Against The Spread: Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers
One of the week's most marquee matchups goes down on Thursday night. At the top online sportsbooks, the Chiefs-Chargers spread should receive plenty of attention from bettors. Here's where the betting line currently stands:
|Kansas City spread (-4)||-110||-110|
|Los Angeles spread (+4)||-110||-110|
Bettors analyzing this game might weigh the two division foes matchup in Week 3 when Los Angeles went on the road and gutted out a 30-24 victory. Our advice is to forget about it. Why? A lot has changed in the three months since then — especially on the Kansas City side.
Back then, the Chiefs' defense was swish cheese and was one of the league's worst. But today? It's one of the best. The amazing turnaround is perhaps best captured by looking at the Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA), a metric devoured by the "analytic nerds." Anyway, in the first nine weeks of the season, Kansas City ranked 27th league-wide. That number has shot up to second when accounting for the previous five weeks only.
One of the many reasons for the improvement has been the mid-season trade for Melvin Ingram. His presence has given Kansas City a pass-rusher it sorely missed in Week 3 when Bolts quarterback Justin Herbert torched them for four touchdowns. We're of the belief that Ingram will give Herbert fits, who like any great quarterback, can buckle when non-blitzing pressure is applied to him.
We're taking the Chiefs to cover the spread. While we'd love to get them at three points, four also works. Kansas City has won six in a row — and all but one were by six points or more. We're betting that they avenge its previous loss and smoke the Chargers on the road.
Over/Under 42.5 Points: Las Vegas Raiders at Cleveland Browns
|Over 42.5 Points||-110||-110|
|Under 42.5 Points||-110||-110|
If you would've seen that 42.5 points over/under line between Las Vegas and Raiders before week five, you probably wouldn't believe it. Back then, each team was 3-1 and seemingly on the up and up. Oh, how quickly things change in the NFL.
Both teams are now on the outside looking in the AFC playoff picture. Worse, the loser of this game will have its postseason hopes severely dashed. Lackluster offense is to blame for each team's woes, too. Las Vegas has lost six of the previous seven games. In all those losses, the Raiders were held to 16 points or fewer. Similarly, Cleveland's offense has been held to 17 or fewer points in seven of the past eight games.
We expect that trend to continue in this game because, hey, misery loves company, doesn't it? We're taking the under here and not thinking about it twice given the long-running trends offensively for both.
Against The Spread: Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
|Minnesota spread (-3.5)||-110||-110|
|Chicago spread (+3.5)||-110||-110|
We've spent this entire article trying to find recent trends to guide our betting decision. And boy, do we have a trend to point out when evaluating the Minnesota-Chicago against-the-spread line. It's this one: the Vikings play close games and only close games.
All but one of Minnesota's 13 games this year have been decided by a single possession (eight points or fewer). For comparison's sake, the all-time record in a single season is 14, set by the New York Giants (1994) and Baltimore (2015). Several of those Vikings games came down to the very last play.
Of course, the spread here is 3.5, not 7 or 8 points. But we're of the belief Bears quarterback Justin Fields can keep this close and maybe turn it into another final-play thriller. He's steadily improving and Minnesota's so-so defense is yet to face him. With newness on his side, our money says Fields burns them and helps Chicago cover the spread.
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