Check out our Week 15 NFL picks in advance of this week's ultra-loaded schedule.
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Hear that? It's the NFL banging the playoff bell. Only three weeks remain in the 2020 regular season, which means that every game is becoming more important to teams still in the Super Bowl hunt. Unfortunately, this is also the time of year in which bad squads begin to lose on purpose to inflate their NFL draft spot. This can make analyzing games ridiculously difficult. The good news? Our Week 15 NFL picks are made with this in mind and built to navigate the late-season minefield.
But before we get to our selections, let's take a look at the latest game odds, courtesy of Bovada:
|Week 15 Favorite||Week 15 Underdog|
|Las Vegas Raiders||-190||+190||Los Angeles Chargers|
|Buffalo Bills||-280||+230||Denver Broncos|
|Green Bay Packers||-450||+325||Carolina Panthers|
|Indianapolis Colts||-350||+275||Houston Texans|
|Minnesota Vikings||-180||+160||Chicago Bears|
|Miami Dolphins||-140||+120||New England Patriots|
|San Francisco 49ers||-145||+125||Dallas Cowboys|
|Seattle Seahawks||-250||+210||Washington Football Team|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-260||+215||Atlanta Falcons|
|Los Angeles Rams||-1900||+900||New York Jets|
|Arizona Cardinals||-275||+225||Philadelphia Eagles|
|Cleveland Browns||-190||+165||New York Giants|
|Kansas City Chiefs||-190||+165||New Orleans Saints|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||-850||+525||Cincinnati Bengals|
As always, make sure you're double-checking these lines before deciding on any wagers, as they will move between now and kickoff. Without further delay, though, let's get to some NFL picks!
NFL Week 15 Betting Breakdown
Pittsburgh Steelers (-850) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (+525)
Some people will consider this a trap game for the Steelers. They have already clinched a playoff spot and don't have too much of an incentive to win. Couple that with some shaky offensive displays over the season, and you might be tempted to roll with the upset.
Our advice: Don't do it. The Bengals are a mess after losing rookie quarterback Joe Burrow for the season. They're among the teams trying to improve their draft-pick position. If you want to bet on them covering a +13 spread for a return of -120, that's fine. But even that feels like too much of a risk.
OSB Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers (-850)
Green Bay Packers (-450) vs. Carolina Panthers (+325)
Like many other heavy favorites, the Packers have already clinched a playoff spot by virtue of guaranteeing themselves an NFC North title. Unlike other favorites, their job is far from done. They still need to pick up another win, and perhaps two, if they're hoping to get one of the first-round buys.
This is to say, the Packers should be at full bore going up against the Panthers. They have lost just once at home this season, and their five wins at Lambeau Field have come by an average of 13.8 points.
All that said, we'd recommend steering clear of the spread in this one. The Packers are nine-point favorites, which would be fine except that the Panthers might be welcoming Christian McCaffrey back to the lineup. He alone has the potential to give Carolina's offense the oomph necessary to keep this fairly close.
OSB Prediction: Green Bay Packers (-450)
Minnesota Vikings (-180) vs. Chicago Bears (+160)
The Vikings are working off a tough loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a letdown that ousted them from the NFC playoff picture. Still, they're currently the eight-seed in a seven-squad postseason bubble. They still have hope.
Of course, at 6-7, the Bears have an identical record. And if they beat the Vikings, they'll have a chance at owning the tiebreak, in addition to having moved ahead of them in the standings. That would be a disaster scenario for Minnesota.
Bet against the Vikings experiencing their worst nightmare. Their defense has been mostly horrific this season—it ranks 25th in points per game—but they still have a more stable situation than the Bears, who can't even decide who to play at quarterback right now. In fact, if you're looking to drum up you return, we endorse taking the Vikings at -3 to a return of -125.
OSB Prediction: Minnesota Vikings (-180)
Seattle Seahawks (-250) vs. Washington Football Team (+210)
Predicting a win for the Seahawks when they're playing on the road is a risky proposition. They have some really bad losses away from home this year. And yet, we just can't quit them.
Indeed, Washington has the league's sixth-ranked defense, which might slow Seattle's third-place offense. But they're too reliant on the ground game themselves when playing offense, which should afford the Seahawks' defense some margin for error.
If that doesn't do it for you, Russell Wilson's play should. He was struggling mightily before the Seahawks annihilated the New York Jets in Week 14. Given the way he was moving in the pocket, it appears he's gotten his mojo back. Seattle's struggles on the road still matter, but they only cause for not expecting them to cover a six-point spread.
OSB Prediction: Seattle Seahawks (-250)
Parlay Bet of the Week
Last week's parlay recommendation didn't quite pan out. We got too greedy forecasting a Patriots upset and went four-for-five on our selections. This time around, we take what we believe to be an even safer route with the following bet slip:
- Steelers (-850)
- Packers (-450)
- Vikings (-3) (-125)
- Seahawks (-250)
By wagering on three money line favorites plus the Vikings spread, we're looking at a payout of nearly 3.5-to-1. To be more exact, you'd be netting slightly over $344 for every $100 you put on the line, which would amount to a profit of almost $250.
If you're looking to drum up your risk and reward, we like the idea of the New York Giants defeating the Cleveland Browns for a return of +165. Adding that pick to the fold brings your parlay above a 9-to-1 payout. If you don't feel like taking that big of a risk, the Philadelphia Eagles are six-point underdogs against the Arizona Cardinals and giving a return of -105. Tacking that pick on to the above parlay would promise a payout of roughly 7-to-1.