Roll goes up, roll goes down. It’s been feast or famine with our NFL picks lately; we went 0-3 in Week 12, 3-0 in Week 13, and 0-3 again with our Week 14 Best Bets. Not ideal, but we’re still 27-14-1 in this space with just four weeks left to go before the playoffs.
This being Week 15, we should start seeing some extra value fading teams that are ready to mail in the rest of the season – preferably teams that have been eliminated from the playoffs, but still have to travel a long distance to play in unfamiliar wintry weather conditions.
Having said that, it looks like the best value on this week’s board is still with the totals, and our first game is so juicy, we’re calling it a five-star deadbolt lock. It’s a 60/40 flip in our favor, at least according to the projections, and it’s worth unloading up to 10% of your bankroll. In theory, at least.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sunday, December 18, 2022 – 04:25 PM EST at Raymond James Stadium
All three of our Week 15 football picks are on the Over, but this one is the best of the bunch, thanks to some untimely injuries for the home side.
The Bucs Stop Here
The 2022 season has been awful for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The first three months were ruined by injuries on offense, then the defense started getting theirs in December:
- S Mike Edwards (hamstring)
- S Antonie Winfield Jr (ankle)
- DE Joe Tryon-Shoyinka (hip)
- DT Vita Vea (calf)
This missing foursome is a big reason why Tampa lost 35-7 (Over 38.5) to the San Francisco 49ers and third-string QB Brock Purdy last week. And things are likely to get worse against the Bengals, who have really turned it on of late with QB Joe Burrow at the helm.
True, the Under is on a 3-0 mini-streak for Cincinnati, but with Sunday’s total at a manageable 44 points, and the rainy weather in Tampa expected to clear up hours before kick-off, Burrow and the Bengals can get us over the hump against the wounded Bucs.
NFL Pick: Over 44 (-109) at SugarHouse
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Houston Texans
Sunday, December 18, 2022 – 01:00 PM EST at NRG Stadium
Our second-tastiest pick features the best offense in the league, and they’ll be playing a team that may or may not be in the tank.
Mahomes for MVP?
Kansas City have been a scoring machine ever since Patrick Mahomes took over at quarterback for Alex Smith. They rank first overall on the DVOA charts at Football Outsiders, with Mahomes leading all qualifying quarterbacks in passing DYAR.
That might not be enough to earn Mahomes his second MVP award; he’s the second favorite at +200 behind Philadelphia QB Jalen Hurts (-150) at the best sportsbooks as we go to press. But it should be enough to drive a stake deep into the heart of the Texans’ defense.
Houston’s No. 31-ranked offense might not help us out much, of course. But they will presumably be playing indoors at NRG Stadium (it’ll be a bit chilly otherwise), and they are coming off a surprisingly competitive 27-23 loss (Over 44.5) to the Dallas Cowboys.
NFL Pick: Over 49.5 (-108) at FanDuel
Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills
Saturday, December 17, 2022 – 08:15 PM EST at Highmark Stadium
This is the most contrarian pick of the week. It’ll be snowing on and off in Buffalo this weekend, but Saturday night’s forecast calls for overcast skies, and these two offenses are just too good to get tripped up by anything but the most serious winter weather.
Speaking of MVP candidates, we’re about to see two more of them in Bills QB Josh Allen (+1800) and Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa (+2200). And Tagovailoa’s odds would no doubt be shorter had he not missed two starts due to injury.
Tagovailoa was under center in Week 3 when the Dolphins beat the Bills 21-19 (Under 54.5) in Miami Gardens. It may seem crazy to bet the Over now that they’re in Orchard Park on a Saturday night in December, but the total is 13 points smaller (!) this time, and Buffalo lost premium edge rusher Von Miller to a torn ACL in Week 12.
Here’s one more hidden angle to consider: Dolphins punter Thomas Morstead, who has been pretty bad this year at age 36. Miami’s punting ranks No. 25 overall, according to Football Outsiders. Those short fields should help Buffalo score the points we need this Saturday. Bet accordingly.
NFL Pick: Over 41.5 (-110) at SBK