NFL Week 14 Betting Guide: Odds, Props and Picks

Brad Gagnon@Brad_Gagnon NFL National ColumnistDecember 8, 2018

NFL Week 14 Betting Guide: Odds, Props and Picks

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    Week 13 was dedicated to the underdogs. Actually, the unders and the 'dogs. Eleven of the 16 games fell short of their closing totals, while favorites were 7-9 against the spread and only 9-7 straight-up. 

    In this spot, we picked zero 'dogs straight-up, missing on nice moneyline payouts from the Arizona Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Los Angeles Chargers and Baltimore Ravens.

    Will the 'dogs continue to eat in Week 14? Will scoring continue to drop off along with temperatures? Let's get into our latest look at Week 14, with a guide for upcoming games, notes on spreads, over/unders and moneylines, top picks and the lock of the week.

          

MoneylIne Picks and Picks Against the Spread

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    Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans (-4.5, 37.5 O/U): Titans -4.5 and -210

    Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs (-6.5, 51 O/U): Ravens +6.5 and +255

    Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans (-4.5, 50 O/U): Colts +4.5 and Texans -211

    Atlanta Falcons at Green Bay Packers (-5, 51 O/U): Packers -5 and -208

    New York Jets at Buffalo Bills (-3.5, 38 O/U): Bills -3.5 and -175

    New York Giants (-3.5, 41 O/U) at Washington Redskins: Giants -3.5 and -180

    New Orleans Saints (-9.5, 54.5 O/U) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Saints -9.5 and -407

    New England Patriots (-7.5, 47.5 O/U) at Miami Dolphins: Dolphins +7.5 and Patriots -348

    Carolina Panthers (-1.5, 47 O/U) at Cleveland Browns: Browns +1.5 and +110

    Denver Broncos (-3.5, 45.5 O/U) at San Francisco 49ers: Broncos -3.5 and -192

    Cincinnati Bengals at Los Angeles Chargers (-14, 47.5 O/U): Chargers -14 and -900

    Detroit Lions (-3, 40.5 O/U) at Arizona Cardinals: Lions -3 and -145

    Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys (-3.5, 44 O/U): Eagles +3.5 and +160

    Pittsburgh Steelers (-10, 51.5 O/U) at Oakland Raiders: Raiders +10 and Steelers -525

    Los Angeles Rams (-3, 51.5 O/U) at Chicago Bears: Bears +3 and +140

    Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks (-3, 45.5 O/U): Seahawks -3 and -153

Stay-Away Games

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    Mike Roemer/Associated Press

    Colts at Texans (-4.5)

    This is a tricky line for a tricky game. And we don't know which Colts team will show up. 

    Will we see the Indy offense that averaged 33.1 points per game between Week 4 and Week 12, or the one that was shut out by the Jaguars in Week 13? The former sample is much larger than the latter, which might be an anomaly, but the Houston defense has been even better than Jacksonville's. 

    It's also fair to wonder if the Texans are due for a dud. Their current nine-game winning streak started in Indianapolis, when Colts head coach Frank Reich handed them an overtime victory on a silver platter with a controversial fourth-down gamble on Indy's side of the field. They've since cut it close against less-than-awesome opponents on several occasions.

    That 37-34 game was bananas, and there's no telling how this one will play out. With the spread sort of lingering in no man's land, you'd probably be better off sitting this one out. 

         

    Falcons at Packers (-5)

    Let's not pretend we know how the Packers will react to Mike McCarthy's firing, or last week's shocking upset loss to the Cardinals. 

    Aaron Rodgers hasn't lost home games in back-to-back weeks since 2008. However, the Packers have rarely been out of contention this early with a healthy Rodgers at quarterback, and we've never seen Rodgers start an NFL game without McCarthy on the sideline. 

    The Falcons are a mess, but so were the Cardinals. And that Atlanta offense still has the ability to score 35 points out of nowhere, making another no man's land-type spread unworthy of your disposable income this week. 

         

    Patriots (-7.5) at Dolphins

    The Dolphins have beaten New England straight-up in four of their last five meetings in South Florida, and they outplayed the Pats without quarterback Ryan Tannehill at this site last December. But is that enough to trust a Miami team that had just 175 yards of total offense at home against the Bills in Week 13? 

    An argument could be made that the Patriots—who are gaining steam—are due to crush the Dolphins in their house. But New England hasn't been winning in convincing fashion—it hasn't hammered a team wire-to-wire since October—and the hook on that 7.5-point spread is terrifying. 

