Gambling on sports is very similar to other forms of investing. Especially with Week 14 NFL odds, one of the most profitable strategies is to buy low and sell high. This week, I will focus on two games that highlight significant “buy low” opportunities and their influence on NFL point spread odds. I will present possible value and make my NFL point spreads and picks for Week 14. Make sure you keep up with all of the betting team’s Week 14 plays throughout the week.
NFL Odds & Point Spreads, Week 14 | Baltimore Ravens (-1) at Cleveland Browns, Over/Under 47
Baker’s regression toward the mean
There are two major quarterback storylines heading into this Week 14 Monday Night Football matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and the Cleveland Browns. Can Browns’ quarterback Baker Mayfield continue his scorching play, and can Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson return to his run-first and opportunistic passing approach?
Over the last two weeks, albeit against two underwhelming defenses in the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans, Mayfield has performed on par with his number one overall draft status. He threw for almost 600 yards and six touchdowns with zero interceptions over the past two weeks and owns a 131.8 passer rating during that time.
Take into consideration that the Jaguars and Texans both field bottom-five secondaries this year, each allowing over 274 yards and 2.1 passing touchdowns per game. They both also field a bottom-five pass rush, with each team having less than 16 sacks and 92 quarterback pressures on the year. Expect a much different performance this week against a Ravens pass rush that blitzes opposing quarterbacks at the fifth-highest rate in the NFL and notched one less sack than the Jaguars and Titans combined.
Lamar’s positive regression
Regarding Jackson, his 2020 passing struggles and overall regression has been thoroughly discussed throughout this season. Through 12 games this season, Lamar has 477 fewer passing yards with eight fewer touchdowns than last year. He is also down 308 rushing yards with three fewer rushing touchdowns and two more interceptions than he did a year ago this time of the season.
Although Jackson is currently having a subpar season compared to his MVP-caliber performance last year, if there is a team that can help him get back on track, it is the Browns. The last time these two teams faced in Week 1, Jackson passed for 275 yards, three touchdowns, zero interceptions with an 80% completion percentage and a 152.1 passer rating. The Browns have allowed opposing quarterbacks to throw for the tenth-most passing yards, fourth-most touchdowns, and are allowing a 95.8 passer rating on the year.
Just last week alone, the Browns were shredded for almost 400 yards and three touchdowns by Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill in a game that ended up considerably closer than it should have based on their first-half performance. The Browns may also be missing their top two cornerbacks for this game as Denzel Ward is still day-to-day and Greedy Williams is currently on injured reserve – both with calf injuries.
These two teams are built very similarly offensively. They both utilize a run-first approach with multiple running backs lead the way and a quarterback who throws the ball a limited number of times per game. The Browns have running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt to lead the way and utilizing Mayfield whenever they need to, especially near the end zone. The Ravens field a four-headed monster with running backs Mark Ingram, J.K. Dobbins, and Gus Edwards while also incorporating Jackson’s elusive ground game.
The main difference between these two teams comes down to their defenses. The Ravens allow the eighth-fewest total yards per game, whereas the Browns rank 19th in that category. The Ravens only allow 5.2 yards per play, which is top five in the NFL this year. Meanwhile, the Browns sit in the middle of the pack at 5.5 per play.
Looking more in-depth, you begin to notice the differences between these teams even more. The Browns have allowed the 10th most points per game this year at 26.7 points per game, while the Ravens are the third-best in the category with just 19.2 per game. The 25 passing touchdowns allowed by the Browns were when they were fielding their top two cornerbacks, and that number should skyrocket now that they are undermanned in the secondary.
The Ravens are the epitome of a “bend but don’t break” defense, as they have the number three third-down conversion defense in the league at just 35.8%. That is a significant gap from the Browns’ 23rd best percentage at 42.6%. It should be noted that these defenses are performing quite differently over the past three games as the Ravens are allowing a 41.4% 3rd down conversion rate, and the Browns are only allowing a 25.7% rate.
We have one team, the Browns. They are riding a four-game winning streak and are performing at the highest echelon they have this year. The opposing team, the Ravens, are trying to right the ship and get on a winning streak that will catapult them into the playoffs and beyond.
