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Week 15 NFL Computer Picks: Battle of the Bays

The NFL’s Week 15 schedule has a key NFC game for the playoff race between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Green Bay Packers. We also will see if Joe Flacco can lead another victory for the Cleveland Browns, and the Rams are trending in the right direction behind Sean McVay and Matthew Stafford.

We crunched the OddsTrader computer picks and found 3 of our favorite bets that you can find at top-rated sportsbooks for Week 15.

Picks Summary


The Joe Flacco-Led Offense We All Expected

Who could have seen it coming that Joe Flacco was leading a playoff push for the Cleveland Browns in 2023? The 4th starting quarterback of the year for the Browns, Flacco had a great game last week in a high-scoring win over Jacksonville. The Bears are also coming off a win after they beat Detroit with a big performance for a change.

The Browns are a 3.5-point home favorite with a total of 37.5 points. Both teams are known for being led by the defense, but we think the over has real value here.


Chicago Bears vs. Cleveland Browns

Sunday, December 17, 2023 – 01:00 PM ET at Cleveland Browns Stadium


Joe Flacco Airing It Out

Is it too soon to add Flacco to the list of quarterbacks that run Kevin Stefanski’s offense better than Deshaun Watson? Flacco went from the couch to having back-to-back games with over 250 yards and multiple touchdowns. Not bad for a 38-year-old quarterback.

The Browns have capable weapons in need of someone who can get them the ball, and Flacco fits that bill better than the other options the Browns have at quarterback. He found the open receivers with relative ease against the Jaguars, though he is still a volume passer who needs a lot of attempts to be productive.

But he is learning the new offense on a daily basis, and he gets a Chicago defense that has been hot lately with 11 takeaways in the last 3 games. The Browns have a reputation for playing great defense, but they have gotten into some wild, high-scoring games thanks to a lot of turnovers.

The 31-27 win over Jacksonville last week counts as an example, as there were 7 turnovers in that game, including 3 by the Cleveland offense in a win. The Bears are no strangers to turnover-heavy games, so that could be another reason this game hits the over with short fields, if not the possibility for a return score.

Is Justin Fields Figuring Things Out?

Justin Fields may only have these last 4 games to prove he is worth keeping around for 2024 in Chicago. In his 3 games since returning from injury, he has averaged just over 200 passing yards per game (good for him), no interceptions, a slightly better sack rate, and he is averaging 73.7 rushing yards per game.

But those were also all games against NFC North rivals he is familiar with playing multiple times a year. That includes 2 games against a Detroit defense that has been poor since Week 7.

We’ll see how Fields fares on the road against a Cleveland defense that has a game-wrecking talent in Myles Garrett, who led a charge of 9 sacks of Fields when the teams last met in 2021 when Fields was a rookie. We’ll see how much Fields has progressed from that day.

But with DJ Moore playing at a high level, the rise of Cole Kmet at tight end, and Fields getting more out of his arm to go along with his legs, this may be a more offensive game than we would have expected a month ago.

The Pick

You may find this hard to believe but the over is 8-5 in Cleveland games this year. Last week was the first time a Cleveland home game went over 36 points this year, but with the turnover potential at risk here, this could be a fun, high-scoring game that is close in the end. We’ll take the over with Flacco and Fields at the controls.

Score Prediction: Browns 23 – Bears 21

NFL Pick: Over 37.5 (-108) at BetRivers (check our BetRivers Review)


Rams Ready for Playoff Return?

The Los Angeles Rams (6-7) may still have a losing record and lost last week in overtime in Baltimore, but the team is trending the right way under Sean McVay. Getting a comfortable home win over a struggling Washington team will only help the playoff push.

The Rams are a 6.5-point home favorite with a total of 49 points. We are looking at the spread.


Washington Commanders vs. Los Angeles Rams

Sunday, December 17, 2023 – 04:05 PM ET at SoFi Stadium


Rams Clicking on Offense

Through 9 games this season, Matthew Stafford only had 9 touchdown passes and was risking having his lowest touchdown pass rate of his career. But in the last 3 games, Stafford has thrown 10 touchdowns to 1 interception with a 111.0 passer rating, the best he has played since the team’s Super Bowl run in 2021.

It’s not like this run is based on the schedule either. Sure, Stafford started it against a bad Arizona defense, but he has continued staying hot against Cleveland and Baltimore, 2 very good defenses this season when you check the numbers.

Not only do the passing stats look good, but it is leading to points, as the Rams have scored at least 31 points in 3 straight games after not doing it once in the first 10 games this season.

The running game is also thriving with over 100 yards in 3 straight games for the first time this year, led by the quality play from Kyren Williams.

The best news is the Rams get a Washington defense that is 32nd in points allowed and just allowed 45 points in back-to-back games against the Cowboys and Dolphins. Washington had a bye week to prepare for this one, but unless it went out and found several viable starters to replace their tired bunch, they are not going to play well in this matchup against a quarterback who is dealing for a coach who is used to winning at home against bad teams.

