Week 15 Saturday NFL Primer
In addition to getting our usual dose of Thursday, Sunday and Monday action, we’re getting three NFL games on Saturday. Those games also happen to be pretty enticing ones, with all three of the matchups featuring teams that are fighting to make the playoffs — or jockeying for seeding. As usual, all of our content for the week can be found at the Week 15 NFL Bet Hub. You can also get all of our picks for the week on the Pro Picks page. However, keep reading to find out what you’re dealing with for this fun three-game slate for Saturday, December 16th.
Odds as of Wednesday, December 13th at 3:00 pm PST
This is a massive game for both of these teams, as a loss will make it hard on either of them in their respective wild card races. Minnesota somehow escaped with a 3-0 win over the Las Vegas Raiders last week, and sneaking by prevented a three-game losing streak for the Vikings. The team did, however, make the decision to start Nick Mullens this week, as the offense hasn’t been putting up points with Josh Dobbs at quarterback. With that in mind, Minnesota isn’t playing very well at the moment, but you can’t say the same about Cincinnati. The Bengals have won two games in a row entering this week, and Jake Browning has been stellar under center. They have actually scored 34 points in back-to-back weeks, so it’ll be interesting to see if the Vikings can keep up. It should be noted that Cincinnati is 20-7 against the spread when facing teams with winning records over the last three seasons. So, the Bengals can generally be trusted to take care of business in competitive contests. Then again, Cincinnati generally has Joe Burrow under center.
The Steelers and Colts are both competing for one of the AFC wild card spots, and Indianapolis also has an outside shot at winning the AFC South. So, both of these teams will be hungry for a win this weekend, but can Pittsburgh get the job done with Mitch Trubisky at quarterback? Last week, Trubisky threw for just 190 yards with a touchdown and an interception in a loss to the New England Patriots. And Trubisky’s decision making in the game was just miserable. Meanwhile, Indianapolis had won four games in a row before losing to Cincinnati last week, and the team has scored at least 27 points in three of its last five games. Gardner Minshew hasn’t been perfect for the Colts, but he has been moving the ball down the field and giving his team a chance to win games. I’m not sure Trubisky will be able to keep up with what Minshew does in the passing game, making this a tough spot for Pittsburgh. But you can write off the Steelers at your own risk. Pittsburgh is 53-34-6 ATS as an underdog under Mike Tomlin. The Steelers are also 12-4 straight-up and 10-6 ATS in dome games under Tomlin.
The third game on the Saturday slate is yet another big one, as the Broncos will be looking for their seventh win in eight games when they take on a Lions team that has lost two of its last three. On paper, this game looks like trouble for the home team. Detroit’s defense has just been a nightmare after a great start to the season, as the Lions have given up at least 28 points in four of their last five games. And Detroit’s rushing defense has been an issue, so Denver should be able to pound away with Javonte Williams here. Then, when the Broncos need to go to the air, Russell WIlson will make some plays — and he’ll likely be looking in Courtland Sutton’s direction. The question here is whether Denver can slow down the Detroit offense. But the Broncos have given up 20 or fewer points in six of their last eight games, so they should be able to slow down a struggling Lions offense. But Detroit is a completely different team when playing in domes, with the Lions being 19-7 ATS when playing indoors over the last three seasons. Perhaps coming back home after a game in Chicago will be enough to get Ben Johnson’s offense back on track.