NFL Week 15: Our best bets, picks for every game

By VSiN Staff  (VSiN.com) 

December 17, 2022 08:04 PM
Josh_Allen

NFL Week 15 best bets

Welcome to Week 15 of the 2022 NFL season.

Throughout the season, our VSiN experts will combine to give their best bets on every game. Check back for more picks as we get closer to kickoff.

Odds are from DraftKings (unless noted) as of Thursday night. Go to VSiN.com for Betting Splits for each game and live odds across the NFL market.

Indianapolis Colts at Minnesota Vikings (-4, 48.5)

Saturday, 1 p.m. ET

Wes Reynolds: The 10-2 Vikings proved to be well overbought last week as they never led in a 34-23 loss at 5-7 Detroit. Now they lay ‘just 4’ to an Indianapolis team that, for all intents and purposes, is eliminated from any chance for a playoff spot. Just two weeks ago, the Vikings were laying -3 to the Jets and were laying -2.5 to the Patriots three weeks ago. The Jets and Patriots are both right in the thick of the AFC Wild Card chase, while the Colts are not. The oddsmakers are telling us and have been telling us that the Vikings are flawed. 

The numbers also bolster the case that there is not as much difference between these two teams as the records would indicate. Minnesota ranks 21st in overall DVOA (Colts 31st), 18th in Offense DVOA (Colts 32nd) and 22nd in Defense DVOA (Colts 12th). The Vikings have been outgained this season on average by 62 yards (404-342)! 

Meanwhile, the Colts are off a bye week, which was much needed after being outscored 33-0 in the fourth quarter at Dallas. A bye week might be what the doctor ordered for a Colts team with an interim coach in Jeff Saturday who is still getting his feet wet as a head coach. It is reasonable to expect that the Colts, with an extra week, should have their best game plan under this new, interim regime. 

Despite being one of the most disappointing teams of the 2022 season, the Colts have bounced back off blowout losses. In Week 2, Indianapolis was shut out 24-0 in Jacksonville, but then returned home in Week 3 to beat Kansas City. In Week 9, the Colts lost 26-3 in New England and then won in Las Vegas the following Sunday in Saturday’s head coaching debut. 

Teams in the playoff, division, or conference races already get taxed in the number at this point in the season which often gives value to underdogs, especially ones off terrible losses. Since 2017, underdogs off blowout losses of 20 or more are 106-69-3 ATS (61%) and are 11-4-1 ATS in this spot for 2022 (two of those wins are from the Colts).

One prop to look at as well is Michael Pittman OV 68.5 Receiving Yards. Pittman, like the rest of the Colts, has had an up-and-down season. For instance, he had a couple of monster games (Week 1 at Houston: 9 Rec, 121 Yards, TD; Week 6 vs. Jacksonville: 13 Rec, 134 Yards), but also some quiet games especially two weeks ago at Dallas (2 Rec, 16 Yards). This is a good buy-low spot for a Pittman bounceback against a Minnesota team that ranks 26th in DVOA vs. opposing No. 1 receivers. 

Pick: Colts +4 and Michael Pittman OV 68.5 Receiving Yards

Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns (-3, 37)

Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET

Adam Burke: If the Ravens get some more good news on the QB front, they’re likely to wind up more than a field goal favorite against the Browns. Betting a side or total in this game is really difficult since you’ve got two bad quarterback situations. One is due to injury and one is due to rust, but it creates a higher level of variance in the outcome of this one.

However, there is one prop bet that I like and it has to do with Nick Chubb. The Bengals flooded the box as much as possible and limited Chubb to just 34 yards on 14 carries. The Browns' offensive line struggled and teams have no respect for Deshaun Watson right now. The byproduct is that Chubb caught three passes for 20 yards. It was his fourth game with three catches and three of them have come since Week 10 when the Browns were crushed by a Dolphins team that forced Jacoby Brissett to beat them.

