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BETTING

Week 15 NFL Upset Alert: Don’t Be Afraid of Betting the Chiefs

The betting odds for Week 15 in the NFL are here, and three games interest me: Bears vs. Browns, Giants vs. Saints, and Chiefs vs. Patriots.

For your best bets, I will recommend that you wager on all three underdogs.

I personally like investing three-quarters of a unit in the underdog ATS and the remaining quarter in the underdog’s moneyline.

Picks Summary


Chicago Bears vs. Cleveland Browns

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


Assessing Last Week’s Browns Win

Browns’ backers will derive great confidence from Cleveland’s win over Jacksonville last week. They will talk about how great Cleveland’s offense looks with Joe Flacco at quarterback. But Flacco didn’t prove anything last week.

What last week’s game showed is the extent to which Jacksonville’s defense had fallen off a cliff. This Jaguars defense had, the week before, allowed Bengals backup quarterback Jake Browning to look like an absolute star. Browning, who signed for the league minimum and who was passed over in the beginning of the season for a hobbling Joe Burrow, completed 32 of 37 passes for 354 yards and a touchdown against Jacksonville’s defense.

I say this because this negates any perceived value in Flacco’s performance last week against this same Jaguars defense. Flacco is simply Flacco, a last-ditch option at quarterback who came from retirement after Cleveland tried to rely on a journeyman quarterback and a rookie quarterback who was selected in the fifth round.

Even with the wide-open throws – his tight end, for example, was completely wide open on a 34-yard touchdown pass – Flacco’s performance wasn’t even all that great. He completed 57.8% of his passes and was intercepted for a second straight game despite being someone who out of necessity tends to throw shorter passes.

It will turn out on Sunday that there is a significant disparity between each team’s quarterback quality, with Chicago having the stronger quarterback.

Chicago’s Defense

The Bears’ defense comes in hot after holding the Vikings to ten points thanks in large part to its four interceptions of Minnesota’s Josh Dobbs.

More impressively, the Bears just held Detroit to 13 points even though the Lions had scored 20 or more points in every other game but against Baltimore.

Chicago’s front seven is finally gelling. As part of this front seven, Montez Sweat is making a difference, as evident in his 3.5 sacks in his last three games. The Bears’ secondary is also healthy and boasts significant talent at cornerback and safety, as evident in its ability to hold Amon-Ra St. Brown and Sam LaPorta to a combined total of 44 receiving yards last week.

Justin Fields

Chicago’s offense has improved because its quarterback is better.

Relative to his early-season struggles, Justin Fields is more efficient, makes fewer mistakes, and is more productive both as a runner and a passer. DJ Moore has evolved as a clear-cut number-one receiver, but he also has other options.

Browns Defense

There is a myth that Cleveland’s defense is some magical indefatigably solid force at home, but the reality is that the Browns have benefited from facing weak quarterbacks at home, including guys like Arizona’s Clayton Tune and Tennessee’s Ryan Tannehill.

When the Browns faced offenses with a pulse, Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson was highly efficient and helped the Ravens score 28 points in Cleveland. Despite his injured ankle and terrible offensive line, Jacksonville’s Trevor Lawrence just helped his Jaguars to a 27-point output in Cleveland. The Browns have now allowed 27+ points in three straight games, which came against the Jaguars, Rams, and Broncos.

Chicago has the offensive balance and firepower to take advantage of a recently mediocre-to-bad Browns defense.

Cleveland’s defense is supposed to be the main part of its team that justifies a bettor’s confidence in the Browns, but the Browns’ defense has clearly declined significantly, while Chicago is trending upwards on both sides of the ball.

NFL Pick: Bears +3.5 (-117) at Unibet

NFL Pick: Bears ML (+145) at Bet365 (check our Bet365 Review)


New York Giants vs. New Orleans Saints

Sunday, December 17, 2023 – 01:00 PM ET at Caesars Superdome


New Orleans’ Offense

Last week’s score between the Saints and Panthers creates a misleading impression of the Saints’ offense’s quality. The Saints scored 28 points, but they mustered a pitiful 207 yards of offense, relying on a defensive touchdown and short field position to score as much as they did.

