NFL Picks Week #14 (2019 regular season)
NFL PICKS (WEEK #14)
BY PROFESSOR MJ
Written Wednesday December 4th, 2019 at 11 a.m. Eastern Time (spreads/odds may have changed)
PICK #1: Oakland Raiders +3 vs Tennessee Titans (rated 5 stars)
This looks like a trap game for the Titans. They are coming off two big divisional wins, while awaiting two meetings with their division leaders, the Texans. After seeing the Raiders get dismantled 40-9 against the Chiefs last week, Tennessee may not come out firing on all cylinders.
Meanwhile, this is a must game for the Raiders. They have lost their past two games by a combined 74-to-12 score. I envision a rebound game for Oakland at home.
The Raiders have won the past three meetings with the Titans, both straight up and against the spread (ATS).
Tennessee’s running game is hard to stop, but Oakland has done well against the run this year. They rank 11th in terms of rushing yards per game and 7th in terms of yards per rush.
The Titans could be shorthanded in the secondary. Already missing Malcolm Butler, they could be missing both Adoree’ Jackson and LeShaun Sims. That could spell trouble for Tennessee. Even if they play, they are clearly not 100%.
I really like the Raiders to put up a good fight against the Titans. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they won the game, let alone lose by a maximum of three points.
PICK #2: Houston Texans -9.5 vs Denver Broncos (rated 4 stars)
I was stunned when I first saw the point spread. Last week, the line closed at 4.5 in favor of the Chargers playing in Denver. Since home-field advantage corresponds to about three points, this means the Broncos would have been 7.5-point underdogs on a neutral field, and therefore 10.5-point underdogs on the road.
Now facing a tougher opponent, the Texans, the line is smaller than 10.5! Call me crazy if you will, but I thought Houston would be 14-point favorites in this one.
Are the Texans going to letdown after such an emotional win over the Pats, and also traveling to Tennessee next week? I seriously doubt it. I don’t think they’ll take this game lightly, considering how tight the race is in the AFC South division.
I like the fact that Houston will be at home for a third straight week. That’s a big bonus for them.
Denver’s defense took a big blow when defensive tackle Derek Wolfe dislocated his left elbow last week. He is out for the rest of the year. He was having a standout year with a career-high seven sacks. At least they might get stud linebacker Von Miller back; he is questionable to play.
Rookie quarterback Drew Lock was able to pull off his first NFL win against the Chargers last week. He wasn’t spectacular, though. The offense racked up just 218 total yards. He will quickly realize how much more difficult it is to play on the road, especially in a loud stadium like Houston.
I like the Texans to win big. I placed my bet on December 3rd at 11:35 AM Eastern Time at -9.5 +101. The line is now -9.5 -108. Don’t wait for too long.
PICK #3: Atlanta Falcons -3 vs Carolina Panthers (rated 3 stars)
Carolina will be looking to avenge a 29-to-3 loss in Week #11, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. The Falcons have owned the Panthers over the past few years. Indeed, Atlanta is 7-1 both straight up and ATS in the last eight meetings between these two squads!
Kyle Allen had decent stats in an awful home loss to the Redskins last week, but don’t be misled by the numbers. He did not play well at all. He turns the ball over too often: he has thrown 10 interceptions and lost 6 fumbles this season.
Atlanta gets three extra days of rest after playing on Thanksgiving. Also, they are going to be at home for a third straight week.
From an injury standpoint, there are several good news for the Falcons. First, star wide receiver Julio Jones is likely to suit up, as well as tight end Austin Hooper who has enjoyed a great 2019 season. On top of that, right guard Chris Lindstrom has a good chance to be back; he was hurt in the season opener and is ready to roll. That’s good news for a guy that does not move well in the pocket like Matt Ryan.
PICK #4: Cincinnati Bengals +8.5 at Cleveland Browns (rated 2 stars)
The Browns’ chances of making the playoffs took a huge blow when they lost in Pittsburgh with their third-string quarterback last week. Ouch! Will they find enough motivation to keep grinding this weekend?
Cincinnati has had nice success over Cleveland recently. Here is the evidence: the Bengals are 8-1 ATS over the past nine meetings with the Browns, including 5-0 ATS in Cleveland! Andy Dalton seems comfortable playing in the Dawg Pound.
Speaking of Dalton, he made a successful return as starting QB last week by beating the Jets 22-to-6. It provided rookie head coach Zac Taylor his first career win. Cincinnati is expecting wide receiver John Ross to return to the lineup, which will be of great help to the “Red Rifle.”
Baker Mayfield hurt his hand last week. It won’t prevent him from playing, but it could bother him during the game. Also, left tackle Greg Robinson is uncertain to play for the Browns, although he seems to have a good shot to be on the field this Sunday.
I’m betting Cincinnati to keep it close. They could even pull off the big upset if Cleveland has already packed it in after feeling like they are out of the playoff race.
PICK #5: Los Angeles Chargers -3 at Jacksonville Jaguars (rated 1 star)
A few betting angles indicate to bet the Jaguars, including the fact that the Chargers will be traveling East through three time zones and that they will be on the road for the fourth time in five weeks.
Still, I’ll put my money on Anthony Lynn’s team. The Chargers beat the spread in the last seven meetings with the Jags (including 4-0 ATS in Jacksonville!). Also, here’s an unbelievable stat: all 8 Chargers losses came by a seven-point margin or less!
Meanwhile, Jacksonville has lost its past four games. Each of those losses were not even close, as evidenced by the fact that the margin of defeat was between 17 and 23. Prior to this four-game losing skid, the Jaguars won a couple of games, but they came over the lowly Bengals and Jets.
Doug Marrone is not on the hot seat; he’s on the boiling seat. Many reports suggest he will be gone when the season ends, or even earlier if things continue to go as badly. I don’t think the players have any motivation left whatsoever.
Gardner Minshew will be back under center, but don’t expect miracles from him. The team looks in complete disarray.
Both Chargers safeties were back last week: Adrian Phillips and Derwin James. The team still lost in Denver, but it remains great news for Los Angeles.
Best of luck with your sports investments this weekend!
(Sports Betting Expert / University Professor / PhD in statistics)