At this point, Kevin Stefanski needs to find creative ways to get Chubb the ball, and I think he’s going to have to be more of a receiver. In the 10 games when Chubb has at least one catch, he’s gone over 9.5 yards in seven of them. He had three targets in the first game against the Ravens and I’d expect him to have at least that many this week.

Pick: Nick Chubb Over 9.5 Receiving Yards (-115)

Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills (-7, 42)

Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET

Dave Tuley: The Saturday nightcap lost some of its luster with the Dolphins’ Week 14 loss to the Chargers as they fell two games behind the Bills in the AFC East. But it’s still an important Week 15 game as the Bills (10-3) are trying to secure the AFC’s No. 1 seed and first-round bye while the Dolphins (8-5) are currently in the thick of the wild-card chase with a one-game lead over four 7-6 teams trying for the last two spots.

The Dolphins were tied with the Bills before their current two-game losing streak and still have a chance to catch them with a win here. They would hold the tiebreaker with a season sweep as they beat them 21-19 back in Week 3 in Miami. That fact does make it appear the current 7-point spread is too high (It hit 7.5 at some books earlier this week.), especially since they’re only 6-7 ATS on the season (yes, they’ve been favored in every game). They recently failed to cover in wins over the Lions on Thanksgiving and Jets last Sunday.

We know a lot of people are making a big deal about the inclement weather hitting Orchard Park and that Tua Tagovailoa’s three worst QBRs have come in games with temperatures below 45 degrees, but Tyreek Hill will still be the fastest players on the field under any conditions, and we trust the Dolphins to adapt.

Besides, this is as much a play against the Bills as it is on the Dolphins. Even though the Bills are No. 2 in yards per game and No. 9 in yards allowed per game, they tend to let teams stick around and the Dolphins have the weapons to keep up with the Bills again.

Pick: Dolphins +7

Adam Burke: James Cook is taking snaps away from Devin Singletary. Cook’s snap share in the last two weeks has been 43% and 41% after not doing any better than 26% in the team’s first 11 games. On a night when the weather conditions are supposed to range from bad to downright awful, Josh Allen may not be able to take as many shots down the field as he would like. That means using the running backs for some targets.

To be honest with you, both Singletary (8.5) and Cook (11.5) could go over their receiving yards totals, but Singletary has only had five receptions on nine targets in the last five games. Meanwhile, Cook has nine catches on 12 targets in the last three games. I think he’s going to feature prominently in the gameplan once again and putting the ball in his hands with some dump-offs and swing passes will serve as an extension of the running game to keep the defense honest.

Pick: James Cook Over 11.5 Receiving Yards (-110)

Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints (-4, 43.5)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Dave Tuley: If you took a preseason poll asking which of these teams in this Week 15 matchup would be one game behind the Buccaneers in the NFC South, not many would have picked the Falcons (5-8), but they’re a full game ahead of the Saints (4-8). The Falcons had a chance to pass the Bucs and actually be leading the division but have lost two straight and four of five. Rookie QB Desmond Ridder is now replacing Marcus Mariota and making his first NFL start.

The Saints were actually 5.5-point road favorites when they beat the Falcons 27-26 (but did not cover) way back in the season opener but have won only three games since. The Saints are also 5-8 ATS while the Falcons are 7-6 ATS (but that’s after a 6-0 ATS start, so they’re 1-6 ATS in their last seven games). It’s tempting to take the Falcons as dogs in the rematch, but we don’t feel we’re getting enough points.

However, we do like the OVER as it seems to be set a little too low, perhaps due to Ridder debuting against the Saints’ No. 11 defense. We expect a similar game to the earlier 27-26 shootout, especially since Andy Dalton, Alvin Kamara, and Co. should have plenty of success against the Falcons’ defense that ranked No. 30 in yards allowed per game and gives up 24 points per game.

