NFL Week 15 Betting Guide: Odds, Props and Picks

Brad Gagnon@Brad_Gagnon NFL National ColumnistDecember 14, 2018

NFL Week 15 Betting Guide: Odds, Props and Picks

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    In this spot last week, it all came together. 

    Yours truly was 12-4 against the spread, 3-0-1 picking props, 3-1 with top ATS picks and the lock of the week, 3-0 with top over/under picks, 3-1 with value bets and correct with the sucker bet of the week. 

    What goes up almost always comes down in the sports-betting world, so don't get your hopes up for the Week 15 edition of Bleacher Report's betting guide. In other words, don't complain to us if those Week 14 numbers get flipped upside down on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. 

    But we've got the hot hand at the craps table, so let's blow on the dice and see if we can extend this ride another week. 

    Here's our latest look at Week 15, with a guide for upcoming games, notes on spreads, over/unders and moneylines, top picks and the lock of the week.


Moneyline Picks, and Picks Against the Spread

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    Gail Burton/Associated Press

    Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs (-3.5, 54.5 O/U): Chargers +3.5 and Chiefs -188

    Houston Texans (-6.5, 41.5 O/U) at New York Jets: Texans -6.5 and -280

    Cleveland Browns at Denver Broncos (-2.5, 45.5 O/U): Browns +2.5 and +134

    Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears (-6, 45 O/U): Packers +6 and Bears -257

    Miami Dolphins at Minnesota Vikings (-7.5, 44.5 O/U): Vikings -7.5 and -333

    Detroit Lions at Buffalo Bills (-2, 39.5 O/U): Bills -2 and -128

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Baltimore Ravens (-7.5, 46.5 O/U): Ravens -7.5 and -334

    Arizona Cardinals at Atlanta Falcons (-9.5, 44 O/U): Cardinals +9.5 and Falcons -431

    Oakland Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals (-3, 46 O/U): Raiders +3 and +147

    Tennessee Titans at New York Giants (-2, 43.5 O/U): Giants -2 and -124

    Washington Redskins at Jacksonville Jaguars (-7.5, 36 O/U): Jaguars -7.5 and -335

    Dallas Cowboys at Indianapolis Colts (-3, 47 O/U): Colts -3 and -150

    Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers (+3.5, 44 O/U): Seahawks -3.5 and -188

    New England Patriots (-2.5, 52 O/U) at Pittsburgh Steelers: Patriots -2.5 and -141

    Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles Rams (-11.5, 52.5 O/U): Rams -11.5 and -536

    New Orleans Saints (-6.5, 51.5 O/U) at Carolina Panthers: Panthers +6.5 and Saints -250

Stay-Away Games

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    Cowboys at Colts (-3)

    Dallas has won five consecutive one-score games to move into a prime playoff position, but the Cowboys are just 2-4 on the road. Indianapolis has won four straight home games, but two of the last three came by only three points apiece. 

    Are the Cowboys due to come back to earth? And which Colts team will show up: the one that was shut out by the slumping Jaguars or the one that beat the first-place Texans on the road one week later? 

    Consider, too, that all three star Cowboys offensive linemen are either out (Travis Frederick, illness) or ailing (Tyron Smith, neck, and Zack Martin, sprained MCL) and key Colts T.Y. Hilton and Margus Hunt are also question marks, and this game is tougher to read than Ulysses by James Joyce. 

    It feels as though the home team will win it by a field goal, which is why it's best to stay away. 


    Packers at Bears (-6)

    Was last week's Packers revival a result of fresh energy in Green Bay following a coaching change? Or was that more about how bad the Falcons are? That's a tough question to answer, which makes it difficult to get a feel for the team's rematch with Chicago on Sunday at Soldier Field.

    The Bears outplayed Green Bay in a Week 1 road loss and have gained steam since, so we'd still lean Chicago here under most circumstances. But in addition to fears that the Packers have a late-season run in them, there should be some concern on behalf of Chicago bettors that the Bears will be without nickel cornerback Bryce Callahan (foot). 

    Callahan was a de facto starter, and the Pro Football Focus numbers corroborate the notion that he's been one of the NFL's top-performing corners. 

    Too much is unknown about this game to confidently bet on either team against the spread. 


