NFL Week 15: Opening Lines And Early Betting Value

Tyrod Taylor in action

Matthew Jordan

Monday, December 12, 2016 5:27 PM UTC

Monday, Dec. 12, 2016 5:27 PM UTC

Just three weeks left in the NFL's regular season and we still don't know too much about the playoff field as no team was able to join the Dallas Cowboys as having clinched a spot in Week 14. Here are some interesting opening Week 15 NFL lines.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers At Dallas Cowboys (-7.5)

I looked at the Cowboys-Giants game in my Week 14 opening line story, recommended the Giants at +3 and that worked out well as New York won 10-7 to sweep the season series with Dallas and prevent the Cowboys from clinching the NFC East and at no worse than the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs. Both could still happen this week, but all of a sudden that Dallas offense, specifically rookie QB Dak Prescott, is struggling. Dallas was able to escape Minnesota in Week 13 despite a rough outing from Prescott but wasn't as fortunate at the Giants as Prescott completed just 17 of 37 passes for 165 yards. He was sacked three times and intercepted twice. The Cowboys converted just 1-of-15 third-down opportunities. Already you have Twitter blowing up with Cowboys fans calling for the team to bench Prescott and start Tony Romo this week. Owner Jerry Jones and Coach Jason Garrett both said adamantly that Prescott remains the starter, but if he has a rough first half on Sunday night against red-hot Tampa, I could see Romo coming in. The Bucs have no such QB controversy as they have won five straight games, tied for the NFL's longest active streak. While QB Jameis Winston has been pretty good in that streak, the defense  has been fantastic in allowing more than 17 points just once. The Bucs picked off Drew Brees three times in Sunday's 16-11 home win over New Orleans. As of this writing, only 5Dimes has this game at 7.5 -- the rest of SBR Forum's best sportsbooks have it at 7. I definitely want that extra half-point if backing Tampa.

NFL Early Pick: Bucs +7.5Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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Cleveland Browns At Buffalo Bills (-10.5)

Who will be Buffalo's starting quarterback for this one? Tyrod Taylor got a big new extension in August, but it's set up in a way that the Bills can walk away from him this offseason without a huge financial hit to the salary cap. Otherwise he's guaranteed $30 million. And reports are that the team is likely to do walk away because Taylor has regressed this year. The Bills (6-7) are all but assured of continuing the NFL's longest playoff drought after losing at home in the snow to Pittsburgh on Sunday, 27-20. Taylor completed 15 of 25 for 228 yards with two TDs and a pick. He has thrown for more than 250 yards just twice all season and Coach Rex Ryan wouldn't commit to Taylor after the Steelers loss. Some in the front office want to get a look at raw but full-of-potential rookie Cardale Jones, who led Ohio State to the first College Football Playoff national championship two years ago. It might not even Ryan's call on Taylor as I have read reports the team might fire him later Monday. That's probably not going to happen, but Ryan's definitely a goner after the season now. Not sure what else there is to say about the 0-13 Browns. Thought they had a realistic shot to beat visiting Cincinnati on Sunday but lost 23-10 as Robert Griffin III was really bad in his first action since injuring his shoulder in Week 1. Cleveland has dropped 16 straight dating to last season.

NFL Early Pick: Browns +10.5Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

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Detroit Lions At New York Giants (-4)

One of the biggest games of Week 14 between 9-4 teams. The Lions have a two-game lead over Minnesota and surging Green Bay in the NFC North and could clinch their first division title since 1993 with a victory and loss by Green Bay in Chicago. I don't expect the Packers to lose, however. Detroit has won five straight and Matthew Stafford led yet another fourth-quarter comeback on Sunday in a 20-17 home victory over the Bears. Stafford rushed for the winning score with 3:17 left. It was his eighth game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime this season, the most such drives by a QB in a single season since 1970. However, Stafford also tore ligaments on the middle finger of his throwing hand. He will play through it with a glove on, but obviously that could affect his accuracy, etc. The Giants currently hold down the NFC's top wild-card spot and are still in the NFC East race, albeit two games behind Dallas. New York would win the tiebreaker, however, after sweeping the season series with a 10-7 win over the Cowboys on Sunday night. The New York offense was inept most of the night (Eli Manning has thrown for under 200 yards in three straight games for the first time since 2008), but the defense was great in holding Dallas to 260 yards.

NFL Early Pick: Giants -4Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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