We’re entering the final stretch of a very entertaining football season. Heading into NFL Week 14, we’ll look to continue our profitable run of picks using the key concepts I outlined at the beginning of the season.
We’re coming off a tough weekend, which saw both of last week’s picks lose in miserable fashion. The Miami Dolphins fell to the San Francisco 49ers and a third-string quarterback, while Joe Burrow improved to 3-0 lifetime against the Kansas City Chiefs.
We were on the wrong side of both games.
Hopefully, you’ve used proper bankroll management to ride out the losing weeks this season. It’s not about winning a truckload of money all at once; instead, we look for profitable angles and keep the damage to a minimum when the ball doesn’t bounce our way.
Onwards! Here are some NFL Week 14 betting tips and strategies.
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Betting Tips for NFL Week 14
One of the betting strategies from my preseason piece was to bet the other way if a line looks strange. Sportsbooks are extremely accurate at providing betting lines to get equal action on both sides. If a line looks incorrect, there’s usually a good reason. And despite what your gut might say, it’s often profitable to go against your instincts and bet the other way.
There are two games this week that fit the criterion for this NFL betting strategy.
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Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions (-2.5)
This is a classic example of the above concept. The Minnesota Vikings travel north to take on the Detroit Lions. The Vikings sport an impressive 10-2 record, while the Lions are two games below .500 at 5-7. Yet, the Lions are almost a three-point favorite? What gives?
The Vikings STINK! That’s what gives!
The Vikings are nothing more than smoke and mirrors. They’re getting absolutely run over on defense, giving up close to 400 yards per game (31st in the entire league). Their offense hasn’t fared much better, managing 335 yards per game (19th in the league). But, somehow they have the second-best record in football?
NFL Playoff picture: Minnesota Vikings Super Bowl odds
The Vikings have gotten extremely lucky in two key areas: turnovers, and one-score games. Last week’s win against the Jets was the epitome of this Vikings season. The Jets managed 486 offensive yards to the Vikings’ 285, outgaining them almost two to one! But the Jets coughed the ball up twice and the Vikings took advantage, squeaking out another one-score win. Of their ten total wins this season, nine have come by less than a touchdown, and four of them by a field goal or shorter.
The Detroit Lions, despite their losing record, have one of the most potent offensive attacks in the NFL. The Lions rank inside the top ten in points scored and total offensive yards per game through 13 weeks. And if the Vikings are this year’s “lucky team,” the Lions are the opposite, as one of the unluckiest teams in the league. Much like the Vikings, they’ve played a ton of close games, but have lost all of them. Five of the Lions’ seven losses have come by a margin of four points or less.
There’s a version of this NFL season in the Marvel Multiverse (my second Marvel reference in as many weeks!) where the Detroit Lions sit atop the NFC North. They’re a better, more complete team and should hang 40 points on the Vikings in NFL Week 14.
I grabbed the Lions -1 when this line opened and would be happy to play it up to the key number of -3.
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Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (-2.5)
Another game that jumps off the board is the AFC North matchup between the 8-4 Baltimore Ravens and the 5-7 Pittsburgh Steelers. The sub .500 Steelers are a -2.5 point favorite at home against the division leader? Huh?
It makes sense.
There’s a BIG question mark surrounding the Ravens this week. QB Lamar Jackson was injured in last week’s game against the Broncos and didn’t return to the field. The MVP suffered a PCL (stepbrother to the ACL) sprain, an injury that typically takes a few weeks to heal. It remains unclear if Jackson will suit up for this matchup against the Steelers.
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The Ravens are a much different team without Jackson under center. Head coach John Harbaugh built this offense around the dual-threat quarterback, dangerous both with his legs as he is with his arm. With Jackson in the lineup, the Ravens rank third overall in rushing yards gained. Backup QB Tyler Huntley has mighty big cleats to fill come Sunday.
The Steelers are building momentum at the right time, with three wins in their last four games. Having TJ Watt back in the lineup has provided a spark, and the Steelers have held their opponents to less than 20 points in each of those three wins. QB Kenny Pickett is showing signs of positive progression, as the Steelers rookie is looking far more comfortable under center. Pickett has gone four straight games without an interception, making smarter choices when forced to throw. When chased out of the pocket, he’s been dangerous with his legs, rushing for more than 200 yards on the season and collecting three rushing touchdowns.
There’s always the possibility Jackson suits up for the Ravens, but I think the angle is juicy enough to take a shot with the Steelers. Even if Jackson plays, he won’t be 100% and his primary weapon, his legs, will be encumbered. Against a tough Steelers offense, it’s a tall task.
Grab the Steelers -2.5 before the line crosses the key number of 3.