With the 2019-20 NFL season drawing towards a conclusion, oddsmakers are constantly adjusting lines to account for the performance of players and teams in Weeks 1-13.
Injury updates on star players such as Dalvin Cook (chest/shoulder) and Julio Jones (shoulder) could soon change the point spreads listed by US sportsbooks like DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook for Week 14 of the NFL season.
At PlayPicks, we feel confident with the information that we have to start making our picks against the spread.
In this weekly column, we will list three of our best bets against the spread with data to support our picks. Then, we will list the following games on the NFL slate in order of our confidence in analyzing the matchup. Keep in mind that lines can often shift due to weather or other unforeseen issues. Of course, injury news plays a huge role throughout the NFL season, and the status of specific players often bears monitoring until a couple of hours before kickoff.
NFL Week 14 Best Bets
Atlanta Falcons (-3) vs Carolina Panthers
Sometimes, a team can be galvanized after their head coach is fired. However, that’s usually only the case when the HC is not well liked and is perceived to be holding back some of the brimming talent on the team. The Panthers simply don’t have much offensive talent aside from Christian McCaffrey. They’ve lost four straight and dropped their fourth straight meeting with Atlanta on Nov. 17. The Panthers managed just 3 points at home despite 191 scrimmage yards from McCaffrey, as Kyle Allen took 5 sacks and tossed 4 picks against an improving Falcons defense.
When Falcons HC Dan Quinn relinquished defensive play calling duties, Atlanta’s secondary went from a laughing stock to temporarily elite while holding the Saints and Panthers to just 12 points in consecutive wins out of their bye week. That secondary has cooled a bit, but still held Drew Brees to 184 passing yards last Thursday and will have 10 days to prepare for Allen, the 32nd-ranked passer in the NFL according to Football Outsiders’ QBR system.
Atlanta is 8-4 ATS with a rest advantage since 2016 and should get Julio Jones (shoulder) back against a Panthers team that he’s historically dominated. Carolina also ranks dead last in DVOA rush defense and coughs up a whopping 5.8 YPC in road games, so look for Devonta Freeman to lead the Falcons backfield and set up big pass plays off play-action.
Seattle Seahawks (-0.5) at Los Angeles Rams
It seems the public is ready to jump back on the Rams bandwagon after one good week. Jared Goff threw for 424 yards in a beatdown of the Cardinals, but Arizona ranks 31st in opponent’s drive success rate and dead last in yards allowed (39.7) per drive. While Seattle’s defense is middle-of-the-pack in those categories, it’s also third in TOs (.179) produced per drive.
Goff has fumbled 10 times, thrown 12 picks, and ranks 29th in QBR (42.2) this year. Unlike last season, he’s been worse at home with 5:6 TD:INT ratio while averaging 272.5 passing YPG over 6 starts. The Rams are still looking for a consistent fan base, which is partially why they have the third-worst record ATS in home games (10-17-2) since moving to L.A.
Seattle is 9-1 in one-score games this season and arguably has the most clutch and most competitive QB in the league in Russell Wilson. The Rams secondary will be better with Jalen Ramsey locking down one side, but Wilson shredded that unit in primetime on Oct. 3, completing 17 of 23 passes with 4 TDs and a 151.8 passer rating. He owns a 10:0 TD:INT ratio and is completing 67.1% of his passes over his last three meetings with the Rams, putting up 30 points in all three contests. While the Rams offense outscored the Seahawks twice last season, that unit is now 20th in points per drive (1.88) with the seventh-highest turnover rate.
Kansas City Chiefs (+3) at New England Patriots
Despite showing no signs of competency on offense over the past several weeks, the Patriots are favored at home against a red-hot Chiefs team due to their “aura” of invincibility at home. Granted, they’re 56-32-3 ATS at home this decade, but the narrative that Patrick Mahomes and company are just a step away from dethroning the kings of the AFC may be dispelled this week.
New England’s passing game is weak. Julian Edelman and James White are the only receivers with Tom Brady’s trust, and as a result, he ranks 17th with a 52.5 QBR (per Football Outsiders) this year. While he turned it up in the AFC title game last year, Brady still owns a weak 10:7 TD:INT ratio with an 88.5 passer rating and a 5-3 record in 8 career starts against the Chiefs. They have a reputation as a poor defensive team, but KC actually ranks sixth in DVOA pass defense. Their weakness is against the run, but New England has been unable to sustain success on the ground without Rob Gronkowksi setting the edge, and its offensive line has been stuffed at the sixth-highest rate this year. Since getting DT Chris Jones back from injury, the Chiefs have improved in rush defense and new DC Steve Spaugnolo is bound to make better decisions down the stretch than old DC Bob Sutton did in that conference title game collapse.
We wouldn’t take any ordinary team against the Patriots at home, yet the Chiefs are no ordinary team. With the reigning MVP leading the way and dangerous weapons all over the field, KC has the weaponry to not only cover this spread (which opened at +4 and has been slightly bet down), but to potentially win and pay off +145 on the Moneyline.
NFL Week 14 Picks Against The Spread
Cincinnati Bengals (+7.5) at Cleveland Browns
This line is getting hammered after incorrectly opening at +10.5, since Cincy is actually a competitive team with Andy Dalton under center and could get playmaking WR John Ross (shoulder) back into the lineup this week. Cincy is 10-3 ATS on the road since the start of last season.
Los Angeles Chargers (-3) at Jacksonville Jaguars
The Chargers have to be steaming after a bogus pass interference call cost them a shot in overtime at Denver. Now they’ll face a backsliding Jags team that’s been dominated in four straight losses and is unable to stop the run.
New Orleans Saints (-2.5) vs San Francisco 49ers
Creativity should allow the Saints to score against the 49ers staunch defense and there’s no chance we’re taking Jimmy Garoppolo in a close game against an all-time killer like Drew Brees.
Tennessee Titans (-3) at Oakland Raiders
Ryan Tannehill is not making many mistakes and he’s getting easy looks down the field with Derrick Henry averaging 8.76 YPC over the Titans last three wins.
Green Bay Packers (-12.5) vs Washington Redskins
Washington’s surprising 2-game win streak will come to a crashing halt at Lambeau, where the Packers are 4-2 ATS this year.
Baltimore Ravens (-5.5) at Buffalo Bills
Buffalo can’t stop the run and that’s a recipe for disaster against Lamar Jackson and company.
Miami Dolphins (+5) at New York Jets
The Dolphins came back to beat the Eagles last week behind a strong passing game and Ryan Fitzpatrick already exacted some revenge against his former team with a win over the Jets this year.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) at Arizona Cardinals
Arizona’s defense has been pathetic all year and Kyler Murray (hamstring) looked limited against the Rams last week. The Steelers defense is even tougher.
Tampa Bay Bucs (-3) vs Indianapolis Colts
The Bucs pass defense has quietly improved in recent weeks and their top-rated run defense is well positioned to stop Indy’s run-first offense.
Detroit Lions (+12.5) at Minnesota Vikings
David Blough looked competent for the Lions on Thanksgiving and could keep this game close enough with the Vikings potentially down Adam Thielen (hamstring) and Dalvin Cook (shoulder/chest). The Lions are 12-9-1 ATS in road games over the past three seasons.
Philadelphia Eagles (-9.5) vs New York Giants
We’re not buying into Eli Manning as an upgrade over Daniel Jones (ankle), especially when it comes to escaping the pocket against a fierce Eagles front.
Denver Broncos (+9.5) at Houston Texans
Drew Lock looked good in his first NFL start and Houston’s secondary has been vulnerable all season.