FairwayJay's NFL Underdog Picks for Week 15
We're in the closing stretch of the 2022 NFL season with four games remaining as teams push towards the playoffs. Other teams are finished for the season out of playoff contention, and a majority of those teams will be getting little support in the betting market. But alas, the point spreads can be attractive even on those ugly 'Dogs as the leading online sportsbooks offer inflated points trying to generate betting interest on those losing teams.
It's up to us to determine if there is value on those ugly underdogs to provide profits and payouts, and determine if they will provide a more competitive effort. Surely few bettors supported the Houston Texans (+17') last week at Dallas, yet the biggest ugly underdog led the game at halftime until the final minute when the Cowboys scored a TD to win, 27-23.
Meanwhile, favorites went just 8-5 SU and 5-8 ATS in Week 14 continuing the good year for underdogs, who are covering at a 53% rate in 2022. We're doing better than that on our underdog picks and on a 7-0 run following a 3-0 result and 3 outright winners in Week 14, and 2-0 in Week 13 and Week 12. I understand the Lions (-1.5) were not technically the underdog in our first such play this season, but read the Week 14 report for more clarification of our underdog picks. Detroit had opened an underdog and flipped to the slight favorite.
The Ravens and Jaguars won for us as outright underdogs in Week 14, and both those teams were +3 or better in the turnover column. You know how that usually works out, and it was favorable for us being on the winning side of the turnover battle with those turnovers having such a significant impact on winners and losers SU and ATS in the NFL.
Teams that are +3 or greater in turnovers in a game this season are now 27-1 SU and 26-2 ATS.
The 2022 record picking underdogs is now 28-21 ATS with 22 outright winners. Near the conclusion of our 6th year posting NFL underdog picks at OSGA the record is 158-112 (58.5%) with 90 outright winners. That includes the 28-12 ATS 70% season from 2021.
Five division games highlight the Week 15 card as teams push towards the playoffs. Betting lines courtesy of BetUS.
San Francisco (-3.5) at Seattle (Thursday)
Baltimore at Cleveland (-3)
Miami at Buffalo (-7.5)
New York Giants at Washington (-4.5)
Atlanta at New Orleans (-4)
Other key games involving teams in the division and/or playoff chase include:
Detroit (-1) at New York Jets
Tennessee at Los Angeles Chargers (-3)
Cincinnati (-3.5) at Tampa Bay
This week there was little I liked looking at the opening lines and don't expect that to change. Plenty of quarterback injuries to monitor along with other teams and players status. So it will be a very light week on the underdog picks, and any additions and updates would be added after we review Friday's Week 15 injury report as it's posted.
NFL Week 15 Underdog Picks
Las Vegas (+1) vs New England - Raiders moneyline +100
Chicago (+9) vs Philadelphia - Bears moneyline +335
New England at Las Vegas
The Patriots (7-6) are still in the AFC playoff chase off a Monday Night Football win over the clueless Cardinals. New England dominated the second half to win 27-13. The Raiders (5-8) had one of the worst losses of the season last Thursday at Los Angeles against the Rams in a 17-16 give-the-game away defeat, which essentially ended the Raiders playoff hopes.
New England's push to the playoffs continues in Las Vegas, and it looks like a Patriots win when you consider the Patriots DVOA Defense ranks No. 3 in the NFL and the Raiders No. 31, and just as bad recently using weighted DVOA. The Patriots Offense DVOA is No. 25 and No. 24 in both run and pass. The Raiders Offense DVOA is No. 16 and weighted is No. 12 including No. 5 rush. The Patriots have rushed for an average of 69 YPG over their last three contests while the Raiders and RB Josh Jacobs have rushed for 200 YPG on average. The Patriots are not making the playoffs, as they have the Bengals and Dolphins at home next before their season finale at Buffalo. The Raiders were +7 at Kansas City back in October and blew that game in a 30-29 defeat - one of three other losses that the Raiders have had at least a 3-score lead this season. If this game was in Foxboro this week, the line would essentially be Patriots -6 to -7.
Just two weeks ago the Raiders were -2.5 at home vs the stronger Chargers, and Vegas rolled up 400 yards offense in a 27-20 win. Now the Silver and Black are +1 against New England because bettors think the Raiders will quit since their season is essentially done? We may even get a better number by kickoff. But Know that the lookahead line on this game last week was Raiders -2.
I saw these two teams play live at Allegiant Stadium in the preseason, and it was no contest in a 23-6 Raiders win. Patriots QB Mac Jones played and had an INT, while Raiders QB Derek Carr did not play and neither did Josh Jacobs or WR Davante Adams. Sure it was a meaningless game, but it won't be for Raiders HC Josh McDaniel's this Sunday, as the former Patriots offensive coordinator under HC Bill Belichick gets his team to bounce back with more rest and ready to have a better game in victory. The Raiders loss last Thursday was a fluke. I see a Vegas victory with the players playing pissed off and with a purpose.
Here is an additional game I had of interest and wrote up Monday night. Unfortunately, the betting lines Tuesday show the Broncos a -2.5 point favorite, so no underdog pick inclusion unless it dips to -2 or less. Watch and wager as interested, and we'll be picking our spots with more live betting this week.
