Beating the Spread: Week 14 Picks

Our Week 14 Beat the Spread column is ready to go for your consideration as you put in your weekly bets!

That’s two weeks in a row of above-average selections as we went 14-6 as a group and everybody was above .500 for the week.  Can we keep the momentum going for the third week?  Let’s take a macro view of everyone’s picks this week.

The Cowboys were the flavor of the week this week as three of us expect them to cover against Washington.  Justin is doubling up on the Raiders/Chiefs game and backing FOUR underdogs this week.  Brennan is all over the favorites again this week as has been his M.O. for the season (which has worked out quite well for him).  Erik is backing four teams playing away from home including a one-win team!  I have a couple of underdogs that could win outright along with some division leaders I expect to close in on a division title this week.

Gamblers know that 60% is the magic number to come out ahead, so that’s the goal again this season.  We didn’t make it last year, which just motivates us, even more, this season.  Every week the four of us will pick five games against the spread or on the over/under.  We’ll track the picks every week and see where we end up.  Feel free to play along in the comments or find us on Twitter!

Let’s get to the lines and picks for Week 13!

The following lines were captured on Tuesday. Betting lines can vary by site and move throughout the week so check yours to make sure that you have similar information.

 

Week 14 Betting Lines
Away Home Line O/U
Seahawks Texans Seahawks -7.5 41.5
Jaguars Titans Titans -9 44
Raiders Chiefs Chiefs -9.5 48.5
Cowboys Football Team Cowboys -4 48
Saints Jets Saints -5.5 43.5
Falcons Panthers Panthers -3 42.5
Ravens Browns Browns -2.5 42.5
Giants Chargers Chargers -10.5 44.5
Lions Broncos Broncos -8 42
49ers Bengals Bengals -1 47.5
Bills Buccaneers Buccaneers -3.5 52.5
Bears Packers Packers -12.5 43.5
Rams Cardinals Cardinals -3 51.5
Staff Picks

 

Analysis

 

Justin Dunbar: Justin puts together an article analyzing some of his picks in more detail.  Check out his Week 14 Betting Preview for more! Here are some snippets from his first two picks for this week.

Between Kansas City’s success against cover-three and Carr’s resurgence, there is a lot pointing to a shootout here. With that in mind, 48 points do not seem like much at all; the Raiders should certainly exceed their 19.5-point total. Take the “over” here. LV/KC Over 48.5

There is always the chance that Kansas City’s offense doesn’t get back on track in this game, and if that happens, beating Las Vegas by double-digits again will be a tall task. Thus, double-dipping with the over and Las Vegas (+9.5) makes sense here. LV +9.5

Wait, the 49ers are getting a point from the Bengals? This is a team that ranks in the top ten in both yards/play and yards/play allowed, both higher than Cincinnati’s respective ranks in those areas. Joe Burrow is currently dealing with a dislocated pinky, which could hurt his effectiveness, while Cincinnati, based on PFF run-defense grade, has struggled as of late. That’s not ideal against the 49ers, especially since they also struggle against tight ends- George Kittle could play a major role here. Though, it comes down to me picking the better team getting a point. When that opportunity comes, you have to jump on it! SF +1

One day, I will learn to stop fading Taylor Heincke and the Washington Football Team. This isn’t the week though. I do not think we can understate the quarterback mismatch between him and Dak Prescott; Prescott ranks 5th in PFF passing grade, while Heincke is tied for 27th. Although Washington has played better, their past three wins have been one-score games, and all have come against teams that are not above .500 this season. Now, you add in the fact that Amari Cooper will be back to full health this week to form a fully-loaded Cowboys offense against a bottom-ten defense in PFF coverage grade? Oh, I like the sounds of that! DAL -4

Why am I doing this to myself- haven’t the Falcons burned me enough! Regardless, there is no way I am going to support the Panthers laying three points right now. Following a dreadful 33-10 loss to the Dolphins, Carolina fired well-regarded offensive coordinator Joe Brady, insisting on a run-heavy approach. The problem? This strategy doesn’t work in today’s NFL. The Panthers have the lowest PFF receiving grade, third-lowest pass-block grade, and also rank in the bottom-twelve in run-block grade; they don’t have much support for Cam Newton, who hasn’t exactly proven capable of pushing the ball down the field. With how dysfunctional Carolina appears to be right now, I wouldn’t be shocked if the Falcons win this game outright. I’ll gladly take the three points and ride with it here. ATL +3

