With just three weeks left in the regular season, the upcoming schedule features a few matchups between teams that are fighting for a playoff berth and teams that have no chance to make the postseason. But not all of the Week 15 betting lines accurately reflect how much each team has to play for.
Three AFC teams are 8-5 and competing for two wild-card spots, and they are all favored in Week 15, according to vegasinsider.com. Three NFC East teams are tied for first place with 6-7 records, but they are all underdogs in their upcoming contests.
There’s no such thing as a “sure thing” when it comes to betting, but here are the three best bets for Week 15 of the 2015 NFL season.
New York Jets (-3)
The Dallas Cowboys are the only team that isn’t in contention to win the mediocre NFC East, and there’s little reason to think they’ll win at home against the Jets, who are currently in the playoffs. Dallas is just 4-9 against the spread this season, and Saturday’s game is another case in which the Cowboys should be getting more points than they are.
Dallas’ defense hasn’t been awful, but the Cowboys can’t score without Tony Romo. The team is 1-5 with Matt Cassel as the starter, scoring more than 20 points in just one of those games. Cassel’s struggles mean the Cowboys need to run the ball effectively to win on Saturday, but that won’t happen because the Jets have the NFL’s No.1 rush defense.
Only six teams have a better record than the Jets against the spread, and New York has taken care of all the weak teams on their schedule. Ryan Fitzpatrick and Co. are 5-0 against teams with five or fewer wins this year, winning those games by an average of 15.8 points. The Jets should have no problem with the four-win Cowboys, who have lost five of six games at home.
Kansas City Chiefs (-7.5)
With the way the Chiefs have played and because of how banged up the Baltimore Ravens are, Kansas City should be favored by double-digits in this one. Needing a win to remain in the playoffs, the Chiefs should win against a team that is out of postseason contention and has the NFL's worst record against the spread.
The Chiefs continue to roll each week, having won seven games in a row, all by at least a touchdown. Alex Smith doesn’t put up big numbers like the NFL’s elite quarterbacks, but he doesn’t make mistakes, and his interception last week was his first since Week 3. Smith doesn’t need to make too many big plays, considering only three teams give up fewer points than Kansas City. On Sunday, the Chiefs have a good chance to give up the least amount of points in Week 15.
It doesn’t matter much who starts at quarterback for Baltimore since they have the worst group of signal callers in the NFL. In five combined games this season, neither Matt Schaub nor Jimmy Clausen has posted a passer rating of 78.0 or better, and that won’t change with all of the Ravens' top playmakers injured.
Washington Redskins (+1)
It wouldn’t be shocking to see the Buffalo Bills win in Washington, but they shouldn’t be favored on Sunday. With both teams at 6-7 and the Redskins playing at home, Washington should be a three-point favorite, making them one of the best bets of Week 15.
The Redskins have been inconsistent this season, but they’ve mostly been very good at home. Not only has Washington gone 5-2 in front of their home fans, but Kirk Cousins has been a different quarterback at home and on the road. The quarterback has a 111.5 passer rating at home with 12 touchdowns and two interceptions, while throwing six touchdowns and nine interceptions for a 74.6 passer rating on the road.
Cousins has been sacked eight times in Washington’s last two losses, but that shouldn't be an issue against the Bills, who rank 30th in total sacks. The Redskins should be able to move the ball, and the Bills haven’t won when allowing 21 points or more. Washington controls their own destiny in the NFC East, and Buffalo’s motivation level isn’t nearly the same, since they have almost no chance to make the postseason.
Season Record: 22-17