Pick: OVER 43.5

Detroit Lions at New York Jets (-1, 44.5)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Wes Reynolds: All of a sudden the refrain of #RestoreTheRoar has been getting louder in Detroit as the Lions have won five of their last six games and have covered all six. Just one month ago, the Lions were getting +3 in Chicago, who now has the worst record in the NFC. The Lions were outgained 408-323 (Bears 7 ypp vs. 5.5 ypp for Detroit). Detroit was down 24-10 heading into the fourth quarter and scored on a drive aided by three Bears penalties for 25 yards including one that took away a Jared Goff interception. On the ensuing drive, Justin Fields throws a dreadful pick-six to Jeff Okudah, which turned the momentum in the game (a 31-30 win due to a Cairo Santos missed PAT) and the momentum of the Lions season. 

Earlier this week at a few stores, the Lions were actually favored here after being +3 on the lookahead number. Now they are either PK or +1 in the market.

Although Detroit is playing very good football over the last month, there is still concern with Jared Goff outdoors and outside of the friendly confines of Ford Field. Detroit’s defense has shown improvement, but the Lions still rank 24th in Defense DVOA (21st vs. pass, 22nd vs. rush). Meanwhile, the Jets' defensive unit is one of the league’s elite at 6th in DVOA (6th vs. pass, 9th vs. run). The Jets held Buffalo, one of the league’s best offenses to just 4.3 ypp and 232 yards last weekend. 

However, Mike White did take a beating last week and had to leave the game late with a rib injury. Nevertheless, he is going to start on Sunday. Detroit was under the radar for a while on its winning streak, but now the spotlight is shining brightly on them and they may not be ready for it. 

Pick: Jets -1

Kansas City Chiefs (-14, 49.5) at Houston Texans

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Dave Tuley: Regular VSiN readers know we love double-digit underdogs—they went 2-0 ATS last week with these Texans +17 at the Cowboys as well as the Jets +10 at the Bills to improve to 13-7 ATS (65%) on the season—and feel even stronger when they’re DD home dogs.

We gave this out on “The Greg Peterson Experience” on Sunday night because we felt that sharp bettors would be all over the Texans after they nearly beat the Cowboys outright. (The Texans are 3-1 ATS as double-digit dogs already this season with other covers in losses to the Broncos and Eagles. The only loss was by 1 point, a 30-15 loss as a 14-point dog in Week 11 at the Dolphins.) Besides, we’d like to think that even the chalk-loving public would be reluctant to lay big points again after getting burned by the Chiefs on Sunday as they jumped out to a 27-0 lead on the Broncos and still didn’t cover as 9-point road favorites in a 34-28 victory.

The Chiefs are 0-2 ATS as double-digit faves with non-covering wins vs. the Titans and Rams). The line hasn’t dipped as expected, but I feel that just gives more followers the opportunity to take the generous points.

Pick: Texans +14

Wes Reynolds: Houston threw the kitchen sink at Dallas last week and probably should have emerged with the outright victory. The Texans will try to do the same against Kansas City, who can clinch the AFC West with a victory here. However, the Chiefs saw on film what the Texans did last week as the Cowboys were caught off-guard by dueling quarterbacks and the package designed for Jeff Driskel. 

The Texans are going to continue the Davis Mills/Jeff Driskel platoon, but they will be doing so without rookie standout running back Dameon Pierce and more than likely without Brandin Cooks and Nico Collins at wideout. 

Meanwhile, Kansas City gave up 28 points to a putrid Denver offense last week and is looking to atone for some embarrassing play. To be fair, the defense got put in jail a few times due to Patrick Mahomes throwing three interceptions. The Chiefs also let up a little bit with a 27-0 lead in the final five minutes of the first half. 

This number has moved a bit too high from the lookahead total of 46.5. 

Pick: UNDER 49.5

Philadelphia Eagles (-9, 48.5) at Chicago Bears

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Adam Burke: Justin Fields has a tough assignment this week against the Eagles, as keeping pace with NFL MVP favorite Jalen Hurts is not easy. The best chance for the Bears to do that is to have Fields running all over the place.

