Week 15 NFL Picks Against the Spread: Underdogs That Will Cover Your Bet

Zach Kruse@@zachkruse2Senior Analyst IDecember 11, 2012

Week 15 NFL Picks Against the Spread: Underdogs That Will Cover Your Bet

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    As we enter Week 15 of the NFL season, underdogs continue to make their marks against the spread. 

    Just last week, seven of the 16 underdogs covered their respective closing spreads. While that number seems high, seven is probably close to the average number of underdog covers each week in the NFL this season. 

    Week 15 likely won't be any different. 

    In the following slides, we present five of the matchups that could include underdog covers for Week 15. As always, we use betting trends and recent performance to help guide the analysis. 

Jacksonville Jaguars at Miami Dolphins (-7.0)

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    Jaguars-Dolphins is a classic case of having to trust the trends over the performance. 

    Jacksonville is 5-1 against the spread on the road this season, one of the NFL's best marks away from home. The Dolphins are 0-3 as the favorite and 0-2 as the home favorite. 

    A seven-point line seems high considering those betting trends.

    Jacksonville has played poorly as of late, and we wouldn't blame you if you bet the other way or avoided this matchup completely. The Jaguars have failed to cover two very manageable spreads the last two weeks. Still, the trends (always better than your gut feeling) say Jacksonville. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints (-4.0)

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    After the Bucs and Saints crept into the NFC playoff picture, both have lost three straight games. Tampa Bay went 0-1-2 during that stretch against the spread, while New Orleans failed to cover any of the three spreads. 

    Herein lies the reason to pick the Bucs, however. This season, Tampa Bay is 5-0 against the spread away and 5-0 as a road underdog. The Saints are just 3-3 at home. 

    A four-point spread certainly isn't a huge vote of confidence for the Saints, but Tampa Bay has been money in this situation in 2012. Stick with the betting trends. 

Seattle Seahawks at Buffalo Bills (+6.0)

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    The Seahawks have been one of the most consistent teams against the spread this season. Why? Because they've stuck to their colors in almost every betting situation. 

    The scenario for Seattle in Week 15 is one you want to bet against. 

    While 9-4 overall against the spread, including 6-0 at home, Seattle is 0-3 as a road favorite. Failed covers as the road favorite include games in Miami, Detroit and St. Louis. 

    Buffalo isn't playing well, and winning outright might not be in the cards against a team that has a playoff spot on its mind. But keeping the final within six points is more than reasonable, especially with the solid trends here.  

Pittsburgh Steelers at Dallas Cowboys (-2.0)

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    Neither of these teams have been good in their betting situations on Sundays, but the Cowboys have a much stronger trend. Too bad it's of the negative kind. 

    While Pittsburgh is 3-4 against the spread on the road, Dallas is a rock-solid 0-6 covering at home. The Cowboys are also 2-6 against the spread as the favorite this season. 

    Covering a two-point line either means a Cowboys one-point win, tie or outright Steelers win. Considering Dallas will potentially be without Dez Bryant (hand), are any of those three scenarios hard to imagine? 

Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders (-3.0)

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    Sorry to stick with all trends this week, but this is another matchup that the betting history says should be a good one for the underdog. 

    The Raiders are favorites over the visiting Chiefs this Sunday, but Oakland has been horrendous in that situation this season. Overall, Oakland is 0-4 against the spread as the favorite and 0-3 as the home favorite. Those are very strong trends. 

    The Chiefs are 2-4 as a road underdog, but at least there's evidence of Kansas City being able to cover this scenario's spread. It's far from a lock, but you can't ignore how bad the Raiders have been with a favorable home spread.