We’ve done it, ladies and gentlemen. We’ve started what could be the biggest comeback in sports gambling history. We hit the 5-1 mark for the second straight week, moving my record over the last two weeks to 10-2, in which we were 2-0 in the weekly locks. However, I don’t want to jinx myself. I don’t want to talk about how great I’ve been over the last two weeks. I don’t want to talk about how my yearly record on my weekly locks is a phenomenal 9-3. I won’t do it. I won’t talk about it. I won’t even bring it up.
I had an extremely tough time picking games this week’s slate of games as Week 15 features a lot of one-sided games. There were a lot of big lines that were tough to get on either side of.
However, I really took my time here, combed through the data and picked six solid winners. It wasn’t easy, but I did it for all of you. Now, before I get into this week’s winners, I just want to remind you guys that I did not talk about how money my yearly locks have been. It would be bad luck to talk about them before the season is over. Bad luck. I don’t want to hurt the 9-3 record. I promised you I wouldn’t and I didn’t do it. You’re welcome.
New England Patriots -9 vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Listen, I hate the New England Patriots. I’m not even talking just in sports, I mean across anything and everything. I absolutely hate them. My Sunday night could not have gotten any better as I watched them get absolutely demolished (I know, they did get screwed though) on national television against their little brother in the Kansas City Chiefs. However, you have to be an idiot to think this team is actually dead.
They do this every single year. Right when you think they’re about to pour the dirt over their grave, here come the Patriots busting through the casket, climbing out of the hole, throwing the undertaker into that same hole and then burying that undertaker alive.
I know, that is entirely too graphic, but that’s just what happens. You’ve seen it, I’ve seen it, the whole world has seen it time and time again. The Patriots are mad and fueled by doubters. What better way to take out your frustrations than getting to play the lowly Cincinnati Bengals.
I know the offense has been bad for Tom and the boys as of late, but they actually had some bright spots during their game against the Chiefs, like N’Kael Harry who will be a big key for them down the stretch. If you reverse a few calls in that game, the Pats might have come out on the winning end of it. If the offensive line can hold up against a decent Bengals pass rush, I think the Patriots will be more than fine.
The Bengals have virtually nothing going for them on offense so if the “amazing” New England defense can just be “amazing” this week I don’t think the Bengals even score. As long as the Patriots can muster up 10 points I think they cover this -9 spread easy.
**The Bengals are 2-9-1 ATS in their last 12 home games. The Patriots are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games against the Bengals
Houston Texans +3 vs. Tennessee Titans
I’ve been on the Tennessee Titans these last few weeks and I am honestly very impressed with what they have become, a legitimate playoff contender. However, I just think this line would be entirely different if the Houston Texans just took care of business last week against the new-look Denver Broncos.
I try not to make a play based entirely off of what I saw the previous week and if I did that with this pick I would be betting my life’s savings on the Titans, but I just can’t. So far this year, the Texans have wins over the New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots, putting together a resume I can’t ignore.
Although the Titans have rattled off four straight wins with one of those W’s coming against those same Chiefs, I’m just looking at the overall talent on the field where I think the Texans have the Titans beat at the majority of the positions. As great as Titan’s quarterback Ryan Tannehill has played since being named the starter, I’m just not ready to put my money on him over DeShaun Watson. Especially when Watson has a guy like DeAndre Hopkins to throw to. The Titans are for real, but I still think this is the Texans’ division to lose. I’m happy to take the +3 in favor of the Texans in this one.
**The Texans are 12-4 ATS in their last 16 games against the Titans. The Texans are 4-2 ATS in their last 6 road games.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers -3 vs. Detroit Lions (LOCK)
This week’s game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Detroit Lions is going to be a very interesting one. On one side you have the streaking Buccaneers who have won four of their last five games averaging 29.6 points per game along the way. On the other side, you have the half-dead and limping Lions who have lost eight of their last nine with their only win coming against a team with an even worse overall record, the New York Giants.
On paper, this game should lean heavily towards the Buccaneers. However, the one big caveat in this game is the health of Jameis Winston who is currently probable for this weekend’s contest with a fractured thumb. I have no doubt that the Buccaneers quarterback will play, but at what level will he be able to perform at? It’s a very interesting question that does make me think twice about this game, BUT I just don’t think the Lions have anything left.