    Lions at Bills (-2)

    Detroit is probably the better team on paper, but its win in Arizona last week was just its second since Oct. 21. So take the Bills at home with less than a field goal on the line, right? Not so fast, because Buffalo is the ultimate Jekyll and Hyde team. 

    Just a few weeks removed from a blowout victory over the Jets on the road, they're coming off a loss to the Jets at home‚ÄĒNew York's first win since Week 6, and its first road victory since Week 1.

    The Bills somehow have a pair of three-score road wins this season, but they've yet to win a home game by more than three points. Hard to get behind that here, and just as difficult to side with Detroit on the road. 

    In a matchup between teams that are playing out the string, you're better off on the proverbial sideline.


    Raiders at Bengals (-3)

    Ditto here. With both Oakland and Cincinnati toast this season, it's tougher to tell where this'll go. And yes, that'll become a more common issue as we move closer to Week 17. It's a reality of the NFL betting world. 

    Now, I like the Raiders, who are coming off a pair of strong performances and have quietly gotten a solid season out of quarterback Derek Carr (11-to-0 touchdown-to-interception ratio and a triple-digit passer rating in his last eight games), but you're not even going to spot me more than three points as Oakland travels three time zones? 

    When it last did that, Oakland was crushed by Baltimore on Nov. 25. And both of those strong showings to kick off December came at home. Meanwhile, Cincinnati might be due to break that five-game losing streak following a surprisingly decent Week 14 road performance against the Chargers.

    Don't touch this with a 10-foot pole. 

Prop Bets You Can Take to the Bank

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    Alex Brandon/Associated Press

    Patriots at Steelers: Total first-half points over 25.5 (-108)

    Only four teams have scored more first-half points than the Steelers, who rank one spot ahead of the Patriots. Combined, 56 percent of their points this season have come before halftime, and after traumatic Week 14 losses, I'd imagine both teams will be fired up early in a critical game. 

    Both squads are averaging 16 points per first half, and -108 is a good value, as both only have to combine for 26 on Sunday. 


    Titans at Giants: Total turnovers between 2 and 3 (+130)

    Tennessee and New York both rank among the 10 best in preventing turnovers. Only three Titans games have contained more than two turnovers, while the Giants have given it away just five times during their recent hot period of four wins in their last five games. 

    The Titans might make a mistake or two on the road against a recently opportunistic Giants defense, which has six takeaways in its last two contests, but I'd look for New York to turn it over once at the most and Tennessee to commit one or two turnovers. 


    Seahawks at 49ers: 49ers most turnovers (+110)

    That's not a bad return, considering San Francisco's minus-21 turnover margin ranks 32nd, while's Seattle's plus-11 margin ranks second to only the Bears. 

    The Seahawks easily won the takeaway battle 3-0 when the two met in Week 13, while the 49ers are on pace to set a record low for takeaways in a season (11); they have just five in 13 games. 

    San Francisco has won just two turnover battles, while Seattle has lost just three. There are better odds they'll tie in that category, but it's surprising there are still favorable odds the Niners will lose that battle.


    Texans at Jets: At least one defensive touchdown (+175)

    The Jets have 26 turnovers, the Texans have 23 takeaways, Jets quarterback Sam Darnold is an interception machine (he leads the league with 15 despite missing three games) and these teams have a combined seven defensive touchdowns. 

    The odds are still against this, but it's easy to envision Darnold tossing a pick-six with the Jets behind and pressing at home Saturday evening. We'll take those odds. 

Spreads to Bet

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    Buccaneers at Ravens (-7.5)

    Whether or not you consider last week's performance against the Chiefs a moral victory, the Ravens need to build off that with an actual victory in Week 15. And they couldn't have asked for a better opponent, considering they're at home. 

    That's because the Buccaneers are surrendering a comical 39.8 points per game on the road, which is nearly four points higher than the modern single-season record (36.1 for the 1984 Bills). Their defense put together some decent outings during a recent run of home games, but their last five away contests have contained 15 turnovers and zero takeaways. 

    The Ravens are a notoriously strong home team and are coming off two spirited road games, which followed a 17-point home victory over an Oakland squad that no longer looks like a slouch.

