I went 4-3 in my contest last week, which means I’m now three games under .500 for the season with four weeks left. For this week, I’m going to remove the “sides I’ll likely use” category because there isn’t much I like in the NFL right now. Finding line value and an “edge” is tougher as the season goes on, so I need more time to handicap these games as injury reports come out. It does look like a week with a lot of teaser options, so that’s likely how I’ll attack it.
As always, I’ll use lines from the Las Vegas SuperContest, a popular football challenge hosted by the Westgate SuperBook. The point spreads for the contest come out Wednesday evening and are locked at those numbers for the rest of the week.
I’m in a competition where I pick seven sides a week using the SuperContest’s lines, so in this weekly breakdown I will unveil my first impressions of the games and point spreads. I hope this can be a guide for people who are in similar NFL pick’ems or looking to bet games.
Note: My picks could change based on information and any news that is not factored into the contest line. I will discuss and finalize these picks on a Periscope show I host called Weekend Warriors. The show will be live for an hour on Sunday at 11 a.m. ET and can be seen on Stadium’s Periscope channel or Stadium’s Twitter. After the show, I will tweet my seven picks for the contest from my Twitter.
Here are my thoughts for Week 14.
Picks I’m Considering
Titans (-7.5) over Jaguars: The look-ahead line in this game was Titans -9.5 before Tennessee lost to Cleveland in Week 13. That was a game where I picked against the Titans, and now I’ll be looking to buy them at a bit of a discount. The Jaguars will have trouble getting stops on defense, so this is a great spot to tease the Titans down to -1.5.
Vikings (+6.5) over Buccaneers: I thought I would be making a case for the Buccaneers here coming off a bye week. The team clearly needed rest after home losses to the Rams and Chiefs, and the extra time could be beneficial to figuring out their issues on offense. But I only made this line Buccaneers -5.5, so I think there’s some line value on Minnesota. It probably won’t be a bet for me unless I get +7, but it’s something I’ll consider in the contest.
Chiefs (-7) over Dolphins: If Ryan Fitzpatrick was starting this game I would likely pass — or maybe even take the Dolphins. But I don’t have much faith in Tua Tagovailoa leading Miami’s offense right now in what is likely to be a shootout against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. I made this game Chiefs -8.5 and I think we’re getting a discount on Kansas City because they failed to cover the spread in their last four games. Kansas City also makes sense as a teaser if you just want to back them to win.
49ers (-3) over Washington: Last week, I was on the 49ers +2.5 in the contest against the Bills. They closed as a 1.5-point favorite and lost 34-24. Now they are a three-point favorite against a Washington team coming off a huge win in Pittsburgh on Monday. I can see a letdown from Washington in this game, but I also think the line is too short. If the 49ers closed -1.5 against the Bills then they should be more than a field goal favorite against Washington, as both games are being played on a neutral site in Arizona. Despite being 5-7, the 49ers are only one game back of the last playoff spot in the NFC so they still have something to play for.
Steelers (+2.5) over Bills: The look-ahead line in this game was Steelers -2.5. Now we’ve seen a five-point adjustment where the Bills are favored by 2.5 points. This line indicates Buffalo is a better team than Pittsburgh, which I don’t agree with. While the Bills are trending up and the Steelers have had some unconvincing performances, Pittsburgh has had some tough luck with their schedule format. I’ll give them a pass for how they performed last game against Washington on Monday because they were coming off a Wednesday afternoon game against the Ravens, and Washington had a huge rest advantage. The Steelers still control their own fate for the No. 1 seed in the AFC because Washington was a non-conference game, so this matchup will go a long way in deciding who earns a first-round bye and home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs. I would bet the Steelers if the line got to +3, but even if it doesn’t get there, they’ll be a teaser leg I use.
Ravens (-1) over Browns: I’m going to look to bet against the Browns coming off an incredible performance against the Titans. They are 9-3, but some of their defensive statistics don’t measure up to their record. I think the point spread is correct from a math standpoint, but the Ravens need this game more than the Browns do in order to get in the postseason. If I’m forced to pick, I would have to be on Baltimore.
I Need More Information
Patriots at Rams (-5.5): The second-to-last Thursday night football game of the season sees a rematch of Super Bowl LIII. The Patriots walloped the Chargers in the same stadium just four days ago and need this game to realistically stay in the AFC playoff race. This will be a no-play for me as this is also an important game for the Rams, who now have the NFC West division lead.
Packers (-7.5) at Lions: The Lions won their first game after firing Matt Patricia last week, and I can see them carrying that momentum for a game at Ford Field against a division rival. But if Detroit gave up 30 points to the Bears in an outdoor game, then they’ll probably have no answer for Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Jones and Davante Adams in a game on turf. I’ll stay away, but I wouldn’t talk anyone out of teasing the Packers down.
Cowboys (-3.5) at Bengals: These are two teams I don’t want any part of. The Cowboys are playing their second-straight road game (on a short week, too), while the Bengals are currently the worst team in the NFL without Joe Burrow.
Cardinals (-1.5) at Giants: The Giants make a lot of sense here with how these teams are trending. However, I feel like I’d be buying New York at their highest point if I were to bet on them. Maybe teasing the Giants up to over a touchdown would be the way to play it, but I probably won’t bet the spread at the current price.
Texans (-1) at Bears: Both teams suffered demoralizing losses within minutes of each other last week in what turned out to be a hectic early afternoon window in the NFL. I don’t know what to expect from either team at this point, and I made the number Texans -1, so it’s an easy “stay away” for me.
Broncos at Panthers (-3): Following their late Week 13 bye, I was looking to bet on the Panthers during the final four games of the season. And considering that teams with first-year head coaches have had success following their bye week in recent seasons, I think the Panthers would have been in a great spot to bet on this weekend. But because of COVID-19 and other injury concerns surrounding Carolina, I’m no longer interested in this game.
Colts (-3) over Raiders: I would’ve included Indianapolis in the “picks I’m considering” category if they were favored by 2.5 in this game. The Raiders were very fortunate to beat the Jets last week, and I think highly of the Colts and their coaching staff.
Jets at Seahawks (-13.5): One of the reasons the Raiders beat the Jets last week was due to a puzzling play call by Jets DC Gregg Williams that got him fired the next day. I can see the Jets’ defense having a short stretch of improvement following that firing, and I just don’t trust the Seahawks’ offense to cover a big number right now.
Falcons (-2.5) at Chargers: The numbers indicate that the Chargers are the play, but I can’t go back to them after a 45-0 loss to the Patriots last week. Unless they fire Anthony Lynn before Week 17, I’ll likely stay away from the Chargers no matter how much line value I think I’m getting.
Saints (-7) at Eagles: Jalen Hurts gets the nod at starting quarterback for the Eagles as their division hopes have slipped. My initial thought was to downgrade the Eagles due to Carson Wentz getting benched for Hurts, but it might end up being an upgrade as the rest of the team will want to play hard for their rookie QB. I want to look more into this game and see if the line moves if Drew Brees is ruled healthy for the Saints. Regardless, there are several reasons to stay away from New Orleans — most notably, this matchup potentially serving as a trap game with the Chiefs coming up.