His rushing yards prop is set at 67.5, a number he has gone over in eight of the last nine games. Even last week, when the Bears were held to just 52 plays (fewest since Week 5), Fields still had 71 rushing yards on six attempts. The six attempts were his fewest of the season, but he got there with some big plays. He’s also had a rushing touchdown in six straight games, in case you’re interested in an Anytime TD or First TD scorer market.

This will shock you, but it’s going to be cold and windy on Sunday in Chicago. That enhances the likelihood of Fields having a lot of rushing attempts and he should be able to get over this number again.

Pick: Justin Fields OVER 67.5 Rushing Yards (-120)

Pittsburgh Steelers at Carolina Panthers (-2.5, 37.5)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Adam Burke: With Kenny Pickett out due to his second concussion in under two months, Mitch Trubisky gets the call. The market considered him to be a pretty big downgrade to Pickett, but the numbers for the two guys are pretty similar, aside from the rushing totals. Both guys throw too many picks and don’t create explosive plays. It feels like the adjustment and the line at 3 is a little bit of an overreaction.

The Steelers have been a borderline top-five rushing offense since Week 8 and one of the few in the league that has been better than the Panthers in that span. There are a lot of similarities between these two teams, which makes Pittsburgh a live dog here.

Pittsburgh has passing concerns, but the Panthers can’t really throw the ball either, so it comes down to the running games and there isn’t a ton of gap between the two. Carolina’s run defense is a bit better, but the top-five pass defense is the reason why the Panthers grade so well. Pittsburgh was -3 per Westgate Superbook lookahead lines before everything took place last weekend and a six-point adjustment seems like a lot.

Pick: Steelers +3

Dallas Cowboys (-4, 47.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Femi Abebefe: One of the most interesting things to track this season has been the betting market’s interest in the Jacksonville Jaguars. This was a team that had a lot of promise heading into the season, and after three weeks, looked like they were ready to take over the AFC South.

Instead, they’ve been the Jekyll & Hyde team of the AFC. It’s easy to get roped in by the Jaguars with second-year quarterback Trevor Lawrence starting to show us why he was the first overall pick in 2021. After every Jacksonville win, you can pretty much guarantee the Jags will get bet the following week, and that happened once again with this matchup.

Is the market on to something? Maybe. However, as someone who bet the Jags last Sunday, I’m not sure this is the spot to back them–at least at these numbers. Last week against Tennessee, Jacksonville scored 20 points off turnovers in what turned out to be a dominant performance. Cut those turnovers in half, and maybe Tennessee is able to keep the game close and lean on Derrick Henry some more.

In the win, the Jags allowed 137 yards on the ground on just 20 carries. A large portion of this was acquired in the first half before the game got out of hand. I think Dallas will find similar success in the run game, and better success in the passing game to put a lot of pressure on a shaky Jacksonville defense.

While this might be a “lookahead spot” for the Cowboys with a massive game with the Eagles on deck next week, I think this game comes down to not trusting the Jaguars to put together back-to-back solid performances. Something they’ve yet to do since September.

Pick: Cowboys -4

Tennessee Titans at Los Angeles Chargers (-3, 47.5)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET

Adam Burke: A large portion of this week has been spent with people taking victory laps about Justin Herbert’s big game. Apparently, the narrative had gained steam that Herbert actually wasn’t all that good, but he looked like a completely different player with Corey Linsley back and more of his skill-position guys. And, yet, the Chargers only turned their 417 yards and 350 passing yards into 23 points.

They outgained the Dolphins by 213 yards, but still only won by six points. This is the 28th-ranked offense in red zone success. The Chargers are second in red zone attempts and 14th in points per game. Injuries to Keenan Allen and Mike Williams have certainly hurt, but so has the playcalling in the high-percentage scoring areas. The complete lack of a running game doesn’t help inside the 20 where things get bunched up.

On defense, the Chargers have spent the bulk of the season being bad against the run. They are 32nd in yards per carry with 5.4 and rank 29th in Rush EPA against for the season. They’re a really bad defensive unit and an underwhelming offense. Speaking of underwhelming offenses, though, that’s precisely what the Titans have. They are 23rd in EPA/play and 26th in Rush EPA, despite having Derrick Henry. Since OC Todd Downing was fired for his DUI arrest, the Titans are 27th in EPA/play.

