Tuley's Takes on NFL Week 14

December 7, 2021 08:52 PM

NFL Week 13 was another roller-coaster ride here in the Tuley’s Takes home office, but as has happened many weekends this season, teasers saved the day (or week!).

We went 2-3 ATS with our best bets posted in Point Spread Weekly as we won with the Lions + 7 and the Steelers + 4 (both pulled outright upsets) but lost with the Falcons, Giants and Broncos.

One of the big betting stories of Week 13 was that the five biggest favorites won and covered: the Buccaneers -11 over the Falcons, the Cardinals -8 over the Bears, the Colts -10.5 over the Texans, the Rams -14 over the Jaguars and the Chiefs -8.5 over the Broncos. There was a time when I probably would have bet on all five, but I felt pretty good that I was selective and bet only on the Falcons and Broncos from that group, so we saved some money. And the Falcons should have covered. If the Bucs had gotten one more first down on their last drive, they would have gone into victory formation, and then the Falcons still had a chance to get in the back door but failed on two final plays from the Bucs’ 7-yard line. Meanwhile, the Broncos had their chances before a muffed punt return and a pick-six spoiled that cover.

Anyway, that shows how close we were to a huge day as we swept our teaser plays. Many sportsbooks were bailed out on a lot of their teaser liability Sunday as a ton of bettors used the Vikings teased down to -1 vs. the Lions, but fortunately I saw the Vikings as vulnerable and passed on teasing them. In PSW, my top two-team, 6-point teaser was the Cardinals -2/Colts -2.5 (both won). After the Colts’ line moved out of teaser territory, I changed my preferred play in my daily “Tuley’s Takes Today” column and the best bets story on VSiN.com to Washington + 7.5 and the Patriots at + 8.5 or + 9. And for those following the daily version of this column, we also added the Patriots Under teaser Monday to really end the weekend on a winning note.

So let’s turn our attention to Week 14. I’ll give my take on each game from my dog-or-pass point of view. Per usual, even if I don’t have a strong opinion on a game, I’ll give my pool-play strategy for those in contests in which they have to pick every game.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Minnesota Vikings (-3 -120)

The Thursday nighter gives us two teams trying to stay in the playoff hunt. The Steelers rallied and then held off the Ravens 20-19 on Sunday to tighten the AFC race, while the Vikings were dealt a blow to their NFC wild-card hopes with their 29-27 loss to the Lions on the last play of the game. Earlier this season, the Vikings barely beat the Lions on a last-second field goal, while the Steelers played those same Lions to a 16-16 tie. In addition, the Vikings lost 34-31 to the Ravens. All of these common opponents have me wondering why the Vikings are favored by a field goal, especially as they’re 2-3 ATS at home, so I don’t want to hear about home-field advantage. And all these teams are playing close games against each other, so whom do you trust more in a close game? Ben Roethlisberger or Kirk Cousins? Mike Tomlin or Mike Zimmer? The Steelers’ D or the Vikings’ D? It’s 3-for-3 for the road dog in my opinion. We missed the opener of Steelers + 4, but this line is Vikings -3 -120 at most books, so hopefully it gets back to + 3.5, though we’re definitely looking for the outright upset.

Best Bet: Steelers + 3 or preferably + 3.5 (pool play: Steelers in all my rare contests that include “Thursday Night Football”).

Las Vegas Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs (-9.5)

The Chiefs have won five straight to turn around their season, led by a defense that is allowing just 11.2 points per game during that run. I’m a little concerned with the fact the Chiefs routed the Raiders 41-14 just four weeks ago, but other than that game, Patrick Mahomes has mostly been a game manager content to grind out wins. The Chiefs beat the Broncos 22-9 on Sunday night and covered a similar spread, but the Raiders’ offense is still more potent than Denver’s, so Derek Carr has a better shot at getting a back-door cover if needed.

Best Bet: Raiders + 9.5 or better (pool play: Raiders 67/33 in ATS contests, but Chiefs 70/30 in SU pools).