 

Brennan Rampe: The Seahawks defeated and swept their divisional rival 49ers in an upset. I still don’t think they’ll make the playoffs, but they’ve got a great chance to win consecutive games for the first time this season. The Texans lost 31-0 to the Colts, and the final score is evidence that they couldn’t score or prevent the Colts from scoring. Rookie quarterback Davis Mills might start this week, and he’s winless in all of his starts. Regardless of who the quarterback is, the Texans are one of the least talented teams in the league. Russell Wilson looked like his regular self last week against a talented 49ers defense, so he should light up this Texans defense. The Seahawks sadly lost Jamal Adams for the rest of the season, but this defense will be just fine against one of the worst offenses in the league. The Seahawks should win big on the road. Inside the Numbers: Seattle is 26-21-3 against the spread in non-conference games under Pete Carroll. SEA -7.5

The Titans have struggled recently, but that’s mainly because of all the injuries they’ve had to deal with. Their bye week came at a great time. The Jaguars, meanwhile, are one of the worst teams in the league. The offense has dealt with injuries to key players all year long, and they’ve been unable to score points. The defense isn’t great either. Urban Meyer is very likely to be fired after one season, and that hiring is looking like an enormous mistake. The Titans have won four games in a row against the Jaguars, and they should be able to beat them again. The offense gets a major weapon back, as Julio Jones will return. The defense has been playing well all season long, and they should dominate against this Jaguars offense. The Titans should defeat and sweep their divisional rival big at home while covering. Inside the Numbers: Tennessee is 3-0 against the spread after a bye under Mike Vrabel. TEN -9

The Saints, after a 5-2 start, have lost five games in a row. Their offense can’t stay healthy, so that’s the main reason for their struggles. Things aren’t going to get any better, as wide receiver Deonte Harris has been suspended for three games, and Kenny Stills has been released. The Jets have had a hard time scoring all year long, and they just lost wide receiver Corey Davis for the year. Both Taysom Hill and Zach Wilson have struggled with turnovers this year, and I just don’t see a whole lot of scoring going on in this game. The Jets’ defense has been terrible all year long, but this is a great opportunity to have one of their best games of the season. I have no idea who will win, but I think it’ll be a very low-scoring game. Inside the Numbers: The Jets average 18.1 points per game while New Orleans is averaging 22.8 but coming off back-to-back games of 6 and 17 points.  NYJ/NO Under 43.5

The Bills lost a tough, hard-fought game to the Patriots, but they had their opportunities. The wind played a factor, but they couldn’t execute near the end zone. The Patriots won despite Mac Jones only throwing three passes. The pass defense of the Bills without Tre’Davious White wasn’t tested at all, but it will be here. The Buccaneers have been one of the best offenses in the league all year long, and that has been the case even with Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski missing games. Tom Brady knows the Bills very well. He is 32-3 against them, and that is the most wins by a quarterback against one team in NFL history. On top of that, the Buccaneers are undefeated at home this year. I think the Bills are a good team that will most likely make the playoffs, but I think they lose two in a row here. Inside the Numbers: Tampa Bay is 10-4 against the spread at home since Tom Brady joined the franchise. TB -3.5

The Cardinals beat the Bears on the road to improve to 10-2, and Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins are back after missing time with injuries. When this team is fully healthy, they are a serious Super Bowl contender. The Rams, their divisional rival, destroyed the Jaguars, but anybody can do that. Before that game, the Rams lost to the Titans, 49ers, and Packers, which are all teams that will most likely be in the playoffs. Matthew Stafford didn’t play well in any of those games, and he threw a pick-six in all three of them. The Cardinals are undefeated against NFC West opponents this season, and even though their two losses have been at home this season, I think they are the better team. The Rams haven’t been able to prove that they can beat a good team recently. Inside the Numbers: Arizona is 8-6-2 against the spread in division games under Kliff Kingsbury. ARI -3

 

Erik Smith: Washington has put together a nice stretch of playing solid defense and ball control offense, but I expect them to be forced out of their comfort zone this week. Dallas should be able to move the ball on Washington, and if the Football Team has to play catchup it’s Terry McLaurin and… Ricky Seals-Jones? These teams know each other well so I don’t expect either to be unprepared, which should let the talent win out in the end. DAL -4