The only motivation I see in this one for Detroit is that head coach Matt Patricia is essentially playing for his job. With major players sidelined for the season in Matthew Stafford, Marvin Jones Jr., Kerryon Johnson and TJ Hockenson, the Lions offense doesn’t have much left to boast about. I will give credit to David Blough and Bo Scarbrough though, who have stepped in and made this offense serviceable.
If the putrid Bucs defense can just find a way to shut down a third string quarterback and running back who didn’t even start the season on the roster, I think they are able to continue their win streak. Even with an at-best Jameis operating at 50%, I think that still puts Tampa Bay offense in a position to carry them against a last-place team. It’s a risky one, but I’m rolling with the Buccaneers -3 here.
**The Lions are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games. The Lions are 0-6 in their last 6 games. The Buccaneers are 4-1 SU in their last 5 games.
Chicago Bears +4.5 vs. Green Bay Packers
Is anyone as confused as I am about the 2019 Green Bay Packers? Early on this season I had them pegged as one of my Super Bowl favorites. Starting off the season with a record of 7-1, they looked poised to walk into the postseason with a target on their backs. However, when breaking down who they’ve beat this season, have they really actually beat anyone of note?
Let’s take a look.
With wins over the Bears, Vikings, Broncos, Cowboys, Lions, Raiders, Chiefs, Panthers, Giants and Redskins, they've actually only beat TWO teams that currently have winning records. Oh, and that win that squeaked out against the Chiefs came with Matt Moore starting in place of Patrick Mahomes. Now that I’m looking at it, it looks to me that the veteran-led Packers have simply just taking care of business week in and week out. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with that as this is the NFL, every win is tough. BUT, after watching them get destroyed by the San Francisco 49ers and then struggle with New York Giants and Washington Redskins, I no longer believe that this team is a threat to win it all.
As far as the Chicago Bears go, I think they are the farthest thing from a threat to any contender, but they have been playing better ball as of late. The offense finally looks to have some fluidity and with veteran defensive Pro Bowlers coming back this week in Akiem Hicks and Danny Trevathan, I think that adds a little juice to their late-season push towards a playoff spot.
(No matter what they’re out. The Rams winning on Sunday night killed them but there’s still a small, small chance.)
Not only do I think the Bears cover on Sunday, but I think they keep their playoff hopes alive for one more week and win this game outright. The Green Bay passing game has struggled to find their identity over the last few weeks, while their rival Bears have done an excellent job neutralizing the air game. If the Bears are going to win this one, they’re going to have to do it with their defense and keeping Aaron Rodgers off the scoreboard.
For the Packers, it's tough to beat a divisional opponent twice in one season, especially when they come in with a bit of pep in their step while your team had to buckle down just to hold off the Redskins the week before. I will gladly take the Bears +5 in this one while watching this low scoring affair hit the UNDER 41 mark as well.
**The UNDER has hit in 13 of the Bears last 18 games. The UNDER has hit in 4 of the Bears last 5 games.
Los Angeles Rams vs. Dallas Cowboys +1
Once in a while, I’ll see a side of a line that seems so obvious that I just have to take to the opposite. This week’s line of the Los Angeles Rams -1 at the Dallas Cowboys happens to be one of those lines. Every single logical thing inside of me is telling me to hammer the surging Rams who just beat down one of my favorite teams this year in the Seattle Seahawks on national television. Especially since the Cowboys have had absolutely nothing go right for them over the last few months.
However, the Cowboys still have the talent to beat anybody in this league. I definitely won’t argue that the execution hasn’t be there for them all season, but they are still trotting out perennial Pro Bowl players in Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliot, Amari Cooper, Jason Witten as well as one of the best offensive line units ever assembled.
The big question for the Boys in this one will center around if their defense can hold up. Its no coincidence that the Rams finally started hitting their stride once their entire receiving core of Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp and Brandin Cooks (although he’s been all too quiet) got healthy. If the Cowboys can game plan around stopping the short passes that allow the LA playmakers to have opportunities and force Jared Goff to actually push the ball downfield, I think they can straight up win this one.
Goff has made throwing the ball past the first down markers look quite difficult this year and he has thrown for a whopping 14 interceptions this season. If the Cowboys can get in the young QB’s head and keep this low scoring I can see them winning this game 17-14. I absolutely hate it, but I’m taking the Cowboys +1 here.
**The Cowboys are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games after consecutive losses. The Cowboys are 11-4 SU in their last 15 games at home.
Atlanta Falcons vs. San Francisco 49ers -11
Season record 35-42
Season Locks Record 9-3