    Look for the Bucs D to struggle with Lamar Jackson's unique skill set, while Baltimore's top-ranked scoring defense should make easy work of a no-longer-scary Tampa Bay offense that almost completely lacks balance. 

    The Ravens have three double-digit home victories this season, and a fourth is on its way.


    Titans at Giants (-2)

    The home/away element is also critical here, because Tennessee has won three straight at home but was crushed in Indianapolis and Houston in the midst of that hot home stretch. They're just 2-4 outside Nashville this season, and now they're running into a buzz saw with nothing to lose. 

    The Giants have won four of five and are coming off a 40-16 road victory despite the absence of star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. There's a chance they won't have OBJ again Sunday, but there's also still hope he'll return from his quad injury. 

    With only two points to overcome, we're backing the Giants either way. 

    They've been on a roll after a brutal start, but it's not a fluke. Sensational rookie running back Saquon Barkley is emerging as a game-changer, the offense is designed to limit killer mistakes and they're finally doing a lot of the things many predicted in the preseason. 

    If not for a bad second half on the road in Week 12 against the Eagles, they'd be perfect since their Week 9 bye. Look for their next victim to be a Titans team that is inconsistent, untrustworthy and dealing with fresh injuries to key offensive players Jack Conklin (knee) and Jonnu Smith (knee). 


    Redskins at Jaguars (-7.5)

    In a perfect world, you'd have grabbed the Jags when they were laying only an even touchdown, but you still couldn't give me enough points to get behind Washington. 

    Not to rub it in, but the Redskins trailed the Giants 40-0 through three quarters last week, and that was at home against a team that was missing its best offensive player. Now, they're on the road and facing a Jaguars squad that is well-rested following a Thursday night matchup with the Titans in Week 14. 

    That wasn't a pretty performance for Jacksonville, and pretty performances have been few and far between for them. But look for the Jaguars to get running back Leonard Fournette going against a run defense that has surrendered 5.0 yards per carry since Week 9. 

    The Redskins are a mess. Not only are they essentially down to a fourth-string quarterback (Josh Johnson), and not only is their injury list longer than Santa's toy list, but their once-acclaimed defense has fallen apart. They've given up 30.5 points per contest during their four-game losing streak, possibly leading to in-house acrimony. 

    This team is giving off bad vibes. And while that might not be quantifiable, Washington's recent results are. Put it all together, and this is a home blowout for the much healthier and significantly more talented Jags. 

Line Movement

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    Browns at Broncos: Broncos -4.5 to -2.5

    Oddsmakers gave way too much love to the home side out of the gates, and now it seems the public has pushed this to within reaching distance of a pick'em.

    Frankly, that's what it should be. The Browns are the better, healthier team with the superior quarterback in Baker Mayfield. And they're playing well, while Denver is coming off a demoralizing loss to San Francisco. 

    Hope you sharped the Browns before the line fell below +3, but you might be good regardless. The Broncos are in rough shape without Emmanuel Sanders (Achilles) and Chris Harris Jr. (fibula).


    Buccaneers at Ravens: Ravens -6 to -7.5

    Maybe a lack of clarity regarding the quarterback position in Baltimore delayed this move across the touchdown line for the Ravens. Now we know Lamar Jackson will start regardless of Joe Flacco's hip status. 

    That'll make life tough for a Tampa Bay defense that has been abysmal, especially on the road. Not sure they'll hang in Baltimore regardless of the spread, but kudos to those who locked in the Ravens while they were laying less than a touchdown to start the week. 


    Eagles at Rams: Rams -8.5 to -11.5

    This was already above nine before word got out that Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz has fractured vertebra. Since, it's moved a couple of more points in L.A.'s direction. 

    I would have expected a bigger jump. 

    Wentz might not have been playing lights-out, but backup Nick Foles hasn't thrown a pass since Sept. 16. And while Foles is the reigning Super Bowl MVP, it should be noted that he completed only 54 percent of his passes and posted a weak 77.7 passer rating in his first three starts in relief of Wentz last December. 


    Cardinals at Falcons: Falcons -7.5 to -9.5

    Not all line movements were created equal, and a jump from 7.5 to 9.5 isn't quite as significant as, say, six to eight, simply because so many games are decided by exactly seven points. 

