NFL Week 14 best bets and expert picks for the Sunday (12/10/23) slate. Find best bets for NFL Week 14 featuring Bills vs. Chiefs, Eagles vs. Cowboys, Broncos vs. Chargers, Lions vs. Bears, Rams vs. Ravens, Colts vs. Bengals, and Packers vs. Giants.
NFL Week 14 Best Bets
We’re onto Week 14 of the NFL season, and this week’s slate is loaded with exciting matchups. In this article, you can find best bet breakdowns for some of the biggest games of the week. Check out the Lineups YouTube page for coverage of all of the NFL games this week. Let’s get to work.
Jacob Wayne’s Record: 19-16-1 (+2.4 units)
Kody Malstrom’s Record: 14-9 (+4.2 units)
Will Schwartz’s Record: 14-17-1 (-4.1 units)
Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs
Last week in this column, I wrote about how the Eagles had been the league’s most lucky team and were due for regression against a dominant 49ers outfit. This week, we have the inverse situation – the Bills have been incredibly unlucky to be 6-6 and are due for positive regression as they enter their biggest game of the season.
The Bills have a luck rating of -2.6 per TeamRankings, the worst in the NFL. While they have a 6-6 record, they’re 6th in overall DVOA and 5th in net EPA and rank fifth with a +118 point differential. They have four wins by 20+ points, but variance has gone against them all year with a 2-6 record in close games.
Josh Allen’s perceived struggles were one of the top national storylines after the team’s loss to the Broncos a few weeks ago, but Allen has been one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL this year. He’s top five in PFF passing grade, big-time throw rate, and EPA+CPOE. Perhaps most importantly, the narrative about his turnovers has been completely overblown – his 2.3% turnover-worthy play rate is the sixth-lowest in the league.
Compare that to Patrick Mahomes, who ranks 17th in turnover-worthy play rate and outside the top ten in yards per attempt and big-time throw rate. It’s not all Mahomes’s fault, though, as the Chiefs are sorely lacking in reliable pass-catching talent, especially with Travis Kelce clearly declining, as evidenced by his career-low 11.0 yards per reception.
The Bills’ defense has had some issues, but they’re righting the ship. The team’s pass-rushing unit has gotten healthier as they’re 4th in pressure rate and the trade acquisition of Rasul Douglas, who’s PFF’s 4th-ranked cornerback this season, has been massive for a secondary that lost Tre’Davious White to a season-ending injury.
The Chiefs’ defense, meanwhile, has struggled mightily against the run, ranking 28th in DVOA and 31st in EPA. I expect Allen to have a successful afternoon with his legs while James Cook remains a focal point of the offense. With Stefon Diggs joined by emerging talents Khalil Shakir and Dalton Kincaid, this offense simply has far more answers than the Chiefs’.
It’s do or die time for the Bills, and while a trip to Arrowhead is a daunting task, I like Buffalo’s chances given their significant rest advantage coming off the bye week. The Bills have the advantage in the trenches on both sides of the ball, and with Allen playing at an MVP level, I like Buffalo to make a few key plays late to pull out the road win.
Best Bet: Bills +1.5
Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys
The Eagles are reeling off a 42-19 loss to the 49ers, and that was their fourth straight game against a top team after facing the Cowboys, Chiefs, and Bills. Their lives don’t get any easier this week, however, as they travel to Dallas. The Eagles got the better of the Cowboys a few weeks ago, but it was a game Dallas could have and perhaps should have won as they outgained Philly by 104 yards and seven first downs in the five-point loss.
Dak Prescott is playing at an MVP level, and he’s arguably been the best quarterback in the league this season with the top PFF passing grade and the 2nd-best passer rating. Prescott has made good on his word to cut down on interceptions as his turnover-worthy play rate has dropped from 3.8% last year to 1.4% this year, which is the lowest rate in the NFL.
The Eagles’ pass defense showed a lot of warts last week that have been building for a while, and they now rank 24th in DVOA and 25th in EPA against the pass. Prescott torched them with 374 yards and three touchdowns in their prior meeting, and Philadelphia has no answers for covering CeeDee Lamb, who finished that game with 191 yards.
Philadelphia still ranks 6th in pressure rate while blitzing at just the 19th-highest rate, but their ability to generate pressure hardly matters when they’re facing a quarterback like Prescott who can deliver quick, accurate strikes to a litany of weapons. Brandin Cooks and Jake Ferguson continue to become integral parts of this offense, and both should have success this week.
