Tuley: Sunday NFL Week 15 Best Bets

By Dave Tuley  (VSiN.com senior reporter) 

December 18, 2022 04:05 AM

Saturday was an incredibly action-packed day in the Tuley’s Takes home office as we had 3 NFL games and 7 college bowl games in addition to an otherwise already loaded mid-December Saturday of pro and college basketball and NHL hockey among other sports.

It looked like the bowls would steal the headlines on the day as the Colts jumped out to a 17-0 against the Vikings and extended that to 33-0 at halftime. I used most of the game to wrap up putting in plays for my proxy clients in the football contests here in Vegas, but then when I tuned back in the Vikings had just pulled with 36-21 and I watched the rest of the greatest comeback in NFL history (see details below in our recaps).

I was kicking myself that I had passed on betting the underdog Colts, but I did hit my Best Bet of the day for the 5th day in a row on the Dolphins +7 and +7.5 against the Bills as they covered in another wild finish as the Bills prevailed 32-29 but we got the cash. That improved our record to 33-17-1 ATS (66%) with our daily top play the last 51 days.

I also mentioned my Dolphins play on my regular appearance on “The Greg Peterson Experience” (12:15 a.m. ET/9:15 p.m. PT Sunday nights) after the lines opened for this week, but it wasn’t included as one of my official picks since it was off the board at most books due to the Dolphins playing last Sunday night, but me and my followers now it was another winner.

As it was, we also improved to 30-14 ATS (68.2%) with my plays on the show since the start of the season and 17-5 ATS (77.3%) since the start of November as my lone CFB bowl play also cashed on BYU +1.5 vs. SMU in the Cougars 24-23 victory in the New Mexico Bowl. That was the line when we went on the show last Sunday night, then the line went as high as SMU -5 and closed at 4.5, which is where we gave out BYU again in Saturday’s column. The whole world was seemingly on SMU as BYU had more opt-outs including playing without starting QB Jaren Hall, but I stuck with the Cougars stating that “I’ve had a lot of winners over the years with backup QBs being able to jump in and have success in a successful offensive system (as the market typically overadjusts in these situations)” and that worked once again.

I also spent more time following the going-ons in the football contests here in town, so check out my weekly “Circa contest update” VSiN.com update as we give the top consensus and leader plays in Circa Sports Million and update Circa Survivor with 30 still alive for the $6.133 million prize pool (spoiler alert: 4 survived and advanced with the Vikings!).

Let’s recap the rest of Saturday's betting action and then list our Best Bets for Sunday against the current lines before rerunning our complete Wednesday column and updating our “takes” on the rest of the NFL Week 15 schedule.

Saturday Recaps

NFL: Bills re-rallied to beat Dolphins 32-29 on Tyler Bass’s 25-yard FG as time expired. The ViewFromVegas is they did NOT cover as 7-point home favorites. The game flew Over the betting total of 45 points. Faves went 3-0 SU on Saturday but dogs led 2-1 ATS. Home teams also went 3-0 SU but road teams led 2-1 ATS. Overs led 2-1.

More NFL: On the season, faves lead 134-72-2 SU with 4 pick-'ems, but dogs improved to 110-92-6 ATS (54.5%). Home teams lead 114-90-2 SU with 6 neutral-site games and 102-98-6 ATS (51%). Unders still lead 116-94-2 (55.2%) while primetime Unders dipped to 25-19-1 (56.8%).

Even more NFL (earlier games): Vikings beat Colts 39-36 on Greg Joseph's 40-yard FG with :03 left in OT to complete the biggest comeback in NFL history after trailing 33-0. They were 30-1 in-game but didn't cover as 3.5-point home faves. The game flew Over 47. The Browns beat the Ravens 13-3 in the middle game on Saturday and also covered after closing as 3-point home favorites. This game stayed way Under the low total of 39 points.

CFB: Faves went 5-2 SU and 4-3 ATS in Saturday’s bowl games with Boise State (-12.5) failing to cover in 35-32 win in Frisco Bowl. The outright upsets were by NC Central (+14, +450 ML in 42-34 OT win vs. Jackson State in the Celebration Bowl) and BYU (+4.5 in 24-23 win vs. SMU in the New Mexico Bowl). Unders led 4-3.

