NFL Picks Week 14 Against the Spread: Which Underdogs Will Cover?
The NFL regular season quickly moves into Week 14, and two teams clinched playoff spots with victories on Sunday.
Green Bay continued its quest for a perfect season in picking up a 38-35 win over the New York Giants as seven-point road favorites to capture the NFC North division, while the San Francisco 49ers clinched the NFC West with a resounding 26-0 home win over the St. Louis Rams.
Underdogs held a slight 8-7 against-the-spread advantage in Week 13 heading into Monday Night Football, moving their record to 91-92-8 ATS on the season.
Let's take a closer look at the upcoming week from a betting perspective.
Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
The Pittsburgh Steelers are tied atop the AFC North division with the Baltimore Ravens, facing a quick turnaround in this Thursday night contest against the Cleveland Browns.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for 176 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday's 35-7 win over the Cincinnati Bengals as seven-point home favorites.
From a betting perspective, the Steelers are 1-2 ATS when playing on Thursday the last two-plus years, with all three of those games going "under" the total.
The Cleveland Browns have lost five of six games and come off a 24-10 defeat to the Baltimore Ravens as seven-point home underdogs.
It's important to note that the Browns suffered a 30-12 road loss to the Houston Texans as 10.5-point underdogs, evening up their record to 4-4 ATS when getting 10.5 to 14 points away from home the last two-plus years.
Handicapper Line: Pittsburgh Steelers (-12)
Pick: Cleveland Browns (+14)
Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images
The Indianapolis Colts posted 21 fourth-quarter points to cover the 21-point spread in Sunday's 31-24 road loss to the New England Patriots.
Bettors will find that the only winless team in the NFL is 3-8 ATS as an underdog this year, while going "over" the total in eight of its last nine December games.
The Baltimore Ravens 24-10 win over the Cleveland Browns doesn't tell the whole story, winning the statistical battle by 215 yards.
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh should have his team's attention in being tied atop the AFC North with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but will likely go off as a 14.5 to 21-point home favorite for the first time in the last two-plus campaigns.
Handicapper Line: Baltimore Ravens (-17)
Pick: Baltimore Ravens (-15)
Houston Texans at Cincinnati Bengals
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
The Cincinnati Bengals have lost three of their last four games, playing AFC North division rivals in all of those contests.
Oddsmakers really had no choice but to establish the youthful roster as three-point home favorites, as Bengals rookie quarterback Andy Dalton needs to deliver a win to stay in the playoff hunt.
A favorable schedule lies ahead with games against St. Louis and Arizona before hosting the Baltimore Ravens to end the year.
Houston is incredibly banged up and holds a two-game lead over the Tennessee Titans in the AFC South standings.
The Texans will put their 4-0 ATS record on the line in games with a spread of three points on either side.
Handicapper Line: Cincinnati Bengals (-1.5)
Pick: Cincinnati Bengals (-1)
Oakland Raiders at Green Bay Packers
Chris Trotman/Getty Images
The Oakland Raiders lost the time-of-possession battle by nearly 17 minutes in their 34-14 loss to the Miami Dolphins as three-point road underdogs Sunday, managing to score their two touchdowns in garbage time.
Tied with the Denver Broncos atop the AFC West division should certainly be a motivating factor in facing off against the NFL's only undefeated team.
The Raiders are also 5-1 ATS on the road this year and 5-2 ATS as an underdog of 10 or more points the last two-plus seasons.
Green Bay clinched the NFC North division with its 38-35 win over the New York Giants as seven-point road favorites.
The Packers are still difficult to go against, coming in with a 32-16 ATS record since the start of the 2009 campaign.
Handicapper Line: Green Bay Packers (-10)
Pick: Oakland Raiders (+12.5)
Kansas City Chiefs at New York Jets
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
The New York Jets have pieced together a much-needed two-game winning streak against two opponents that have gone completely south, getting the chance to play another losing opponent this week.
Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez led the offense to just 266 yards in the team's 34-19 win over the Washington Redskins Sunday as three-point road favorites.
An inflated tag gets slapped on New York in hosting a less-than-stellar Kansas City Chiefs squad, who came away with a surprising 10-3 road win over the Chicago Bears.