Jalen Hurts is coming off a day to forget as he completed just 57.8% of his passes against the 49ers, averaging under 7 yards per attempt for the third straight week. For reference, Prescott has just one game under 7 YPA since Week 6. Hurts was pressued on a whopping 61.5% of his dropbacks, and that’s a major concern against Micah Parsons and company as Dallas leads the NFL in pass rush win rate per ESPN.
Perhaps most surprising is the Eagles’ recent struggles to establish their run game, as their typically vaunted offensive line ranks just 18th in line yards. Philly ranks just 21st in rushing EPA since Week 8, and while Hurts has continued to play at a high level, all of the pressure is on him to deliver week after week during this stretch against a gauntlet of elite opponents.
I grabbed this at -3 at open, but the universally available number is -3.5, and I’m not scared by the hook here. I expect Dak Prescott to put together an MVP performance against a vulnerable Eagles secondary as the Cowboys level the season series against their biggest rival.
Best Bet: Cowboys -3.5
Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers
Even the regression monster was almost unable to thwart the Denver Broncos recent run of luck, needing three Russell Wilson interceptions to finally bring their five game win streak to an end. While a win is a win at the end of the day, three of their five wins came within two points while dominating turnover luck at the same time.
After a humbling loss to the Houston Texans, the Broncos are now in a bounce back spot against the reeling Los Angeles Chargers. It’s not just bad for the Chargers, it’s near rock bottom. A strange thing to say after coming off a win, yet a 6-0 win against the lowly Patriots is hardly anything positive to hang their hat on.
A big reason for the Chargers struggles hinges on their poor defensive level of play, a unit that ranks a lowly 28th in Def DVOA. It’s not just one area of the offense either as the Chargers rank 27th in Def Pass DVOA and 22nd in Def Rush DVOA.
Worse yet, the Chargers are without Joey Bosa who is on IR. That is a massive loss in the pass rushing department, ticking back their pressure rate as the Broncos offensive line no longer has to sacrifice coverage with doubles at the edge.
With Russell Wilson expected to sit in a cleaner pocket, the Broncos pass attack should thrive against the Chargers poor pass coverage. Especially in their efforts to move the ball down the field, shredding a secondary that clocks in at 26th in Def Pass Success Rate and 23rd in Def Pass EPA.
On the other side of the ball, the Broncos defense gets the benefit of selling out in coverage against a one dimensional Chargers offense. Austin Ekeler has yet to round back into form since coming back from his injury, leading the Chargers rush attack to lowly ranks of 25th in Rush DVOA, 32nd in Rush Success Rate, and 27th in Rush EPA.
By being able to spread that just like what the Patriots did in last weeks contest, the Broncos secondary may make up for their front four’s inability to generate pressure. The extra bodies in coverage should be able to slow down Justin Herbert, forcing him into early outs and stalled out drives. Back the Broncos at no lower than the key number of +3 as they look to keep their playoff hopes alive with another hot streak.
Best Bet: Broncos +3
Kody’s Week 14 Wong Teaser
This week’s Wong Teaser resides in the NFC North as both the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers make for an intriguing pair at their current numbers. The Chicago Bears take on the Detroit Lions in what will be a thrilling rematch while the Green Bay Packers look to continue their hot streak after an impressive win against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Starting with the Bears, the stars are aligning for them to get their much needed revenge after losing in their early contest by allowing the Lions to score twice in the final four minutes of play. They now host them on their own turf, a game that will feature heavy winds and less than ideal conditions for Goff to throw in.
Goff already throws a relatively weak ball, struggling to connect on the mid range and deep ball in heavy winds. With that aspect of his game taken away, the Lions offense reverts to a more conservative script that plays right into the Bears front seven’s favor. Expect their second rank Def Rush Success metric to be on full display as they hold Montgomery and Gibbs at the line.
On the other end, Justin Fields is in a position to shred a regressing Lions second level of the defense. The Lions back end has dipped down to 30th in Def Pass Success Rate, now having to sit in coverage while also spying Fields at the same time. This will anchor their linebackers in place, creating wider gaps in coverage for Fields to throw to and routinely move the sticks.
As for the Packers, expect Jordan Love and company to keep their momentum going against one of the worst teams in football. They make for the perfect Wong Teaser piece as this game has letdown spot written all over it, getting to bypass the high spread by teasing them down to -1.
Jordan Love has made serious improvements since his poor start to the season, showing he is a capable passer when not under constant pressure. He still makes some bone headed decisions as any young quarterback does, but he has shown to overcome it by putting the ball on a rope and hitting his receivers in stride for chunks at a time.
His ability to move the ball through the air will once again be on full display against a Giants secondary who ranks 26th in Def Pass Success Rate. Especially with his offensive line steadily improving to eighth in Adjusted Sack Rate, being more than capable of keeping pressure off him against a Giants front four who ranks 31st in Def Adjusted Sack Rate and 19th in Pressure.