    Still, this was a weird slide. Was it all about David Johnson's injury? The running back has been dealing with a balky quad, but he's already back at practice, per Darren Urban of the team's site. Meanwhile, both Julio Jones (foot, illness) and Austin Hooper (ankle, knee) are hurting for the Falcons, who have averaged just 17.6 points per contest during a five-game losing streak. 


    Patriots at Steelers: 49 O/U to 52 O/U

    It doesn't look as though Ben Roethlisberger's injured ribs will cost him more playing time, while there's even a chance James Conner (ankle) will return to the Steelers backfield. Those developments likely worked in concert with the public's love for overs to bring this total above 50. 

    Books often shade overs, but they might not have shaded this one enough. 

Easy Over/Unders

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    Titans at Giants: Over 43.5 points

    The Giants have averaged 31.4 points per game dating back to Week 10, and they scored 40 in Washington last week without Beckham. And while the defense gave up just 16 points to the Redskins, it's hard to read too deeply into that performance, considering the state of Washington's offense. 

    Big Blue has still allowed 25.2 points per game during its hot stretch. 

    Meanwhile, the Titans have averaged 28.0 points per contests in their last two outings. It's possible they won't be as effective on offense away from home and without Conklin and Smith, but it should be noted that the Tennessee defense has also been significantly worse on the road. 

    Tennessee surrendered 72 total points in back-to-back losses to the Colts and Texans away from Nashville last month. That D recently had trouble with the Jets' Isaiah Crowell and Texans' Lamar Miller, and Barkley is in a different league. 

    Look for the Giants to score 30-plus in a game that could hit that total before the fourth quarter. 


    Cowboys at Colts: Under 47 points

    Neither the Cowboys nor the Colts have been known for their defenses in recent years, but Dallas has surrendered an NFC-low 18.9 points per game this season, while Indianapolis has given up a league-low 17.1 points per game since Week 7. 

    So why in the world would anybody expect these two to combine for 48 points Sunday? 

    It's not as though either offense has consistently lit it up. The Colts rank eighth in scoring, but Jacksonville shut them out two weeks ago, and injuries could be playing a role in Indy's productivity dip this month. 

    Even as Amari Cooper has jump-started the offense, the Cowboys have averaged a middle-of-the-pack 22.7 points per game since their Week 8 bye. 

    Look for both teams to play it close to the vest in a critical game, resulting in a tight, low-scoring affair. 


    Saints at Panthers: Over 51.5 points

    After a six-quarter slump in Dallas and Tampa, the Saints rediscovered their dangerous offense during the second half of their Week 14 victory over the Bucs. And there's little reason to believe the league's second-highest-scoring team won't keep it rolling Monday night in Carolina. 

    After all, the Panthers defense has given up a sad 30.4 points per contest during the team's five-game losing streak. 

    So while it would be surprising if the Saints didn't score 30-plus, it should also be noted that Carolina had won 10 consecutive home games before it fell to the Seahawks last month in Charlotte. But the Panthers still scored 27 in that loss, and they've averaged 30.4 points per game during that 11-game run at home.

    The Panthers need this badly. In prime time, in front of a home crowd, in a must-win game, look for them to put up a fight and turn this into a shootout starring Cam Newton, Christian McCaffrey and every weapon New Orleans has got. 

Value Bets

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    Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    Browns (+134) at Broncos 

    You could have grabbed the Browns for about +145 earlier this week, but any plus money works for an underdog that should win outright Saturday night in Denver. 

    These teams are moving in opposite directions. The relatively healthy Browns have won three of their last four games and lead the league in yards per play since coordinator Freddie Kitchens took over the offense in Week 9. Meanwhile, the depleted Broncos saw their second-half playoff charge crash and burn with a dud performance in a Week 14 loss to the lowly 49ers. 

    The Browns are the better, hotter and healthier team, and they're doing a great job of protecting their sensational young quarterback. That might make it hard for Von Miller and/or Bradley Chubb to take over the game up front, which could be problematic for a defense that's without its top cover man, Chris Harris Jr. 

    That sensational young quarterback, Mayfield, is having a substantially better season than Denver's well-paid signal-caller, Case Keenum. And while the Broncos remain the favorite thanks mainly to their home-field advantage, Denver has lost three of its last four games at Mile High. 

