NFL Week 14 Gambling Picks
Texans -2 @ Bears and Over 45.5
This will be Deshaun Watson’s first game against the Bears in his career. Chicago passed on drafting him in 2017, and I can’t help but feel like he is going to have a bit of a chip on his shoulder. The Bears traded up to take Mitch Trubisky at the No. 2 spot, and Watson went to the Texans at No. 14. Watson has said it’s “no motivation,” but I think deep down he’s going to want to put on a show. The Texans have been better since getting rid of Bill O’Brien, as since Romeo Crennel took over, the team is 4-4. They have won three of their last five games, and the two losses were a 3-point loss on the road to Cleveland, and last week at home against the Colts. The Texans were driving down the field in the final minutes of the game, but a botched snap at the 2-yard line recovered by Indy sealed the deal and the Colts won 26-20. Even without Will Fuller, the Texans showed last week that they can still be productive against a solid defense, as they managed 398 yards of offense against a tough Indianapolis defense. The Bears defense is not what we usually think of them, as although they are talented, they are 15th in yards allowed per game (354.5), 17th in passing yards per game (238.4), and 17th in rushing yards per game (116.1). On top of that, they have given up 75 points in their last two games. Deshaun Watson is one of—if not the most elusive QB in the league, so even if the Bears front four gets to him, Watson can still extend plays with his mobility. The Bears have lost six games in a row, and are coming off a terrible 34-30 loss to the Lions last week, a game in which they led by 10 in the fourth quarter. The offense can perform against lesser defenses, and Mitch Trubisky should be able to have some success against a Texans defense that is near the bottom of the league (30th in total yards, 21st in passing, 31st in rushing). Overall, I think Watson has a great day to lead the Texans to a win and cover, and the Bears offense will do enough against a bad Houston defense to push the total Over.
Saints -8 @ Eagles
The Eagles have officially made the QB switch from Carson Wentz to rookie Jalen Hurts, and I don’t think there is a tougher defense to face in your first NFL start than the Saints right now. The Saints defense is as hot as can be. In their last five games, they have given up 3, 13, 9, 3, and 16 points. They are ranked in the top-5 in total defense, passing defense, rushing defense, and points allowed per game. They should be salivating at this matchup against the Eagles. The Philly offensive line has given up a league-leading 53 sacks this season, and the Saints are 5th in the league with 36 sacks. Hurts has good mobility, but I think he will be under duress a lot, and that could force the rookie to make some ill-advised throws, which would potentially lead to turnovers. The Saints defense has 13 picks on the year, and they will be ready to make some plays. Meanwhile, Taysom Hill is filling in rather nicely for the injured Drew Brees, and the Saints offense is rolling. Alvin Kamara is doing it all, and Hill’s running abilities really open things up for this offense. The Eagles defense has been keeping them in games, but they only have 3 interceptions on the year, which is the lowest in the league, and the Saints are not turning the ball over very much. New Orleans has given it away just 12 times this season, while Philly has given it away 22 times. The Saints are 8-0 SU and ATS in their last 8 games without Drew Brees, and I think that continues here with a win and cover on the road against the Eagles.
Vikings @ Buccaneers -7
The Bucs desperately needed their bye week, and it finally came last week in Week 13. Prior to the Bucs Week 11 matchup with the Rams, head coach Bruce Arians stated that his team was tired. It began to show on the field, as the Bucs have lost three of their last four games. Now they are rested and at home against a Vikings team that has been somewhat inconsistent this season. The Vikings have some electric receivers on the outside in Adam Thielen and rookie sensation Justin Jefferson, and QB Kirk Cousins has been solid in his last four games with 11 TD’s and just two interceptions. To keep things balanced, much of their offense relies on RB Dalvin Cook, who has had some monster games. However, the Buccaneers have the No. 1 rushing defense in the league, giving up just 74.2 yards per game on the ground. That is a tough assignment for the Vikings offensive line, as well as Cook, and the Bucs defense is rested and will be ready to roll. If Cook is slowed down, the Vikings offense won’t possess the balance that they want, and it could put them in a spot they don’t want to be in. This is usually the time of the season when vintage Tom Brady emerges, and with his wealth of weapons offensively, I think Brady and the Bucs will be able to exploit a weak Minnesota defense. The Vikings are 27th in passing defense, and their secondary is a little banged-up as well. I think the Bucs will have a lot of success offensively, and their rested defense will give Minnesota’s rushing attack some issues. I like the Bucs -7.
Falcons @ Chargers Under 49.5
The Falcons offense is pretty one-dimensional, as their running game has been less than stellar this season. Atlanta is barely averaging over 100 yards per game on the ground, and Todd Gurley is averaging a measly 2.6 yards per carry. That puts a lot of work on QB Matt Ryan, who will be without his top target in Julio Jones in this game. Jones has been ruled out with a hamstring injury, and although Ryan will still have Calvin Ridley, Jones’ absence will surely be felt. On top of that, the Chargers actually have a very solid passing defense, as they are 4th in the NFL against the pass. It could be difficult for Ryan and the Falcons passing game on the road here. Similarly, the Chargers offense can be a little pass-heavy as well, and rookie QB Justin Herbert has struggled in his last couple of games. In the last two weeks, Herbert has three interceptions and just one touchdown. As good as he has looked at times, it is evident he is still a rookie learning his way around the league. He will face a Falcons defense that has quietly improved this season. After giving up over 30 points in each of their first four games, the Falcons have yet to surrender 30 in their last eight games, giving up an average of just 20.5 in that stretch. Add in the fact that Atlanta is one of the worst red zone offenses in the league (30th), while LA is not much better (21st), and I think this one stays Under.
Colts -3 @ Raiders
This is a pivotal game for the AFC playoff picture, as the Colts currently own the 7th spot at 8-4, while the Raiders are on the outside looking in at No. 8 with a record of 7-5. The Raiders have kinda fallen off in recent weeks, as they got stomped by 4-8 Atlanta by a score of 43-6, and they barely beat the hapless Jets thanks to maybe the worst defensive play call I have seen given the circumstances. The Colts have looked shaky themselves in their past two games, as they got throttled by Tennessee 45-26 at home, and narrowly escaped Houston with a win last week 26-20. However, I think Indy pulls it together here and puts in a solid all-around performance. Their defense is the real deal, and Philip Rivers has 7 TD passes with just two picks in his last three games. Their offense is looking better as of late, as rookie WR Michael Pittman is emerging as a part of the air attack, and veteran T.Y. Hilton is coming off a monster game against Houston. RB’s Nyheim Hines and Jonathan Taylor are a great 1-2 punch, and both have been very effective in the passing game as well. Star Vegas RB Josh Jacobs has been sidelined with an ankle injury, but it appears he is going to play in this one. It is unknown if he will be 100% or not, but either way, this Raiders offense has a tough assignment against the Colts. Derek Carr has been good this year, but has really struggled in recent weeks, and the Colts defense has been strong against the pass this season (8th in the league). The Colts are a good road team, and I think they will get the job done here with a win and cover. Indy -3.
Title Photo: Christian Petersen / Getty Images
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