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Week 15 is far from over as the NFL had to postpone three games from Sunday's action into early this week because of COVID issues. The silver lining is that bettors now get doubleheaders on both Monday and Tuesday night to start the week. The NFL can drag out Week 15, but bettors can't reshape their process. Every Monday, I'm looking for edges on the upcoming week's totals.
It's a unique situation with eight teams still waiting to play, but it's not worth the risk to wait until the week concludes. The two games we played under last week are both on track to close well below where we bet them, giving us significant closing line value. Let's try and get ahead of the market and bet these two totals today.
Cleveland at Green Bay (Under 45.5)
Can you visualize a better setting for an under? A cold Christmas Day in Wisconsin with the wind whistling around Lambeau Field. Matt LaFleur and Kevin Stefanski bringing back power football by channeling their inner Vince Lombardi and Paul Brown. Nick Chubb and AJ Dillon pounding into defensive lineman for four quarters with playoff implications on the line.
As perfect as it sounds, there is some risk involved in this one. Cleveland hosts Las Vegas on Monday night and will be traveling to Green Bay for a short week. If Cleveland's improving defense is gassed from traveling on the short week, Aaron Rodgers might have himself a day. The Raiders' offense has been dysfunctional for quite some time, so expect it to be very light work for Cleveland's defense to stay fresh for Week 16. Pay close attention because every three and out will make our bet stronger.
I'm confident in this wager on the under because we have two coaches that have demonstrated the running game is an important part to their offenses. Green Bay and Cleveland currently rank third and sixth overall in EPA per rushing play and 29th and 32nd in pace. Both teams want to slow the game down, utilize their running games and put their offenses in advantageous positions on third downs. The Browns' defense has come on strong the second half of the season, ranking third overall and third against the pass. That's enough for me to get comfortable that Cleveland can at least keep Rodgers in check. A 23-20 game makes a winning bet on the under the perfect gift to ourselves.
Detroit at Atlanta (Under 44.5)
We faded the Lions after their first win based on an inevitable emotional letdown in a road game. Here we are two weeks later in almost the same situation. Detroit's upset of Arizona shocked the world and left survivor players stunned on Sunday, but now the Lions have to hit the road again. The Lions are the third-worst scoring offense on the road, averaging only 14.7 points per game this season. Granted, the Lions played some tough defenses, but they are also 5-2 to the under when they are away from home. The difficulty of the defenses was baked into the total, and they still underperformed. The Atlanta defense is one of the worst in the NFL, but I'm not sold that Jared Goff can take advantage of it.
As bad as Detroit's offense has been on the road, Atlanta's offense has been worse at home. The Dirty Birds have put up a stinky 13.2 points per game for their fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. That's the lowest scoring output at home for any team in the NFL. Atlanta has been almost an automatic under at home, falling below the total in four of five games. Bad offenses stop themselves, and this game will be a perfect example.
Stats provided by teamrankings.com, football outsiders, and Ben Baldwin (SR based on 10/90 WP).