More CFB: Faves are 6-3 SU after the first 2 days of bowls (including Celebration Bowl, which some people don't count but it was on the main betting board, so we do); however, dogs lead 5-4 ATS with Miami-Ohio and North Texas covering in SU losses. Under lead 6-3.

CBB: No. 5 Houston (-2.5) beat No. 2 Virginia 69-61 but it wasn't an upset. No. 15 Gonzaga (+1) upset No. 4 Alabama 100-90. No. 9 Arizona (-4) beat No. 6 Tennessee 75-70. No. 16 UCLA (-2) beat No. 13 Kentucky 63-53. No. 8 Kansas (-5) beat No. 14 Indiana 84-62.

NBA: Faves went 6-1 SU on Saturday and 5-2 ATS as the Mavericks (+8.5) covered in 100-99 loss at Cavaliers. The lone upset was by the Thunder (+11) in 115-109 win vs. Grizzlies. Home teams went 5-2 SU and 4-3 ATS. Unders led 6-1 with the lone Over (227.5) in Suns' 118-114 win vs. Pelicans.

More NBA: On the season, faves improved to 285-152 SU with 7 games closing pick-’em, but dogs still lead 216-206-15 ATS (51.2%). Home teams lead 273-171 SU and 228-201-15 ATS (53.1%). In totals wagering, Overs' slim lead is back down to 220-219-5 (50.1%).

NHL: Faves went 8-4 with Red Wings-Senators closing pick-'em. The biggest upsets were by the Ducks (+260 at Oilers) and Islanders (+151 at Golden Knights). Road teams went 8-5. Overs led 7-6. On the season, faves lead 289-192 with 14 PKs. Home teams lead 253-238 with 4 neutral-site games. Unders lead 244-234-17.

Sunday Best Bets

Texans +14.5 vs. Chiefs: This is our Best Bet of the Day (the big hint is to always check out the photo at the top of my column) with the move over 2 TDs. More details in the writeups below.

Falcons-Saints Over 43.5

Lions +7.5/Titans +9 (2-team, 6-point teaser)

Giants +4.5 at Commanders

Monday: Rams +7 at Packers

Here's the rerun of our full breakdown of NFL Week 15. Updates are in italics as we track our plays through the weekend:

Welcome to our Wednesday column in which we give our “takes” on the full NFL Week 15 schedule.

We went 3-2 ATS with our top plays in Week 14 (wins on Jets, Panthers and Broncos, but losses on Giants and Buccaneers), though we lost our top teasers on the Vikings +8.5/Ravens +7.5 and then lost a Cardinals +7.5/Under 50 teaser on Monday Night Football to wrap up last week/start this calendar week.

Still, we’re having a great football season thanks to underdogs still barking at 108-90-6 ATS (54.5%) while our pet plays of home dogs are 43-31-4 ATS (58.1%) while double-digit dogs are 13-7 ATS (65%).

In addition, we’re been stressing to our readers/followers to listen to our regular appearances on "The Greg Peterson Experience” (12:15 a.m. ET/9:15 p.m. Sunday nights or 15 minutes into the archived version) as, even with the losing Cardinals/Under teaser, we’re still 29-14 ATS (67.4%) since the start of the season (the majority of which have been early NFL plays) and 16-5 ATS (76.2%) since the start of November (all of which have been on the NFL).

Per usual, even if we don’t have a Best Bet on a game, we add our “pool play” strategy, especially for those in contests where you have to pick every game.

Note: Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of early Wednesday morning unless otherwise noted. Check out VSIN.com's live NFL odds page for current odds.

San Francisco 49ers (-3.5) at Seattle Seahawks 

It’s tempting to take a home underdog on Thursday Night Football with the road team obviously facing the obstacle of a short week, but those TNF dogs are only 2-3 ATS this season (though one of the losses was the Rams in the season-opener when neither team was facing a short week). Besides, this line seems short at just over a field goal. The 49ers’ bandwagon is filling up even with third-string Brock “Mr. Irrelevant” Purdy taking over at QB and losing WR Deebo Samuel, though he’s now expected to return before the end of the regular season. I just can’t pull the trigger on a Seattle team that has certainly come down to earth after their surprisingly strong start. Besides, the 49ers’ dominated the Seahawks 27-7 on both sides of the ball back in Week 2 and I don’t see this being any different with the 49ers having the No. 1 defense in yards allowed per game and the Seahawks ranking No, 28.

