Week 14 offers us a lot of intriguing matchups, and of course, plenty of betting opportunities. My Week 14 game bets include the 49ers traveling to New Orleans to battle the Saints, the Los Angeles Rams clinging to their playoff lives against the Seattle Seahawks as well as an underrated opportunity with the Denver Broncos.
After a monster Week 12, Week 13 was a reality check. I cashed one bet, though I was able to mitigate the damage by not going heavy on the card. NFL betting has ups and downs, and last week was definitely a downer.
If you want to read all of my thoughts on last week’s NFL bets, you can check out my Week 13 article. For a full recap of the PFN betting crew’s performance, check out the Sheep Report. As always, I’ll review my losses before getting into our Week 14 game bets.
Week 13 NFL Bets Recap
I spotted this spread last week on the look-ahead lines and initially favored Arizona. I became “take locked” and didn’t really consider the Rams at all; instead, focusing on reasons why the Cardinals would cover. Arizona is the kind of team the Rams can pounce on. They aren’t necessarily good, just over-perform in certain spots. The defense had no answer for Goff as he amassed over 400 passing yards in this contest. Sometimes you’re just wrong, and this was one of those cases.
I’m sorry but, I don’t have a clear answer as to why the Vikings lost this Monday Night Football bet other than Russell Wilson. There is always value against the Seahawks because their roster is terrible, but Wilson negates that. One day they will lose a one-score game. I will probably bet against them at least two more times this year because I am a masochist. I don’t blame you if you don’t want to subject yourself to that, I just don’t believe this record in one-score games is sustainable. These breaks will not go their way ALL THE TIME. Seattle is an average team but will be overvalued due to its robust record.
Buccaneers/Jaguars Over 48
I suggested this bet before I got news of heavy winds, so the lesson learned here is to be wary of totals in outdoor games this time of year. If that means we stay away from them completely, then so be it. I’d rather win nothing than lose anything.Through 14 weeks of the NFL season (minus MNF on 12/9), the PFN betting group has over 25 units of profit (~625$). With your All-Access Pass, you have an exclusive look at our running record of best bets, not to mention 24/7 availability of the betting group should you have an individualized question. Sign up for the All-Access Pass that'll pay for itself and more.
Week 14 game bets
San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco and New Orleans highlight our Week 14 game bets. The 49ers end their three-game gauntlet with a trip to New Orleans after splitting the first two games between the Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Ravens. The spread opened at New Orleans (-3.5) and has since been bet down to a universal (-2.5). The most basic aspect about NFL betting you can know is the home team gets three points towards the spread, so any spread at or around three says the two teams are equal. If that is true, I disagree with this spread. These teams are not equal.
Let’s start with the trench match up. If both teams were at full strength, this would be mostly even, with New Orleans owning a slight advantage when rushing the ball and San Francisco owning an advantage when rushing Drew Brees. The Saints, however, are not healthy. Guard Andrus Peat and tackle Terron Armstead are both expected to miss this game. Losing two starting offensive lineman, including one of the best tackles in the game, doesn’t bode well against the best defensive line in the league. What’s worse for the Saints, is Dee Ford returned to practice Wednesday in a limited fashion.
|Unit||Adjusted Line Yards||Adjusted Sack Rate|
The Saints offense has been fantastic on early downs all season, and especially since Week 9, ranking 1st in both areas in that time frame. However, the Saints have only played three teams ranked 14th or better in Football Outsiders adjusted sack rate all-season. Below you’ll find their performance in each game.
The Rams game is the one where Brees left with an injury, but it is noteworthy that they have had some of their lowest point outputs of the season in games where their opponent can rush the passer.
QB and Head Coach
It may be too early to say this, but Kyle Shanahan is every bit as good as Sean Payton. You can call that a hot take, sure, but the way to make money in these markets is being ahead of the market. I’d guarantee 90% of sportsbooks and analysts out there give the Saints an edge in coaching in this game. I’d say it’s dead even. The 49ers are staying in Florida this week for practice, much like they did after their Week 1 contest with the Buccaneers. IF you remember, they slaughtered Cincinnati in Week 2 41-17.
As far as QB play, Drew Brees hasn’t quite been himself this season. His arm strength doesn’t seem to be there, while he has never been mobile enough to evade a pass rush. We have seen the 49ers demolish immobile QB’s this year, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them at it again in this contest.
That isn’t to say Garoppolo will just waltz up and down the field against the Saints. They rank 5th on the year in defensive passing success rate and 8th in rushing success rate. They could have some trouble containing the 49ers RB’s this week, however, as both Kiko Alonso and A.J. Klein didn’t practice on Wednesday, while the team signed LB Manti Te’o earlier in the week. Joe Staley is set to return this week, and even without him, they have the offensive front to open holes in the run game and protect Garoppolo when he drops back to pass.
Yards Per Play
The Saints have the 4th highest yards per play differential in the league at (+0.7). The 49ers, however, are tops in the league in YPP differential at (+1.5), doubling the mark of the Saints. After factoring in the home-field advantage, the 49ers should be a short road favorite here. We were lucky to get them at (+3). This spread has dipped below the three now at (+2.5). There is value in that number, but you’re better off taking the 49ers on the money line, as the difference between (+2.4) and (-1) isn’t that substantial.
