NFL Week 15 best bets and expert picks for the Sunday slate. Find best bets for NFL Week 15 featuring Jets vs. Dolphins, Bears vs. Browns, Cowboys vs. Bills, Commanders vs. Rams, 49ers vs. Cardinals, and Ravens vs. Jaguars
NFL Week 15 Sunday Best Bets
We’re on to Week 15 of the NFL season, and this week’s slate is loaded with exciting matchups. In this article, you can find best bet breakdowns for some of the biggest games of the week. Check out the Lineups YouTube page for coverage of all of the NFL games this week. Let’s get to work.
Jacob Wayne’s Record: 21-16-1 (+4.4 units)
Kody Malstrom’s Record: 15-10 (+4.1 units)
Will Schwartz’s Record: 14-19-1 (-6.1 units)
New York Jets at Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins suffered a surprising loss as 14-point favorites on Monday night against the Titans. While that was a significant setback, the injuries accrued in the game are the bigger concern. Tyreek Hill was forced out with an ankle injury while center Connor Williams suffered a season-ending torn ACL.
The Williams loss is enormous for Miami as he’s PFF’s third-highest-graded offensive lineman this season. His ability to block in space is critical for the run game while his cerebral presence at the line of scrimmage helps the team set protections and orchestrate their complex pre-snap motions. His replacement, Liam Eichenburg, grades out as one of the worst OLs in the NFL.
In addition to Williams being out, the Dolphins will likely be without starting guards Robert Hunt and Isaiah Wynn while tackles Terron Armstead and Austin Jackson are listed as questionable as of Thursday. Depending on how the injuries progress, the Dolphins could be without as many as all five starting offensive linemen this week.
Against the Titans on Monday night, Tua Tagovailoa was pressured on 19 dropbacks (46.3%) but blitzed just three times (7.3%). Tagovailoa has struggled under pressure this season as his 58.2% adjusted completion rate ranks 32nd out of 39 qualified passers. His 5.5 yards per attempt are tied for 22nd. He’s top four in both categories from a clean pocket.
The Jets are the best team in the NFL at generating pressure without blitzing – they rank second in pressure rate and are 31st in blitz rate. New York ranks third in pass defense DVOA, and it would have been an uphill battle for Miami’s offense even without the mass injuries. And there are potential weather issues with 20+ mph winds and rain in the forecast.
Zach Wilson is coming off his best game in a while in his return to the starting lineup with over 300 yards and a stellar adjusted completion rate of 81.8%. The Jets’ offense has been a mess all season – their 24.6% third-down conversion rate is tied for the third-worst in the wild-card era. However, to cover a 9.5-point spread in this game, the Jets just need Wilson to not be an abject disaster given the massive advantage they have on defense.
Best Bet: Jets +9.5
Dallas Cowboys at Buffalo Bills
Schwartz gives you a great rundown of the Cowboys’ successes below, and it’s hard for me to disagree with much of it. Dak Prescott is the rightful MVP favorite, Micah Parsons is a transcendent defensive talent and Dallas is playing great football on both sides of the ball. However, saying that the Cowboys should be favored in this game is simply absurd.
The Bills might be 7-6, but all advanced metrics indicate that they’re a top-five team. They’re sixth in DVOA, fifth in net EPA and fifth in net yards per play. More importantly, they’re trending up at the right time, and the team appears to be galvanized by the circumstances surrounding Sean McDermott in the wake of a report by local media.
Josh Allen is playing MVP-caliber football, and while everyone wants to bash him for turnovers, his 2.5% turnover-worthy play rate is the lowest of his career per PFF. New offensive coordinator Joe Brady has helped emphasize young talents like James Cook, Khalil Shakir and Dalton Kincaid, and Buffalo is evolving into a very well rounded offense.
Dallas’s defense is built on a nasty pass rush – they’re first in pass rush win rate – but their secondary has shown vulnerabilities at times, as they showed in that Thursday Night Football game against the Seahawks a couple of weeks ago. With a Buffalo offensive line ranked second in adjusted sack rate allowed and Josh Allen’s mobility a constant factor, the Bills can neutralize that pass rush.
Buffalo’s defense is also trending up. Gregory Rousseau is fully healthy and was in fine form with five pressures last week per PFF. The trade addition of Rasul Douglas has been massive. He’s fourth in PFF coverage grades and has transformed the Buffalo secondary. Stopping Prescott in his current form won’t be easy, but the Bills’ defense has solved a lot of their issues from earlier this season.
Ultimately, though, this is all about buying the Bills in this spot. The Cowboys play indoors and have to travel to Buffalo in December. They’re coming off an emotional blowout win over their hated divisional rival and now have to maintain their focus against a desperate Bills team. That win over the Eagles was their first win of the year against a team with a winning record. Their previous nine wins were against teams that are a combined 32-65.
Josh Allen has been highly profitable in these spots. He’s 21-9-2 ATS (70%) as an underdog or a favorite of under a field goal since the first month of his rookie season, covering by five points per game. Per our friends at Bet Labs, Mike McCarthy’s Cowboys are 3-10 ATS in their last 13 games after a 20+ point win. This is a great spot to buy low on the Bills and sell high on the Cowboys with everything coming up Buffalo as of late.
