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NFL Week 14 Picks: Early Bets for Raiders vs Rams, Dolphins vs Chargers

NFL Week 14 Picks: Early Bets for Raiders vs Rams, Dolphins vs Chargers article feature image
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Ezra Shaw/Getty Images. Pictured: Tua Tagovailoa.


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NFL Week 14 Picks

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Raiders -5.5
Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET
Dolphins -2.5
Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET


Pick
Raiders -5.5
Best Book
Time
Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET

Dylan Wilkerson: What a disappointing season for the Rams.

Aside from greatly missing this season’s expectations, they let Seattle snatch a win from them in the last seconds of their Week 13 matchup. It now seems that the team is done this season with Matthew Stafford out for the season. It wouldn’t be a surprise if we didn’t see Aaron Donald or Cooper Kupp the rest of the season either.

On the other side, the Raiders are one of the hotter teams in the NFL. Their three-game win streak is tied for the third-longest active run in the league.

Las Vegas has scored 21 or more points in each of its last three games, and that includes a matchup against the Broncos, who arguably have the best defense in the league. The Raiders are averaging 5.9 yards per play, which is more than one yard more than the Rams. While it may seem small, that difference in yardage puts the Raiders at fifth in the league and the Rams in dead last. The Raiders score on 45% of their drives and average 2.34 points per drive.

The Raiders also are pinning their opponents within their own 20-yard line on 47.5% of punts. When you’re facing a struggling offense like the Rams, you want to make that drive down the field as long as possible, which Las Vegas has done.

The Raiders’ playoff hopes are alive and well given their recent stretch of results, while the Rams have seemingly thrown in the towel. I’m backing the team with something to play for on Thursday night.

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Pick
Dolphins -2.5
Best Book
Time
Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET

Brandon AndersonFull disclosure: I bet the Dolphins at -1 on Sunday, knowing this line would rise. Getting it before it reaches the key number of -3 is crucial.

Both of these teams laid an egg on Sunday, but I know which one I trust to bounce back.

The Dolphins had been unbeaten this year when Tua Tagovailoa played a majority of the snaps before Tua played his worst game of the season. Miami entered Sunday 8–0 when Tagovailoa played over half the snaps and had scored 31 or more four straight games. Then they met the 49ers defense and got completely shut down, turning it over five times in the second half alone.

Guess what? The Chargers are not the 49ers defense. San Francisco put on a masterclass, and they were helped by Miami missing both bookend tackles and putting Tua under pressure all day, forcing him into poorly timed, off kilter throws. Hopefully LT Terron Armstead will be back in a week, and the Chargers entered the weekend 29th in pressure rate anyway. That means Tua should have more time to get to his star playmakers, and the Chargers are bottom five in explosive pass play percentage allowed. That defense has not been very good, and I won’t be thrown off by San Francisco’s elite defense shutting Miami down.

I’m just not convinced the Chargers are very good. L.A. ranks bottom five on first down DVOA on both offense and defense and constantly puts itself in a hole, and the team is yet again besieged by injuries all over the field on both sides of the ball. I wrote about the Chargers a few days ago on Futures Friday, playing them to miss the playoffs. They weren’t particularly competitive against the Raiders, and the offense didn’t even find the end one until a late Hail Mary. They again lost big in the second half, and Miami has been great at tiring teams out late in games.

Don’t forget, this will effectively be a home game for the Dolphins. Miami fans travel and Chargers fans don’t show up for home games, so that means this is at worst a neutral field.

Are the Dolphins really a coin flip on a neutral field against a Chargers team that doesn’t do anything particularly well? What is Los Angeles even better at compared to Miami? The Chargers ostensibly have the better QB, but Tagovailoa has outplayed Justin Herbert, and Mike McDaniel vs. Brandon Staley increasingly looks like a huge mismatch.



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