the Redskins and Giants the last two weeks, this after losing to the Dolphins. Dallas offers a different level of offensive firepower.

About the Author

Adam Thompson for Bookies.com
Adam Thompson
NFL writer and expert Adam Thompson joined Bookies.com in 2019 after a successful run as senior handicapper for SportsLine and CBSSports.com. He's long been established as one of the nation's premier handicappers, specializing in the NFL where he's hit on more than 60% over the past three years. Adam's NBA, PGA and horse racing picks have also produced major winners over the last 12 months. His customized NFL and NBA odds for players and teams have been picked up by hundreds of websites over the past year.