I’m just not sold on this Browns offense, so while Baltimore is struggling relative to their high expectations, I will gladly take the points here. Cleveland is lacking weapons in the passing game, so I don’t expect them to be able to take advantage of Baltimore’s injuries in the secondary. If it’s running game versus running game, give me the Ravens, as Lamar Jackson adds a dimension that Baker Mayfield just can’t provide. BAL +2.5

The Lions have hung around and stayed within eight points against the 49ers, Ravens, Vikings, Steelers, Browns, Bears, and the Vikings again in their first win last week. And while all of us fantasy football players are excited about Javonte Williams’ play last week for the Broncos, it has obscured the fact that it came in a 22-9 defeat at the hands of the Chiefs. The Broncos’ passing game has regressed and while the defense is good, it is far from a dominant unit. Eight points are just too many for a team led by Teddy Bridgewater, and the Lions have some momentum after their first win last week. I expect this one to be ugly and low-scoring, which should lead to a close game. DET +8

Arizona is the more complete team at this point, as their defense is performing the way that we thought the Rams defense would in 2021. I’m a little wary of how badly the Rams need this game, but this Cardinals team is flying under the radar and has cruised through a stretch without Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins. Now at full strength, I expect the Cardinals to make a statement against their divisional rivals, and they can lean on their offense or defense no matter how this game develops. ARI -3

Carolina just fired their offensive coordinator and is without Christian McCaffrey, so I’m skeptical that they should be favored by three, as this goes beyond something that a bye week can repair. I certainly don’t love this Falcons team, but they haven’t mailed in the season either, and at this point, they have more of an identity than the Panthers do. If the Falcons offensive line can avoid being a disaster against this tough Panthers defense, the Falcons should be able to hang around long enough for the Carolina offense to self-destruct. ATL +3

 

Bryan Sweet: This week, Dallas can all but wrap up the NFC East with a victory over Washington as that will give them a three-game lead in the division.  The only area in which Washington holds an advantage over Dallas is in rush defense but Dallas can beat you through the air or on the ground.  Dallas is averaging nine more points per game on offense and allowing two fewer points per game on defense and simply is the better team right now.  Despite it being a road, division game I think Dallas cruises in this one on their way to another division crown.  DAL -4

The Titans are fighting for their lives in the AFC South as the surging Colts are hot on their heels so the perfect remedy to end a two-game losing streak is a home date with the Jaguars, right?  I’m not so sure about that.  Tennessee held off a bad Saints’ team before dropping a game to the lowly Texans and looking completely outmatched in a loss to the Patriots.  Tennessee has also been hit hard by the injury bug, losing Derrick Henry, A.J. Brown, and Julio Jones all at the same time.  Jones looks like he’ll make his return this week, but I don’t know if that’s enough for Tennessee to win by double digits.  I think the Titans get a close victory, but give me the points.  JAX +9

Seattle has been a disappointment when you consider the sustained success the team has had in recent seasons, but they looked like they were starting to put something together last week in their win over the 49ers.  Now they get to travel to Houston to face one of the worst teams in the NFL and Russell Wilson is continuing to improve in his return from the finger injury he suffered earlier in the season.  I think the Seahawks roll in this one, so I’ll gladly lay the points on the road.  SEA -7.5

Baltimore has won four in a row against Cleveland, including earlier this year, and somehow they’re the underdogs this week?  I get that Cleveland has a lot of good players, but that team just hasn’t seemed to come together as a team and I think they fall for a fifth straight time this week.  I don’t think I’ll need the points, but I’ll take them in what I think will be a slugfest and a low-scoring affair.  BAL +2.5

I struggled to find a fifth pick that I was comfortable with, but I think I like the Bengals to win outright at home against a team that isn’t as good defensively as they have been in the past and are banged up at RB.  San Francisco has an identity as a power-run team, but it’s hard to run the ball when all your RBs are hurt.  The Bengals have moxie that keeps them in every game and could carry them to victory in this one playing in front of a home crowd and trying to keep pace with the Baltimore/Cleveland winner.  CIN -1

 


 

What are your favorite picks of the week? Put in your comments below to play along. We’ll be updating our records all season!

 

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)

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