Best Bet: Bills -1.5
Washington Commanders at Los Angeles Rams
The Rams offense is red hot. Since Matthew Stafford returned from injury in Week 11, they’re third in offensive EPA. With Stafford, Cooper Kupp, Puka Nacua and Kyren Williams all healthy, this might be the best offense in the NFL. With that group, the Rams have averaged 32.5 points and 412 yards per game. Last week, they traveled to Baltimore, faced the second-ranked defense by DVOA in wind and rain, and still dropped 31 points.
Now, they return home to face a putrid Commanders defense. Just before Week 9, Washington traded away edge rushers Chase Young and Montez Sweat, and since that point they rank dead last in defensive EPA. Without any semblance of a pass rush, the Commanders’ awful secondary has been exposed consistently. Excluding a game against the heinous Patriots offense, they have allowed just under 38 points per game over their last five outings.
The Commanders can contribute to the scoring here, as well, thanks to the presence of offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy. Well deserving of a head coaching gig at this point, Bienemy has transformed Washington’s offense with a 66.5% pass play rate, the highest in the NFL. Sam Howell is second in the NFL in passing yards and has progressed each week, now ranking 11th in completion rate over expectation, a metric that measures accuracy.
Howell’s pass-catching corps is deep, and while that has been frustrating for fantasy football managers, it should help them find success against a defense ranked 22nd against the pass by DVOA. The biggest weakness for Washington’s offense has been sacks – Howell is on pace to break David Carr’s record of 68 set in 2012. However, the Rams rank just 26th in pressure rate, so perhaps Howell will find a little more time in the pocket this week.
We’re not quite at Greatest Show on Turf levels for the Rams, but I wouldn’t be shocked if they hit 40 points this week given how hot they’ve been and how bad this Commanders defense is. Howell should do more than enough to push this total over the number, especially if he throws a pick six for the fourth straight game, tying a post-merger record in the process.
Best Bet: Over 50.5 Points
Baltimore Ravens at Jacksonville Jaguars
No team had a more successful week last week than the Baltimore Ravens. Not only did they stay in number one seed contention in the AFC playoffs with an overtime win against the LA Rams, but they also secured sole possession of that top seed with the Miami Dolphins losing to the Tennessee Titans on Monday.
They now control their own destiny for the bye, as well as getting the benefit of hosting the next two playoff games en route to the Super Bowl. Up first on their quest to win out is a road date against the Jacksonville Jaguars who are trotting out a hobbled Trevor Lawrence.
Trevor Lawrence playing last week was shocking to many, especially when he was initially diagnosed to be out a few weeks with a high ankle sprain. He instead opted to play at less than 100%, clearly looking hampered by the injury as he was forced into dump offs and screens with a lack of maneuverability in the pocket.
That plays directly in the Baltimore Ravens hands as they dominate in Def Pass Success Rate while simultaneously getting to the quarterback with just their front four. As a unit, the Ravens rank top-3 in Def Pass DVOA, EPA and Success Rate.
Worse yet for Lawrence and Co., their offense has had zero support from their ground game throughout a majority of this season. That stems from their offensive line’s inability to run block by ranking near dead last in Adjusted Line Yards, bleeding into their ground game and stopping their running backs’ progression at the line.
As a whole, the Jags ground game ranks 24th or worse in Rush DVOA, EPA and Success Rate. They are in a position to stumble once again as the Ravens front seven ranks top-5 in Def Rush DVOA and near top-10 in Def Rush EPA and Success Rate.
As for the Ravens offense, it should be business as usual as Lamar gets more integrated into Todd Monken’s system. He’s been a more aggressive downfield passer, stretching out opposing defenses to help give their first ranked ground game more room to work with as they hit the open field.
With a defense in position to thrive against a hobbled Trevor Lawrence, as well as capitalizing on the Jags lack of Def Success Rate, the Ravens should have no issue with setting a scoring pace too fast for the Jags to keep up with. Be sure to shop around and grab the key number of -3 as some books have crept up to -3.5 as of this writing.
Best Bet: Ravens -3
San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals
Death, taxes and the San Francisco 49ers offense bulldozing over everyone. What they have been doing as of late has been nothing short of remarkable, grading out as a top-10 offense per DVOA in NFL history through 15 weeks of the season.
Their offensive success is in large part fielding the best group of skill players in the league while Brock Purdy ties them all together with his pinpoint accuracy. Their metrics echo their success, ranking first overall in Off DVOA, first in Pass DVOA and third in Rush DVOA.
Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and Christian McCaffrey are now all in a position to shred one of the worst defenses in the league. It’s not just bad when talking about the Cardinals defense, it’s near league worst as they rank 31st in Def Pass DVOA and 30th in Def Rush DVOA.
The Cardinals defense crash their linebackers down the line at one of the lowest rates in the league with minimal pressure, ranking 29th in Blitz Rate and 31st in Pressure Rate. A startling statistic as that means opposing quarterbacks are finding success with ease against a crowded Cardinals coverage unit while facing minimal resistance in the pocket.