Best Bet: Bears +9 / Packers -1 Wong Teaser
Will Schwartz’s Best Bets
Los Angeles Rams at Baltimore Ravens
If you’re scared by the trend of Lamar Jackson failing to cover larger spreads, don’t be. This team is far more than just its quarterbacks, and trends are often a flimsy way to bet. The bottom line is that this matchup makes sense for Baltimore, so they are more than capable of winning by at least the touchdown needed to push this number, but more likely, by an even wider margin.
This is a great time to sell high on this Rams team, as they’ve won three games in a row and are not particularly likely to keep ascending, even as they’ve gotten a bit healthier on offense. During that win streak, they squeaked out a lucky win over the Seahawks, smacked down an overmatched Cardinals team, and most recently, dropped 36 points on the Browns’ top-rated defense, an impressive performance but undoubtedly an outlier.
Actually, in the wake of that game, there’s a new best defense in the NFL as per DVOA. That’s right, it’s the Ravens, meaning that the Rams would have to put in a great shift against the league’s best defense for a second consecutive week in order to stay competitive in this one. Specifically, Baltimore’s air defense has been the league’s best by DVOA, which could be a problem as the Rams look to re-establish a struggling Cooper Kupp.
On the other side of the football, this is still a great look for Baltimore, as the Rams rank 21st in rushing defense DVOA. This should come as a surprise to absolutely nobody who’s watched this team, but the Ravens are the top team in the NFL by DVOA. If you want to come into their house and come anywhere close to winning, you’ll have to at least slow down the run and the Rams simply do not have the ability to do that.
In addition to the tremendous ground threat posed by Jackson himself, Gus Edwards has been playing some great ball this year. Keaton Mitchell is also coming on strong in his rookie season, as he’s averaging a staggering 9.3 yards per carry and leads the team with five rushing touchdowns despite appearing in just six games so far.
The Rams coverage unit is also a problem, ranking 30th in the league with a PFF grade of 52.8. The Ravens don’t have a superstar wideout room, but it’s a better group than it’s been in recent years, and a lockdown secondary can really affect this team with Mark Andrews out, but that’s not a strength these Rams possess.
This number is more readily available at -7.5 right now, which is a good indicator that we’re on the right side, but if you’re able to find a flat -7, be sure to jump on it.
Best Bet: Ravens -7
Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals
This is a game for which I have the matchup preview on Lineups.com, so if you’d like even more depth on my pick, head over there to check it out! Through my research for that piece, I developed a lot of confidence in this pick, which of course contributed to its inclusion in my best bets for this week.
Jake Browning’s performance against the Jaguars was magical. He turned one of the league’s best defenses to ribbons in prime time, all while playing in a raucous road environment to earn the first win of his NFL career. He was rightfully awarded the honor of AFC Offensive Player of the Week for completing 86.5% of his 37 pass attempts, racking up 354 yards, and accounting for touchdowns on the ground and through the air. It raised valid questions about just how hard it is to do what Joe Burrow does, but was nonetheless an incredibly memorable outing for a player who had essentially no NFL experience to that point.
It was also one game. That is not quite the Browning we will see every week for the rest of the season, especially not at first; he’s adjusted to the starting role quicker than opposing coaching staffs could adjust to him, and now that there’s some film of him running the Cincy offense, the scales will shift in the opposite direction. He’s due for a real jump back to reality, and the Colts will be happy to provide him with just that.
Even if Burrow were fully healthy, I’d be at least considering Indy to pull off the upset here. These two teams are basically tied by DVOA, and the Colts are much more balanced, as the Bengals grade a dismal 27th in the metric when it comes to the defensive side of the ball. They’re going to struggle especially with stopping the run, as DVOA grades them as the league’s fourth-worst squad in that particular area, and gives the Colts’ ground attack the sixth-best figure in football.
The Colts are an extremely well-coached group, as first-year skipper Shane Steichen has done a phenomenal job. They’ve shown resilience, just like the Bengals, as they easily could have folded after losing three straight games after quarterback Anthony Richardson went down for the year. Instead, they’ve followed up that run of futility with a four-game winning streak to jump right back into the playoff picture.
Ultimately, this comes down to value. The Colts’ odds have moved all the way back to even money, and while they’re technically running with a backup quarterback too, they’re less susceptible to adjustments as there’s already plenty of tape on Minshew, both in Indy and elsewhere. With Browning set to take a step back to a certain degree, the Colts should be able to take advantage and find yet another scrappy win in what has been a surprisingly strong season.
Best Bet: Colts ML (+100)