NFL Betting Guide: Week 14

With the vaunted Eagles coming to town, the Giants need a win to keep pace in the NFC playoff picture. Can they compete for it, and which other games should we bet on Sunday?

Do you think you know a lot about NFL football? Try regularly picking five games against the spread.

Even with all the information and advanced stats, elite sports bettors are lucky to get about 53% to 54% of -110 (even probability) bets correct. It's essentially flipping a coin.

That being said, people -- myself included -- try. There are plenty of contests, media personalities, and other casual games at work or with friends that pick five games each week against the spread to see how they fare.

Using NFL odds from FanDuel Sportsbook, here are my five picks against the spread and a couple of totals I like this week. Play or fade as you please.

Week 13 Recap

Last Week: 3-2
Year-to-Date Record: 37-28-0 (56.9%)

Really, other than a whiff on the Titans, it was another solid week.

The Bengals, Raiders, and 49ers took care of business at home. I'm glad I took more favorites given they went 13-1-1 against the spread (ATS) last week. The Jets had multiple drives firing into the Vikings' end zone, but they just didn't get it done. I'd make that bet again today.

Our totals were a bit of a bust. The Browns' offensive collapse combined with Kyle Allen had that over dead in 15 minutes, and the Commanders and Giants somehow pushed a 40.0-point total in a tie. I'll never get that lucky again.

The end of the season is creeping up. Let's finish strong, and this week absolutely has a theme -- divisional underdogs.

Spread Picks

Pick #1: Giants (+7.0) vs. Eagles

This divisional 'dog is at home, and they're hungry.

The 7-4-1 Giants need a win desperately at home to keep pace in the NFC's playoff picture, and they'll have a picture-perfect matchup to do so. New York is numberFire's eighth-best rushing team behind Saquon Barkley, and the Eagles are our fourth-worst rushing defense.

It's a formula we've seen the Colts and Texans use at home to cover against Philadelphia, keeping their prolific offense off the field and making ground themselves. In fact, the Birds are 1-4 ATS on the road this year. Their explosive outings and whippings of goalposts have come at home.

This handicap is a classic buy-low, sell-high affair. Philadelphia is at peak value after last week's thrashing of the Titans, and the sputtering Giants are 1-3-1 straight up (SU) in their last five games. It's a perfect time to sell the visitors and buy the host squad.

There's also a massive "Pros vs. Joes" split on this one because 63% of bets are supporting the road team, but 57% of the money is backing Big Blue at home. You hold your nose, and you do this as a process play every time.

Swami Swaim's Score Prediction: Eagles 23-19

Pick #2: Broncos (+9.5) vs. Chiefs

I said on this week's episode of the Disciplined Degens Podcast that a common mistake sports bettors make is buying heavily into public knowledge.

Everyone -- including sportsbooks -- knows Patrick Mahomes is good at football. It's baked into every Chiefs line, and there's almost always value on the other side. If you don't believe me, Mahomes is well-known to be 32-5 SU in November and December in his career. In that same stretch of games, he is 17-18-2 ATS.

Mahomes is also 13-23-1 (with a closing-line push two weeks ago versus the Rams) ATS as a favorite of at least 3.5 points. I know he's good. But if you want to make money, you should probably take the other side.

The other side here is a Broncos team no one is rushing to the counter to wager on. Russell Wilson is -- among other things -- a painful watch. Still, that creates value, and the appeal here with the home squad is a defense we know is elite. They're, per our nERD ranks, the sixth-best defense in football.

On the other side, you have a Kansas City defense that's the ninth-worst per those same rankings. There's a massive gap here on that side of the ball that's almost as enormous as the other side, but only one side is being handicapped -- by oddsmakers -- that way.

Swami Swaim's Score Prediction: Chiefs 24-17

Pick #3: Browns (+5.5) at Bengals

How could I abandon my guy Joe Burrow like this?

Well, he's 0-4 ATS versus the Browns in four career starts. There is something about this matchup that elevates a pedestrian Cleveland defense, which we saw in a 32-13 Browns win on Halloween. That was at home, and that was a completely lopsided game to feel like this is peak value separation between these two clubs.

Cincinnati, following wins over Tennessee and Kansas City, is the public's top team. They're 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games, so they've been cashing tickets. On top of no one (rightfully) wanting to support Deshaun Watson, the Browns put together the worst convincing road cover of the season with zero offensive points in Houston.

