Injuries are a part of sports, and they influence both weekly outcomes as well as game spreads. This week, I will focus on two games that highlight significant injury opportunities and their influence on NFL point spread odds that present possible value, before making my NFL point spreads and picks for Week 15. Make sure to keep up with all of the NFL betting team’s Week 15 plays throughout the week.
NFL Odds & Point Spreads, Week 15 | Buffalo Bills (-6) at Denver Broncos, Over/Under 50
The one glaring matchup advantage in this game is the Buffalo Bills spread offense versus the Denver Broncos depleted secondary. Starting cornerback A.J. Bouye has been suspended for the remainder of the 2020 NFL season. Also, Broncos starting slot corner Bryce Callahan is currently on injured reserve with a foot injury.
The Broncos have rookie Michael Ojemudia starting on one side and De’Vante Bausby starting on the other. The two of them have combined for eight total starts this season and 56 combined tackles with zero interceptions. Ojemudia is allowing a 60% completion percentage to opposing quarterbacks with 14.3 yards per completion. Bausby is averaging better numbers than Ojemudia this season but has also only played in seven total games.
After those two starting cornerbacks, the Broncos will also field practice squad cornerback Nate Hairston and backup Will Parks. The Broncos signed Hairston off of the Baltimore Ravens practice squad less than a week ago. Parks had not played in a game since Week 3 when he was a part of the New York Jets.
This overall lack of depth for the Broncos will be catastrophic against quarterback Josh Allen and the Bills. Allen has looked amazing against stout defenses like the Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins, Los Angeles Rams, and San Francisco 49ers. In those four games, Allen has torched those elite defenses for 14 touchdowns, two interceptions, and 1,339 passing yards.
Allen is an elusive quarterback who avoids pressure and creates more time to allow his receivers to create separation. This skill set, coupled with the Broncos’ injuries and suspensions, will allow Allen plenty of opportunities to put points on the board and cover this Week 15 NFL spread.
Turning the corner
The Bills seem to have all the confidence in the world right now after beating multiple potential playoff contenders. They have established their offense as an elite one by averaging 31.5 points per game against the aforementioned stout defenses.
Buffalo’s defense has also come alive the last three weeks, allowing only 18.6 points per game. Two of these games were against Los Angeles Chargers’ quarterback Justin Herbert and Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
They have caused five turnovers during this three-game span and have won by an average of 10.3 points. This combination of an elite offense with a fierce defense turned them into one of the top teams this year.
Broncos quarterback Drew Lock is in the standard regression known as the “sophomore slump.” His touchdown percentage has diminished, while his interception percentage has more than doubled compared to last year’s numbers.
If Lock is not turning the ball over via interception, his other preferred method is fumbling it. He ranks seventh-worst by a quarterback in the NFL this year with seven fumbles. His overall completion percentage has also plummeted from 64% down to 57% in addition to those numbers.
Although the Broncos do have a legitimate running back duo with Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay, the Bills should be able to focus on that aspect of their offense and dare Lock to throw against their upper echelon secondary. If the Bills limit the Denver Broncos’ running attack, they should have no issues increasing their lead steadily throughout the game.
Jessica’s Week 15 NFL Odds & Points Spread Play: Bills -6
This is a game that should get out of hand for the Broncos relatively early. If all things follow their expected game script, the Broncos will lose the field position advantage battle. Given multiple drives with good field position and the Broncos depleted secondary, the Bills should consistently score at will.
Yes, this is a potential letdown spot for the Bills after their dominant performance against the Steelers. This game could also be a look-ahead spot for them as they get ready to face a division rival next week. Given all these factors, it is still a safe bet to expect the Bills to dominate the Broncos this week and cover this Week 15 NFL spread.
NFL Odds & Point Spreads | San Francisco 49ers (-3) at Dallas Cowboys, Over/Under 45
Two wrongs do not make a right
In this game, we have two teams that do not have much to play for at this point. Although both teams are technically still in playoff contention, the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers have no postseason hopes this year. The Cowboys are two games behind first place in their division with three games left to play. Dallas will be officially eliminated from playoff contention with a loss this Sunday.
The same applies to the 49ers as well. With a loss this Sunday coupled with an Arizona Cardinals win or tie, the 49ers are also eliminated. This combination creates a situation where both teams will try to win for playoff contention, but the chances are slim to none. These combined factors remove the “who needs it more?” element from the equation.
The Wild Wild West
Since the Cowboys lost quarterback Dak Prescott for the season, their offense has completely sputtered. Between the likes of Andy Dalton, Ben DiNucci, and Garrett Gilbert, the Cowboys have averaged 16.8 points per game. Suppose you remove the two 30-plus point anomalies from the equation, the average drops to 12.3 points per game. This offense is one of the worst in the league, and against good defenses, cannot score more than 17 points.
Their defense is not any better on the other side of the field either. The Cowboys are allowing 27.5 points per game and a league-worst 5.1 yards per carry on the ground. They have the absolute worst run defense in the NFL this year and give up 162 rush yards per game. The 49ers should be able to capitalize on this porous defense with their run game. They should be able to get back to their power running game and limit quarterback Nick Mullens’ pass attempts. If they can do so, the 49ers should cover this Week 15 NFL spread with ease.
What two things travel well?
The 49ers have a winning formula for a traveling team looking to secure a victory. Time and time again, the NFL proves that good defense and a run game can travel anywhere and win. Thankfully for the Niners, they have both. With their team returning from injuries on both sides of the ball, the 49ers’ chances of winning improve dramatically.
They need to return to the formula that led them to the Super Bowl last year and limit Mullens’ passing. By keeping his pass attempts to a minimum, they will control his propensity to turn the ball over. They will also focus on the part of the offense they thrive in and the part of the Cowboys’ defense that is the weakest.
Jessica’s Week 15 NFL Odds & Points Spread Lean: 49ers -3
This game comes down to a simple equation of two factors. First, will the Niners be able to control the Cowboys’ offense as they should? Second, will the Niners utilize their dominant run game and pound the Cowboys’ run defense into submission? Both of these answers should be a resounding yes, which will allow the 49ers to dominate this game. Take the better defense and the better offense and expect more than a field goal victory and cover this Week 15 NFL spread.