NFL Picks

NFL Best Bets Week 14

Keenan Allen

Through 13 weeks, we’re winning 65% of our posted Best Bets against the spread. On Gridiron Experts each week, we pick every game and I’m winning 58%, overall. I have the most wins out of 205 experts, and the highest win percentage of any expert who has picked every game, on Tallysight’s ATS leaderboard. I’m also tied for fourth in Fantasy Nerd’s Accuracy Leaderboard for Straight Up picks. It’s been a good year, and even though our Best Bets haven’t been as hot as they were early on, they’re still profitable. Over the course of a long season, you’re going to have highs and lows and it’s important to be realistic with your expectations.

To me, a really good year picking against the spread is 55%. With some smart bets and a little luck the rest of the way, we’ll beat that number handily this year. As for this week’s Best Bets, we’re going with all underdogs. I think recency bias and misperception are affecting some of the lines and I’m looking to take advantage of that. 

Minnesota Vikings +2.5 at Detroit Lions

Detroit is definitely an improved team. They kept it close against Miami and Buffalo and they won games against marginal teams the last few weeks. Minnesota, on the other hand, has won nine of their last 10 games, and their only losses this season are against the Eagles and Cowboys. At first glance, it seems odd that the Lions are favored. Even my own system rates this game as a push. It makes you wonder why the Vikings are so disrespected, despite their record. Some of it has to do with that aforementioned loss against Dallas, which was brutal. But they bounced back with tough wins against the Patriots and Jets. Sometimes one anomaly can change the perception of a team, especially when evaluating team statistics. The truth about Minnesota is they’re winning games they’re supposed to win and even some they’re not, such as the win against Buffalo, and they’ve only lost against top-five teams. Detroit, though improved, still doesn’t have wins against any top teams. The look-ahead line on this game was Minnesota -2.5, and even after beating the Jets last week, the line movement shifted big time towards the Lions. I think the Vikings are the better team on a neutral field, but the home-field advantage in Detroit evens it out. I’m taking Minnesota here and I think they win the game outright. 

New York Jets +9.5 vs Buffalo Bills

Road underdogs have slipped a little in recent weeks from the near-lock status they held early in the season, so they’re no longer a priority for me, but I am intrigued with this line. The Jets beat the Bills 20-17, at home, in week nine. Buffalo was a 10.5 favorite in that game. New York won with their defense, shutting down the passing game and controlling the tempo on offense. The Jets ran the ball 35 times, 10 more than their average. Zack Wilson only passed for 154 yards, but he didn’t turn the ball over. I expect the Jets to have a similar game plan this week, although they might open up the passing game with Mike White under center now. Like the first meeting between these two, I think this game will go under the 43.5 total.  Josh Allen might have difficulty again passing the ball. In four games against teams in the top 11 of defense Pass DVOA, Allen is averaging 215 passing yards with five touchdowns and four interceptions. In all other games, Allen averages 321 yards and has 17 touchdowns with only four interceptions. Containing Josh Allen is one thing, but the Jets still have to score points. That task is somewhat easier with Von Miller on IR, but still a daunting one. Much like Wilson, Mike White will probably need to be more of a game manager and rely on high-percentage short passes. I expect to see a lot of Michael Carter and Zonovan Knight. Their success running the ball will be a huge factor. Ultimately, I think the Bills will win, but it won’t be easy. 

Los Angeles Chargers +3.5 vs Miami Dolphins

Home underdogs have the highest win percentage against the spread this year and I think the Chargers are in a good spot to cover at home this week. This is a huge game for the Chargers, who need this win to stay in the AFC Wildcard race. They’ve lost three of their last four games, but two of those losses were against the 49ers and Chiefs. I don’t think the Chargers are as bad as people think. PFF has them ranked 25th, below the Broncos, Rams and Colts. I think they’re somewhere between 15th-18th. Injuries have devastated Los Angeles on offense and defense. There’s a chance Mike Williams returns this week and that would be a huge asset for Justin Herbert. Miami has questions of their own with Jaylen Waddle’s status uncertain. For fantasy owners, this could be a huge game for Tyreek Hill. This is going to be a game won or lost through the air. Both teams are near the top in passing play percentage. The Chargers rank seven spots ahead of Miami in defensive pass DVOA, which could be the difference in the game. This game has the second-highest total of the week, but I think it goes slightly under and the Chargers keep it close. 

See all of our NFL Picks for week 14 here

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