New Orleans Saints (-6) at New York Jets

The Jets are tempting against a reeling Saints team, which has lost five straight, but it’s still hard to trust the Jets as their only win/cover since upsetting the Bengals was against the lowly Texans. This is also the time of year when I look to bet Overs in games between also-rans as defense is optional, but both these teams have a hard time keeping QBs healthy, so we’re better off passing.

Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Jets 55/45 in ATS contests, but Saints 70/30 in SU pools).

San Francisco 49ers at Cincinnati Bengals (-1)

Talk about teams that are hard to trust. The Bengals had seemed to turn around their season and then were run over by the Chargers 41-22, and the 49ers were on a roll but then lost 30-23 to the scuffling Seahawks. Both teams are fighting to stay in their playoff races, so I’m expecting a close game that comes down to the final gun. As I wrote Monday in “Tuley’s Takes Today,” let’s start our Week 14 teaser portfolio here with the 49ers. My top two-team, 6-point teaser of the week is 49ers + 7/Ravens + 8.5, with other potential combinations including the Seahawks teased down from -7.5 to -1.5 at the Texans and the Rams teased up from + 2.5/+ 3 to + 8.5 or + 9 at the Cardinals on Monday night.

Best Bet: 49ers in teasers, led by 49ers + 7/Ravens + 8.5 (pool play: 49ers 55/45 in all SU and ATS contests).

Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans (-9.5)

We’ll see if the Titans were able to solve their offensive woes during the bye week. Their inconsistency since losing Derrick Henry makes the Jaguars a tempting play, but I passed with them against the Rams last week and it’s pretty easy to pass on them here, too, especially as we missed the earlier lines of + 11 and + 10.5.

Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Jaguars 55/45 ATS on principle, but Titans at least 90/10 in SU pools).

Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns (-2.5)

In a scheduling oddity, the Browns are coming off a bye and playing their second straight game against the Ravens, who won 16-10 two weeks ago in Baltimore. In rematches, I love getting the winner of the previous game plus points, especially as the Ravens pulled out the win despite four interceptions by Lamar Jackson. The Ravens are 6-2 this season in games decided by eight points or fewer despite the loss Sunday to the Steelers, so I trust John Harbaugh more in what should be another close game. I’m calling for the outright upset for the Ravens, but just in case they lose a close one, I’m also using them liberally in teasers.

Best Bet: Ravens + 2.5, plus using in teasers (pool play: Ravens 67/33 in ATS contests and 60/40 in SU pools).

Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers (-3)

Both teams enter at 5-7 and I’m going to call this a wild-card elimination game — though anything is still possible in both wild-card races. I want to take the Falcons plus the field goal in what should be closer to pick-’em, but the Falcons have burned me too many times recently.

Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Falcons 55/45 in ATS contests — flipping to Panthers if offered only 2.5 — and Panthers 60/40 in SU pools).

Dallas Cowboys (-4) at Washington Football Team

My first thought on whether to take the Football Team is that the line was too short, but the more I researched, the more I like it. On Sunday, Washington beat the Raiders 17-15 after the Raiders were coming off a 36-33 overtime win at the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, so there’s no reason this shouldn’t come down to the wire too. The Cowboys still have the No. 1 offense in the league at 416.3 points per game, but the Washington defense has stepped up since losing Chase Young, allowing just 15 points the last two weeks (and don’t forget it held the Buccaneers to 19 in its upset four weeks ago). Meanwhile, Washington’s offense isn’t flashy, but Taylor Heinicke and Antonio Gibson are proving a balanced attack that should keep the Football Team right in this game with a shot at the outright upset.

Best Bet: Washington + 4 (pool play: Washington 70/30 in ATS contests, though still Cowboys 67/33 in SU pools).

Seattle Seahawks (-8) at Houston Texans

We’re running into this situation a lot lately when we believe the favorite doesn’t deserve to be favored by as many points as the oddsmakers are setting the line, yet we’re not sure we can trust the underdog even with all those points. The Seahawks beat the 49ers for a much-needed win Sunday, but they’re still closer to the bottom of the NFC. The Texans have followed up their unlikely upset of the Titans in Week 11 with a loss to the Jets in Week 12 and a 31-0 shutout at the hands of the Colts in Week 13.

Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Seahawks 55/45 in ATS contests and closer to 90/10 in SU pools).

Detroit Lions at Denver Broncos (-8)

The Lions picked up their first win of the season, beating the Vikings 29-27 on the final play, so they’re in a classic “swagger” spot with a team regaining its swagger after snapping a long losing streak. The Lions have been surprisingly competitive all year and have been good to us as they’re 8-4 ATS despite their 1-10-1 SU record. The Broncos have been up and down all year (6-6 SU and ATS) but shouldn’t be favored by more than a touchdown. If the Lions could avoid being blown out as big dogs by the Vikings (twice), Browns, Rams and Ravens, they can stick with the Broncos.

Best Bet: Lions + 8 (pool play: Lions 75/25 in ATS contests, but Broncos still 67/33 in SU pools).

New York Giants at Los Angeles Chargers (-10.5)

The Chargers showed their potential with their 41-22 rout of the Bengals on Sunday. They jumped to a 24-0 lead, and even though they let the Bengals back in the game, they then pulled away to win convincingly. The Giants let us down in a 20-9 loss to the Dolphins, but I wasn’t totally discouraged by the performance of backup QB Mike Glennon (23-for-44, 187 yards), who suffered a concussion in the loss. The Giants signed Jake Fromm from the Bills’ practice squad, but I might be tempted to take the Giants again if Glennon passes concussion protocol. Check “Tuley’s Takes Today” at VSiN.com later in the week to see if I add it as a play.

Best Bet: Pass for now (pool play: Giants 55/45 in ATS pools — higher if Glennon starts — though Chargers still at least 90/10 in SU pools).

Buffalo Bills at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3/-3.5)

Many people see this as a potential Super Bowl preview, but that was a more common sentiment earlier this season. While the Buccaneers are rolling along at 9-3 with a four-game lead in the NFC South, the Bills are suddenly just 7-5 and struggling to stay in the AFC wild-card chase. The Bills are tempting if getting more than a field goal, but I’m afraid this could be a statement game for Tom Brady against his former divisional rival. And even if tossing out the cold, windy Monday night loss to the Patriots, we’re not sure the Bills’ offense is back on track enough to keep up with the Bucs..

Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Buccaneers 55/45 in ATS contests and 70/30 in SU pools).

Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers (-12.5)

How did this not get flexed out of the prime-time game Sunday night? This line is obviously inflated due to public perception and Aaron Rodgers “owning” the Bears, so I probably should be taking the Bears as I have it as closer to 27-17. But I can’t pull the trigger with the Packers coming off a bye and being one of the rare teams that plays decidedly better at home (5-0 SU and ATS) and actually worthy of home-field advantage. That’s evident with home wins of 36-28 vs. the Rams, 17-0 vs. the Seahawks, 24-10 vs. the Football Team, 27-17 vs. the Steelers and 35-17 vs. the Lions.

Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Bears 55/45 on principle with all those points, but Packers at least 90/10 in SU pools).

Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals (-2.5/-3)

This is a great “Monday Night Football” matchup with the Cardinals rolling along at 10-2 and holding the top seed in the NFC. The Rams are 8-4 and trying to close the gap. The Cardinals did dominate in their 37-20 win on Halloween that really solidified Arizona as a contender, but this game should be closer. The line is too short for me to take the Rams ATS, but they’re a prime teaser play to anchor the weekend’s plays.

Best Bet: Pass, except for Rams in teasers (pool play: Rams 55/45 in ATS contests, though Cardinals 60/40 in SU pools).

back to news

Live On Air

Streaming Now: VSiN Tonight

play Watch Live radio Listen Live


A Numbers Game: Be careful betting baseball games right now, if they don’t involve teams still trying to make the playoffs. Teams that have clinched or teams that are completely out of it will be approaching games far differently. View more tips.

Ian Cameron: USC at Colorado - OVER (73.5). View more picks.