Which teams are Jenny Vrentas and Andy Benoit backing in this week's slate? Their picks and more in MMQB's best bets for Week 15.
The MMQB staff is back with six of our top bets this week, and all of them are road teams, including three underdogs.
Houston Texans (-6) at New York Jets
The Texans are coming off a tough loss to the Colts, but this has the makings of a bounce-back game. The Texans defense, which picked off Baker Mayfield three times, could be a challenge for another rookie QB, Sam Darnold. — Jenny Vrentas
Seattle Seahawks (-4.5) at San Francisco 49ers
This line seems very low for Seattle—expect a touchdown-plus victory for Russell Wilson & Co. against a familiar 49ers defense. — Andy Benoit
Tennessee Titans (+2.5) at New York Giants
This one feels much more like a pick 'em than a game where the Titans are getting points, presumably because the Giants' domination of Mark Sanchez has thrown things out of whack. This Giants defense is not nearly as good as Sanchez made it look, especially not without Landon Collins. This is a Giants team that 4-10 straight-up at home after the last two seasons and 0-2-1 against the spread in their three games as a home favorite during that span. — Gary Gramling
New England Patriots (-2) at Pittsburgh Steelers
Just take the Patriots. Coming off a loss, against an average defense and the league's worst special teams unit according to Football Outsiders' DVOA, New England isn't losing. — Jacob Feldman
Los Angeles Chargers (+3.5) at Kansas City Chiefs
I love this bet, even if Tyreek Hill is active, and it has nothing to do with the Chargers being overvalued or the Chiefs being undervalued. By installing the Chiefs as 3.5-point favorites at home, the oddsmakers are saying that these are evenly matched teams, and I agree with that. When that’s the case, I almost always want the points, even if that means I have to back the road team. These feel almost like free points, even if Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler are both out for the Chargers.
Both of these teams have played better defensively over the last month, but Joey Bosa puts the Chargers over the top for me. After shaking the rust off in his first game of the season back in Week 11, he has four sacks in his last three games, all Chargers victories. The Steelers put up 30 points on them, but Ben Roethlisberger threw for just 6.24 yards per attempt in the game, James Conner ran for 60 yards on 15 carries, and they got just 5.3 yards per play, nearly one full yard worse than their season average (6.2).
If Hill’s out, Kansas City’s big-play ability, which has been the driving force behind its offense this season, is all but eliminated. Not only do the Chargers beat the spread with the points, but they win this game outright and set up a two-week sprint for the top seed in the AFC. — Michael Beller
Cleveland Browns (+3) at Denver Broncos
The Browns are one of the hottest offenses in the NFL. Yes, you read that correctly. I guess we shouldn’t have expected anything different to happen after firing a head coach who mustered a 3-36-1 record. Cleveland ranked 30th in offensive DVOA in Weeks 1-8 with Hue Jackson and Todd Haley at the helm. Since switching to Gregg Williams as interim head coach and Freddie Kitchens as interim offensive coordinator before Week 9’s game, the Browns’ offensive DVOA is fourth. Cleveland leads the league in offensive yards per play from Week 9 on at 6.9. The Browns have converted all 14 of their red-zone trips into touchdowns over that span. And perhaps the wildest stat: Cleveland has allowed just four QB hits since Week 9. To put that into better perspective, the next fewest hits allowed are the Ravens, Colts and Patriots at 19 apiece.
If the Broncos can’t generate any pressure on Baker Mayfield, the Browns should win this game outright. This is a secondary that was torched by 49ers QB Nick Mullens last week in its first game without star cornerback Chris Harris. Denver was also without veteran wideout Emmanuel Sanders, who is lost for the season.
The Broncos play much better at home and it will be rowdy in Denver for Saturday night’s game. But I will gladly take the better and hotter team here plus the points. — Max Meyer