    So get behind the Browns on Saturday and enjoy the equivalent of $134 on the equivalent of a $100 bet.


    Seahawks (-188) at 49ers

    The wonderful part about the fact that the Seahawks are laying far fewer points than they should be (more on that in a moment) is that Seattle pays relatively well on the moneyline as a 3.5-point favorite.

    So if you fear a backdoor cover or a field-goal game and can't buy an extra point back, you might want to consider risking the equivalent of $100 to make the equivalent of about $153 for a simple outright Seahawks victory. 

    There's little doubt Russell Wilson and the Seahawks will win this game, even on the road. The line should be bigger, and it's surprising a Seahawks victory is fetching anything better than -250. 


    Cardinals (+385) at Falcons

    Swing the bat! 

    We aren't predicting the Cardinals will upset the Falcons in Atlanta, but we're telling you there's a chance. 

    The transitive property can't be used to predict NFL scores, but it's noteworthy that Arizona beat Green Bay on the road just two weeks ago, and Green Bay dominated Atlanta in the same stadium in Week 14. 

    It's possible the Falcons, who haven't scored more than 20 points in a game since Week 9, have thrown in the towel. Meanwhile, the Cardinals still appear to be playing hard in a lost season, so it's possible they'll pull off the upset. 

    They'd be the seventh nine-plus-point underdog to win outright this season. And if that happened, they'd pay a sweet $385 on a $100 bet.

Sucker Bet: Cowboys +143 over Colts

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    This week is loaded with sucker bets, including the Titans paying only +112 and the Bears and Saints only fetching -250 each. But the real winner (loser?) is Dallas, which, as a three-point underdog, is worth just $43 extra on a $100 bet. 

    We get it. The Cowboys are America's Team, they're riding a five-game winning streak, Cooper is good again and the Colts are two weeks removed from a 6-0 loss to the troubled Jaguars. But this is still a tough road game for a team that's 2-4 outside the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex this season.

    And they're probably due for a dud following five consecutive one-score victories. They've been surviving, but the offensive line is in rough shape, it's fair to distrust Dak Prescott following an up-and-down performance against Philly and they'll face a defense that has allowed fewer points per game than everyone else in football since Week 7. 

    A Dallas win is possible. But if I'm going to bet on a road upset over a team with as much talent as Indianapolis, I'm going to need a much bigger return than that. 

Lock of the Week: Seahawks -3.5

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    Oddsmakers and the betting public continue to underestimate the Seahawks, who have fallen short of the spread only three times in 13 games but are inexplicably a mere 3.5-point favorite for their Week 15 matchup with the 49ers in San Francisco. 

    That number has dropped from 4.5 at the start of the week, presumably because the 49ers are coming off a half-decent performance in a victory over Denver, while the Seahawks offense struggled Monday night against Minnesota. 

    But those were likely aberrations, especially for Seattle. The Minnesota game was the lowest-rated performance of quarterback Russell Wilson's career (37.9), but there's no reason to believe the second-highest-rated passer in NFL history and fourth-highest-rated passer this season won't bounce back against one of the league's worst and least opportunistic pass defenses. 

    Heck, Wilson torched that D with four touchdown passes, zero interceptions and a 140.9 passer rating in a 43-16 victory just two weeks ago. And while that doesn't mean the 49ers will lose by another 27-point margin now that they're at home and more familiar with their opponent, it's pretty unlikely we drop from 27 to a field goal. 

    Besides, Seattle has played well on the road‚ÄĒthey¬†crushed the Lions, beat a Panthers team that hadn't lost at home in a year, nearly knocked off the first-place Rams and hammered the Raiders at a neutral site. And they might have top receiver Doug Baldwin (hip) back for this one.¬†

    The 49ers ran into a depleted team last week and played just well enough to win. Now it'll be back to reality for a squad with a bottom-10 scoring offense and a bottom-10 scoring defense that hasn't won back-to-back games without Jimmy Garoppolo since November 2014. 


    All moneylines, spreads and over/under totals are via OddsShark and accurate as of Thursday evening. All other bet types are through OddsChecker and accurate as of Thursday evening.

    Brad Gagnon has covered the NFL for Bleacher Report since 2012.