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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.

Colts travel to Pittsburgh as underdogs for Sunday Night Football

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The Indianapolis Colts will be looking to strengthen their tenuous hold on top spot in the AFC South with a fourth straight win when they battle the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football as 6.5-point betting underdogs at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Colts improved their straight-up record to 6-5 last weekend with a 25-12 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, covering as 3-point chalk to extend their current win streak against the spread to four games.

It was an important victory for Indianapolis, which enters Sunday night’s Colts vs. Steelers betting matchup at Heinz Field in a tie in the division standings with Houston, but holds the tiebreaker edge on the strength of their 27-20 victory over the Texans back in Week 5.

The Colts have also been racking up the victories despite the absence of quarterback Andrew Luck, who remains sidelined for at least one more week after suffering internal injuries in the club’s 27-24 win over the Denver Broncos a month ago.

Matt Hasselbeck has performed admirably in relief of Luck, with the 40-year-old throwing a pair of touchdowns in each of the last two outings. However, the Colts’ ground game has struggled, tallying just 99 total yards in those contests.

A lot is on the line in Week 13 for the Steelers, who are coming off a 39-30 loss to the Seattle Seahawks but remain in the thick of the AFC Wild Card hunt with a 6-5 SU record.

Pittsburgh has run hot and cold this season, failing to string together three SU wins all year while going a dismal 1-4 ATS in their last five games according to the OddsShark NFL Database.

Of even greater concern is the health of starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who had appeared in just six games this season due to knee and foot injuries prior to last week’s loss to the Seahawks in which he went down once again, this time with a concussion.

Big Ben received the green light to return to practice this week, and barring any setbacks is expected to play on Sunday night.

That’s good news for the Steelers, who have dominated Indianapolis historically, going 12-2 SU in their last 14 meetings, including a mammoth 51-34 home win over the Colts last season while claiming the outright win as 5-point underdogs.

Underdog Colts hosting rival Patriots on SNF

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(OddsShark.com) The Indianapolis Colts will be looking to avenge their loss in last season’s AFC Championship Game and end a six-game straight-up losing streak against New England when they host the Patriots on Sunday night as 10-point betting underdogs at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Colts have finally gotten their season on track after opening with a pair of stunning losses to the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets, posting three straight SU victories, including last week’s 27-20 win over Houston. That result also earned them their first win of the season against the spread, as they downed the Texans while pegged as 4.5-point underdogs.

Indianapolis has been getting it done despite being without star quarterback Andrew Luck, who has been sidelined with a shoulder injury since the club’s 35-33 win over the Tennessee Titans in Week 3.

Luck had struggled before suffering the injury, tossing seven interceptions against just five touchdown passes.

Veteran Matt Hasselbeck has run the offense in Luck’s absence, but after throwing in practice on Thursday there looks to be an increasing likelihood that the 26-year-old will return to action in Sunday’s Patriots vs. Colts betting matchup at Lucas Oil Stadium.

That is welcome news for the Colts, who were pummeled 45-7 by New England in last season’s AFC Championship Game and have averaged just 19.8 points per game this season.

The Patriots roll into Indianapolis after another dominant performance last week, crushing the hobbled Dallas Cowboys by a 30-6 score. The SU victory was New England’s seventh straight, and improved them to 5-0-1 ATS in their past six games according to the OddsShark NFL Database.

Quarterback Tom Brady has clearly left his offseason troubles behind him, throwing for 11 touchdowns over the Patriots’ first four outings and leading the NFL with a 121.5 passer rating and 347 passing yards per game.

New England also sits third in the league in points scored with 149 despite playing just four games so far this season, and have claimed victory in their four contests by an average margin of over 18 points.

The Patriots have also dominated Indianapolis in recent meetings, winning six straight while picking up ATS victories in each of their last four. However the Colts are 3-1 SU in their last four at home against New England.