Week 14 of the 2013 NFL season will be here before you know it, which is why it is wise to get started on your bets early.
The opening lines will almost certainly shift from what they have been set at, although how drastically remains to be seen. Regardless, if there is a number you like—don’t hesitate to pounce.
If you are still unsure about which way to lean this week, consider the underdogs. These plays may not look that great on paper, but there are some quality teams getting points that sharp bettors will be all over.
Let’s take a look at the opening line for each Week 14 game, predict a winner for each and then highlight a couple of ‘dogs that are almost guaranteed to cover the spread.
|Away Team||Home Team||Spread||Prediction (ATS)|
|Houston Texans||Jacksonville Jaguars||HOU -3||JAX|
|Kansas City Chiefs||Washington Redskins||KC -2||KC|
|Minnesota Vikings||Baltimore Ravens||BAL -7||BAL|
|Cleveland Browns||New England Patriots||NE -10||CLE|
|Oakland Raiders||New York Jets||NYJ -3||NYJ|
|Indianapolis Colts||Cincinnati Bengals||CIN -5.5||CIN|
|Atlanta Falcons||Green Bay Packers||N/A||N/A|
|Detroit Lions||Philadelphia Eagles||PHI -2.5||PHI|
|Miami Dolphins||Pittsburgh Steelers||PIT -3||PIT|
|Buffalo Bills||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||TB -2.5||TB|
|Tennessee Titans||Denver Broncos||DEN -12.5||TEN|
|St. Louis Rams||Arizona Cardinals||ARI -6||STL|
|New York Giants||San Diego Chargers||SD -3.5||NYG|
|Seattle Seahawks||San Francisco 49ers||SF -1.5||SEA|
|New Orleans Saints||Carolina Panthers||NO -3.5||NO|
Jacksonville Jaguars (+3) over Houston Texans
Don’t look now, but after an ugly start, the Jacksonville Jaguars are rolling. This team has won two straight and three of its last four matchups heading into this Thursday Night Football showdown with Houston.
Somehow the Jags are getting points at home against arguably the NFL’s worst team—one that they already beat on the road this season—which should make this contest more enticing than the coin-flip bet it has been in 2013.
While Jacksonville is 0-4 as a ‘dog at EverBank Field, the rest of the league is 32-30 against the spread in that situation.
Expect the Jags to move to 1-4 ATS as a home underdog by the end of Thursday evening. They are clearly the hotter squad and look ready to send the Texans to the top of the draft order.
Jacksonville doesn’t appear to be the same team it was earlier this campaign, as evidenced by a game-winning drive in Week 13. The squad gave up an unfortunate 95-yard touchdown to Josh Gordon of the Cleveland Browns to fall behind with little time left on the clock.
However, Chad Henne led his team on a march down the field and eventually connected with Cecil Shorts III for a touchdown with 40 seconds left to seal a 32-28 victory.
That showed this group’s newfound resolve, especially considering the comeback happened in a hostile FirstEnergy Stadium.
Going up against a Texans team that has no heart or resolve and has been openly criticized by two of its own players—veteran safety Ed Reed was cut after his comments a few weeks ago, while star receiver Andre Johnson stated “we suck” following the team’s Week 12 loss to Jacksonville—things finally look good for the Jags on national television.
Don’t be afraid to back the Jaguars big as their defense looks to once again hold Houston to less than a touchdown, while the offense puts a respectable number of points on the board.
St. Louis Rams (+6) over Arizona Cardinals
The Rams have been a great bet against Arizona lately, winning three straight matchups against their NFC West rival. While St. Louis may have a hard time pushing that streak to four-straight come Sunday, there is almost no doubt that it will cover the spread given six additional points.
The Cardinals are a tough opponent this year and often aren’t given the proper respect they deserve as a quality team, but they may be getting a bit too much from the oddsmakers in Week 14.
Which team will cover?
Turnovers will be the key to this game, as the team that forces them and is able to avoid committing them will end up the victor.
This stacks in St. Louis’ favor, as Arizona is an extremely turnover-prone squad. The Cards have given the rock away a whopping 24 times in 2013, tied for the fourth-most in the league.
They’ll be going up against an opportunistic Rams defense—led by superstar pass-rusher Robert Quinn—that has forced 23 turnovers, the fourth-highest mark in the NFL.
The turnover differential between these two rivals is staggering, with the Rams standing at plus-eight through 12 games, while the Red Birds are at negative-one. When two sides are this evenly matched, an interception or forced fumble is likely going to be the difference between a win and a loss.
Given that the statistics show the Cardinals are much more likely to commit that error, it’s a safe bet to fade them at home this week. This contest is likely going to be decided by a field goal or less regardless, so take the six points and get paid with the Rams.