FanSided’s Week 15 betting guide is live with advice on how to bet on all the action.
The NFL season is winding down and Week 15’s schedule is admittedly a bit underwhelming. There is one doozy of a game with the Chiefs taking on the Saints in a matchup of two Super Bowl contenders but a lot of the other matchups feature teams jockeying for playoff position against squads either out of the mix or barely in the hunt.
The loss in entertainment value for the fans may be a gain for bettors, who have plenty of interesting lines to attack with the slate. Let’s take a look at the optimal strategies for the Week 15 slate, with all lines referenced in this story coming courtesy of the FanDuel Sportsbook.
Thursday, December 17
Los Angeles Chargers (4-9) at Las Vegas Raiders (7-6)
Line: Raiders -3.5
Over/Under Total: 53
Thursday’s AFC West showdown is of vital importance for the Raiders, who have to run the table to have any shot at reaching the playoffs. Jon Gruden fired defensive coordinator Paul Guenther earlier in the week after Las Vegas gave up an average of 37.5 points per game over the last month, a stretch where the Raiders have gone just 1-3.
The line here is 3.5, which gives a valuable hook to the Chargers, who have no pressure in this game and can look to play spoiler. Take the points with Los Angeles and play the over in a game that should quickly reach shootout status.
Saturday, December 19
Buffalo Bills (10-3) at Denver Broncos (5-8)
Line: Bills -7
Over/Under Total: 50
This game opened with the Bills laying 5.5 and has shifted in Buffalo’s favor after their dominant showing against the Steelers on Sunday night. This will be a slightly shorter week for both sides, which could make a difference with Buffalo traveling to Denver for this matchup.
The line here is seven, which feels about right, but if it keeps trending in the Bills’ favor taking the points with the Broncos may not be a bad idea since there is letdown potential after an emotional win against Pittsburgh on Sunday night. Trend towards the under as well since Buffalo’s defense dominated the Steelers, which could depress the total.
Carolina Panthers (4-9) at Green Bay Packers (10-3)
Line: Packers -8.5
Over/Under Total: 51.5
Saturday’s other game could be lopsided as the Packers look to move one step closer towards clinching home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win over the Panthers. Carolina suffered a tough loss at home to the Broncos on Sunday and will likely be without Christian McCaffrey again since it makes no sense to rush him back with the team going nowhere.
The stakes are much higher for the Packers so expect them to be hyper focused and cover the 8.5 point spread. Carolina is capable of scoring plenty of points even without McCaffrey so the over should be a slam dunk.
Sunday, December 20
Chicago Bears (6-7) at Minnesota Vikings (6-7)
Line: Vikings -3.5
Over/Under Total: 46.5
The look-ahead line for this game saw Minnesota favored by six points but has been sliced nearly in half thanks to a ton of early bets on the Bears. It makes sense after the Vikings lost and Chicago emphatically beat the Houston Texans, but this is a big overcorrection for a Bears’ team that has struggled to score against most opponents.
These teams met earlier in the season with the Vikings scoring a 19-13 win in Chicago on Monday Night Football. Mitchell Trubisky is starting this time for the Bears but home field has flipped, which could essentially serve as a wash and create a similar game flow to what we saw back in Week 10. That means laying the points with the Vikings and playing the under in a low-scoring game.
Detroit Lions (5-8) at Tennessee Titans (9-4)
Line: Titans -10.5
Over/Under Total: N/A
There isn’t a total yet since there is uncertainty over the status of Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford, who was knocked out of Sunday’s loss to the Packers late with a rib injury. Keep an eye on Stafford’s situation before making a call on this line, which teeters the line to a point where you would want to take the points with Detroit if Stafford can go.
This is a risky situation since Stafford getting officially ruled out could see the line shift another few points in Tennessee’s favor. If the line dips under 10 lock in the Titans either way, but pay careful attention to Stafford’s practice reports before placing your wager.
Houston Texans (4-9) at Indianapolis Colts (9-4)
Line: Colts -7
Over/Under Total: 51
These teams met just two weeks ago, with the Colts winning a tight game after Deshaun Watson fumbled in the red zone with a chance to put the Texans ahead. It is also hard to put much trust in Houston on the road after they laid a complete egg in Chicago on Sunday against the Bears.
The line is a solid touchdown but Indianapolis’ defense is better and they have more on the line then the Texans. Lay the points with the Colts, who should win by double-digits, and play the over since Indianapolis’ offense has been red hot over the past few weeks.
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-12) at Baltimore Ravens (8-5)
Line: Ravens -13.5
Over/Under Total: 47.5
The Ravens won on Monday to save their season after a heroic return from cramping from Lamar Jackson. The game of the year featured a ton of offense without much defense, which is an interesting case study against a bad Jaguars team Baltimore should crush.
Gardner Minshew is back under center for Jacksonville, which should make the Jaguars more competitive, and combining that with the Ravens’ suspect defensive performances of late should point you towards taking the 13.5 points with the Jaguars having immense backdoor cover potential. Play the over here as well since Jacksonville’s defense will have a very hard time slowing down Jackson and company.
New England Patriots (6-7) at Miami Dolphins (8-5)
Line: Dolphins -2.5
Over/Under Total: 41.5
New England picked up a 21-11 win when these teams met back in Week 1 but a lot has changed for both sides since then. Miami’s defense has solidified into a legitimate unit and they have moved to Tua Tagovailoa under center while the Patriots have seen their offense collapse, leaving them in a must-win situation.