    I'd be all over the Dolphins if they were getting double-digit points, and I'd consider the Patriots at closer to a field goal. But as is, this feels like a potential trap no matter which way you bet. 

         

    Broncos (-3.5) at 49ers

    Without both Emmanuel Sanders and Chris Harris Jr., betting on the Broncos to clear a spread beyond a field goal on the road for a second consecutive week seems awfully dangerous. But on the other hand, the depleted 49ers looked like toast on an ugly two-game road trip through Tampa and Seattle. 

    Will San Francisco bounce back at home, where it smashed the Raiders and hung with the Giants last month? If so, a straight-up upset could be in the cards considering that its potentially exhausted opponent is coming off a week in which it suffered multiple major injuries.

    But there's just too much mystery surrounding this game to roll the dice either way on another frustrating line. 

Prop Bets You Can Take to the Bank

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    D. Ross Cameron/Associated Press

    Ravens at Chiefs: Total first-half points over 25.5 (-116)

    The Ravens and Chiefs are the only teams in the league averaging more than 6.2 points in the first quarter this season, while Kansas City leads the NFL in first-half scoring by a large margin. And while Baltimore has the league's top-ranked scoring defense, 64 percent of the points the Ravens have surrendered have come before halftime. 

    At a minimum, expect to see a score along the lines of 14-13 when these teams reach the break on Sunday. 

         

    Jets at Bills: 4-5 total turnovers (+170)

    New York and Buffalo are the only teams in the AFC averaging two or more turnovers per game, and both rank in the middle of the pack when it comes to takeaways. 

    The Bills are likely to establish a lead at home, which could be problematic for Jets quarterback Sam Darnold, whose interception rate of 4.8 is the worst among qualified current starting quarterbacks. The only other AFC quarterback with a pick rate above 3.5 is Buffalo's Josh Allen (3.7). 

    It's surprising that such a nice payout is available for the 4-5 turnover range with both Allen and Darnold slated to suit up, especially considering the latter might not be 100 percent.

         

    Steelers at Raiders: Steelers most turnovers (+175)

    Not sure why Pittsburgh pays a lot better than Oakland here. The Steelers have committed three more turnovers than the Raiders this season, and 14 of Pittsburgh's 20 turnovers have come on the road, while they have just six takeaways in six road games. 

    The Steelers have also been mistake-prone lately, with eight turnovers in their last three games. Oakland did lose three fumbles last week, but that could mean the law of averages will be on its side this time around (fumble recoveries are basically luck). More importantly, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr hasn't thrown a single interception since Week 5. 

    Throw in that this is likely to be a competitive game considering Pittsburgh's historical struggles in Oakland and the Pacific time zone in general, and this is a no-brainer. 

         

    Giants at Redskins: Redskins under 17.5 points (+100)

    The Redskins have averaged 17.4 points per game in their last five outings, and they had Alex Smith or Colt McCoy at quarterback during much of that stretch. It's all on Mark Sanchez's shoulders now, and with Sanchez running the offense for most of Monday's game in Philadelphia, the Redskins managed just 13 points and 235 yards, seven and 90 of which came on one aberrational long-distance Adrian Peterson touchdown run. 

    An offense that didn't reach the red zone once against the depleted Eagles defense might have a hard time scoring in double digits against a Giants D that has been playing relatively well. 

Spreads to Bet

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    David Seelig/Associated Press

    Bengals at Chargers (-14)

    The Bengals might not have much left in them, and whatever's there isn't likely to be found on a cross-country road trip. Cincinnati is a mess without Andy Dalton, A.J. Green and Cordy Glenn on offense, mainly because that unit was already working overtime to compensate for the fact that the Bengals have the league's worst defense. 

    This team just lost back-to-back games by a combined 29 points at home to two opponents—Cleveland and Denver—that were a combined 3-7 on the road prior to their respective trips to Southwest Ohio. And when Cincinnati has played teams of the Chargers' ilk? They were outscored 96-24 in losses to the Chiefs and Saints, and those embarrassing defeats came when they still had a healthy Dalton under center. 

    Now they're traveling three time zones for their first West Coast game in three years. Their opponent is coming off a 33-point road output in a statement victory over Pittsburgh and has allowed just 16.1 points per game since the start of October. 

    It's hard to dream up a reason this won't be a rout. 

         

    Steelers at Raiders (+10)

    Is the idea of betting on the Raiders enough to cause you to throw up in your mouth a little bit? Totally understandable, but Jon Gruden's team has quietly covered two of its last three spreads and is 2-2 ATS in Oakland this season. Despite their 2-9 (now 2-10) record, they put together an admirable effort against the Chiefs in Week 13, falling 40-33 despite losing three fumbles. 

