NFL Week 14 Picks: We Are All Suckers

We’re all suckers for something or someone. If you’re going to consider sports gambling, then it’s important to know what those things are. Me? I’m a sucker for dichotomy. Last week, my prologue gave a few reasons why I should be providing people with NFL gambling picks, which could also be read as “why you should listen to my NFL gambling picks”. That made sense to me for a first NFL picks column. It makes less sense is for me to give you reasons not to listen to me at all, or even better to fade my picks, but I’m a firm believer that being effective at this stuff requires an honest self-appraisal of strengths and weaknesses.

Here are just a few reasons why this advice is (probably) all folly. First, I have no inside information or sources. There are plenty of gambling advice columns, podcasts and newsletters with sources and knowledge that I don’t have and will never have. Second, I’m a resident physician and have limited free time and brain space. Third, and most importantly, this is all mostly guesswork anyway. I’d like to think it’s informed guesswork, but still. All that said, this only costs about 10 minutes of your time and might give you at least a few “zag” options from the conventional wisdom as well as an explanation for why you’re doing what you’re doing and how confident you should feel about it.

Photo Courtesy of Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal

Tier 1: Super Bowl Contenders Playing Like It (Season Record: 1-2)

Cardinals -2 over Rams

Buccaneers -3 over Bills

Chiefs -8.5 over Raiders

Last week my “money in the bank” picks would have been a net negative, so this week we’re just going to throw money down on the best teams in the league and ride that. The Cardinals have the toughest part of their schedule ahead and it’s “put up or shut up” time starting now. Kyler Murray looked healthy in his return against the Bears last week in grisly conditions, and for all the talk about the Rams defense in the preseason, the Cardinals defense has been better. I love only needing a field goal to win for them at home. Love the Bucs laying only three at home, even against a tough Bills team. Last week, I mentioned the Bills would feel the Tre-Davious White loss and thanks to abhorrent passing conditions they didn’t, but they certainly will this week against Brady in the Florida sun. Pat Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs look like they are finally rounding in to form after a slow and baffling start, and I think they beat the sinking ship Raiders by double digits and love the Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill combining for 200+ receiving yards prop against a Raiders defense that struggles, relatively, against the pass.

Photo Courtesy of USA Today Sports

Tier 2: Division Battles (Season Record: 3-0)

Packers -11.5 over Bears

Browns -2.5 over Ravens

This tier made up for my lackluster tier one performance last week. Only putting two games here this week, and they just happen to be division games. The Packers were playing like the best team in football before last week’s bye. Justin Fields is going to play this week, but almost certainly isn’t back to 100% and he’s still a rookie. Plus, let’s not forget that Aaron “Immunized not Vaccinated” Rodgers has owned the Bears his whole life, not that he’d let us…or Bears fans. The second bet is more a lack of confidence in the Ravens than a vote of confidence for the Browns, but I like Cleveland at home. Baltimore pulled once out of their rears at home against Cleveland in Week 12, but this feels like these two teams should split. I also think Chubb and Hunt have more success on the ground this time around.

Photo Courtesy of Brad Mills/USA Today Sports

Tier 3: The Underdogs (Season Record: 2-1)

Washington +4 over Cowboys

Falcons +2.5 over Panthers

Bengals +1 over 49ers

We are going to be picking against the Panthers the rest of the season. With McCaffrey shelved, they have nothing to play for from here on out and the schedule, other than this week, isn’t forgiving. They also just fired their offensive coordinator and with the current injuries this is the worst roster in the NFL, except maybe Houston. The Falcons are the worst team in football by DVOA and still capable of losing on any given week, but they should win this game under present circumstances. As for the NFC East game, I just don’t think Dallas is four points better than Washington in Washington. Fully willing to admit I was wrong when I see it, but I just haven’t over the last four weeks. Washington is riding a winning streak and is still firmly in a wild card seat. Also, I think Dallas can be run on, which will give Washington the chance to control the time of possession and at least keep things close. The Bengals and 49ers both let me down last week, but I like Cincy getting a point and a half at home. They were starting to mount a comeback against the Chargers last week before Joe Burrow dislocated a pinky. The 49ers were without two key players last week and lost. They will likely be without Deebo Samuel at least again this week.  

Photo Courtesy of Raj Mehta/USA Today Sports

Tier 4: Lose Much for Aidan Hutch (Season Record: 1-1)

Broncos -9.5 over Lions

Titans -8.5 over Jaguars

Seahawks -7.5 over Texans

The Lions, Jaguars and Texans are officially racing to the number one pick, hence this week’s tier title. Betting against these guys is going to be automatic the rest of the way, other than when the Jaguars and Texans play each other in Week 15 (maybe we bet a tie at pretty good odds?). I don’t feel comfortable enough with any of the Broncos, Titans or Seahawks having to win by more than a touchdown at this point in the season, but still feel confident betting against teams actively trying to lose, especially now that the Lions have one win under their belt. This feels like a prime 3-team tease opportunity, even if the sharps will say avoid the tease. Sometimes you just need to have fun right?

Video Courtesy of C Brisket/YouTube

Tier 5: Rocky’s Unidentified Lip Fungus (Season Record: 1-2)

Vikings -3 over Steelers

Saints -5.5 over Jets

Giants +9.5 over Chargers

Taking the Vikings over the Steelers makes me nervous. The Vikings are a better team with a better quarterback, but the Vikings are a disaster area right now. Their coach is a lame duck and hates his quarterback. My Saints pick last week had a caveat, and I’ll add the same here. I like this line mostly on the assumption that Alvin Kamara will be good to go. Also, the Jets still suck. As far as the G-men are concerned, the Chargers have at least 10 players, including their two leading receivers, in Covid protocol and likely unavailable for Sunday. It’s hard for me to take a fringe playoff team to cover a double-digit spread with so many players out. The counterargument is that the Giants will still be without Danny Dimes…really? C’mon man.

Overall record: 8-6

Prop record: 1-1

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