What is worth betting in the NFL in Week 14? And what are the best plays to help you make smart wagering decisions?
Betting analysts Eric Moody, Tyler Fulghum, Seth Walder, Anita Marks and Aaron Schatz are here to provide their thoughts.
Note: Odds by ESPN BET.
Eagles at Cowboys (-3.5, 51.5). Are you surprised at this line considering how well Philadelphia’s success this season and that the Cowboys struggled at home against Seattle last Thursday? How are you betting this one?
Fulghum: I am not surprised by this line. This sets up as a similarly difficult situation for the Eagles like last week against the 49ers. Dallas is at home where they have been dominant. They have a 3-day rest advantage. The Eagles are coming off yet another physical and difficult game in this stretch of their schedule. All the advantages point to Dallas in this spot, so I’ll be betting the Cowboys -3.5. If you got Cowboys -3 or want to buy down to Cowboys -3, even better.
Schatz: The only thing that doesn’t make sense to me about this line is the hook that gives the Eagles a cover with a field goal loss. But it makes sense that oddsmakers would have the Cowboys favored at home given that advanced metrics have the Cowboys ahead of the Eagles. ESPN FPI has the Cowboys second and the Eagles seventh, while my DVOA ratings have the Cowboys fifth and the Eagles eighth. I’m not concerned by the Cowboys giving up a lot of points to the Seahawks at home, because that was just one game. Don’t overreact to one game!
Walder: I think it does make sense. In fact, the FPI numbers that Aaron referenced above would suggest that this line might suggest this line has not gone quite far enough! There’s exactly 3.5 points between the Cowboys and Eagles ratings in the model. That’s purely the difference in quality between the two teams, not accounting for home field advantage (also not explicitly accounting for the value of the number 3, either, I should note). If forced to choose, I would lay the -3.5 with Dallas but since not forced, I will avoid picking a side for this game.
Marks: Cowboys OVER 26.5 total points (-142). Dallas has averaged over 40 points per game at home this season, which is best in the NFL. The Eagles have had a tough go of it schedule wise, and it doesn’t get any easier this week. Philadelphia is beat up after a physical game against the 49ers and now has to head to Dallas on a short work week, while the Cowboys are playing with extra rest.
Bills at Chiefs (-1.5, 48.5). The Chiefs have dropped two of three games but remain slight favorites against a 6-6 Bills team that’s coming off a bye week. How are you betting this game and what factors are you weighing most?
Fulghum: I like the Bills ML (+105) in this spot. The fact that Buffalo is coming off of a bye is a significant factor. The Bills are also vastly superior to their 6-6 record. Buffalo ranks 4th in the league in Offensive EPA and 11th in the league in Defensive EPA. Three other teams can say they rank as well in each regard this season: San Francisco, Dallas, and Miami. Those three teams are a combined 28-5 this season. Coming off the bye, the Bills are poised for some positive regression in terms of win-loss result.
Schatz: I’m shying away from the Bills. I know how well they rank in advanced metrics; for example, the Bills are sixth overall in my DVOA ratings. However, some of that performance was built early in the season before defenders such as Tre’Davious White and Matt Milano got hurt. Since Week 5, the Bills rank 31st in the NFL in defensive DVOA. The Chiefs, on the other hand, rank 11th on defense since Week 5 – and the two teams are fairly similar in terms of offensive efficiency. It’s good that the Bills got some rest, but Milano and White and DaQuan Jones are not back. I would lean towards Chiefs -1.5.
Looking at the latest odds to win the Super Bowl, which team offers the best value entering Week 14? Is there one that stands out?
Fulghum: The best value in my eyes is the Miami Dolphins +700. I want to be clear that I picked the 49ers to win the Super Bowl prior to the season starting, and still believe they are the most likely team to do so. The Dolphins, however, are the biggest threat to San Francisco because they have an offense that can stand toe-to-toe. Miami is currently the No. 1 seed in the AFC and if they hold onto that distinction, they will get a coveted bye and the benefit of operating that elite offense in the playoffs on their home turf. That’s a huge advantage. Buffalo (+3500) is easily the best longshot.
