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NFL Week 15 Best Bets: Our 2 Favorite Plays From This Loaded Slate

Max Gilson
Written by Max Gilson
December 15, 2023
NFL Week 15 Best Bets

The season is winding down as we’re into the final four weeks of the 2023 season. We have our first Saturday action, as the NFL looks to expand its weekend dominance with far fewer college football games to compete with.

I have two best bets for this week and both are Saturday games, so be sure to get your action in early this week.

Minnesota Vikings at Cincinnati Bengals (-3)

Best Bet: Bengals Team Total Over 21.5 + Game Total Over 40.5

We’ll find our first angle on the weekend on the 1pm Saturday game as the Vikings head into Cincinnati to face Jake Browning and the Bengals. There are multiple question marks with this Vikings team that is still fighting for a wild card spot in the NFC playoffs.

After a 3-0 victory over the Raiders, the Vikings mercifully decided to end the Josh Dobbs experiment, elevating Nick Mullens into the starting role with rookie Jaren Hall as the backup. Mullens was serviceable executing Kyle Shanahan’s offense in San Francisco in limited appearances between 2018-2020.

He did lead what ended up being the game winning field goal drive for Minnesota, which is much more than Josh Dobbs can say.

From the eye test, Mullens looks more willing to stay in the pocket and allow plays to develop, which might allow the offense to work as well as it did when Kirk Cousins was under center.

WR Justin Jefferson should be in action despite a somewhat concerning chest injury that resulted in an emergency room visit. RT Brian O’Neill will miss this game, which could end up being the most impactful injury to this Vikings team. RB Alexander Mattison will miss Saturday’s game as well, although I think it will help the Vikings to get RB Ty Chandler more touches.

Looking at this Bengals team, I’m intrigued by them as a team that could cause some upsets in the playoffs. The offense has been clicking with Jake Browning as Zac Taylor has really been doing an exceptional job calling plays to help Browning get the ball to the Bengals playmakers. Obviously, it’s still a step down in class from Joe Burrow, but the Bengals are finally healthy on offense and have started to include RB Chase Brown in the offense as an additional weapon at their disposal.

In this game we saw the total open at 40.5 and then bet down to 39.5, before returning to 40.5. It’s possible that Justin Jefferson speculation has influenced this movement, but regardless, I think the over is the right side here.

I’m ready to sell high on this Vikings defense that has performed extremely well under DC Brian Flores (6th in the league in defensive DVOA.) Despite Flores’ magic, I think the Vikings lack playmakers on that side of the ball and I don’t think they should be playing in games with a total this low.

While Cincy’s defense looked improved against the Colts in Week 14, I don’t want to give too much credit to a unit that played against such a high variance player in Gardner Minshew at QB. Nick Mullens is no world beater but he presents an immediate upgrade over Josh Dobbs and I think the Vikings offense has a better chance to click with him under center.

I’ll be betting on what I think has become a very solid Bengals offense with their team total OVER 21.5 (-112) at FD for a 1% play and an additional 0.5% play on the game total over 40.5 -110.

Denver Broncos at Detroit Lions (-4.5)

Best Bet: Lions -4.5

I think we’ve entered buy low territory on this Lions team as they are a short -4.5 favorite against the Denver Broncos. The Lions played back to back road games where they almost allowed the Saints to come back from a 21-0 deficit in Week 13 and then lost at Soldier Field in Chicago 28-13 in Week 14. These games were on the heels of the Thanksgiving debacle where Jordan Love and the Packers dominated.

At this point in the season, we are all aware that this Lions defense is not good and benefitted from some outlier results at the beginning of the season. However, I think this game sets up well for their offense to regain form.

We’ve been made well aware about Jared Goff’s splits when he’s playing in cold weather and how poorly he’s performed in those games. He now comes back home to the friendly dome at Ford Field to take on a Broncos defense playing their third straight road game.

Despite the outcome in Week 15, the Lions went into halftime with a 13-10 lead and did not score in the second half with four straight turnovers on their final four drives. While we can point to mistakes and lack of execution from the offense, the reality is that those outcomes aren’t always predictive and had a few 50/50 plays gone the other way Detroit could have been right in that game and we might be looking at them as closer to a -5.5 point favorite in this matchup.

Despite turning their season around, we’ve seen how inconsistent Russell Wilson and the Broncos offense has been. Hypothetically, they shouldn’t have much trouble moving the ball against a poor Lions defense, but they’ve been so inconsistent throughout the season it’s difficult to expect that they will reach their offensive ceiling, especially on the tail end of a difficult travel stretch.

I think the Lions will treat this as a get right spot and they are still only one game behind the Cowboys for the #2 seed in the NFC. I like the spot here for the Lions to come away with a victory and I think the line is just a bit short. We saw it get as low as -3.5 during the week before seeing buy back on the Lions.

I think you can afford to wait till kickoff in this one to see if the market moves in either direction. I don’t see much of a difference between -4.5 and -5 in this one, I’m content to wait and try to pick off a stale -4.5 should the market move towards the Lions. I’ll make this a 0.75% play at -4.5 for the Lions, but would upgrade this should you get a better line.

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