Inside Slant: Week 15

Dave Larkin breaks down his best bets on the Week 15 slate after securing a 3-1 finish in last week's selections. 

I don’t claim to be an expert at betting football games.

After all, gambling is, by definition, a bit of a toss-up. If you manage to come out of a season with anywhere around 55% of your bets earning a profit, you can afford to pat yourself on the back. Getting to that point is the hard part, but my aim is to help you do that across a season with some under the radar wagers.

What gambling on football does allow us to do is have a little bit of fun with games we might not normally be interested in. While wagering on the spread and total points is the norm, your best bet might be to eschew these and go with more unconventional options.

I couldn’t quite deliver on my promise of four bets correct, but three out of four isn’t bad. The final few weeks of the season lie before and there is still plenty of cash to be splashed – and made. There no feeling quite like finishing on a high note.

Let’s examine the Week 15 slate after taking a look back at Week 14.

WEEK 14 RECAP

WIN: San Diego under 24 points at Carolina @ 10/11

What can I say; I know my team very well. After the embarrassment in Seattle, there was a very good chance the prideful Panthers would rebound – and they did just that. The Philip Rivers Turnover Machine was in full flow, as the Chargers quarterback continued his second-half swoon. Carolina’s pass rush deserves credit for their performance, but the men out West simply got this one wrong; the Chargers never should have had a 24-point over/under on the road in an early time slot.

WIN: Jacksonville under 17.5 points vs. Minnesota @ 10/11

The battle of the field goals raged on for three quarters before we witnessed an offensive explosion – by these teams’ standards, anyway – in the final stanza. The Vikings defense has played its part this year. Were it not for offensive ineptitude, Minnesota would be there or thereabouts in the playoff picture. Generally, betting the under on the Jaguars total has treated us well this year.

WIN: Oakland at Kansas City – under 46.5 points @ 4/5

This one made me a little uneasy at the half, but fortunately the Chiefs reverted to type and shut down the Raiders offense, all the while being safe on offense themselves. The recipe led to a low-scoring second half with the Raiders throwing it all over the lot in comeback mode, and the Chiefs repelling them time after time. Betting the under in Chiefs games has been profitable; in all, nine of their 13 games have gone under the total.

LOSS: Seattle at Green Bay – under 46.5 points @ 10/11

My only defeat of the week, and it was a narrow one at that. I never expected the Seahawks to be so soundly beaten, but it brings up the point again about their vulnerabilities on their travels. They simply are not the same formidable team when playing on the road, and the feisty Packers exploited it. Granted, Russell Wilson was unlucky to throw five interceptions, but Green Bay absolutely deserved this one. Ice-cold Aaron Rodgers might be worth betting on as the playoff push heats up.

WEEK 14 RECORD: 3-1-0

SEASON RECORD: 26-28-2 (0.464)


WEEK 15 PUNTS

Under 41.5 points – Detroit at New York Giants @ 5/6

The Lions and Giants are two of the best bets in the league as under teams. Detroit has gone nine out of 13 games under the total, while New York – largely due to their inept offense – has gone under a staggering 10 of their 13 games. This may sound too easy on paper, but the forecast for rain and wind should allay any concerns you might have. Let’s face it: Eli Manning has been playing horribly. The Giants are winning in spite of him. Detroit hasn’t played outdoors in several weeks. When you throw in Matthew Stafford’s finger injury, you have a recipe for a low-scoring slugfest.

Seattle Seahawks over 27 points vs. Los Angeles @ 5/6

Like the Chargers bet last week, this 27-point total for the Seahawks is disrespectful to them. Weather could, of course, play a factor but there should be minimal wind (1 MPH) and Russell Wilson and company will be eager to put that Green Bay debacle behind them. Poor Jared Goff is going to have a long day, friends. Bet the over and feel secure in the knowledge that the Rams are going nowhere fast, while the Seahawks take out their pent-up rage on a familiar foe.

Oakland Raiders under 26.5 points at San Diego @ 5/6

Call this one a hunch, but Derek Carr hasn’t looked right in a couple of weeks (since Fingergate) and the Raiders offense can be slowed down. Typically they have started slowly only to explode into life when it really counts. The Chargers don’t have a great homefield advantage (what with the threat of moving and all that) but they are more than capable of keeping the Raiders offense under wraps. Lost in the defeat to Carolina was the second half defensive performance from San Diego, which was much improved. The Chargers could give their rival a black eye here, and I think 26.5 points is generous.

Arizona (-2.5) vs. New Orleans @ 10/11

The Cardinals are just 4-9 against the spread this year. It’s not good reading if you are an Arizona backer, but this week against the Saints might turn things around. If there’s one thing we know about Bruce Arians’ team, it is that they show up at home. They defeated Washington a couple of weeks ago in impressive fashion, and should have a fighter’s chance of knocking off the travel-weary Saints. Drew Brees tossed three picks against Tampa Bay; you can expect a response, but if you ask me it won’t be enough. In a dead rubber game, take the home team and give the points.


Make sure to check back next week for more betting tips ahead of Week 16’s slate of games. Follow me on Twitter @davlar87.