Schatz: I’m driving the Baltimore Ravens bandwagon this year, so let’s go with the Ravens +600. I fully understand that DVOA loves the Ravens more than any other advanced metric out there. I know that their weakness is a passing game that’s only slightly above-average, and that’s the most consistent and predictive part of a football team. I know there’s always the possibility that Lamar Jackson gets hurt and takes the team down with him. DVOA has the Ravens behind the San Francisco 49ers — but they still rank as one of the top 20 teams ever measured through 12 games. They have significant, dominant victories over good teams like the Detroit Lions. Even if I’m somewhat overrating them, +600 is value.
Walder: FPI sees value in both the 49ers (+300) and Dolphins (+700). There is nothing more predictive than having the best offense and it’s not a coincidence these are the two teams with the most efficient offenses thus far. I do agree with Tyler that Miami’s chances are being slept on a bit considering they have decent (36%) chance at the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
What’s your favorite prop bet on Sunday?
Fulghum: Christian McCaffrey OVER 114.5 rushing + receiving yds (-115). The 49ers are a 10.5-point home favorite against Seattle on Sunday, which sets up well for McCaffrey to smash. CMC has eclipsed this threshold in 4 of his last 5 games and 8 of 12 this season. He is averaging 121.8 yards of offense per game. Seattle does have a rest advantage and is coming in desperate, but CMC tagged this very same Seahawks defense for 139 yards from scrimmage on Thanksgiving Day.
Schatz: The Dallas Cowboys are second in DVOA against running backs as receivers, allowing them just 28 yards per game. D’Andre Swift from the Eagles has less than 10 receiving yards in half of his games so far this year, and the Eagles were using more of Kenneth Gainwell last week against San Francisco. So I like going with D’Andre Swift UNDER 15.5 receiving yards on ‘Sunday Night Football.’
Walder: T.J. Edwards over 3.5 assists (+105). Oh we’re digging deep now: assisted tackles?! This is my jam. I like Edwards tackle + assist over (9.5, +100) as well, but digging into my model the main reason it likes that is for the assists. I forecast 4.5 assisted tackles for the Bears linebacker, who will get the benefit of facing a run-heavy Lions team that is likely to be ahead, so I’ll happily take the plus-money. Edwards has gone over this line in eight of 12 games this year.
Moody: James Cook over 46.5 rushing yards. Head coach Sean McDermott actively involved Cook in the running game in the weeks before the Bills’ bye week. In fact, he posted two consecutive games with 15 or more rushing attempts. The Bills offensive line ranks ninth in run block win rate. Meanwhile, the Chiefs’ defense has allowed 4.9 yards per rushing attempt over the last three games. The Chiefs have also allowed monster rushing performances to running backs AJ Dillon (73), Josh Jacobs (107) and D’Andre Swift (76) over that time period.
Is there anything else you’re playing Sunday?
Fulghum: I do like the spot for the Ravens -7.5 vs. the Rams. Baltimore is coming off of its bye and is at home where they are 4-2 ATS this season with a cover margin of +9.2. The Rams have been a frisky bunch all season long and are riding a 3-game win streak, but this is a tough assignment on the road against a rested and superior roster.
Schatz: The Los Angeles Chargers rank 28th in DVOA against No. 1 wide receivers, and allow more yards per game (90) than every defense except Washington. Courtland Sutton has gone over 60 yards in three straight games and his prop is lower than that for Sunday’s game. So I’m taking Courtland Sutton over 58.5 receiving yards (-110).
Walder: Ed Oliver under 0.5 sacks (-190). This bet combines two of my favorite things to bet this year: fading Ed Oliver – who I think has been overpriced for most of the season – and fading pass rushers against Patrick Mahomes, who hardly ever takes sacks. I know this is going to sound hard to believe my model prices the under at -437.
Moody: Texans over 17.5 total points. C.J. Stroud and the Texans offense have been a pleasant surprise so far this season. In total yards per game, Houston ranks sixth, and in total points per game, it ranks 10th. Last week, the Texans scored 22 points against a Broncos defense that has been much better lately than earlier in the season. Over the last three games, the Jets defense has given up 26.3 points per game. Stroud and the Texans’ passing game will be tested by New York’s secondary, but this team has risen to the occasion numerous times this season, and I expect it to happen again Sunday.
Marks: 49ers OVER 27.5 total points (-135): The 49ers offense has been steamrolling teams since their bye week. The return of Trent Williams, and Deebo Samuel has meant everything, and this should continue against a Seattle defense that is ranked 25th in the red zone.