    And now they have a much more vulnerable opponent coming to town. 

    The Steelers haven't played well since smashing the Panthers on Nov. 8. Since then they've turned it over eight times and produced just one takeaway during an ugly three-game stretch against Jacksonville, Denver and the Chargers. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is struggling within a mistake-prone offense that has lacked balance and won't be any better off without running back James Conner, who suffered an ankle injury in Week 13. 

    Believe it or not, despite far more support, Roethlisberger has been about as effective as oft-criticized Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, who has a three-point edge when it comes to completion percentage, a near-identical passer rating and a perfectly identical touchdown-to-interception ratio. But while Roethlisberger has an 80.8 rating and six picks since that Carolina game, Carr hasn't thrown a single interception since Week 5. 

    What's more, the Steelers are just 2-8 straight-up and against the spread in the Pacific time zone since the turn of the century—a stretch that includes three losses in Oakland with Big Ben at quarterback.

    They haven't won a game in California by more than four points since 2000, they're playing terribly right now and they're up against an opponent that has nothing to lose and has seemingly turned a small corner in recent weeks. Why would anyone expect them to clear a 10-point hurdle on Sunday? 

         

    Vikings at Seahawks (-3)

    This is a wrong-place-wrong-time game for the Vikings and, in particular, quarterback Kirk Cousins. 

    Consider that Cousins is:

    • 5-12 in his career in prime-time games
    • 4-23 in his career (and 0-4 this year) against winning teams
    • 12-22-2 in his career on the road

    And consider that Cousins is going up against a Seahawks team that is: 

    • Hosting the Vikings in a game that is in fact taking place in prime time
    • Currently in possession of a winning record 
    • At home, where it is an NFC-best 41-12 since drafting Russell Wilson in 2012

    This is a massive game for both teams, which bodes well for the hotter home side than the inconsistent road squad. While Cousins has struggled to rise to occasions, Wilson has led two fourth-quarter comebacks in the last three weeks.

    He's also just flat-out on fire, having thrown 22 touchdown passes to two interceptions while posting a 128.3 passer rating in his last eight games. He has better protection and a better running game than Cousins, and Minnesota's talent advantage on defense isn't enough to make up for that and everything else working against the Vikings in this game. 

    Look for the 12th Man to be a big factor Monday night as Seahawks fans show up for a team that is surprisingly in contention, and watch for Seattle to win convincingly. 

Line Movement

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    Ravens at Chiefs: Chiefs -8.5 to -6.5

    Tough to put a finger on what drove this one down from an 8.5 opener, except that the betting public might be buying into Lamar Jackson and the streaking Ravens. Short-term memory sometimes drives bettors, and Baltimore has won consecutive games by double-digit margins while the Chiefs are coming off a closer-than-expected 40-33 victory over the two-win Raiders. 

    Of course, Kareem Hunt's release and Joe Flacco's improved health could also be factoring in. 

    Sharps grabbed Baltimore when it still had a touchdown in its back pocket. If you weren't able to do that, you're taking a bit of a risk at Arrowhead.

    That being said, it's a risk I'm willing to take because I don't trust the Kansas City defense.

         

    Steelers at Raiders: Steelers -13 to -10

    This must be somewhat of a reaction to all of the talk about Pittsburgh's struggles in Oakland and on the West Coast in general, which wouldn't have been top of mind for a lot of folks on Monday morning.

    But on top of that, Steelers running back James Conner is out with an ankle injury, which could make it hard for an offense that has already lacked balance and discipline to exploit the league's second-worst run defense. 

    Hope you got in before this dropped to an even -10, but I'd only become wary if it kept dropping below double digits.

         

    Giants at Redskins: Redskins -1 to Giants -3.5

    Yup, before Colt McCoy broke his leg and the Redskins laid an egg Monday night in Philadelphia, Washington was favored to beat the Giants at FedExField. That all changed soon after time expired at Lincoln Financial Field, and the Giants have spent pretty much the entire week as a 3.5-point fave. 

    Considering the mangled state of the Redskins as well as the way the Giants have been playing with nothing to lose, that might not be enough. I wouldn't touch Washington unless I was getting at least a touchdown.

         

    Rams at Bears: 45.5 O/U to 51.5 O/U

    As it became clear Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was likely to return from an injury to his throwing shoulder, the Bears moved in most spots from a four-point underdog to a three-point 'dog.