The Jets are just 3-2 ATS in their last five opportunities as home favorites of 7.5 to 10 points, but the Chiefs are 0-3 ATS versus AFC East opponents this year.
Handicapper Line: New York Jets (-10.5)
Pick: New York Jets (-8.5)
New Orleans Saints at Tennessee Titans
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
The New Orleans Saints are clearly the second-best team in the NFC, coming away with a 31-17 win over the Detroit Lions as nine-point home favorites.
Quarterback Drew Brees became the first player in league history to break the 4,000-yard passing mark in the first 12 games of a season, with the offense ranking No. 1 in averaging 448.7 total yards per game.
Bettors will find that the Saints are 0-2 ATS as road favorites of 3.5 to seven points this year.
Tennessee sits two games back of the Houston Texans in the AFC South standings, winning three of its last four games, including a 23-17 win over the Buffalo Bills as one-point road underdogs.
The Titans have been a home underdog within this particular point range just once since the start of the 2009 season, handing the Baltimore Ravens a 26-13 loss in Week 2 of the season.
Handicapper Line: New Orleans Saints (-3.5)
Pick: Tennessee Titans (+4.5)
New England Patriots at Washington Redskins
The New England Patriots have rattled off four consecutive wins and scored 30 or more points in all of those contests.
Quarterback Tom Brady has a pretty easy schedule to maneuver through down the stretch with a two-game lead in the AFC East division.
The Patriots defense continues to give up yards in bunches, ranking 32nd in the league in surrendering 412.1 yards per game.
Washington gives bettors little to work with, coming in with an 0-3 ATS mark versus AFC East opponents this year.
Definitely a troubling trend when taking on the best of the bunch in that particular division.
Handicapper Line: New England Patriots (-7.5)
Pick: New England Patriots (-7)
Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Carolina Panthers rookie quarterback Cam Newton will look to exact revenge from a 31-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons as 3.5-point road underdogs on Oct. 16.
The Panthers return home after three consecutive road games, something that should spark the league's No. 8 scoring offense.
Atlanta outscored Carolina by 17 points in the fourth quarter in the first meeting, while both teams rushed for over 130 yards.
The Falcons bring in an impressive 7-1 ATS mark in the last four weeks of the regular season since the 2009 campaign, but the Panthers are dangerous.
Handicapper Line: Atlanta Falcons (-3)
Pick: Carolina Panthers (+3)
San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
The San Francisco 49ers will definitely aim to secure the No. 2 spot in the NFC playoffs during the last four weeks, bouncing back from their second loss of the season to walk away with a 26-0 win over the St. Louis Rams as 14-point home favorites Sunday.
Arizona remains in the desert for the second of a three-game homestand, pulling off a 19-13 upset win over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 13.
The Cardinals will certainly be revenge-minded after dropping a 23-7 decision in the first meeting as 10-point road underdogs, allowing the 49ers to gain 431 yards offensively.
Tough situation for bettors to handicap.
Handicapper Line: San Francisco 49ers (-5.5)
Pick: San Francisco 49ers (-3.5)
Chicago Bears at Denver Broncos
Adam Bettcher/Getty Images
This particular matchup is the toughest on the card due to so many variables, especially with both teams still in the playoff hunt.
Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow has led the team to wins in six of seven games since taking over the starting job on Oct. 23.
The Bears can only hope that the Broncos decide to punt the ball to returner Devin Hester.
Handicapper Line: Denver Broncos (-4)
Pick: Chicago Bears (+4)
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
The Dallas Cowboys lead the New York Giants by just a game in the NFC East standings, coming off a heartbreaking 19-13 overtime loss to the Arizona Cardinals as four-point road favorites.
These two teams will also close out the 2011-12 season inside MetLife Stadium on Jan. 1, 2012.
New York has played an absolute treacherous schedule in dropping the last four games, including a 38-35 loss to the undefeated Green Bay Packers as seven-point home underdogs Sunday.
The Giants started the season with a 1-8 ATS mark when coming off back-to-back losses and playing with revenge against a divisional opponent.
Very tough game to call.
Handicapper Line: Dallas Cowboys (-4.5)
Pick: Dallas Cowboys (-3)