I love betting on NFL football, but this is probably not the week to go heavy. The league is dealing with a full-on COVID-19 outbreak, and the number of those on reserve/COVID-19 lists has hit triple digits. It's such a big deal that the league is going to have to adjust the COVID protocols themselves, because they do not want to consider canceling games.
The coronavirus aside, we have some intriguing matchups in Week 15. The Indianapolis Colts are favored against the No. 1 seed in the AFC in the New England Patriots, the Green Bay Packers take on the Baltimore Ravens and then Tom Brady looks to defeat the New Orleans Saints for the first time in the regular season as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Again, be careful this week with against-the-spread picks with COVID news continuing to come out.
Credit to the CBS Sports Research Team for providing the information found in this column. Let's jump into the picks. Peep the season stats below.
Top five picks record: 38-32
Overall ATS record: 98-109-1
Straight up record: 128-79-1
2020 ATS record: 125-120-9 (2 official picks missed due to COVID rescheduling)
All NFL odds are via Caesars Sportsbook
Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET (Fox)
The Chiefs lost to the Chargers in Kansas City earlier this year, but they are a completely different team now. The Chiefs have won six straight games after starting the season 3-4, allowing 10.8 points per game during the win streak. Read that again: Just 10.8 points per game! I'm worried about this unit potentially missing Chris Jones and I would want L'Jarius Sneed in the starting lineup as well, but this whole team is playing confident football right now.
The last time the Chargers beat the Chiefs at home was a 27-24 win in Week 17 of 2013. The starting quarterbacks on that day? Chase Daniel and Philip Rivers. I'll make the Chiefs a best bet. I think they win this game in the name of revenge. I would rather have it at KC -2.5, but the "28-24" game is possible. Justin Herbert is 3-0 against the spread when facing the Chiefs, although one of those matchups came without Patrick Mahomes in the lineup.
You know Mahomes remembers throwing that interception on Sept. 26 with 1:55 left in the game which led to an L.A. victory. He won't do that again on Thursday night.
The pick: Chiefs -3
Projected score: Chiefs 28-24
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Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox)
The Cowboys didn't have a great performance against Washington last week, but they still escaped with a win. Jerry Jones and Mike McCarthy may have different thoughts concerning Dak Prescott and his "slump," but this week provides one of those "get-right" opportunities. Without Daniel Jones, the Giants lost by 16 points to the Chargers last week and by 11 points to the Miami Dolphins two weeks ago. Jones also missed the majority of New York's first meeting with Dallas this year, which was a 24-point loss.
Jones will be out of the starting lineup yet again this week. Exactly half of NFL games last week were decided by at least 11 points. I'm not too afraid to lay the points here with Dallas.
The pick: Cowboys -10.5
Projected score: Cowboys 31-17
New York Jets at Miami Dolphins
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
At first glance this line looks inflated. These two teams faced off less than a month ago and the Dolphins won by seven points (we hit as a best bet.) That was an entirely different Jets team that featured Joe Flacco and Elijah Moore. Both players won't be starting this Sunday. New York is expected to receive some help at running back with Michael Carter and Tevin Coleman, however, but this game is much more important for the Dolphins.
Miami is 6-7 and currently holds the No. 13 seed in the AFC, but it's streaking with five straight wins. The Dolphins still have a chance at the playoffs, and they know they can't mess around with a lesser team. In fact, over this five-game win streak, the most points the Dolphins have allowed in a game is 17. In four out of the past five games, the Dolphins' defense has held opponents to 10 points or fewer. The Dolphins have beaten the Jets in the last five meetings in Miami. I'm more likely to bet a beatdown is coming than not.
The pick: Dolphins -10
Projected score: Dolphins 28-13
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Like your favorite CBS Sports analyst John Breech, I'm based out of the Athens of the South. I don't always like making Titans games best bets, but with how wild this week has been with COVID news, I like this spot.
The Titans blanked the Jacksonville Jaguars, 20-0, last week. That won't raise any eyebrows, but it's actually the first time Shad Khan has seen his team blanked in the entire history of his ownership (10 years). This defense is playing well right now and could get Bud Dupree back for what should be a wild emotional revenge game. The Titans are 3-2 since Derrick Henry was placed on injured reserve, and they are averaging nine fewer points per game since he stepped out of the lineup. What's interesting -- and almost respectable -- is that their offensive game plan hasn't changed much. The Titans passed 55 percent of the time with Henry healthy, and have passed 56 percent of the time since he was injured. Against the Patriots a few weeks ago, they had two 100-yard rushers in Dontrell Hilliard and D'Onta Foreman!
Despite all of the injuries, Tennessee is still the No. 2 team in the AFC. I'm expecting an entertaining, low-scoring affair that's decided at the very end.
The pick: Titans -1
Projected score: Titans 24-21
Green Bay Packers at Baltimore Ravens
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)
It was fun to see the Chicago Bears special teams put up a fight against the Packers last week, but it's understood Green Bay is one of the best teams in the NFL. No one was surprised to see the Packers come back from down 10 points to win by 15. Not even Bears fans.
While the Ravens are regarded as the best team in the AFC North, the last time they registered a great team win was Oct. 17. -- back in Week 6. Since then, the Ravens are 2-3 and have lost two straight with Lamar Jackson struggling and now injured. I have my own questions about Aaron Rodgers' toe, but I can't argue with how well he's playing.
It's hard to trust anyone this week with the amount of COVID-19 going around. I'll just lean to the team that's 11-2 against the spread this year and taking on a hurt quarterback.
The pick: Packers -5.5
Projected score: Packers 27-21
Other Week 15 picks
Raiders (-1.5) 23-20 over Browns
Patriots (+2.5) 28-27 over Colts
Eagles 26-21 over Washington (+7)
Jaguars (-4) 21-16 over Texans
Cardinals (-13) 31-15 over Lions
Bills (-10.5) 30-14 over Panthers
Bengals (+2.5) 33-30 over Broncos
49ers 30-23 over Falcons (+9.5)
Rams 24-23 over Seahawks (+4.5)
Buccaneers 31-23 over Saints (+11)
Vikings (-3.5) 27-21 over Bears