There is plenty to be settled in the NFL playoff picture heading into Week 15 weekend action. But this week’s schedule looks much different with record Coronavirus cases hitting NFL teams.
The betting market has seen major changes in odds, spreads, totals and moneylines since early week NFL betting lines were posted by the leading online sportsbooks.
“There is much more variance than normal with big line changes around Covid,” FanDuel Sportsbook Director of Trading John Sheeran said on Thursday’s Bet the Board Podcast.
The surge in COVID-19 cases across the NFL and United States as a whole has resulted in the postponement of multiple Week 15 games.
That includes the Browns vs Raiders from Saturday to Monday, Eagles vs WFT from Sunday to Tuesday and the Rams vs Seahawks also moved from Sunday to Tuesday.
“We have made these schedule changes based on medical advice and after discussion with the NFLPA as we are seeing a new, highly transmissible form of the virus this week resulting in a substantial increase in cases across the league,” the NFL announced in a statement Friday.
Week 15 Key NFL Games
Check out the predictions in each link from ESPN, FanDuel, numberFire, FiveThirtyEight on key games impacting the playoff picture.
Prior to Friday’s schedule change by the NFL, the Browns vs Raiders had seen the biggest line movement.
Cleveland has now resumed the role of favorite with the Browns -2.5. Nick Mullins will start at quarterback Monday with both Baker Mayfield and Case Keenum on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Raiders owner Mark Davis was not happy with the game being moved to Monday, citing a ‘competitive disadvantage’ for the Raiders and even suggesting the game be moved to Las Vegas.
NFL Week 15 Sharp Bets
Despite all the craziness in the betting market surrounding Covid cases with players and teams impacted, some sharp betting customers at FanDuel Sportsbook have taken positions on select teams.
The Miami Dolphins took sharp early week action against the New York Jets, and the line has risen to Dolphins -9.5.
“We had sharp money with Miami, and actually hit -10,” Sheeran said before moving back top -9.5.
“Denver was another bet sharp customers made, and we’ve moved the Broncos from -1 to -3,” Sheeran added.
“I was surprised Pittsburgh was a 2-point underdog,” Sheeran said noting the Steelers took money from the opener of +2.5 to pick ‘em. Now the Steelers are a 1-point favorite.
Last week was the worst of the season for sportsbooks, as public betters cashed in on betting favorites that went 12-2 straight up and 11-3 against the spread.
“It was a massacre,” Sheeran said. “First time FanDuel lost every game on Sunday.”
This week presents a much bigger challenge for both the sportsbooks and bettors. In times of uncertainty, bettors and bookmakers try their best to stay on top of the most current information possible. Many professionals try to attack the early week opening numbers, but that could have backfired this week.
As former Las Vegas oddsmaker Kenny White and his staff note in this week’s Sports Insider digital newsletter, it’s important to stay diligent in doing your research. Make sure you know who’s playing or not playing, adjust and then make your decision and hope nothing changes further.
That’s more difficult this week, and has made betting on the NFL more of a guessing game. But with live in-play betting more popular than ever, there are additional ways to bet on the NFL and base your decisions and bets on real-time action.
You can bet on it.