Their offense struggles to be productive because their offensive line is weak, putting quarterback Derek Carr under pressure on a third of his drop-backs and knocking him out of games multiple times. Carr’s offensive line doesn’t help him, but the fact is that Carr himself shoulders tremendous blame.

Carr ranks 17th in passing yards, which is awful considering that he is pretty much only ahead of guys who haven’t played all season. Video footage shows his tendencies to miss open receivers or to throw into double coverage. His decision-making and accuracy contribute to his low passing yardage total. Above all, Carr is terrible in the red zone, which leads his offense to have to settle on kicking field goals with a kicker who isn’t reliable from any spot on the field.

New York’s Defense

In their upset win over Green Bay, the Giants just gave quarterback Jordan Love his worst performance in a while. As part of their three-game win streak, the Giants had held New England to seven points and Washington to 19 points. Against Washington, the Giants held Commanders quarterback Sam Howell to 256 yards on 45 attempts. They intercepted him three times.

So, this is a good defense as of late, one that will have no problem holding the Carr-led Saints to a low-point total.

New York’s Offense

Let’s say that, before the season, knowing who each team’s starting quarterback is, one tries to predict this game.

One would say that the Saints would win because they have the better quarterback. But it turns out that Carr has been awful and, for New York, Tommy DeVito is figuring things out and playing very well.

DeVito has thrown five touchdowns to zero interceptions during his team’s three-game win streak, achieving a 137.7 passer rating against Washington, a 103.9 passer rating against New England, and a 113.9 passer rating against Green Bay. He’s efficient, ably locating and hitting open targets downfield.

He’ll also benefit from support from surging big-play threat Saquon Barkley against a Saints rush defense that allowed a combined total of close to 400 rushing yards against the Lions and Falcons before facing Carolina’s impotent offense.

NFL Pick: Giants +4.5 (-110) at Bet365

NFL Pick: Giants ML (+190) at Unibet


Kansas City Chiefs vs. New England Patriots

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


Overrated Chiefs

The Chiefs have lost both SU and ATS in four of their last six games. Oddsmakers are perpetually overrating them, and they’ve been way off.

Two games ago, they lost by eight as a six-point favorite against Green Bay. Most recently, they lost by three to Buffalo despite being favored by two.

Struggling Pass Attack

The Chiefs are weaker because their pass attack has declined in quality.

Mahomes isn’t playing like his usual self and his wide receivers aren’t helping him, as they’re struggling to get open and often dropping passes. When wide receivers do get open, Mahomes is missing them more often and often forces the ball somewhere else. One stat that shows his proneness to error is that he’s thrown the third-most interceptions so far.

The problems of Kansas City’s pass attack are especially crucial in this game against a Patriots defense that, as evident in its YPC allowed, is elite against the run –the Patriots allow what is easily a league-low 3.2 YPC.

Key Number

Out of the last six games, the Chiefs have failed to reach 20 points in four of them. During this six-game stretch, they did not face a defense that ranks as highly as the one that they’ll face on Sunday.

20 points is a key number because it would make it very difficult to cover such a large spread against any NFL offense. Any degree of competence on offense will suffice for a team to cover such a spread.

New England’s Offense

With more prep time as the starting quarterback, quarterback Bailey Zappe has looked up to the task. He was 19-for-28 for 240 passing yards and three touchdowns to one interception in his game against the Steelers last week, which the Patriots won 21-18.

Zappe can deliver a similar performance against a Chiefs defense that lately allowed Raiders quarterback Aidan O’Connell and Packers quarterback Jordan Love to look very good.

While opposing wide receivers have struggled at times, the Patriots are built to counter because they like to rely on their tight endsHunter Henry, who caught two of Zappe’s touchdown passes last week, is a big reliable pass-catcher inside and outside of the end zone. Zappe is also comfortable throwing to Mike Gesicki and Pharaoh Brown.

The Chiefs have more consistently been allowing opposing rush attacks to be efficient, which is something that New England is built to take advantage of with its group of powerful running backs.

NFL Pick: Patriots +10 (-115) at Unibet

NFL Pick: Patriots ML (+375) at Bet365

*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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