Sam Howell Meets Aaron Donald

On the other side of the ball, the Commanders will try to break out of their scoring slump against Aaron Donald and company. Washington has not cracked 20 points in the last 3 games, and that includes an ugly performance with 6 giveaways against the Giants.

But the other thing we know about Sam Howell running this offense is that he takes a lot of sacks, with 58 and counting. He has cut down the number in recent weeks as he has not taken more than 4 sacks in the last 6 games. But even taking 3 or 4 sacks is still a bit too high for offensive success in this league.

The Rams have a below-average pass rush with 29 sacks this year, but they did hold 4 straight opponents to 20 points or fewer before running into a buzzsaw in Baltimore last week. But even in that 37-31 overtime loss, it was a 28-23 game late before Lamar Jackson converted a tough 3rd-and-17 for a touchdown to Zay Flowers. The Rams were that close to pulling off a 28-23 upset on the road against a hot offense.

The Pick

Put the Rams at home against a struggling Washington team and they should be able to win this one by a touchdown. We’ll trust McVay to call a game that sees Stafford carve up this bottom-ranked scoring defense with Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua, who are finally working in perfect harmony and staying healthy.

Score Prediction: Rams 29 – Commanders 21

NFL Pick: Rams -6.5 (-113) at BetRivers


Does Tampa Bay Upset Green Bay Again?

The Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are both 6-7, though the Bucs can still win their division since no team has a winning record going into Week 15. But the Packers just lost a brutal game to the Giants on Monday night, the 4th time this season the team blew a lead in the 4th quarter.

Can Baker Mayfield work some magic again this week in Lambeau? The Packers are a 3.5-point home favorite with a total of 42 points.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Green Bay Packers

Sunday, December 17, 2023 – 01:00 PM ET at Lambeau Field


Baker in Crunch Time

If Baker Mayfield wants to match what Tom Brady did last year in Tampa Bay, he just needs a few more games like last week where he saved his best for last in a game-winning drive against a division foe in Atlanta. Who says the Buccaneers can’t win the NFC South again with a losing record? They currently hold the tiebreaker to lead the other 6-7 teams in the division.

But Mayfield delivered Tampa Bay’s first 4th-quarter comeback of the season last week with a nice drive in Atlanta. He succeeded on a day where Mike Evans was hardly a factor, but Evans has had huge games and will look to dominate in this matchup.

Mayfield could be licking his chops against a defense that just made Tommy DeVito of the Giants look sound by completing over 80% of his passes, rushing for over 70 yards, and leading his own game-winning drive.

While game-winning drives are usually a weakness for Mayfield, he has put together a few nice ones in the last year going back to his debut with the Rams last December. Also, the Packers have blown 4th-quarter leads in 4 games this year, tied with Buffalo for the most in the league. When you play that soft in coverage in those moments, even the lesser quarterbacks can take advantage of it.

Jordan Love vs. Todd Bowles

It looked like Jordan Love had arrived after a strong multi-week run of play against the Chargers, Lions, and Chiefs. But Love was disappointing against the blitz of the Giants on the road on Monday night. While he rebounded late to lead a go-ahead drive, he was nowhere close on the 2-point conversion, and by not getting that, it opened Green Bay to losing to a last-second field goal, which is exactly what happened.

The thing to remember with Love is that he is surrounded by very young skill players, so they are going through the same growing pains as they try to get enough experience to put it together for a wild card run.

But this could be another tough matchup with a Todd Bowles defense that has veterans and will also blitz Love often. Love has to prove he can handle that efficiently as his 5.6 yards per attempt against the Giants was the lowest mark of his season.

In fact, yards per attempt has proven to be a great predictor for Love this year:

  • When Love’s yards per attempt is 7.4 or higher, the Packers are 5-0.
  • When Love’s yards per attempt is under 7.4, the Packers are 1-7.

The Tampa Bay defense is only 28th in yards per attempt (7.7), so the Buccaneers will need to step it up this week and likely win the turnover battle to win this game. But the Buccaneers have done a good job with the 7th-fewest giveaways (13) this year, better than Green Bay (15 turnovers).

The Pick

These teams look evenly matched right now. The Buccaneers have scored better on the road than at home this year, and they have scored 20 points in 5-of-7 road games. Green Bay has already played in 4 games decided by 1-to-2 points this year, and they were 1-3 in those games. Factor in the blown leads by the Packers, and this feels like one where the Bucs could win outright or at least get the cover in a close loss that goes down to the wire.

Score Prediction: Packers 21 – Buccaneers 19

NFL Pick: Buccaneers +3.5 (-115) at Unibet

*The line and/or odds referenced in this article might have changed since the content was published. For the latest information on line movements, visit OddsTrader’s free betting odds tool.

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