Best Bet: Pass (pool play: 49ers in all my rare pools that include Thursday Night Football).

Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns (-3)

This is first in the official Nevada rotation on Saturday, but is actually the middle game at 4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT. It might surprise some people to see the Browns – who haven’t been too impressive since the return of Deshaun Watson – actually favored here, but the Ravens have their own QB problems with Lamar Jackson still expected to be out this week and Tyler Huntley in concussion protocol.. Will he be cleared to play by Saturday, or will undrafted rookie Anthony Brown (Oregon) get his first start? I’m likely to be on the Ravens as a short dog in some way like they were last week at Pittsburgh (possibly in teasers?), but I want to get more information on the QB situation. Please check my updated column later in the week.

Best Bet: Ravens in teasers (pool play: Ravens 60/40 in ATS contests – lower if only offered +2.5 – and around 55/50 in SU pools, though that could flip if Brown starts for Ravens). Friday update: it looks like Tyler Huntley is trending toward being able to start again, so let's tease the Ravens up over a touchdown to +8.5 or +9. Saturday update: let's start the weekend with a 2-team, 6-point teaser with the Ravens +8.5 to the Lions +7.5. Sunday update: we lost this teaser as the Ravens lost by 10.

Indianapolis Colts at Minnesota Vikings (-4)

This is the Saturday opener at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT. This is another case where I just don’t feel I’m getting enough points with the underdog. The Colts are playing better since Jeff Saturday took over as interim coach, but they’ve still lost their last three games after he won his debut against the Raiders. The Vikings now have the league’s worst defense at 40.3.7 yards allowed per game (after averaging a whopping 453 yards per game given up in the last three games), but I don’t trust the Colts to take advantage.

Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Vikings 55/45 in ATS contests and closer to 75/25 in SU pools).

Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills (-7.5)

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 as 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 7.5-point spread is too high, especially since they’re only 6-7 ATS on the season (they’ve been favored in every game) and recently failed to cover in wins over the Lions on Thanksgiving and Jets last Sunday. Even though they’re 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.

Best Bet: Dolphins +7.5 (pool play: Dolphins 70/30 in ATS contests, but Bills still 67/33 in SU pools). Thursday update: This line is mostly down to 7, so we hope those of you with us grabbed the hook just in case. Sunday update: winner, winner, chicken wings (Buffalo-style) dinner!!!

Note: We usually stick to the official Nevada rotation order, but the Giants-Commanders game that is listed as the first game on the Sunday betting board was actually flexed to the Sunday Night Football game, so we’re moving it to that spot above the Monday Night Football game. We now continue our Week 14 “takes” already in progress . . . 

Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints (-4.5)

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 against the Saints’ No. 11 defense. 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. While the Falcons made the move at QB to address the offense, but I’m not getting enough points with a rookie QB against a pretty solid defense (Saints rank No. 11 in yards allowed per game), plus the Falcons have the No. 30 defense.

Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Saints 55/45 in ATS contests and closer to 70/30 in SU pools). Friday update: I added Over 43.5 to the VSiN.com Best Bets file as I think that's a better play than the side.


Detroit Lions at New York Jets (-1)

As I’ve written many times, the Lions have been one of favorite dogs to bet the past 1 3/4 seasons as they were 11-6 ATS in 2021 despite a 3-13-1 SU record and 9-3 ATS this season. Unfortunately, I faded them with the Vikings at +8.5 in teasers last week and lost as the Lions kicked a late FG for a 34-23 victory. I was hoping to be on the Lions this week as road dogs at the Jets, but even though DraftKings was still at Jets -1 late Tuesday night, most books have gone to pick-’em and there’s a good chance the Lions will be bet to favoritism. I’m not willing to flip to the Jets as short home dogs (or pick-’em). Basically, this is a coin-flip game we like to avoid.

Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Lions 51/49 in all SU and ATS contests, or basically splitting all my entries). Thursday update: this has gone to pick-'em at even more books, so it's out of the so-called "teaser zone." Friday update: the line has reversed and is now up to 1.5 at several books, so we can tease the Lions up to +7.5. Sunday update: our favorite teaser of the day is Lions +7.5/Titans +9 along with Lions +7.5/Steelers +8.5.

Kansas City Chiefs (-14) at Houston Texans

Regular 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 (and they’re 3-1 ATS as double-digit dogs already this season with other covers in losses vs. the Broncos and Eagles and the only loss being by 1 point – 30-15 loss as 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.

Best Bet: Texans +14 (pool play: Texans 75/25 in ATS contests – and all if offered +14.5 – but Chiefs still 90/10 in SU pools). Saturday update: this line has been 14 week but went to +15 at Circa on Friday, so shop around. Sunday update: +14.5 continues to widely available as of early Sunday morning.

Philadelphia Eagles (-9) at Chicago Bears

Justin Fields has made the Bears more competitive than expected this season, but the fact remains that the Chicago defense allows 25.8 points per game and they’ve still lost six straight games. I had some success earlier this season fading the Eagles during their rise to the best record in the league as they were letting teams stick around (highlights being the Texans covering +14 on Thursday Night Football and the Commanders dealing them their lone loss at +11 on Monday Night Football), but the Eagles have won and covered the last three weeks and I’m not as thrilled with fading them anymore (or at least not with the Bears at this time).

Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Eagles 55/45 in ATS contests and closer to 80/20 in SU pools).

Pittsburgh Steelers at Carolina Panthers (-2.5)

When Baker Mayfield rallied the Rams to a 17-16 vs. the Raiders in the Week 14 Thursday nighter, a lot of people wondered if the Panthers should have kept him. However, Sam Darnold has been just fine since taking over the starting QB job and has led back-to-back wins over the Broncos and Seahawks to move within one game of the Buccaneers in the NFC South. Advance lines for this game has the Steelers as short road favorites, but now the Panthers are favored, which chalk bettors should be aware that they’re 0-3 SU and ATS as faves this season. The Steelers have their own QB issues, too, so I’m not ready to pull the trigger with the couple of points, though I might add them as a teaser play later in the week.

Best Bet: Pass for now, possibly Steelers in teasers (pool play: Panthers 55/45 in ATS contests and around 65/35 in SU pools). Saturday update: our preferred teaser play in Sunday's early games will be Lions +7.5 to the Steelers +9 regardless who starts at QB for Pittsburgh.

Dallas Cowboys (-4.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars

Both these teams have been confusing bettors all season. The Cowboys (10-3 SU but only 8-5 ATS) escaped with a 27-23 victory last week in a non-covering win vs. the Texans (a one-win team that beat these same Jaguars 13-6 back in Week 5 as 7-point dogs). After their Week 6 loss to the Eagles, the Cowboys routed the Lions and Bears in easy covers but then lost outright to the Packers in Week 10. They won four straight since then, but failed to cover in the wins vs. the Giants and Texans. Meanwhile, the Jaguars (5-8 SU and ATS) have looked competitive and downright good in their upsets of the Colts, Chargers, Raiders, Ravens and last Sunday against the Titans, but have been the same ole Jaguars in their losses (note: they’ve yet to cover a game as dogs without winning outright). It’s interesting to note that while the Cowboys rank No. 10 in total offense with 359.6 yards per game, the Jaguars are surprisingly right behind them at No. 11 and 357.5 yards per game with the improving Trevor Lawrence. The big difference is the Cowboys, despite their poor performance against the Texans, have the No. 5 defense while the Jaguars rank No. 27, so I can’t get on-board as the line seems light.

Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Cowboys 55/45 in ATS contests and closer to 70/30 in SU pools).