Philadelphia at Chicago
We're adding the Bears (3-10) over the weekend. Yes, those bad news Bears that have lost 6 games in a row and 8-of-9. Top online sportsbook Bookmaker is dealing +9 on Chicago with a +337 moneyline. The Eagles are the top team in the NFC with the best record in the NFL at 12-1. Philadelphia has also won 8 straight road games going back to last year, and the Bears are allowing 25.6 points per game with a deficient defense that is up against the Eagles No. 2 ranked DVOA Offense with the best offensive line. Quarterback Jalen Hurts is now the MVP favorite and the first NFL QB with 10-plus rushing TDs in consecutive seasons.
The Eagles are rolling having scored 48, 35 and 40 points in their last four games while the Bears No. 32 DVOA Defense seems to be up against it even more so this week. Of course, none of the media members will remind you that Philly needed a late 4Q touchdown run by Hurts to squeeze by Indianapolis 17-16 before those three wins. Chicago does lead the NFL in rushing averaging 189 yards per game thanks to their own duel threat QB Justin Field. The Eagles rush for 162 per game and more in recent weeks, and this game figures to have more scoring than expected (48.5) even with NFL Weather showing low 20 temps and winds up to 15 MPH at Soldier Field. But the Bears are going to bring their best despite facing a superior opponent, and not sure that's the case with the Eagles in a division sandwich off the easy win over the Giants but staring straight ahead to their showdown at Dallas next week. The situation this week in Chicago goes well beyond the X's and O's with a positive ATS profile on the Bears as a big 'Dog while the Eagles apply to a 72% ATS situation against off a pair of wins by 24 points or more.
Arizona at Denver (-2.5)
Arizona (4-9) at Denver (3-10) offers little appeal with two poorly coached underachieving teams. Kliff Kinsbury and rookie coach Nathaniel Hacket would get little argument as two of the worst head coaches in the NFL this season, joining Lovie Smith of course. But Lovie at least has multiple winning NFL seasons in his past.
Denver has shown better effort the past month against winning teams of the Raiders, Ravens and Chiefs. Russell Wilson is likely out following a concussion last week, which puts backup QB Brett Rypien into the starting lineup. That's fine, as QB Colt McCoy likely starts for Arizona with misfit Kyler Murray also going out of Monday's game and for the season with a torn ACL. So the linemaker has a tougher assignment this week, but reality is Arizona should still be getting at least a field goal on the road at Mile High. As long as this line stays at -2 or less, and Bovada had it pick 'em Monday night, while other leading online sportsbooks were waiting on quarterback injury news and specifically to Kyler Murray and his MRI, we'll add it to our underdog picks since the Broncos are being priced like a 'Dog factoring home field.
The Broncos have scored an NFL low 194 points this season (14.9 PPG). But Denver at least has a stronger defense to lean on while the Cardinals are allowing a league-worst 26.8 points per game including 25 points or more in five losses over their last six games. Arizona is playing (??) for dead-beat coach Kingsbury. After getting shutout in the second half Monday night and losing to New England 27-13 at home off a bye, I don't see a bounce back but rather a lifeless opponent that even the Broncos can kick with the Cardinals clueless defensive coordinator Vance Joseph the previous head coach in Denver who was fired after 2 years of sinking the Broncos to franchise lows - until this year. In a battle of who sucks more with poor coaches, management and personnel, we'll bite on the Broncos and wonder if the losing coach even continues into Christmas.
At the start of December, one leading online sportsbook had the next NFL head coach to be fired odds as:
Lovie Smith (+450)
With such a light NFL underdog card this week, I'll chip-in one team to add to your 6 or 6.5-point teasers in Week 15. The Bills are my key teaser addition as we evaluate more into Week 15 action.
Miami at Buffalo Bills (-1.5)
The Bills (10-3) tackle the Dolphins (8-5) at home and Buffalo lost to Miami 21-19 in Week 3. The South Beach boys won't like the trip to Buffalo, where the advance forecast calls for freezing temperatures near 30 with 15-25 MPH winds and 40% chance of snow. The Dolphins are running the ball just 22.2 times per game - tied with the Buccaneers for fewest rushing attempts per game in the NFL. Miami has averaged a league-low 17.7 rush attempts over their last three contests. Last week you saw how poor of a passing game Tua Tagovailoa had at Los Angeles against the Chargers, completing 10-of-28 passes for 145 yards. Just 19 rushes for 92 yards completed the poor offensive profile in a flattering final score loss, 23-17. Now the Dolphins are up against it with the revenging Bills and their No. 4 DVOA Offense and Defense that allows an AFC-low 17.0 points per game (MIA 24.0 PPG). With the Bills rush defense among the best in the league allowing less than 100 rushing YPG (77/game over their last 3 contests), combined with Buffalo's No. 2 offense averaging 397 yards per game, add the Bills to your teaser plays knowing too that Buffalo dominated Miami statistically back in Week 3 with 31-15 first downs, 115-41 rushing, 382-171 passing (497-212 total yards) and 40-20 minutes time of possession. The Bills are back on a roll with 4 straight wins while the Fish are floundering with a pair of losses the last two games to playoff teams. Now they travel for a third straight road game against the best of the bunch against the division rival Bills.
FYI - teams that run the ball less than 23 times in a game (when their opponent does not) are just 18-96 SU and 19-95 ATS (16.6%).
Back for more picks and match-ups of interest in Week 16.
You can bet on it.
FairwayJay is a proven sports handicapper with unparalleled success in NFL pointspread prognosis. Fairway is recognized as one of the sports industry's insightful analysts, and he chips in additional sports betting coverage and reporting on industry news and events. Follow FairwayJay here at OSGA.com and on Twitter @FairwayJay for more betting insights.