Jessica’s Week 14 NFL Odds & Points Spread Play: Ravens ML (-115)
Multiple factors are playing into both the spread and the outcome of this game. The Browns are on a four-game winning streak and boast a 9-3 record, while the Ravens have looked beatable recently and have a respectable 7-5 record. These NFL Week 14 odds has a lot to do with recency bias and the public’s perception of these two teams as they head into this game.
The Ravens would be practically eliminated from playoff contention with a loss here, and they also utilized a game plan that worked to perfection in Week 1. Offensively, look for the Ravens to attack the Browns through the air against their weak secondary and send multiple blitzes to make Mayfield uncomfortable in the pocket while they are on defense.
NFL Odds & Point Spreads | Pittsburgh Steelers (+2.5) at Buffalo Bills, Over/Under 46.5
Knock knock, who’s there?
The Pittsburgh Steelers just lost to the Washington Football Team on prime-time Monday Night Football. If you were looking for an opportunity to buy low on the Steelers when the public has a negative perception of them, this might be your only opportunity all year. After this match up with the Buffalo Bills, the Steelers face the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts, and Cleveland Browns during the final three weeks of the season.
Are there plenty of areas of improvement for the Steelers? Absolutely. Is this an overreaction on a team that had an opening line as a -2.5 favorite against the Bills before their nationally televised performance against Washington? Undoubtedly.
You have an efficient Steelers offense that has James Conner returning this week, as well as a wake-up call to retool their offensive strategy and be a little more creative. The Steelers have been delivering subpar performances the past few weeks but have been able to squeak by with wins due to their league-best defense and an offense that did just enough to put games away.
Head coach Mike Tomlin has addressed the Steelers’ lack of urgency over the last month to no prevail. This shocking upset by Washington should be exactly what the Steelers needed to get motivated to finish the season strong and make a deep playoff push. You could even argue that this prime-time loss could have been due to them looking ahead to this week’s match up with the Bills.
Cold in Steel City
The Steelers receivers have had an incredible number of dropped passes over the year but most notably over the last few weeks. Simple passes that could move the sticks are being dropped, and the main issue seems to be lack of concentration. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger must also commit to throwing the deep ball so that opposing defenses do not sit in shallow coverage expecting dump-offs and passes under 10-15 yards.
The Steelers possess plenty of weapons, and there is no question about that. The biggest issue is their offense is non-threatening. They have employed a poor man’s dink-and-dunk strategy due to Roethlisberger’s aging arm and lack the explosive plays that will open up the rest of the offense and keep opposing defenses honest.
When facing an offense like the Kansas City Chiefs or Green Bay Packers, the fear is that they can throw a 50-yard touchdown on you in a blink of the eye. Because of this threat, the opposing defense usually plays back in coverage, attempting to prevent it, giving the underneath routes more open space to move the chains and allow open space playmakers room to create magic. The Steelers fail offensively in this aspect.
Not much needs to be said about their defense – it is the best in the game, even without crucial pieces due to injury. The main concerns are on the offensive side of the ball.
These two teams met last year in Week 15, a game that the Bills won 17-10. It was also a game without Roethlisberger at the helm. The Steelers defense has what it takes to limit the Bills offense to 23 points or less, even with the Bills’ new offensive additions. The question is, will the Steelers address their offensive concerns immediately or wait another week?
The Bills defense is middle of the pack. They allow the 12th most total yards per game and allow an average of 25.5 points per game. They cause a top-tier number of turnovers, so it will be vital for the Steelers’ receivers to hang onto the ball.
The apparent hole in the Bills’ defense is in their run-stopping ability. They are allowing 126 rushing yards per game and have allowed the fifth-most rushing touchdowns this year. Opposing running backs are also averaging 4.7 yards per carry, which is fourth-worst in the league. With Conner’s return, the Steelers should utilize a balanced attack with a combination of creative runs with a threatening deep attack so that the middle of the field opens up for their usual passing attack underneath.
Jessica’s Week 14 NFL Odds & Points Spread Lean: Steelers +2.5 (consider a definite play at +3)
This is currently only a lean hoping that the public continues to bet on the Bills in this Week 14 NFL spread and push this line to +3. Give me the better defense with a track record of stopping Bills quarterback Josh Allen and the offense that should perform significantly better than last week’s performance. The Steelers are still a top three AFC team with the best defense in the league. Getting what would have been a three-point favorite as a three-point underdog is something that I would bet over and over again.