Arizona Cardinals at Denver Broncos (-3)

The Mountain Time Zone isn’t seeing much good NFL football this season as both teams have underperformed, and now the Cardinals are without QB Kyler Murray. I’m actually OK with Colt McCoy, but not in this case as the Broncos’ defense still ranks No. 7 in yards allowed per game after standing up to Patrick Mahomes in Denver’s cover as 9-point dogs in a 34-28 loss to the Chiefs. The Broncos’ No. 27 offense even woke up against the Chiefs and should also have success against an Arizona defense that now allows a league-worst 26.8 points per game after giving up an average of 30 points in its last three games, even if they have to turn to Brett Rypien if Russell Wilson doesn’t pass through the concussion protocol.

Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Broncos 55/45 in ATS contests and 65/35 in SU pools).


Tennessee Titans at Los Angeles Chargers (-3)

The Titans have had a roller-coaster of a season as they started 0-2, then went on a 7-1 SU and 8-0 ATS run but are now on a three-game losing streak. They still have a two-game lead over the Jaguars in the AFC South. I still like them as underdogs (they’re 4-2 ATS in the role this season) but was hoping to get +3.5 in this game. The Chargers’ bandwagon is filling up after their 23-17 upset of the Dolphins on Sunday Night Football, so I was hoping this line would get bet higher; however, the books have been adding juice to the +3 and it’s looking more likely to dip to 2.5. At this point, I’m making the Titans my favorite teaser leg of the week and will only take the points if it reverses direction to give me the hook. 

Best Bet: Titans in teasers (pool play: Titans 55/45 in ATS contests – higher at +3.5, lower at +2.5 – with Chargers 55/45 in SU pools).

Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

I gotta tell you, it’s frustrating to see so many home underdogs but I’m trying to be selective and not just play them blindly. I want to back Tom Brady in that role, but it certainly didn’t work at the 49ers last week. Granted, the Bengals’ defense (ranked No. 14 in yards allowed per game) isn’t as good as the 49ers, but the Bengals are still 9-2 in their last 11 games after their 0-2 start. The Bengals are also 7-1 SU and ATS in their last eight games as chalk and three of those were as road faves.

Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Bengals 55/45 in ATS contests and 67/33 in SU pools).

New England Patriots (-1) at Las Vegas Raiders

This joins Steelers-Panthers and possibly Lions-Jets with a change of favorite as the Raiders were favored on the advance lines for this game, but their 17-16 loss at the Rams (just the latest in a season of late-game collapses) and the Patriots’ 27-13 win at the Cardinals on Monday night have moved the Pats to favoritism. New England is mostly relying on its No. 8 defense to claw back into the AFC wild-card race as they’ve gone 4-2 in their last six games (with only losses to the Vikings and Bills). I can’t back the Raiders as just 1-point dogs, but I’ll add them to my teaser portfolio if it moves any more in the Patriots’ direction as the Raiders are at least good enough to make this another one-score game (they’ve only lost one game this year by more than 7 points).

Best Bet: Pass for now, Raiders possibly in teasers (pool play: Patriots 60/40 in SU and ATS contests). Friday update: most books have moved the Raiders to favoritism at -1, so we no longer are looking to tease them.

New York Giants at Washington Commanders (-4.5)

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.

Best Bet: Giants +4.5 (pool play: Giants 67/33 in ATS contests and let’s call for the outright upset at 55/45 in SU pools). Thursday update: this has actually been bet up to 5 at some books, but we don't mind fading such a move. Sunday update: Giants still playable at +4.5.

Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay Packers (-7)

Baker Mayfield didn’t start the Thursday Night Football game against the Raiders after just one practice with the Rams, but it looks like he’ll be starting Monday night at Lambeau Field. Now, I’m not saying all the Rams’ problems are solved, but the fact remains that the Packers are still also having a major down season and shouldn’t be favored by this many points against just about anyone. They’re just 2-2 SU and 1-3 ATS this season as faves of 7 points or more (and if Justin Fields’ QB sneak had been given the TD it deserved, the Packers probably would have failed to cover in that game, too). The Rams’ running offense has also struggled this season, but it should have success against the Packers along with Mayfield.

Best Bet: Rams +7 (pool play: Rams 60/40 in ATS contests but Packers still 75/25 in SU pools). Saturday update: this line has stayed at +7 and we're liking it more and more and it's sure to be out Best Bet for Monday.


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