During the NFL season, Stadium sports betting analyst Nate Jacobson will break down every single point spread using lines as of Thursday morning. Here are his thoughts on the Week 14 slate.
Note: Nate will discuss all of his college football and NFL bets on the Sharp Lessons podcast that drops every Tuesday and Thursday. Subscribe on Spotify and Apple for episodes and follow Stadium Bets on Twitter for more sports betting content.
Sides I Like
Browns (+6) over Bengals: Last week’s results caused this line to move from Bengals -3.5 to -6. Deshaun Watson struggled in his first start in nearly two years, and the Browns benefitted from three non-offensive touchdowns to win in Houston, while the Bengals picked up a signature win against the Chiefs at home.
I will give Watson a pass for his play last week because he was playing in a new offensive system for the first time. The Bengals’ win was impressive, but they also trailed by seven going into the fourth quarter and took advantage of a costly Kansas City turnover and late game mismanagement from Andy Reid.
There’s now line value, especially since the Browns have a strong recent history against the Bengals. Kevin Stefanski is 4-1 against his counterpart Zac Taylor, including a dominating win on a Monday night earlier this season. I like the number and spot for the Browns to cover, and they’ll have a chance to win if Watson plays better.
Sides I’m Considering
Ravens (+2.5) over Steelers: The look-ahead line had the Ravens as an over a field goal favorite. Then Lamar Jackson left last week’s game with a knee injury, likely meaning that Tyler Huntley will start. But has the point spread moved too much in the Steelers’ favor?
Despite the Steelers playing better since their bye week, I would make the argument that it has. Huntley has experience and will have a full week to prepare for this game. I made a small bet on the Ravens at +3 on Tuesday because that is an important number in a game with a low total of 37. I would also consider teasing the Ravens up to +8.5.
Jaguars (+4) over Titans: The Jaguars let me down last week in a game they never were competitive in against the Lions, as indicated by the 40-14 final score. The Titans also had a poor showing against the Eagles in their preferred underdog role.
I am looking to go back to the Jaguars here at +3.5 or better because I don’t believe much separates these teams other than their records. The Titans aren’t a great favorite under Mike Vrabel and they lack offensive weapons if rookie WR Treylon Burks doesn’t clear concussion protocol. I want to assess the injury reports more because QB Trevor Lawrence didn’t practice on Wednesday. I’ll likely look to have a Jacksonville bet by the end of the week.
Chargers (+3.5) over Dolphins: I like to bet on the Chargers as an underdog and bet against them as the favorite. They fit into the underdog role here as they welcome in the Dolphins for a game that was flexed to Sunday night.
I would expect Chargers head coach Brandon Staley to deploy a high-variance gameplan in which he is aggressive with going for it on fourth down to combat the Dolphins’ dangerous offense. If the Chargers convert some of those fourth downs, they’ll have a great shot at winning the game — but I still think they could cover this spread even if they fail in some of those situations.
Keep in mind that Justin Herbert was passed on by the Dolphins with the No. 5 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Miami opted to go with Tua Tagovailoa and Herbert was selected by the Chargers with the next pick. I fully expect an extra-motivated Herbert to have a strong game and execute in key situations.
Raiders (-6.5) at Rams: The line for this Thursday night game makes sense because it’ll feel like a Raiders home game in LA. There are still plenty of fans in that area from when the team called Southern California home, and the Raiders are also used to the stadium since they play at the Chargers once per season. I don’t want to back the Raiders in the favorite role, but I have no interest in the Rams after a tough loss to the Seahawks.
Vikings at Lions (-2.5): It’s not often you see a 10-2 team as a road underdog against a 5-7 team with no significant injury impacting the line. But bettors think the Vikings are overvalued and have made their opinion felt by betting Detroit all week. The Lions re-opened as an underdog in this game but moved to -1 by Monday. Another wave of Detroit money came in Tuesday, pushing this out to Lions -2.5.
My number in this game is a pick’em, but I won’t be betting on the Vikings here unless this number gets to Vikings +3. The Vikings were very fortunate in their last two games to win and cover against the Patriots and Jets. They are a 10-2 team with a point differential of only +10. If the Vikings had a 7-5 record, then this point spread wouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. The Lions have played well lately and it’s a good spot for them in their third-straight game at home. The Vikings’ luck will run out, which is why I don’t want to bet them here. Although if +3 became available, I’d have to at least consider it.
Jets at Bills (-9.5): The Jets played the Vikings last week and lost despite outgaining Minnesota by 199 yards. New York had all six of their second-half possessions reach the Vikings’ red zone, but they only scored one touchdown. This could be a good bounce-back spot for QB Mike White and New York, but I really don’t like the setup.
I have the Bills ranked as my top team in the NFL, so I would need a really big numerical edge to bet against them, and it’s not here in this game. I expect a very focused effort from the Bills after losing to the Jets earlier this season, and their current rest advantage means it’s Bills or pass for me if the line stays below -10.
Eagles (-7) at Giants: The Eagles were a popular team to fade last week against the Titans, and they greatly exceeded expectations with a 35-10 win. As for the Giants, they played a full 70 minutes against the Commanders in a game that ended in a tie. There might be some line value on the home team at +7, but not enough to warrant a bet on the Giants against one of the best teams in the NFL.
Texans at Cowboys (-16.5): Both teams were involved in games with misleading final scores last week. The Texans lost 27-14 to the Browns, but Cleveland scored their three touchdowns between special teams and defense. The Cowboys routed the Colts 54-19, but the score was 21-19 going into the fourth before Dallas put up 33 points in the last 14 minutes. I’d usually bet the Texans in this spot, but I can’t because I can see Dallas running up the score again if they wanted.
Panthers at Seahawks (-3.5): There’s been a significant line move in this game taking the Panthers from +6.5 to +3.5. Carolina is coming off a bye and Sam Darnold looked serviceable in his first start this season in Week 12. The Seahawks defense has looked vulnerable the last two weeks against the Raiders and Rams, and while I agree with the line move for those reasons, I’m not interested in betting Carolina.
Buccaneers at 49ers (-3.5): The look-ahead line was 49ers -6.5 before it dropped due to Jimmy Garoppolo’s foot injury that is expected to keep him out until late in the postseason. That indicates the downgrade from Garoppolo to seventh-round rookie Brock Purdy is worth three points.
It’s hard to exactly know the decline between the two quarterbacks because Kyle Shanahan’s scheme is so strong, and the 49ers have several offensive playmakers that can take the pressure off Purdy, who did lead the 49ers to a comeback victory against the Dolphins last week.
The Buccaneers are coming off a miracle win on Monday night against the Saints, but there are still a lot of questions about their offense — and now they face one of the best defenses in the NFL. The fact that Purdy and the 49ers are over a field goal favorite against Tom Brady’s Buccaneers shows how talented San Francisco’s roster really is across the board. I won’t have a bet in this game, but I’m interested to see how it plays out.
Chiefs (-9.5) at Broncos: The Broncos defense continues to play well, but week after week they are letdown by their offense and coaching staff, including last week at the Ravens. While I don’t want to bet on the Broncos the rest of the season, I do trust their defense to keep this game closer than expected and within a huge number at home.
Patriots (-1.5) at Cardinals: Out of their bye, the Cardinals are coming off a long layoff with this game being on Monday (although the Patriots did play last Thursday, so some of Arizona’s rest advantage is mitigated). This number is correct, and the idea of Bill Belichick needing to just beat Kliff Kingsbury is enticing, so it might be a bet if I’m looking for a reason to watch this game on Monday.