Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill
Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) hands the ball off to running back D'Onta Foreman during the first half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

NFL BEST BETS, DEC. 19

Patrick Werkmeister

Now that it is Week 15 of the NFL, the playoff picture is finally starting to lock in as the regular season enters the home stretch of December. Although some have already definitively staked their postseason claim, even the best teams can lose on any given Sunday during the grind of the regular season. However, home field advantage has been a key decider in these intense playoff-esque games and that will be heavily baked into this week’s picks. December football is where the cream rises to the top and I think that will be reflected in some of the wins on Sunday. With that in mind, here are the best bets for this NFL slate. 

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Panthers @ Bills (-14.5)
In this interconference matchup, Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers travel to Buffalo to face off against Josh Allen and the Bills. The Bills opened as nine and a half-point home favorites in this one but they were bet up to whopping 14 point favorites. Although Buffalo is 2-4 ATS in their last six overall games, Carolina is an atrocious 2-8 ATS in their previous ten contests. Additionally, the Panthers are already 0-3 ATS vs AFC opponents this year. Last week, Carolina suffered an ugly defeat to the Atlanta Falcons 29-21 whereas the Bills fought in a close loss to Super Bowl defending Buccaneers in overtime. However, Josh Allen and his team seemed to have secured the moral victory after putting a halt to three game offensive skis where they amassed nearly 500 yards of total offense. The Bills are in a must win position, and now that they’ve picked up momentum, they are in a great position. With the Bills steady overall defense, the Panthers will have to have some success through the air with their QB carousel. As long as Allen manages the game like he did last week with no interceptions and three touchdowns, they should have no problem securing a victory on the road. Take Buffalo to cover in what should be a rout of the Panthers.

Titans @ Steelers (-1)
For this AFC North showdown, Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers host Ryan Tannehill and the Tennessee Titans. The Titans opened as two and a half-point road favorites but the line has flipped to the Steelers as one point favorites. While Tennessee is 8-4 ATS in their last 12, Pittsburgh is 4-1 ATS in their last five games vs the AFC. In Week 14, the Titans swiftly defeated the Houston Texans whereas the Steelers were defeated by the Minnesota Vikings. Even with a banged-up roster, the Titans are still able to win the games they should. However, they have shown they are barely getting along without the help of King Derrick. Although they were able to get the W, Tennessee did not dominate the way they wanted against a far inferior opponent. Teams that don’t cover the previous week vs teams that did are 55-20-2 ATS this season, so the Steelers are in a strong position to bounce back. Pittsburgh is in a strong position to cover in this match, even though they’ve been inconsistent, they’ve been a top team ATS this year. They should easily cover this margin. Take the Steelers minus the points. 

Bengals @ Broncos (-3)
From Mile High Stadium in Denver, Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals look to steal one on the road against Teddy Bridgewater and the Denver Broncos. Denver opened as three-point home underdogs, but that line has flipped, and they are currently three point favorites. While Denver is 2-4 ATS in their last six games, Cincinnati is 3-19 SU in their last 22 games as a road underdog. In Week 14, they were narrowly defeated by the San Francisco 49ers, whereas the Denver Broncos blew out the Detroit Lions 38-10. Teddy two gloves has been one of the QBs ATS this year where he is 9-4 ATS this season. With a banged-up Joe Mixon, the blueprint for victory is for them to air it out with their all-star receivers. Despite their intimidating roster, the Bengals have found no rhythm on offense and have lost 2 of their last 3 SU. Although they haven’t looked great this year, they will be very motivated to cover at home. Take the horses minus the points. 

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