NFL Week 14 Picks: Expert Bet on Seahawks vs Panthers Total
Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images. Pictured: Geno Smith.
NFL Odds & Picks
Sean Koerner: To a novice better, seeing the Vikings (10-2) as two-point underdogs to the Lions (5-7) has to be baffling. However, these teams are a lot closer than their records indicate and have been on the opposite ends of one-score luck this season.
The Vikings are 9-0 in one-score games, while the Lions are 2-5. Detroit has also faced the second-toughest schedule according to our SoS metric that is part of our Luck Rankings.
Jared Goff is playing at a high level right now, coming off a 340/2/0 performance against the Jaguars. Assuming Jameson Williams sees his snap count increase after his debut last week, this could be the first time Goff has all four of his WRs at his disposal this season.
D’Andre Swift appears to be 100% over the various injuries that have held him back the past several weeks. It’ll be all hands on deck for the Lions offense, which will be critical in what should be a high-scoring game.
Head coach Dan Campbell has the reputation of being a hard-nosed coach, but he is also very good with in-game decision making. According to the data by @benbbaldwin, the Lions rank first in fourth-down decision-making over the past two seasons since Campbell took over.
The Vikings managed to escape with a 27-22 win over the Jets last week, but it came in as one of our luckiest results of Week 13.
The Jets nearly out-gained the Vikings by 200 yards and had six straight red-zone possessions — that only managed to generate 16 total points — to close the game. Needless to say, they probably won’t be able to get away with a bend-but-not-break defense against the Lions, who lead the league with a 74% red-zone TD% on the season.
All signs point to the Lions being the play here, and while I wish we were getting points, the market is just too sharp. However, the most likely outcome of this game is the Lions winning by exactly three points, so I do think we are getting value with -1.5.
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Sean Koerner: Seventy-seven percent of the action and 97 percent of the money are on the over. It makes sense, considering both defenses have been below average this season, but I think there are a few reasons why the under is offering value here.
In Sam Darnold’s first start in Week 12, the Panthers made some fairly significant changes to the offense. They played at the second-slowest pace and ran the ball on early downs (in neutral situations) at the highest rate in the league.
We could see them continue with that approach against a Seahawks defense that has been vulnerable against the run (24th in DVOA). Look for them to lean heavily on D’Onta Foreman to move the ball, keep the clock running and limit how many plays the Seahawks offense will be able to run.
One of the keys to success in Geno Smith’s breakout 2022 season has been his efficiency on play-action passes. His 121 QB rating on play-action passes ranks first among qualified quarterbacks.
However, with both Kenneth Walker and DeeJay Dallas unlikely to play, the Seahawks might not be able to sell play-action as much. Tony Jones Jr. is nowhere near the same caliber runner as Walker, so the Panthers will be able to focus on slowing down DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.
The final reason why the under may have value is because the game will be officiated by Bill Vinovich, who has been an under machine (79-54; 59 percent) in his career.
A huge reason for that is due to an aversion to throwing penalty flags — he has averaged the fewest penalties called per game each of the past three seasons. It’s not a meaningless trend and it’s clear that he does tend to have an impact on how many points are scored in most games.
I’m projecting this total closer to 42.5 and I like getting 44.5 since 41, 43 and 44 are all key numbers for totals.