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NFL picks against the spread: Lions try to keep hot streak going on the road vs. Jets

You can’t say the Detroit Lions aren’t getting enough respect, at least in the betting market.

Last week the Lions were favored over a Minnesota Vikings team that was 10-2. It was one of the strangest lines of the NFL season. The Lions then beat the Vikings, and the cover was rarely in doubt.

This week the Lions’ spread is a bit curious again. The Jets are a small 1-point favorite at BetMGM. That's telling, when it comes to where the Lions rate.

The Lions are going on the road against a wild-card hopeful with a winning record and one of the best defenses in the league, and they’re only getting one point. You never would have guessed that when the Lions were 1-6.

Detroit deserves respect. The Lions have won five of six. The only loss came in the final seconds to the Buffalo Bills on Thanksgiving. The offense has been tremendous and the defense is more competitive than it was early in the season, when the Lions couldn’t stop anyone. They’re back in the wild-card race, though they need to keep winning. Forget about the terrible start; the Lions have been a very good team for a while now.

The Jets are having a strong season too. The offense has looked better since Mike White took over at quarterback, but White was punished against the Bills last week. White was a limited participant in practice Wednesday, which hopefully is an indiction he'll play Sunday. Losing defensive tackle Quinnen Williams to a calf injury is a big blow as well. He didn't practice Wednesday.

The Jets have been good enough to earn the benefit of the doubt. I’ll take them as a small home favorite over the Lions. And if Detroit wins, it’s a sign that this newfound respect is fully justified.

Offensive tackle Penei Sewell of the Detroit Lions dives for a first down after a big catch last week vs. Minnesota. (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)

Here are the Week 15 picks against the spread, with odds from BetMGM:

Seahawks (+3.5) over 49ers

We took a look at Brock Purdy's challenge on the road in today's Daily Sweat. The Seahawks are scuffling lately, but they'll have urgency in this one. If Purdy and the 49ers roll on Thursday night, it will legitimize their Super Bowl chances with a rookie seventh-round quarterback leading the way.

Vikings (-4) over Colts

Critics pointing out that the Vikings are not as good as their 10-3 record is fair (and it guided plenty of winning bets on the Lions last week), but it’s getting to be a little overstated. The Vikings aren’t an elite team, but they’re not bad either. The Colts don’t deserve a lot of respect, yet they’re getting plenty with this line. Minnesota will bounce back from last week’s loss.

Ravens (+2.5) over Browns

Until Deshaun Watson has a good game, it will be hard to back the Browns. The Ravens still know how to win ugly games. John Harbaugh is a great “problem solver” coach. If the Ravens have a deficiency, he’ll figure out how to win in spite of it. I think Baltimore wins straight up, like last week when the Ravens were underdogs at Pittsburgh.

Dolphins (+7) over Bills

A third straight road game is a tough spot to be in for the Dolphins. The Jets were getting too many points last week and covered (though barely, thanks to a late field goal), but the Jets had the defense to keep the Bills offense from putting the game away. The Dolphins don’t have that defense and their offense hasn’t looked good the past couple weeks either. I still think the Dolphins are a good team and the spread seems a bit too high.

Eagles (-9) over Bears

I took the Giants last week and was immediately regretful. The Eagles can turn out an opponent’s lights in so many ways, and they still are playing urgently because the Cowboys are not far back in the NFC East. The Bears have Justin Fields and that’s about it. Maybe that’s enough to cover a pretty big spread but I’ll take Philly.

Falcons (+4) over Saints

I usually like going with a team using a new quarterback, because they typically play well in that first game. The Falcons will rally around rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder. It’s not like the Saints have done anything impressive for a while.

Panthers (-3) over Steelers

The Panthers aren’t good, but they have been playing better lately. Interim coach Steve Wilks has been a big upgrade over the fired Matt Rhule. The Panthers have a legitimate shot to win the NFC South but they have to keep up with the Buccaneers to make a Jan. 1 Panthers-Bucs game relevant in the NFC South race. Carolina looks good in this spot.

Cowboys (-4) over Jaguars

I have no idea what to make of the Jaguars. They had a great comeback win over the Ravens, a horrendous loss at Detroit, then a dominant win over the Titans. What comes next? I don’t think the Cowboys sleepwalk through another game after nearly blowing it last week against the Texans.

Texans (+14) over Chiefs

Two touchdowns is a lot in the NFL. I have little faith in the Texans, but they played last week like there might be a little fight left. Go with the Texans without much confidence, knowing the Chiefs could be up 21 by the time the first quarter is over.

Cardinals (+2.5) over Broncos

Colt McCoy isn’t Kyler Murray, but with a full week to prepare he can guide the Cardinals offense. Do you think the Broncos' offense can generate points, regardless of who’s playing quarterback?

Patriots (+1) over Raiders

I know this: New England won’t beat itself because of poor coaching.

Chargers (-2.5) over Titans

I worry Derrick Henry runs wild over the Chargers. Henry looked good last week against Jacksonville and then the game script forced the Titans to pass most of the second half. However, I still think the Titans are in a serious slump. Maybe this is right when the Chargers get everyone’s hopes up only to have a terrible loss, but I’m buying in. Again.

Bengals (-3.5) over Buccaneers

The Bucs are not very good and haven’t been most of the season. Assuming they’ll suddenly wake up and play well is probably not going to work out well.

Commanders (-4.5) over Giants

The spread is a little high, but the Giants are fading fast. Unless Saquon Barkley bounces back fast, New York can’t move the ball. Washington is coming off a bye, which helps a bit too.

Packers (-7) over Rams

The Baker Mayfield story last week was pretty incredible, but let’s not forget that for most of the game the Rams were stuck on three points. The Raiders’ poor coaching let the Rams get back in it. The Packers aren’t great by any means but let’s not forget how decimated the Rams are just because they had a few good minutes at the end of last week’s game.

Last week: 8-5

Season to date: 110-93-3