NFL Bet: SF +3 (-105) 2U
SF ML (+145) 0.5U
Denver has been one of the most underrated teams in the league all season. They were “sneaky good” with Joe Flacco, Brandon Allen, and now it appears they’re the same team with Drew Lock. It has been mostly on the back of a strong defense, ranking 10th in the NFL in yards per play allowed. I’ll admit, I misread the market on this one. I gave out a (+7) (+100) and it is now all the way up to (+9.5). There isn’t much difference between the (+&) an (+9.5), but it’s evident there was no reason to hop on the Broncos early. I still like our side, however, as Houston is vastly overpriced here.
Denver has a clear edge in the trenches.
|Unit||Adjusted Line Yards||Adjusted Sack Rate|
No matter what kind of play is called, the Broncos either own an advantage or are on par with the Texans. Surprisingly, the Broncos struggle against the pass on early downs, ranking just 16th in the league on defense. They do, however, rank 10th on the year in passing success rate defense. Between Chris Harris being able to lock down either Hopkins or Fuller, and Von Miller creating pressure up front, they have the tools to stall this explosive Texans passing attack. When Denver has the ball, they want to run. Since Week 10, they run the ball 52% of the time on early downs, well above the league average of 46%. Denver has ranked 8th since Week 10 on early-down rushes, while the Texans rank 27th on defense in the same regard.
Obviously, Deshaun Watson gives the Texans an edge at QB over rookie Drew Lock. What about the coaching match up? Bill O Brien hasn’t exactly proven to be one of the league’s top coaches, despite consistently making the playoffs. Coming off a big statement win over the New England Patriots, I’d be shocked if he has his team ready to play in this spot. Despite suffering back-breaking loss after back-breaking loss, Fangio has had his team prepared every week. They have been competitive with what has appeared to be superior competition, and I expect much of the same against the Texans.
In terms of yards per play, these teams are about even. The Broncos own a (-0.2) differential, while the Texans own a (+0.1) differential. Using that and factoring in the home field, the Texans should be about a (-4) favorite. Instead, they’re laying closer to 10. If I like it at (+7), I feel the same at (+9). If you missed the (+7), grab the (+9), or any number above (+7).
NFL Bet: DEN (+7), (+100) 1U
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams and Seahawks cap off our Week 14 game bets. This game figures to be one of the more interesting of the weekend. The Rams have new life after blowing out the Cardinals on the road, while the Seahawks continue their luck sack ways of winning games. Look at their performance this year, via Adam Chernoff on Twitter.
Game by game box score diving of SEA this season. Dead even in yards per play, too. Wild. pic.twitter.com/Mgn3rprHYp
— Adam Chernoff (@adamchernoff) December 4, 2019
I’m not saying they aren’t a good team. They have Russel Wilson and an ok coaching staff that seemingly gets the best out of their players. I’m saying they aren’t 10-2 good. Their peripherals suggest they’re closer to a 7-win team than a 10-win team. Their yards per play differential is on par with the Texans, Titans, Buccaneers, and Browns. Seattle has also been extremely fortunate in one-score games, owning a record of 9-1. That isn’t sustainable. Despite what seems like a lost season for the Rams, they own the 3rd best YPP differential at (+0.9), behind the Cowboys and 49ers. They aren’t the juggernaut we saw last year but are still a good football team.
The key with the Rams is protecting Goff. I don’t see why they won’t be able to do so in this contest. The Rams offensive line ranks 2nd in adjusted sack rate, while the Seahawks defensive line ranks 30th. The Rams have an advantage in every other aspect of trench play, as well.
|Unit||Adjusted Line Yards||Adjusted Sack Rate|
The wildcard, in every game the Seahawks play, is Russel Wilson. I think he’s the best QB in the league, so betting on him to lose sounds like a masochistic exercise. I simply don’t believe the Seahawks will continue this pace for the remainder of the year. They must falter eventually. I think this is the perfect spot to do so. The Rams would have beaten the Seahawks in Seattle if not for a missed field goal earlier in the year. I was able to get them at (+100) on the money line, but still like them as a favorite of less than three.
I’m also on the over here. If Pete Carroll had it his way, he would run the ball every single play. Hell, he’d probably run the Wildcat. He can’t, however, and won’t be able to in this game. I think the Rams will have success on offense, forcing the Seahawks to pass. Good things happen for over tickets when Wilson throws the ball. The total opened at 46.5m and still sits there at Pinnacle. I would get it before it crosses over the key number of 47, though I would still take it at 48 and below.
NFL Bets: LAR ML +100 1U
LA/SEA O 46.5 -110 1U
That’s it for your Week 14 game bets. Good luck, and let’s hope we can turn a profit this week. Be sure to follow the PFN All-Access Twitter account (@PFN365AA) for live updates, Ben Rolfe’s totals article, Chris Smith’s article, Jason Sarney’s player props article, and listen to the Against the Spread podcast with Jason Sarney and Ryan Gosling for more NFL picks!
James Aguirre is a writer for PFN covering NFL betting and Fantasy Football. You can follow him on Twitter @PFN_James.