NFL Picks Week #15 (2022 regular season)
NFL PICKS (WEEK #15)
BY PROFESSOR MJ
Written Wednesday December 14th, 2022 at 11 am Eastern Time (spreads/odds may have changed)
Last week, my three official NFL picks generated a 2-1 record, while the three leans also ended with a positive 2-1 record.
I’m Professor MJ, sports betting expert and holder of a PhD in statistics. This week I’ve got three more official picks for you, as well as a couple of leans.
Ready, set, go!!!
PICK #1 (4 STARS): MINNESOTA VIKINGS -2.5 FIRST HALF VS INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
I was surprised when I first saw the line on this game. I thought I had missed a key injury to a Vikings player. Being favored by four points at home means you are a slightly better football team than your opponent. But no matter how you look at it, Minnesota is much superior than Indy.
Is it the 34-23 Minnesota loss in Detroit that created this weird line? But the Colts have not fared much better in their last match, as shown by their 54-19 demolition in Dallas. I don’t get it.
Sure, the Colts are coming off their bye week, but many studies have shown that the extra week benefits strong teams, but not so much the weaker squads. The latter don’t seem to make good use of the extra time off.
Indy got a one-game spark after firing their head coach when they pulled off an upset in Vegas in Week 10. They also played well against the Eagles in a 17-16 defeat. But they are now undergoing a three-game losing skid, the new coach effect seems to be fading, and it looks like the wheels are coming off for the Colts.
Meanwhile, the Vikings won’t take them lightly after a disappointing loss in Detroit. They can clinch the NFC North title with a win, which they clearly want to accomplish right now in front of their home fans.
I chose to take the first half spread rather than the full game spread as a matter of personal preference. I expect the Vikings to come out fired up after their Lions loss, and I can see them playing a great first half.
PICK #2 (2 STARS): NEW YORK GIANTS +4.5 AT WASHINGTON COMMANDERS
The big story revolves around the Giants falling apart (0-3-1 over their past four games), while the Commanders are being red hot with a 6-1-1 record lately.
But don’t expect the Giants to crawl in a hole and die. This is a divisional matchup where both teams are fighting for their playoff lives and I expect it to be super tight. In these types of games, it is preferable to back the underdog and taking the points.
Washington is coming off its bye week, though. They will certainly be well-rested, while New York got punched in the mouth by the Eagles last week. Still, this game has the look of a bounce-back performance by a Giants team that everybody calls dead. The last five times New York lost a game, they came back to beat the spread.
The Commanders’ defense has done a fantastic job, but I believe Daniel Jones and Brian Daboll will find creative ways to put some points on the board, and keep the score close. It’s important to realize that the Giants have beaten the spread the last four times they went to Washington.
Give me the Giants and the extra 4.5 points.
PICK #3 (1 STAR): LAS VEGAS RAIDERS STRAIGHT UP VS NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Obviously, the rest factor gives Vegas an edge. The Raiders are getting three additional days of rest after playing last Thursday, while the Pats lose one day following their Monday night performance in Arizona.
New England will be travelling through three time zones to play this game, and it will be their third road game in four weeks, including long trips to Arizona and now Vegas.
The Raiders’ pass defense is among the league’s worst, but that’s okay when you are facing a putrid Mac Jones-led offense. Vegas can stop the run; they are ranked 5th in the NFL in terms of their defensive EPA statistic defending the run.
The Raiders have beaten the spread the last four times they faced a team with a winning record. They can certainly hold their ground against good teams.
I am not worried about Vegas giving up after their horrible loss against the Rams last week. Head coach Josh McDaniels is facing is former mentor, Bill Belichick. He wants to prove he can beat him and he will make sure his team is ready, even though they are out of playoff contention. I’m taking the Raiders to pull of the mild upset.
For entertainment purposes, here are some leans:
- Jets pick’em vs Lions (Jared Goff plays well at home indoors, but he tends to struggle a lot on the road outdoors against fierce defenses. Look at the astounding contrast: the Lions average 32 points scored per game at Ford Field versus only 18.4 on the road. When they visited the Patriots and the Cowboys, two solid defensive units, Detroit scored 0 and 6 points, respectively. My main concern is how the Jets have been fading lately, while the Lions have been hot, but it’s not like New York has no incentive in this game. They will be fired up, and you can tell they want to play hard for their QB, Mike White.);
- Bills -7 vs Dolphins (Miami is another team that looks different whether they play at home or not. In fact, the Dolphins’ defense has allowed just 15 points per game at home, compared to 31.4 on the road. Add the fact that Tua is slumping, Tyreek Hill is hurting and Miami’s running game is stalling, and you have a recipe for a blowout. And I have not even mentioned the weather factor yet. Since 2017, the Dolphins have played seven games under 40 degrees Fahrenheit. What was their record in those matchups? 0-7, both straight up and against the spread. To top it all off, Miami will be on the road for the third straight week, and Buffalo will be looking to avenge an earlier 21-19 loss in which the Bills dominated 497 total yards to 212 for Miami.)
I am grateful that you have taken some time to read this post! Thank you my good friend!
(Sports Betting Expert / University Professor / PhD in statistics)