The line here is very close but it is worth noting that Bill Belichick has had three extra days to prepare a game plan to slow down Tagovailoa, which is scary considering the Patriots’ history of flummoxing rookie quarterbacks. Take the points with a desperate New England team and play the under in what could become a defensive battle.
San Francisco 49ers (5-8) at Dallas Cowboys (4-9)
Line: 49ers -3
Over/Under Total: 45.5
The NFL flexed this game out of primetime due to the struggles of both teams and it won’t be pretty to watch. San Francisco is a road favorite while Dallas kept its slim NFC East hopes alive with a big win over a bad Bengals’ team on Sunday.
The line is a fair one for the 49ers, who have the more talented roster and have been more consistently competitive than Dallas to this point. Lay the points with San Francisco and play the over since the Cowboys’ suspect defense should help the 49ers push the total above 45.5.
Seattle Seahawks (9-4) at Washington Football Team (6-7)
Line: Seahawks -6
Over/Under Total: 44.5
Seattle is coming off a massive rout of the Jets where they didn’t have to break a sweat and their reward is yet another 1:00 p.m. Eastern game, this one against the first-place Washington Football Team. Those spots are tricky for most teams but Seattle has thrived out east, going 7-1 in 10:00 a.m. body time games over the past two seasons.
The Football Team has won four straight to get into first place and their defense is tough so grabbing the points here is the smarter move if Alex Smith is cleared to play in this game. The total is so low that pushing the over feels like a good choice in a game where Russell Wilson and his talented wide receivers are involved.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-5) at Atlanta Falcons (4-9)
Line: Buccaneers -6
Over/Under Total: 50.5
Divisional road games are tricky but Tampa Bay looks well equipped for the challenge of going to Atlanta here. The Buccaneers snapped a two-game skid with a solid win over Minnesota on Sunday and now get to take on a Falcons’ team that has nothing to play for but pride and is coming off a second-half stinker in a loss to the Chargers last week.
Anything less than a touchdown is a good value for Tom Brady’s team so lay the six points with Tampa Bay here. Play the over as well since Atlanta’s suspect defense will put the Falcons behind early, creating garbage time a-plenty for Matt Ryan to tack on cheap points.
New York Jets (0-13) at Los Angeles Rams (9-4)
Line: Rams -17
Over/Under Total: 43.5
This is the biggest number on the board and you should have no fear in betting on the Rams to cover it. Los Angeles is coming off a nice win over the Patriots and had extra rest to prepare for the NFL’s worst team, which is flying back west again after getting their brains beaten in by Seattle last weekend.
The Jets were completely non-competitive in a 40-3 loss to the Seahawks and there is little evidence that Adam Gase has any idea how to generate offense against a quality defense like the Rams. Lay the points with the Rams and take the over since there’s a good chance Los Angeles could do most of the work for you in clearing the 43.5 total.
Philadelphia Eagles (4-8-1) at Arizona Cardinals (7-6)
Line: Cardinals -6.5
Over/Under Total: 49.5
The Cardinals righted the ship with a dominant defensive performance against the Giants but let’s look at the Eagles, who pulled off a stunning upset over the Saints last Sunday. Jalen Hurts made a ton of plays with his legs to help Philadelphia build an early lead that New Orleans couldn’t surpass, earning him another start in this game.
The playbook is limited for Hurts but there also isn’t a ton of film on him for Arizona to break down so the odds of Hurts finding some success again are good. Take the points with the Eagles to keep it close and play the over in a game that should turn into a shootout.
Kansas City Chiefs (12-1) at New Orleans Saints (10-3)
Line: Chiefs -3
Over/Under Total: 51.5
This is easily the most anticipated game of the week and one that could be a potential Super Bowl preview. The Chiefs are laying three on the road against a quality Saints team but the key to this game is whether Drew Brees will be under center.
The line clearly is baking in a return from Brees, which should keep the game tight, making it smarter to take the points with a home underdog than lay them with Patrick Mahomes on the road. The safest bet to make here is the over since these offenses are among the most explosive in football and can find ways to score on pretty much anyone who has the misfortune to stand in their way.
Cleveland Browns (9-4) at New York Giants (5-8)
Line: Browns -4.5
Over/Under Total: 45.5
This game was the NFL’s choice to replace Dallas-San Francisco on Sunday night and it has taken a bit of a hit after both teams lost last week, but it is still far more compelling than the alternative. Cleveland displayed some serious fight by going blow for blow with the Ravens in the most exciting game of the season while the Giants are in a must-win situation to stay alive for the division.
The spread is fair at 4.5 but you should lean towards laying the points with the Browns, who should force some turnovers against Daniel Jones and excel at taking care of business against teams they are better than. Play the over here as well since Cleveland’s defense got gashed on Monday, showing off some weaknesses the Giants could look to exploit.
Monday, December 21
Pittsburgh Steelers (11-2) at Cincinnati Bengals (2-10-1)
Line: Steelers -12.5
Over/Under Total: 40.5
This game has absolute dog potential since the Bengals are taking on a ticked-off Steelers team that is on a two-game losing streak. To make matters worse, Cincinnati has to start Brandon Allen against a loaded Pittsburgh defense, which combined with the Steelers’ offensive struggles explains the abysmally low total.
This game won’t be close as the Steelers should take advantage of the get-right opportunity by blowing out the Bengals with the final score coming in the neighborhood of 27-3. Given those circumstances, the plays are to lay the 12.5 points with the Steelers and play the under in a game you shouldn’t watch unless you’re a fan of either team or have action on it.