The reality is Watson, as he gets more comfortable, should lift up an offense that already averaged 0.20 Offensive Net Expected Points (NEP) per play against Cincinnati earlier this year. They also held the Stripes to -0.07 Offensive NEP per play.

I know it's a one-game sample, and I know it was in Cleveland's building, but I don't need a win here, and this is too many points to give a team that's owned this matchup since Kevin Stefanski and Zac Taylor started coaching these clubs.

Swami Swaim's Score Prediction: Bengals 24-21

Other Selections

Panthers (+4.0) at Seahawks

These betting splits are impossible to ignore, but I get them.

While 77% of tickets are backing the home Seahawks in this spot, Seattle's surprising start has crashed and burned. They're 0-3 ATS in their last three games, and injuries are mounting. Most notably, with no clear backup, star rookie Kenneth Walker III is in major jeopardy to play this one.

On the other hand, the vibes in Carolina are very different. Before their bye week, Sam Darnold balled to the tune of 0.36 Passing NEP per drop back against the aforementioned strong Denver defense. They've since cut Baker Mayfield, and this is his team with full support through the end of the year.

The Panthers' issues have been with their offense. They're numberFire's 10th-best defense overall, and the Seahawks are 6th-worst defense overall. They're a bottom-10 team against both the rush and the pass. If Darnold replicates his Week 12 effort, they'll have zero issues scoring in this one.

Bizarrely, I believe the Panthers are the better team this second if Ken Walker can't play. Getting four points with them is a gift.

Swami Swaim's Score Prediction: Panthers 21-20

Chargers (+3.5) vs. Dolphins

Per usual, the Chargers -- in L.A. -- will likely battle crowd noise in their own building. Everything else entering this one is trending in their direction, though.

Other than perhaps Buffalo, the Bolts won't get a better matchup for them than pass-happy Miami. It's well-documented that Los Angeles can't stop the rush (3rd-worst in our nERD rankings), but they're actually 12th-best against the pass.

We're finally set to see the Chargers at full strength, too. Mike Williams is set to return with Keenan Allen already having been in the fold for multiple weeks. On paper, they're numberFire's 19th-best offense after having played a bulk of the season without them, but ask yourself, what would the 'Phins be like without Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle?

I view this game closer to a pick 'em, so 3.5 points with the home crowd's team -- okay, maybe not the home crowd's team, but they didn't have to travel -- feels like tremendous value. Sharp, high-stakes bettors agree with 67% of tickets on the Dolphins here, but 59% of the handle backing Los Angeles.

Swami Swaim's Score Prediction: Chargers 27-26

Totals of the Week

Pick #1: Jaguars at Titans (Over 41.0)

With so many divisional matchups this week, it was tough to find an over. Any individual over would buck a pretty convincing 36-22-1 trend (to the under) this season in those types of games.

I see this total as too low even despite the fact Jacksonville will likely make Tennessee play with their proverbial opposite hand in this one. The Lions failed to rush for 100 yards last week on the Jags, who are the 10th-best rush defense per our nERD metrics, so don't expect a monster Derrick Henry game by default, but his 5.37 yards per carry average against them historically doesn't hurt this case.

These two teams are just terrible against the pass. The Jaguars are our third-worst pass defense, and the Titans are ninth-worst. Jacksonville (ninth in pass rate over expectation) is comfortable playing that way, but Ryan Tannehill and Tennessee have the better -- and sublime -- matchup.

There could be a few explosive pass plays in this one if their recent performances are any indication. This total is fairly low for the potential it happens.

Swami Swaim's Score Prediction: Titans 24-23

Pick #2: Ravens at Steelers (Under 36.5)

This game appeared to be a classic Ravens-Steelers slog before last week. Now, it seems assured.

Lamar Jackson is closer to doubtful to play in this one due to the knee injury he suffered last game. That's thrust Tyler Huntley into an offense without a lead back or lead wideout, and they were scuffling as a result before this issue. Baltimore is just 18th in Offensive NEP per play (0.04) in the past five weeks.

Pittsburgh has had its moments of offensive competence, but by and large, numberFire's 13th-worst offense isn't the danger to an over here.

These defenses are pointed in the right direction with Roquan Smith in the fold for Baltimore, and T.J. Watt is perhaps the most impactful defender (for betting outcomes) in football. Combine that with a glacial situation-neutral average pace in this game, I expect both offenses have plenty of difficult scoring in this one.

Swami Swaim's Score Prediction: Steelers 17-14