How many times am I going to fall victim to Cleveland's heartbreak? A game-long cover in week 14 against Green Bay turned to disaster in overtime when every other NFL team would have just kicked a field goal to win.
But not against the Browns.
Had Green Bay kicked the field goal and won, the Browns would have covered. Instead, Green Bay (while in field-goal range) threw the ball on third down, and scored from the 25-yard-line. If it wasn't a common sight to get your heart ripped out of your chest by the Browns in handicapping, I would have been surprised.
That's the third bad beat in the last five games for the Browns. Had Cleveland taken care of business, my underdogs would have been 3-0 ATS in week 14.
I'm faring better in recent weeks, so there's still hope to get above .500 overall. Here's the week 15 NFL picks, with all spreads provided by TopBet sportsbook.
Underdogs: 18-23-1 ATS
Overall: 36-46-2 ATS
Denver at Indianapolis (+2.5)
Am I supposed to just forget about the past two months? I was happy when I saw TopBet sportsbook list the Colts as an underdog in this contest.
Denver had been awful up to the week 14 victory against a New York Jets team that isn't dominating in the talent department. That was a perfect opportunity to see the Jets not show up and for Denver to flex some of its remaining muscle.
Now, I get the Broncos traveling on a short week against a Colts team that showed grit in week 14 on the road in a blizzard. Both teams match up pretty well on paper, albeit with the Broncos owning the better defense.
However, I would give the Colts the edge offensively, especially at the quarterback position. The Colts are going to stop the run, so to move the ball consistently, it's in the hands of Trevor Siemian. I like my chances with the Colts in that department.
Regardless of how bad the Colts' record is, they've competed in pretty much every game this season. That matters this late in the season on a Thursday night.
These are evenly matched teams at the moment, so I'll take the points and pick the home team straight up. — Go Against The Chalk with Indianapolis
Baltimore at Cleveland (+7.5)
Call me crazy, but I'll go with another heartbreaker.
I get a little edge with the hook from TopBet sportsbook, since many other sportsbooks have the Browns as just a touchdown dog. But it should be closer than that anyway.
These teams aren't far off of each other on the offensive side of the football. For the season, the Browns average more yards per play on offense, and even during this recent hot streak of Baltimore, the Browns actually have averaged more yards per play in the last three games than the Ravens.
Defensively, the Ravens are better and more opportunistic. But don't discount Cleveland on that side of the ball. They allow just 0.1 yards per play more than Baltimore for the season, and they've become stingier on the pass in recent weeks.
Baltimore isn't a dominating team, so why are we acting like they are? Cleveland's been competitive this season, losing just two games more than one possession. — Go Against The Chalk with Cleveland
Los Angeles Rams (+2) at Seattle
In my analysis, I actually favored the Rams by more than a field goal, so when I saw TopBet sportsbook list the Rams as an underdog, I pounced.
Injuries have decimated the Seahawks. Defensively, this isn't the same team that started 2017. And the offense revolves around only one person — Russell Wilson — and no matter how good he is, that's not a way to consistently win football games in the NFL.
Robert Woods is returning in week 15 for a Rams offense that will have several opportunities to move the ball. Los Angeles is averaging 7.8 yards per pass this season, while the Seahawks are getting worse at defending the pass, allowing 7.1 yards per pass in the last three games, up from their season average of 6.4.
And the main weakness for the Rams is stopping the run. That's not a problem against Seattle, since it can't run the football.
Take all the points you can get in this game and back the Rams for the win. — Go Against The Chalk with Los Angeles
Scott Levine is the Associate Editor for the Clinton Herald. During his free time, he blogs about fantasy sports and handicaps games. Check out more at Against The Chalk.
Scott Levine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ScottLevineCH