That means Brock Purdy will find himself in a relatively clean pocket which is vital to their success. Expect Purdy to continue to thrive in the most efficient offense in the league, as opposed to when he mightily struggled when his star offensive tackle Trent Williams was out with an injury.
It’s not just enough for the 49ers offense to succeed in order to cash this prop as their ability to get the Cardinals offense off the field in a hurry is just as vital. That gives their offense extra possessions to clear this high number while also avoiding a bleeding clock when the Cardinals play keep away.
Their defense is in a great possession to thrive as Kyler Murray has yet to look like his former self after another underwhelming performance. That allows the 49ers to focus more on their below average rush defense grades, daring Murray to beat their elite secondary in singular coverage.
Best Bet: 49ers Team Total Over 30.5
Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns
This is one of the most fascinating and potentially impactful games of the week, not something we would have expected to say just a few weeks ago. The Bears have won three of their past four games and are now just a game out of a playoff spot, as the return of Justin Fields has kicked the team into high gear. Meanwhile, a Browns team that was once seen as a near-lock to make the postseason has dealt with so many injuries that their playoff status is now in doubt.
These cross-conference adversaries are of course not battling each other for a playoff spot, but it’s a win that could go a long way for both sides. This especially rings true for Chicago, who will return home for matchups with two sub-.500 teams, so a win in this game would grant them a great opportunity to make it back to 8-8 ahead of a climactic rivalry matchup in Green Bay.
The Bears’ in-season improvement hasn’t just been based around Fields and the offense- the initially-abysmal defense has come a long way too. Chicago’s run defense is up to the top five in EPA, adjusted line yards, and success rate, which could be a massive problem for Cleveland, one of the most run-heavy offenses in the NFL by Pass Rate Over Expected.
Even the pass defense has improved a bit, with some great cornerback play from Jaylon Johnson and an improved pass rush after the arrival of Montez Sweat. They could definitely make things tough for Joe Flacco too if the diminished run game makes it tough for Cleveland to stay ahead of the sticks, trapping them in obvious pass downs.
The Chicago offense has also been better when Fields has been healthy, due both to the increased rushing threat provided by the dynamic quarterback. He’s rushed for over 200 yards in his three games since returning from injury. His connection with D.J. Moore has been one of the most productive QB-receiver linkups in the league. The pair should be able to make some headway against a tough Cleveland defense.
The Browns defense hasn’t been infallible of late. They allowed 27 points to the Jaguars despite three interceptions from Trevor Lawrence. They allowed 36 and 29 points to the Rams and Broncos, respectively, in their previous two outings. So it’s not quite the iron-clad unit we saw early in the season. This should be a hard-fought contest between two extremely hungry teams, and the Bears should be able to stay within a field goal, or even walk away with the outright upset and new life in the NFC Wild Card race.
Best Bet: Bears +3
Dallas Cowboys at Buffalo Bills
Speaking of cross-conference games with enormous postseason implications, we’ve got a real blockbuster on tap in Upstate New York. The Bills desperately need a win to keep surging toward an AFC Wild Card, while the Cowboys recently took over first place in the NFC East from the Eagles, but could lose it in a heartbeat with a loss.
With the line moving toward the Cowboys, it’s clear that the money is flowing their way and it’s not hard to see why. They’re looking like one of the most complete teams in the sport. Just by DVOA, their offense ranks sixth and the defense fifth, so there’s plenty of balance across the football. There’s also no shortage of star power- Dak Prescott is the current MVP favorite, while Micah Parsons is in minus-odds to win Defensive Player of the Year.
The Cowboys simply should not be underdogs in this one. They finally took down a good team, the Eagles, and they did it in style, running the score up on offense and clamping Philly down on the other side of the football. As we saw against Philly’s Jalen Hurts, they’re well-equipped to limit highly athletic quarterbacks, and led by Parsons, they have a pass rush to force Josh Allen into the uncomfortable situations that are so often his undoing.
Offensively, this is a solid matchup as well for Mike McCarthy’s squad. CeeDee Lamb has been a bona fide top wideout this year, and should eviscerate a secondary that has improved, but is still a relative weakness. The unit’s anchor, top corner Tre’Davious White, is still out. Buffalo’s improvement in pass defense metrics has been driven in part by a surging pass rush, but it may not matter against Prescott, PFF’s top-rated passer under pressure. The Bills have looked much better on defense in recent weeks than they did earlier this year, but they haven’t faced a unit like the Cowboys in awhile. Clamping down the Chiefs air offense isn’t the same accomplishment it used to be.
If the Cowboys have a glaring weakness, it’s the ground game. They rank right around league average in rushing DVOA. The Bills run defense is 18th in the same metric, so it’s not clear that they can fully punish Dallas for that shortcoming. For every strength the Bills have, the Cowboys seem to be just a little bit stronger, and each weakness on Dallas’s end seems to be one that Buffalo just can’t exploit.
The Cowboys were originally big enough underdogs that you could take their spread and be able to cash if they lost by a field goal. That number is gone, but they’re still my pick to win this thing outright, so let’s bet on a plus-odds moneyline, which provides us with some awesome value.
Best Bet: Cowboys ML (+110)