    That's significant, but it doesn't fully explain why the total has shot up by nearly a touchdown. Perhaps the idea is that Trubisky's presence and performance should result in both offenses upping their games. Regardless, that's become an awfully tall over/under for a game that involves Aaron Donald and Khalil Mack. 

Easy Over/Unders

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    Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

    Colts at Texans: Under 50 points

    The Colts offense will likely bounce back—to an extent—from a surprising Week 13 shutout loss. But it's hard to imagine Indy exploding on the road against a Texans defense that has surrendered just 15.9 points per game since the start of October.

    That hot streak started one week after they combined for 71 points in a Week 4 meeting that went to overtime, and that game may be working to artificially inflate this total. 

    Let's not forget that the Colts also held the Jaguars to just six points in that shutout defeat, marking the third occasions in a six-game span in which that improved defense held an opponent to 10 or fewer. Jabaal Sheard, Margus Hunt and Darius Leonard might not be as dominant as J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and Benardrick McKinney, but it's time to start respecting a Colts defense that ranks 11th in football in terms of DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) at Football Outsiders

    With a lot on the line, expect both teams to play a lot tighter than they did in September. This'll be a close, low-scoring affair.

         

    Saints at Buccaneers: Under 54.5 points

    Don't be surprised if there's a similar rematch correction in this game after the Saints and Bucs combined for 88 points in their Week 1 meeting. Both offenses still have a lot of firepower, but this total of 54.5 doesn't give enough credit to two improving defenses that should be better prepared for the opposition than they were in the season opener. 

    The Saints have allowed an NFL-low 12.8 points per game since Week 10, and even before that they had held five of their previous seven opponents to 23 or fewer. Reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year Marshon Lattimore has picked up his game, third-year first-round pick Sheldon Rankins has emerged, and veterans Cameron Jordan and Demario Davis have continued to produce. 

    And while the Buccaneers defense is by no means stout, Tampa Bay has produced six takeaways while surrendering just 26 points in back-to-back wins. Surprisingly, that oft-mocked D hasn't given up more than 30 points at home this season and has allowed just 14.0 points per game in its last three home outings. Gerald McCoy can be a difference-maker, while former Brown Carl Nassib has become a key cog. 

    This game might not even flirt with the 50-mark, let alone 55. 

         

    Jets at Bills: Over 38 points

    When Buffalo met the Jets on the road last month, the Bills offense exploded for 34 points despite not having dynamic rookie quarterback Josh Allen. Allen has since returned to rush for 234 yards in a two-game span, with Buffalo scoring 24 points on a talented Jags defense in the first outing before gaining 415 yards in Miami last week. 

    The Bills settled for 17 points in that game, but it would have been a much bigger performance if not for three turnovers. Fortunately for Buffalo, the Jets have just one takeaway since Week 6. 

    Gang Green also didn't have rookie quarterback Sam Darnold when it put up just 10 points in that November meeting with Buffalo. And while Darnold has struggled often this year, he has a higher ceiling than—and superior numbers to—Josh McCown. 

    His expected return from injury should help create some points—possibly for both teams. In fact, Darnold and Allen have the two highest interception rates in the AFC, which could mean pick-sixes and/or short fields on Sunday in Orchard Park. 

Value Bets

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    David Richard/Associated Press

    Rams at Bears (+140)

    Rams-Bears wasn't listed above as a spread to bet, because with only three points on the line you're better off taking that juicy +140 moneyline and riding with Chicago straight-up.

    The Bears are 5-1 at home, with their lone loss at Soldier Field coming when they surrendered two special teams touchdowns in a one-score defeat at the hands of the Patriots. Chicago has also performed well in prime time this season, and it should have franchise quarterback Mitchell Trubisky back from injury on Sunday night.

    Meanwhile, the Rams are due. They cut it close in Seattle and Denver, lost in New Orleans and underperformed despite a late cover in Detroit.

    Chicago's top-ranked run defense in terms of DVOA should limit Todd Gurley, and a stellar defensive front should get to Jared Goff in a Chicago victory. 

         

    Panthers at Browns (+110)

    Not sure why the Browns aren't favored here. They're just as talented as the Panthers, and in this case they're hotter, healthier and at home. 

    The Panthers have lost four in a row and are 1-5 on the road this season. Now they're in Cleveland, where the Browns dusted the Falcons in their last home game. Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has been on fire save for a three-interception first half last week against Houston (he rebounded with a huge second half), and now he's going up against a defense that has surrendered 30.8 points per game since the start of November. 

