FansBet NFL expert John Arnette returns for week 15 of the NFL with his enhanced acca preview and betting tips for what promises to be another round of hard hitting action. This week John has gone for the Bills, Browns and Jaguars in his acca with his special bet recommendation coming from the Philadelphia Eagles @ Los Angeles Rams clash. Check out our betting preview and tips for the weekend and take advantage of our enhanced odds available.
Browns @ Broncos
Browns to beat the Broncos at 2.35
Welcome, friends, to the Cleveland Browns bandwagon. It hasn’t been a popular place to be for…oh, the past couple of decades (since, what, Bernie Kosar??), but it’s filled up quickly these past few weeks, as bettors recognize that a young, talented team is beginning to figure out how to win.
The Browns are now 3-1 in their past four contests, with the lone defeat in that stretch coming against the red-hot Houston Texans, and they seem to be improving and gaining confidence on both sides of the ball. The promotion of Freddie Kitchens to offensive coordinator has been a revelation, as rookie QB Baker Mayfield has looked like a completely different player under Kitchens’ guidance, completing over 67% of his passes in all five games since the coaching change after doing so only twice in his first six appearances this season.
Mayfield has been helped tremendously by the emergence of fellow rookie Nick Chubb, who has been a top-5 running back since taking over for the departed Carlos Hyde, and by a defense that has found its way after some early-season struggles, holding three of the team’s past four opponents to 20 points or fewer despite facing Matt Ryan, Cam Newton, Deshaun Watson, and Andy Dalton. This week the matchup is a bit friendlier, as the Browns D will look to slow down a Case Keenum-led Denver offense that produced just 274 total yards and 14 points in a loss to lowly San Francisco last week and has managed more than 27 points just once all season.
And the Denver defense, supposedly the strength of the team, has been very underwhelming, especially in the secondary, as the Broncos now rank 26th in the NFL against the pass, right between noted sieves Miami and Tampa Bay. I know this game is in Denver and the Browns are, ahem, 1-27 in their last 28 road games (!), but the wrong team is favored here. Cleveland wins this one outright.
Lions @ Bills
Bills To Beat The Lions at 1.68
Though they blew a 4th-quarter lead in a 27-23 loss to the Jets last week, the Bills have quietly turned their season around over the past month, going 2-2 in their last four games and outscoring the opposition 105-79 in that stretch. While that might not sound overly impressive, it represents a huge step forward for a team that went 2-7 over their first nine games and suffered six double-digit losses.
The improvement can mostly be chalked up to a defense that has been pretty dominant lately, holding the opposition to just 238.7 total yards per game in the team’s past four contests, and improved play from rookie quarterback Josh Allen, who has begun to use his legs to great effect and has now logged back-to-back 100-yard rushing games, a first for a Buffalo QB. As a matter of fact, Saquon Barkley is the only NFL player to have rushed for more yards than Allen in Weeks 12-14, and the young signal-caller should find plenty of running lanes this week against a Lions defense that has struggled up front this season, surrendering 4.6 yards per rush and over 115 rushing yards per game. But the defense is a secondary concern in Detroit, as the Matt Stafford-led offense, once a reliably productive unit, has been stuck in the mud for most of the season and has almost completely ground to a halt since the team traded away leading receiver Golden Tate and lost the other starting wideout, Marvin Jones, to a season-ending injury.
The Lions have now scored 22 points or fewer in seven consecutive games, averaging the third-fewest yards per game in the NFL in that stretch. I expect them to have a really difficult time moving the ball on what should be a frigid Sunday in Buffalo, while the run-first Bills offense should be able to do what it does best. This one may be ugly, but the home team will prevail.
Redskins @ Jaguars
Jaguars To Beat The Redskins1.31
It’s difficult to believe that the Jaguars could be a touchdown favorite over anybody right now after watching them lay down in Tennessee last week, but anyone who has seen the Redskins play lately surely can’t be too surprised.
Much of it comes down to bad luck— the Skins lost starting quarterback Alex Smith and backup Colt McCoy to season-ending injuries, and so they were forced to turn to Mark Sanchez, and now, after Sanchez failed more spectacularly than even his detractors anticipated, they’ve moved on to Josh Johnson, who hadn’t thrown a regular season pass since 2011 and was set to play in a glorified beer league called the AAF before getting the call from Washington last week. And by “getting the call”, I don’t mean getting called from the bench to the starting lineup— Johnson was literally sitting at home, long forgotten by the NFL, and has admitted to having to play the Madden video game in order to learn the names of his new teammates.
Taking a quarterback like that down to Jacksonville to face a defense that shut out Andrew Luck and the Colts just two weeks ago seems less than ideal, to say the least. And don’t hold your breath waiting for the Washington defense to save the day— the Skins have totally disintegrated on that side of the ball, surrendering a mind-numbing 160 combined points in the team’s past five losses.
The Giants hung 40 on ‘em last week, so if there was ever a “get well” spot for the dreadful Jacksonville offense, this is it. I totally understand if you’re hesitant about backing the Jags as a 7-point favorite, as their offense has been almost as poor as Washington’s lately, but on the moneyline, you’re safe. There’s no way the Skins win this game with Josh Johnson at the helm. No way
NFL Week 15 Best Bet – Eagles @ Rams
Recommendation: Rams LA -9, 53.5
For maybe the first time in Sean McVay’s head-coaching tenure, there is a palpable sense of concern regarding the Rams right now. Fresh questions are swirling about quarterback Jared Goff’s toughness, his ability to handle the cold, and his ability to adapt against the league’s better defenses after the vaunted Rams offense was totally shut down in Chicago last week. And the questions are perfectly reasonable, for it’s true that the Bears defense dominated the L.A. offense and made Goff look like a liability, as opposed to one of the NFL’s rising stars. Goff will eventually have to prove that he can get the job done against a great defense.
Thing is, the Eagles don’t have a great defense. They don’t even have a good one. The secondary has been ravaged by injuries and has been rendered all but helpless against competent passing attacks, as Philly now ranks last in the NFC in pass defense after allowing Dallas QB Dak Prescott to pass for a career-high 455 yards last week. And they’re almost as bad against the run,— opponents are averaging a whopping 4.9 yards per carry against the Eagles this season, so you can be sure that Todd Gurley is licking his chops for this matchup. The same can be said for the entire L.A. offense, really— after what we’ve seen out of this Philly defense over the past few weeks, it’s difficult to imagine them even slowing down the Rams. Remember, prior to last week the Rams had scored 23 points or more in every game this season, and they still rank in the top-3 in both yards per game and points scored (32.7 ppg). In the four games leading up to last week, they had scored 35, 36, 54, and 30 points, so it’s not like there are any deep-seated issues. Something tells me we’ll see them in full bloom on Sunday.
Of course, the Eagles have a young star quarterback of their own in Carson Wentz, and the L.A. defense has been vulnerable at times this season, surrendering 30 points or more five times and ranking in the bottom-half of the league in both total yards allowed and rushing yards allowed. Thing is, despite the presence of Wentz and some quality receivers, Philly has been surprisingly mediocre on offense, ranking 19th in yards per game and 21st in points scored (21.6 ppg). Incredibly, the Eagles have only reached the 30-point mark once all season, while the Rams average over 30 per game, so for this to be a back-and-forth shootout in the mold of L.A.’s recent games against New Orleans and Kansas City, we’d have to see something from the Philly offense that we haven’t seen all year. I think the much more likely scenario involves the Rams putting about five touchdowns on the board and cruising to an easy double-digit win.
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