NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions For Week 14: 49ers vs. Bengals Bets We Made Based On Opening Lines
Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Image. Pictured: Jimmy Garoppolo.
Just five weeks to go as the NFL season sails along towards Week 14, with just about every team still feasibly in the playoff mix. The Houston Texans became the first team to be mathematically eliminated this past weekend.
No team in the AFC has more than eight wins (New England has yet to play on Monday Night Football), with a remarkable 13 teams possessing between six and eight wins on the season. Things are a little more varied in the NFC where the Cardinals lead the way with 10 wins, followed closely by the Buccaneers and Packers with nine.
Week 14 may be void of a multitude of marquee games on Sunday, but the day’s slate is highlighted with the Bills visiting Tampa Bay, and a pair of divisional rivalries with the Cowboys vs. Washington and Bears vs. Packers.
With lines already out for the week, our experts have locked in a few picks to maximize value before the lines moves closer to the weekend.
NFL Odds & Picks
49ers at Bengals
Chris Raybon: Entering Sunday, the 49ers were seventh in overall DVOA while the Bengals were 18th. The 49ers played the sixth-hardest schedule by DVOA, while the Bengals played the second-easiest.
Both teams lost, but the Bengals were blown out, 41-22, while the 49ers lost a close game in which they fell victim to a fluky 73-yard fake punt touchdown and still had a chance to tie on a fourth-and-goal in the final moments. Cincinnati will likely be the healthier team next Sunday, but San Francisco is still the better team, making this a coin-flip game.
The 49ers’ biggest edge comes in the trenches. Entering Sunday, San Francisco ranked third-best in run-blocking grade (85.2) and seventh-best in pass-blocking grade (72.0) at Pro Football Focus, while Cincinnati ranked 16th in run blocking (70.3) and 22nd in pass blocking (59.0).
There is also no telling how much Joe Burrow’s injured finger will truly affect him after it gets time to swell up, and we’ve seen Russell Wilson struggle after a finger injury with more time than a week to heal.
This is the exact type of spot that you want to back the 49ers in. According to our Action Labs data, San Francisco is 11-22-1 (33%) ATS as a favorite but 24-17 (59%) ATS as an underdog under Kyle Shanahan, including 15-10 (60%) ATS as a road dog.
I should also note that small road dogs tend to be overvalued by the market when both teams failed to cover the week prior, as the public often thinks it’s more of a get-right spot for the home team by default.
Pick 49ers +2 (to 0)
49ers at Bengals
Brandon Anderson: I took San Francisco +2 in this spot on the Lookahead segment for our Strong Side Friday episode of The Action Network podcast, and I’m doubling down here even after a 49ers loss.
I don’t make too much of a Niners loss here. In fact, I picked Seattle to cover and win, so it wasn’t really a surprise at all. Kyle Shanahan is terrible as a road favorite, it’s a tough division battle, and the Seahawks have San Francisco’s number. Every matchup is different, and the Bengals are a very different opponent.
Still, I actually came away liking the 49ers even more than I did going into this loss in Seattle. San Francisco should have won that game Sunday. The Niners moved the ball with ease up and down the field for much of the game. Jimmy Garoppolo averaged 10 yards per attempt and 15 yards per completion.
But San Francisco was terrible on late downs offensively and caught a string of wonky bad luck, and that was the difference. The Niners gave up a 73-yard fake punt touchdown run, and they fumbled the opening second-half kickoff. They had a pair of roughing the passer penalties keep a touchdown drive alive in the first half, and then a defenseless receiver penalty kept the ball in Seattle’s hands on a key third down late. Some days, you’re just unlucky, but San Francisco was the better team.
The Bengals, though, were not the better team in their game. I thought the wrong team was favored and the Chargers looked the part, dominating Cincinnati outside of a brief stretch when they tried to “Chargers” the game and blow another lead.
The wrong team is favored again here too. San Francisco is flat out better. The Niners have been one of the best offenses in the league with Trent Williams and George Kittle healthy, and I think they’ll end up favored by kickoff, so I’m grabbing the points and the ML now.
Shanahan has covered 59% of the time as an underdog, and Joe Burrow’s pinky looks like it could throw off his accuracy going forward too. I love this as a bounce-back spot for the Niners against a Bengals team that I think has reached its expiration date.