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NFL Week 15: Jack’s Best Bets for the 1:00 Games

NFL Week 15: Jack's Best Bets for the 1:00 Games

NFL WEEK 15 JACK'S BEST BETS FOR THE 1:00 GAMES - The NFL kicked off its incredible action yesterday with a historic Vikings comeback that still managed to see the Colts cover. The Browns defense frustrated Tyler Huntley for four quarters, and the snow kept off the field in Orchard Park as the Bills slipped past the Dolphins to take firm control of the AFC East.

This Sunday's 1:00 games offer a lot of value for handicappers on the mend from a hard Saturday of losers. Questions will be asked and answered. Is Desmond Ridder for real? Should the Panthers ever be a favorite? Can the Lions keep it rolling? How about them Jags?

Read below for my best bets for the 1:00 games. You can also amble over to the Godzilla's best bets for the entire Sunday slate here. 

Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints



When: Saturday, December 18th at 1:00 pm EST

Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA


Public Bets: Falcons, 61%

Public Money: Falcons, 88%

The Odds


















The Pick

The Falcons have decided to bench Marcus Mariota in favor of rookie quarterback, Desmond Ridder. The decision comes off of a disappointing season for Mariota, where he struggled to be accurate, throw downfield, and protect the football in the fourth quarter. With the news of the new quarterback, Vegas opened this line at Falcons +7. Makes sense, right? The Falcons are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games and they are starting a rookie quarterback.

Well, the line quickly fell to +4 for the Dirty Birds and there's good reason why.

The Falcons matchup very well against a Saints team that has struggled to play four quarters of football.The Falcons rely heavily on an efficient run game to establish tempo and control the game clock. Atlanta ranks 6th in DVOA for rushing offense, relying on a two running back system to move the chains. The quarterback shouldn't matter as much as it would in a pass-heavy scheme and Arthur Smith has proven he can hide a QB's deficiencies for most of the game.

Ridder does have an arm, though. Watch for Drake London and Kyle Pitts to see some targets.

Saints March

The Saints are significantly worse against the run than the pass this year. Per Football Outsiders, they rank 21st in DVOA for rushing defense, while they sit at 12th in DVOA for passing defense. If the Falcons can rely on Cordarrelle Patterson and Tyler Algeier, they should be able to score on a weak Saints rushing defense.

The problem for the Falcons has been a lackluster defense. Atlanta is 30th in total DVOA for defense. They are 29th in DVOA for pass defense and 28th in DVOA for rushing defense. They don't blitz and can't create pressure with a four man rush. When the Falcons play on the road, opposing teams convert 51.85% of their third downs. It's a frustrating defense to watch. The longer the Saints have the ball, the worse it will look for Atlanta.

Even with the defensive issues for Atlanta, the Saints have had trouble putting teams away. These teams are too evenly matched for a four point spread. I would play the Falcons down to +2. The game should be close.

Jack’s Pick

Falcons +4

Pittsburgh Steelers at Carolina Panthers



When: Saturday, December 18th at 1:00 pm EST

Where: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC


Public Bets: Panthers, 56%

Public Money: Steelers, 76%

The Odds


















The Pick

When the Steelers are an underdog, we always start with the Mike Tomlin trends.

Tomlin is 49-30-5 ATS as an underdog and 40-44-0 straight up. We could stop this analysis right here, because his record ATS as a dog is 62%. I'll give you more sauce for your wings, but you should know where I'm going with this: on Sundays, we bet Tomlin.

The Steelers lost Kenny Pickett to injury last week and will hand the ball back to Mitch Trubisky. The former Bear started the season for the Steelers before being benched in favor of the rookie. The Steelers offense has not been its strength. They currently rank 20th in total DVOA for offense. They are a little better rushing the ball (16th), but the efficiency numbers for this offense aren't good.

I was hoping to see Najee Harris higher in the DYAR rankings, but he clocks in at 29th in the league. He is 18th in effective yards (EYds), which attempts   to control for efficiency, but that number isn't as encouraging as I had hoped. PFF ranks him 64th in their running back player grades. With Trubisky behind center and an ineffective run game, the Steelers will have trouble scoring.

The Problem with the Panthers

Carolina's defense has been serviceable this season, ranking 19th in total DVOA, rushing DVOA, and passing DVOA. They won't be tested much with this Steelers squad. They should be able to perform well.

The Steelers defense should also have no problem with the Panthers. T.J. Watt is a game changer on defense and has been a monster since Week 10. He has only recorded 2 sacks since his return, but last week against Baltimore, he created 5 total pressures. Expect him to chase down Sam Darnold all day.

Speaking of Darnold, let's take a look at the Panthers offense. They rank 29th in DVOA for total offense and 30th in DVOA for passing offense. They would prefer to run the ball, but that could be an issue against this Steelers defensive line. If they have to pass, Darnold is not effective. He owns a 47.3 QBR and has completed 58.1% of his passes.

Both of these teams will have trouble scoring, so the under is a great play. I will also be taking the Steelers, because they metrics show they have a slight edge and I expect Tomlin to cover again as a dog.

Jack’s Pick

Steelers +2.5

Under 37.5

Detroit Lions at New York Jets



When: Saturday, December 18th at 1:00 pm EST

Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ


Public Bets: Lions, 57%

Public Money: Lions, 69%

The Odds


















The Pick

I should have started with this game. The Lions high-flying offense meets the Jets ground-shaking defense. Both of these teams are vying for a playoff spot. The Lions are looking for their sixth win in a row, while the Jets turn back to Zach Wilson for answers, while Mike White nurses an injury on the sidelines. This should be a fun one.

I love the Jets defense and so should you. New York ranks 3rd in weighted DVOA for total defense. They are 6th in DVOA for pass defense and 9th in DVOA for rushing defense. Here's my favorite statistic:: the Jets rank 4th in strength of schedule for their defense. This means that the defense has played the 4th toughest strength of schedule in terms of good offenses.

Why do I love this so much? The other top defenses right now are San Francisco, Dallas, New England, and Denver. None of these defenses rank in the top 15 in strength of defensive schedule: SF (26th), Dallas (24th), New England (16th), and Denver (25th). The Jets outperform all but two of these defenses (SF and Dallas) and they are playing legitimate offenses every week. What a ride.

Player Grades

Do you like player grades? Per PFF, Sauce Gardner ranks 1st (87.2) among all CBs. Michael Carter II comes in at 18th (74.9), and DJ Reed, Jr. ranks ranks 25th (73) among corners in the league. That's three cornerbacks in the top 25. Jordan Whitehead is respectable at safety as well, ranking 50th (68.9).

This Jets secondary should give Jared Goff and Amon-Ra St. Brown trouble. The Lions rank 7th in DVOA for total offense and 9th in DVOA for passing offense. St. Brown ranks 5th (90.6) in PFF's player grades for total offense and 9th in receiving grades (90.3). The Lions may be able to utilize the run to open up the passing game, but it could be futile against this stout Jets defense.

The biggest worry for the Jets is quarterback play. Mike White visited 10 doctors to try and get clearance to start in this game, but the injury will leave him on the sidelines. Zach Wilson has been ineffective all year and his failure to take responsibility has cost him the locker room. As much as I love the Jets, I have to go with the hot team in a close game. Take the points.

Jack’s Pick

Lions +1.5

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