    Don't bother with the 1.5 points they're getting. Grab the Browns straight-up. 

         

    Giants (-180) at Redskins

    If you like the Giants but fear the hook and can't buy half a point, take solace in the fact that it'll only cost you the equivalent of $18 to make $10 on a team that should be a shoo-in for the win.

    After all, we're talking about a Redskins team that is down to Mark Sanchez at quarterback. The same Mark Sanchez who hasn't won an NFL start since 2014. The same Mark Sanchez who passed for 100 total yards Monday night against an Eagles secondary that, because of injuries, was forced to use a scarecrow at nickel corner. 

    That 28-13 loss to Philly would have been much worse had the Eagles not come away with zero points on two separate possessions inside the Redskins' 5-yard line. And the way Odell Beckham Jr. and Saquon Barkley are rolling, a Giants team that has won three of its last four games might be less forgiving. 

         

    Eagles (+160) at Cowboys

    Sure, you could play it a little safer and take the Eagles with 3.5 points at around -115, but I'd roll the dice on the moneyline at +160.

    Dallas is hotter and healthier than Philadelphia right now, but the defending Super Bowl champions might be warming up just in time. They've turned it over just once in back-to-back divisional victories, and that win over Washington would have been a blowout had they not failed to score on two possessions inside the Redskins' 5-yard line. They had 436 yards of offense in that game, and it was another somewhat quietly strong performance from quarterback Carson Wentz. 

    I still trust Wentz more than Dak Prescott and the Eagles more than the Cowboys, so this seems like a worthwhile shot. 

Sucker Bet: Cardinals +135 over Lions

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    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    You might be thinking that you have a steal on your hands with the Cardinals paying +135 at home against Detroit. After all, Arizona is coming off its first victory at Lambeau Field since the Age of Enlightenment, or thereabouts, and the 4-8 Lions have just one road win this season. 

    But that's what oddsmakers want you to believe. 

    The reality is teams lacking in talent as much as Arizona rarely string together consecutive victories. The Cardinals ran into a sad Packers team at just the right time and squeaked out a win despite the fact shaky rookie quarterback Josh Rosen completed just 11 of 26 passes for 149 yards, which marked the third straight game in which the UCLA product completed a dozen or fewer throws. 

    Rosen had 11 turnovers in a five-game span prior to his pick-free performance at Lambeau, but it's best to consider the larger sample and look beyond his and his team's most recent performance. 

    As I said in Bleacher Report's weekly picks feature, Arizona's performance in Green Bay "was an anomaly for a squad that lost its last home game to the Raiders and was crushed by 35 points at home against the Broncos in October."

    The Lions haven't played well this season, but unlike the Packers they did show signs of life in Week 13. They're favored here for a reason, so don't expect lightning to strike twice on as many Sundays for the rebuilding Cards.  

Lock of the Week: Saints -9.5

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    Jason Behnken/Associated Press

    Those tempted by the Buccaneers here might point to the fact that Tampa Bay defeated the Saints in New Orleans back in Week 1, or the fact that the Saints are coming off a tough loss while the Bucs are coming off a pair of impressive wins.

    But this is a correction game in a yo-yo league. New Orleans is far too talented to lose twice to the Bucs or lay consecutive late-season eggs, and the Bucs are far too flawed to beat the Saints twice or string together three straight wins. 

    The key for New Orleans is that this defense is a lot better than the one that surrendered 48 points in the opener. That unit wasn't ready for the shock of Fitzmagic, but that's no longer a thing, and the Saints D has given up a league-low 12.8 points per game since Week 10. 

    And besides, the Saints have a reputation for starting seasons slow, which is another reason that game deserves nothing more than a grain of salt. 

    The Bucs had six takeaways to just one turnover in victories over San Francisco and Carolina, but before that they had an incredible 27-to-2 turnover-to-takeaway ratio dating back to Week 3. Against a much stronger opponent, look for significant regression in that area on Sunday. 

    That doesn't mean the Buccaneers can't find a way to cover via the backdoor. That's always a concern when you're betting on a big road favorite. But there's a tremendous chance the more rested Saints learn from their Week 1 experience as well as that Week 13 episode in Dallas and put the mistake-prone Bucs back in their place with a blowout victory.  

         

    All moneylines, spreads and over/under totals are via OddsShark and accurate as of Friday evening. All other bet types are through OddsChecker and accurate as of Friday evening.

    Brad Gagnon has covered the NFL for Bleacher Report since 2012.