One major holiday down, one head coach canned, and a Dallas Cowboys loss already in the books for the week. We’re checking off a lot of boxes already, heading into a week full of must-win games and storylines across the league. As always, the narratives often impact the odds and make for interesting games to bet on.
I hate home teams. Well, not really, but there is certainly a lot to like from the road teams against the spread this week, as you are about to find out. Here are five of my favorite bets of Week 14, which all happen to feature teams on the road.
Washington Redskins (+13) at Green Bay Packers
The Redskins ran the ball 30 times last week in their road win against the Panthers. Derrius Guice had 129 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries, while Adrian Peterson had 99 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. We know Peterson is very familiar with playing at Lambeau, and it could be useful information for this inexperienced Washington team. They will run the ball often again this week, taking pressure off Dwayne Haskins and attacking the weakness of the Packers defense, which allows 4.7 yards per carry (fifth-most in NFL). The Packers are a run-first team, and if Washington shuts down the run as they did against Christian McCaffrey last week, there could be a lot of punting for Green Bay, which is a big deal in games where the other team is running and controlling the clock. The Packers should win at home, but I don’t think they will be able to cover.
Pick: Redskins +13
Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) at Arizona Cardinals
The Pittsburgh Steelers are playing solid football, winning six of their last seven games. They get to face the Arizona Cardinals, losers of five straight. This Steelers team is physical, playing tough defense and pounding the rock with Benny Snell. Offensively for the Cardinals, Kyler Murray doesn’t look fully healthy, which essentially takes away the only explosive thing about them, with there being no running game and only the rare downfield shot. On the other side, Pittsburgh should take some downfield shots with James Washington, who has been balling lately, catching 90+ yards in three of the last four games. He is in a similar spot as Robert Woods was last week against Arizona, and he caught 13 passes for 172 yards. The best unit in this game is the Steelers defense. The worst unit is the Cardinals defense. That’s a recipe for another cover for the Steelers. Covering seems to be a pattern for this Pittsburgh team after they’ve done it in eight of their last 10 games.
Pick: Steelers -3
Baltimore Ravens (-6) vs. Buffalo Bills
The way to beat Buffalo is between the tackles, running it right up the gut at them. Dallas got the memo for about a drive last week, but then went into Cowboys mode and abandoned what worked. Buffalo has allowed 5.1 yards per carry to running backs over the past five weeks, and now they have to deal with the best running team in the league. I am also still of the mind that Buffalo has not beaten anybody good this season, with only one win against a team that currently has a winning record — the Titans — and that was back when they were starting Marcus Mariota. This spread also continues to widen, so lock it in before it moves any further.
Pick: Ravens -6
Seattle Seahawks (+1) at Los Angeles Rams
Seattle continues to be undervalued by oddsmakers, but whatever. It looks like they will move to five wins against the spread in a row, getting a road victory against the Rams, who only look improved due to games against the Cardinals, Bears, Bengals, and Falcons, who are their four wins since September. As always, this Rams game comes down to Jared Goff, who has been terrible under pressure this season, completing just 42.2 percent of his passes under pressure compared to 72.9 percent with a clean pocket. Jadeveon Clowney is playing well and should be active on Sunday after practicing in full on Friday. Expect him to get after Goff often, forcing him into mistakes. It’s tough to beat Seattle while making mistakes since Russell Wilson plays such a clean game. I expect a similar result to the first meeting, which was a close Seahawks win.
Pick: Seahawks +1
New York Giants (+9.5) at Philadelphia Eagles
Eli Manning is going to come back and light up the league! Kidding, but the veteran is back in action for the Giants on Monday Night Football. This game features two struggling secondaries and two offenses that have dangerous offensive weapons. These games between the Giants and Eagles have been close over recent seasons, despite both teams finishing the year very differently in the standings. Over the last three seasons, the point differential between these teams is just 7.0, on average, with only one of six games being decided by more than five points. While I think the outcome may be more of a coin flip than most think, the likelihood that it is a one-score game is pretty high.
Pick: Giants +9.5
Week 13 Results: 3-2
Season to Date: 32-30-1