NFL Picks For Week 14: Why Bills, Chiefs, Cowboys, Browns, 49ers Are Expert’s Pick’Em Spreads
Joshua Bessex/Getty Images. Pictured: Bills QB Josh Allen
- In an NFL pick'em pool or just in search of the top spreads for Week 14?
- Our expert reveals his five spread picks below, featuring the Bills and Chiefs.
NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions
I’ll be picking five NFL sides each week of the season for DraftKings‘ Pro Football Millionaire Pick’Em contest. Note that the spreads for this contest lock on Wednesdays, so some will be stale by the time you read this and thus not readily available outside of the contest. But you can check real-time NFL odds here.
NFL ATS Picks For Week 14
Here were the five sides for this week’s pick’em contest entry:
- Browns -2.5: 1 p.m. ET
- Cowboys -3.5: 1 p.m. ET
- Chiefs -9.5: 1 p.m. ET
- 49ers +0.5: 4:25 p.m. ET
- Bills +3.5: 4:25 p.m. ET
1. Browns -2.5 vs. Ravens
You can’t find a better situational spot for the Cleveland Browns, who come off the bye week to face a Baltimore Ravens team that’s playing its third straight division game and second straight road game.
These teams met just two weeks ago, when the Ravens escaped with a 16-10 victory. Now, they meet again with the Browns as the healthier team and the Ravens missing cornerback Marlon Humphrey, who is out for the season with a torn pectoral muscle.
Already missing Marcus Peters, this is a depleted secondary that has struggled, ranking 24th in Dropback Expected Points Added (EPA). While the Browns aren’t the standard of excellence in regards to passing success, with the bye, you have to expect a healthier Baker Mayfield and for them to find some success in play action as Nick Chubb opens things up on the ground.
The big issue for the Ravens is their offense that hasn’t scored 20 points in four out of their last five games. Lamar Jackson started the season playing like an MVP candidate, but now has eight interceptions over his last four games.
Given this team’s inability to run the ball, the Browns are in a prime position to pick up a win to keep their playoff hopes alive.
The Ravens are 6-2 in one-score games and have over-performed their point differential this season, as they’re 8-4 but have a Pythagorean Expectation of just 6.6 wins. Overall, I expect the Ravens to come back to Earth. I’ll back the Browns and lay the -2.5 points as Kevin Stefanski is 9-1 coming off a loss.
2. Cowboys -3.5 at Washington
The Washington Football team has won and covered four straight games, but outside of the Buccaneers, the WFT’s wins have come against the Panthers, Seahawks and Raiders. While the public is heavily backing Washington in this spot, this feels like a giant step up in class against a Cowboys team that is becoming progressively healthier.
Looking at the last six weeks, the Cowboys missed Dak Prescott, Tyron Smith, CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper for different stretches and should finally see all of them back in the lineup. While the Cowboys are still dealing with injuries to Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, both are on track to play.
The Washington Football defense should struggle with this Cowboys passing attack. Prescott has had tremendous success against Washington in the past, throwing 17 touchdowns to just one interception, going 7-1 straight up and 6-2 against the spread (ATS).
There’s been a lot of talk surrounding Washington’s improved defense, but this is still a unit which is 30th in EPA/play and 29th in Dropback EPA/play. The biggest difference is that the Washington Football Team offense has lived on the field. I can’t imagine that happening here as the Cowboys are now getting healthier on defense as both Randy Gregory and Demarcus Lawrence are back in the lineup to pair with Micah Parsons.
The Cowboys are fourth in Dropback EPA, and I’m expecting Taylor Heinicke to take a step back. Washington is playing its third game in the past 13 days, while the Cowboys are coming off extended rest. Lay the points with the Cowboys.
3. Chiefs -9.5 vs. Raiders
The Las Vegas Raiders are a public underdog, catching 56% of the spread bets in this matchup (check real-time public betting data here). One has to wonder if this is a pubic dog that has fleas.
The last time these two teams played just three weeks ago, the Chiefs won 41-14 in a game in which Patrick Mahomes completed 35-of-50 passes for 406 yards and five touchdowns. The question now is how much can the Gus Bradley and this Raiders defense adjust — and are they equipped to play the two-deep shell that has forced the Chiefs to move the ball methodically down the field, limiting explosive plays?
It’s possible, but the Raiders are missing linebacker Denzel Perryman for this matchup, which should hurt this defense. There’s not a lot to be desired offensively, particularly in the absence of tight end Darren Waller, who is Derek Carr’s security blanket, and Henry Ruggs III, who could stretch the field.
The Raiders have scored 16 or fewer points in four out of their last five games, and they’ll be facing a Chiefs defense that’s allowed just 13.8 points per game over its last six matchups. During Kansas City’s five-win streak, this defense has allowed 17 or fewer points, and the EPA/play has improved from was dead last to 14th.
Nevertheless, these are two units heading in opposite directions. Outside of Hunter Renfrow, there’s not many weapons on this offense, and Carr has just a 59 passer rating when targeting Zay Jones. Overall, it’s tough to imagine the Raiders finding success on either side of the ball. I’ll play the Chiefs -9.5.
4. 49ers +0.5 at Bengals
A big part of this handicap is Joe Burrow’s pinky finger on his throwing hand that should hurt his ability to throw the ball in this matchup. In addition, he’s also dealing with an unspecified knee injury.
Looking at the other side of the ball, it’s clear the Bengals haven’t exactly played a tough schedule of opposing offenses. Outside of the Packers in Week 5 and the Chargers last week, this Bengals team hasn’t played an above-average offense in EPA/play all season.
Over the past six weeks, the 49ers are first in EPA/play, and with George Kittle back, I’m expecting them to find some success here. Overall, this is a good spot for the 49ers to bounce back, so I’ll back them here.
5. Bills +3.5 at Buccaneers
My model makes this game closer to a pick’em than the +3.5 currently available in the market. The Bills have struggled against superior competition, going 3-5 when facing teams other than the Dolphins, Jets and Texans, but this is an ideal matchup in many ways.
The Bills are still first in Football Outsiders’ DVOA and fifth in ESPN’s pass rush win rate, so I’m expecting this team to find a way to pressure Tom Brady given the potential absence of center Ryan Jensen, who missed practice multiple times this season. That could be key considering Brady’s passer rating drops from 110.6 to 73.4 when under pressure.
Even with Buffalo down its star corner in Tre’Davious White, I’m expecting this Bills defense to be able to hold down the Bucs.
The key will be Josh Allen, who is 15-8 (65%) ATS as an underdog in his career. Allen and this Bills offense should find some success with Stefon Diggs and Emmanuel Sanders facing a Buccaneers defense that can be passed on and is banged-up with the absence of safety Jordan Whitehead. While Jamel Dean was cleared to play, this unit has proven it can be passed on even when healthy, so I’m not expecting the Buccaneers to slow the Bills down.
At 3.5, we have a positive expected value wager, so I’ll be backing the Bills.
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