The total has risen on this game, but I find the UNDER to be the play. Herbert’s gaudy yardage totals don’t always lead to points and the Titans should be able to play keep away to some degree.

Pick: UNDER 47.5

Femi Abebefe: I loathe the “buy-low, sell-high” moniker, but it’s hard not to use it for this game. The market is back in on the Chargers after Justin Herbert’s magnificent performance in primetime against the Dolphins. Herbert is awesome and probably has them in a better position than they should be given their injuries.

On the flip side, the Titans are coming off an embarrassing home loss to the Jaguars in a game where they turned the ball over four times. Keep in mind, this is a Tennessee team that hasn’t gotten much credit from the betting market going on a few years now.

I think those two results have set up a pretty valuable bet on the Titans this weekend getting a field goal. In close games, I tend to lean toward the better head coach and that edge goes to Mike Vrabel over Brandon Staley. No coach in the league is better at grinding out wins in the margins than Vrabel.

Couple that with the Xs & Os matchup heavily favoring the Titans when they have the football. I expect the Titans coaching staff to try to play keep away from Justin Herbert and give Derrick Henry 25-30 carries in this game. I think that the Titans' run game has a chance to gash a weak Chargers run defense and flip things in Tennessee’s favor.

LA will have success with their passing game, but in what should be a coinflip kind of game, I’ll take the points with the Titans.

Pick: Titans +3

Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5, 44) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET

Wes Reynolds: The Bengals have covered five in a row and are 10-3 ATS on the season, the best in the league. In fact, Cincinnati has covered 18 of its last 21 games dating back to Week 15 of last season. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay has the worst ATS record in the league at 3-9-1. Furthermore, the Bucs are off their most humiliating loss of the season as they took a 35-7 beating in San Francisco last week. Tom Brady was bad, the coaching was bad, and the defense was bad. Everything is pointing to Cincinnati here, so, of course, I am going with Tampa Bay. 

Both teams have key injuries. TE Hayden Hurst and DE Trey Hendrickson are both out for Cincinnati and WR Tee Higgins is highly questionable. The Bengals have arguably their longest injury report of the season. On the other side, Tampa Bay could be without DT Vita Vea and CB Jamel Dean but is looking good to get CB Sean Murphy-Bunting and S Antoine Winfield back. 

Tom Brady has somehow found the ‘fountain of youth’ at home on a few occasions this season with a near comeback win over Green Bay in Week 3 and completing comeback victories in Week 9 vs. the LA Rams and in Week 12 vs. New Orleans. Brady is 11-1 ATS in his career as a home underdog. Brady is also 16-3 SU and 18-1 ATS as a pick or dog off a loss in his NFL career, including 10-0 SU and ATS off a loss of more than 7 points.

This could be the time to temporarily sell off some Cincinnati shares at the top of the market. Since 2017, underdogs off blowout losses of 20 or more are 106-69-3 ATS (61%) and are 11-4-1 ATS in this spot for 2022.

Pick: Buccaneers +3.5 

New York Giants at Washington Commanders (-4.5, 40.5)

Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET

Dave Tuley: This game was flexed to Sunday Night Football, so hopefully it’s a competitive game. It should be as both are 7-5-1 and batting for NFC wild-card spots with the Seahawks and Lions looming.

We’ve been among the chorus of people saying the Giants were “doing it with mirrors” with their early-season success—and they still rank just No. 23 in total offense and No. 26 in total defense. However, I’m willing to back them here as I’m not buying the Commanders as 4.5-point home favorites, even though they are 2-0 ATS in their only times in that role this season.

But the biggest reason I can give that this game should be closer to pick-’em is because these two teams just played to a 20-20 tie. In fact, in a schedule quirk, that was the Commanders’ last game as they’re playing the Giants two games in a row. Gimme the Giants at anything more than a field goal.

Pick: Giants +4.5

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