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Jaguars betting favorites in NFL Week 15 as AFC South race heats up

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The Jacksonville Jaguars can stay within one game of the AFC South division lead with a win when they host the free-falling Atlanta Falcons on Sunday as early 3-point betting favorites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The 5-8 Jaguars closed the gap on both Indianapolis and Houston in the tight divisional race with last week’s lopsided 51-16 win over the Colts, while the Texans were routed 27-6 by New England. The respective losses dropped both the Colts and Texans to 6-7 on the season ahead of their Week 15 clash in Indianapolis.

Jacksonville’s stunning victory ends a two-game SU losing streak and positions the club as intriguing 5/1 underdogs to win the division going into Sunday afternoon’s Falcons vs. Jaguars betting matchup at EverBank Field.

The Falcons travel to North Florida in the midst of a collapse that has seen them lose six consecutive straight-up decisions and their last nine against the spread.

Atlanta opened their 2015 campaign on a 6-1 SU tear, but have struggled with sloppy play, averaging just 14.3 points per game during their losing streak, which reached a new low with last week’s 38-0 loss to Carolina.

Betting trends are also of no comfort to the Falcons. Atlanta has won two of their last three against the Jaguars, but have never won in Jacksonville, who are 4-2 SU in their last six at home, according to the OddsShark NFL Database.

With quarterbacks Matt Hasselbeck and Bryan Hoyer both suffering injuries in their respective team’s losses, no early line was available for Sunday’s crucial Texans vs. Colts betting matchup at Lucas Oil Stadium.

However, Indianapolis owns the best record against division opponents, keeping them atop the odds at 2/3 to repeat as AFC South champions, followed by Houston at 19/10.

With both the Colts and Texans scheduled to face Tennessee down the stretch, the 3-10 Titans are poised to be kingmakers in the division. But Tennessee cannot afford to look past Sunday’s date with the Patriots, whom they visit as massive 14-point underdogs.

Tennessee is just 1-4 SU in their last five on the road following their blowout 30-8 road loss to the New York Jets last weekend, and are winless SU in their last five against the Patriots, 1-4 ATS.

In other NFL Week 15 betting action, the undefeated Panthers are 4-point chalk against the New York Giants, while the Jets visit the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday as 3-point favorites.

Broncos double-digit favorites on Sunday night vs. winless, depleted Giants

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The Denver Broncos head into Sunday night with the largest spread they have had at home after a bye week in at least 25 years. The Broncos are 11.5-point favorites against the winless New York Giants with a 38.5-point total for the Week 6 Sunday Night Football matchup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Denver is 6-1 straight-up and against the spread in post-bye week games dating back to 2010. There’s a similar long-running trend of Denver being 7-2 SU and ATS in home games following a bye week since 2003. However, this is the first time since 1996 that Denver has been a double-digit favorite in that scenario.

The Giants, which are 0-5 SU and 2-3 ATS, had three wide receivers, including Odell Beckham Jr., sustain season-ending injuries last week. That has left QB Eli Manning with WR Roger Lewis (15 career catches) and WR Tavarres King as his main outside targets. Slot WR Sterling Shephard (sprained ankle) could be inactive.

While team performances tend to gravitate toward the mean with time, the Giants will need to show something new – with replacement-level personnel – in order to move the ball against a Denver pass defense which allows only 6.2 yards per pass, fifth-best in the NFL.

The Broncos’ top-ranked defense, led by OLB Von Miller, is also first in run defense and has every starter healthy. While NFC teams are a combined 1-10 SU on the road against Denver since 2012, the Giants are a solid 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games against the AFC.

Denver, 3-1 SU and 2-1-1 ATS, has been quietly efficient on offense. The Broncos, with QB Trevor Siemian, are in the middle of the NFL pack in yards per pass, but they are facing a Giants secondary that is minus CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (suspension) and has also had inconsistent play from CB Eli Apple.

Denver, 7-2 ATS over its last nine home games in October, has been good at opening holes for the tandem of C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles, who are each capable of making things happen in the open field if the tackling gets sloppy. New York also won’t have DT Olivier Vernon drawing double teams up front and keeping blockers off MLB Damon Harrison.

Unless the Broncos stop themselves, they should be able to grind out a workmanlike win.

The total has gone over in three of the Giants’ last four games against the Broncos, according to the OddsShark NFL Database. The total has gone over in six of the Broncos’ last seven games as a favorite of 11.0 points or more.

For more info, picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the new OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes, or check it out at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Watch Indianapolis Colts vs. Seattle Seahawks live on NBC

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The Seattle Seahawks host the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday Night Football as both teams look to get back to .500.

Russell Wilson will be the focal point of the Seahawks offense after throwing for a career-high 373 yards and four touchdowns in a losing effort vs. the Titans in Week 3. Wilson’s ability to avoid the rush and use his legs will be on full display as Seattle’s offensive line continues to struggle.

On the defensive side, the Seahawks’ “Legion of Boom” will look to get back on track at home in a raucous environment against Colts QB Jacoby Brissett who is filling in for an injured Andrew Luck.

If the Colts have any chance to pull off the upset on the road, Brissett will have to use his legs and connect on some deep throws to T.Y. Hilton.

Football Night in America

Start time: 7:00 p.m. ET

TV channel: NBC

Live stream: NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app

Colts vs. Seahawks

Start time: 8:30 p.m. ET

TV channel: NBC

Live stream: NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app