NFL picks and best bets for Week 15: Cowboys cover; Saints hang with Bucs

The Saints have given Tom Brady trouble during his time with the Bucs. Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Intro by Doug Kezirian

Sportsbooks are coming off their worst NFL Sunday of the season and are now forcing the betting public essentially to pay a tax in perceived mismatches. Favorites of at least 3.5 points went 9-0 ATS last weekend and are 17-2 ATS over the past two weeks.

"Every favorite is covering. There's no danger in opening on the high side. If you take a couple bets on the 'dog when you open on Sunday, who cares?," John Murray told ESPN, alluding to the fact that the public will eventually lay the points, once game day arrives. Week 15 features seven teams favored by at least 9.5 points.

On top of this, COVID-19 is impacting all sports, and the NFL has seen some wild betting line moves. The Cleveland Browns began the week as 6.5-point favorites, but with numerous Browns players slated to miss Saturday, Cleveland eventually became a 3.5-point home underdog to the Las Vegas Raiders. However, that game has since been moved to Monday.

"This is about the craziest game we have booked all year," Murray said. "I can't really recall trying to book an NFL game like this one before. Sharp players are making bets earlier in the week, and more and more COVID news is coming out as the week goes on. The number is moving against those players."

Every Friday during the season, betting analysts Doug Kezirian (14-23-2, 1-0 last week), Tyler Fulghum (23-24, 8-1), Joe Fortenbaugh (38-35-1, 2-3), Anita Marks (227-199, 25-15) and Erin Dolan, fantasy and sports betting analyst Eric Moody (112-105, 12-12), ESPN Stats & Information's Seth Walder (57-47, 6-3) and Mackenzie Kraemer (6-14, 1-1), sports betting deputy editor David Bearman (27-24-1, 1-2) and Football Outsiders' Aaron Schatz (47-37, 3-2) will provide their top plays across the NFL landscape. (Records through Week 14.)

Here are their best bets for Sunday's Week 15 games.

Note: Lines from Caesars Sportsbook as of Wednesday (unless otherwise indicated).