NFL Betting Predictions: Week 14 Opening Line Report and Picks
For some odd reason, the NFL chose not to flex what is clearly the biggest game of Week 14, San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints, into the prime-time window. The league kept Seahawks-Rams there. Why!?! I get why Fox didn't want to at least move 49ers-Saints to the mid-afternoon slot because Chiefs-Patriots is going to dominate that window on CBS (that network has doubleheader rights this Sunday). San Francisco gets hosed here in a big way because it's a second straight 10 a.m. Pacific time start for the Niners.
This writer believes the winner of 49ers-Saints will be the NFC's top-seeded team in the playoffs thanks to owning the head-to-head tiebreaker, and I don't see any club going to New Orleans and beating Drew Brees & Co. this postseason barring yet another royal screwing from the referees like what happened in last season's NFC title game vs. the Rams.
The Saints avoided a bit of a trap game on Thanksgiving night, winning 26-18 in Atlanta. Taysom Hill, this generation's Kordell "Slash" Stewart, was amazing with a touchdown run, a touchdown reception and a blocked punt. Hill was a QB in college at BYU and might be the long-term solution in New Orleans if Brees ever retires and the Saints can't afford to re-sign Teddy Bridgewater this offseason. Defensively, the Saints sacked Matt Ryan a career-high nine times, with Cameron Jordan tying a team record with four of those. The win clinched another NFC South title for Sean Payton's club.
New Orleans probably finishes 14-2 with a victory Sunday because it will be favored the rest of the way: Week 15 vs. Colts (MNF), Week 16 at Tennessee (could be dangerous) and Week 17 at Carolina (will have nothing to play for by then). San Francisco is at least done with those 1 p.m. ET starts the rest of the regular season and closes vs. Atlanta, vs. the Rams and at Seattle - that could be for the NFC West title and the No. 2 seed.
The 49ers lost Sunday at Baltimore but it was a good loss if there was such a thing. That excellent San Francisco defense showed it's possible to at least slow down Lamar Jackson, although the weather conditions certainly helped.
Here are some other Week 14 early lines that caught my eye. We won't touch on the Thursday night game (Cowboys at Bears) or Monday's (Giants at Eagles) because we will be previewing them individually here at Doc's. Picks are ATS. Not really a coincidence that the below games are all AFC matchups as the only good NFC game on Sunday we addressed above. Frankly, it's a pretty blah Week 14 overall other than Niners-Saints and Chiefs-Patriots.
Titans at Raiders (+2.5, 46.5): Could have some Wild-Card implications, although I tend to doubt either earns a playoff spot. Tennessee sits seventh in the AFC at 7-5 and Oakland eighth at 6-6. First meeting since Week 1 of 2017 when the Titans were upset 26-16 at home. Derek Carr threw two TD passes and Marcus Mariota none. Tennessee coach Mike Vrabel saved this season by benching the former Heisman winner for ex-Dolphins first-round pseudo-bust Ryan Tannehill. He took over in Week 7 and the Titans have improved offensively as much as any team in the NFL over that stretch. Tannehill is making himself some money as a pending unrestricted free agent. My guess is he re-signs with Tennessee. Meanwhile, it's the penultimate home game for the soon-to-be Las Vegas Raiders ahead of next week's surely emotional home finale against Jacksonville. Pick: Raiders.
Ravens at Bills (+5, 43.5): What a mega-trap game for the runaway train that is the Ravens and Jackson. They won their eighth in a row Sunday in beating the Niners on Justin Tucker's 49-yard field goal as time expired. Baltimore now holds the AFC's top seed because New England lost in Houston later on Sunday. Sure, the Bills have a winning record and looked very good last Thursday in winning in Dallas, but they are a step down from the three-game gauntlet that Baltimore just finished and beat in the Texans, Rams and 49ers. Jackson obviously has no peer as a running quarterback, but the second-best such signal-caller in the NFL is Buffalo's Josh Allen, so this one could be fun. Of course, the Bills could have taken Jackson at No. 7 overall in the 2018 draft (they traded up into that spot) but went for Allen. The professional debut of both Jackson and Allen was in Week 1 last year. Neither started in Baltimore's 47-3 home rout of Buffalo but both got mop-up duty, Jackson in place of Joe Flacco and Allen in place of a horrid Nathan Peterman. Pick: Ravens … and love the under.
Chiefs at Patriots (-3, 48.5): Might this be the game where Tom Brady officially passes the torch as the face of the league to Patrick Mahomes? From an individual standpoint, the two aren't even in the same stratosphere these days, but Brady is 2-0 against the reigning NFL MVP. Brady and the Pats beat the visiting Chiefs 43-40 in Week 6 last year in an incredibly entertaining back-and-forth game. Stephen Gostkowski hit a 28-yard field goal as time expired. Brady threw for 340 yards and a score, and it was really the national introduction of Mahomes as he threw for 352 and four scores. The teams then met in the AFC title game in Kansas City, and that was almost as wild. The Chiefs would have won but not for a late offsides call on pass-rusher Dee Ford (now in San Francisco). That wiped out a Brady interception. New England would eventually win 37-31 in OT, never letting the Chiefs get the ball in the extra session. Pick: Chiefs (I'll be waiting for or buying up to +3.5).
Want free NFL picks? Doc's has you covered. New clients can take advantage of this great offer of $60 in free Doc's Sports members' picks for any handicapper on Doc's Expert Handicapper list. Just check out these guys' pages and see what great work they have done making money for themselves and their clients over the years. Get $60 worth of premium members' picks free . Get free NFL picks weekly on Doc's Sports free football picks page.
Most Recent NFL Handicapping
- 2021 Super Bowl Predictions
- NFL Betting Predictions: Week 7 Opening Line Report and Picks
- NFL Betting Predictions: Week 6 Opening Line Report and Picks
- 2020 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
- College and NFL Football Biggest Line Moves for Sept. 26-27
- 2020 Carolina Panthers Predictions and Season Win Total Picks
- 2020 Detroit Lions Predictions and Season Win Total Picks
- 2020 Chicago Bears Predictions and Season Win Total Picks
- 2020 Arizona Cardinals Predictions and Season Win Total Picks
- 2020 Atlanta Falcons Predictions and Season Win Total Picks