Week 14 set up to be a NFL slate with a lot of value and I was able to go 3-0 on the week with wins on the Falcons, Chiefs and Eagles. Improved to 21-12-1 on the season with the sweep.
The main takeaway from the week was the importance of look ahead lines. The Falcons, Panthers, Broncos and Eagles were all favorites before the Week 13 results. All four were then instilled as underdogs at some point before Week 14. All four teams ended up covering the closing number and winning straight up. I have been preaching all season to take advantage of these look ahead numbers to help find line value. Here’s an early look at the numbers for Week 15:
|Game||Look ahead line||Monday afternoon line|
|Broncos at Colts||Colts -1||Broncos -1|
|Bears at Lions||No line||Lions -6|
|Chargers at Chiefs||Chiefs -2||Pick ’em|
|Eagles at Giants||Eagles -9||Eagles -7.5|
|Packers at Panthers||No line||Panthers -3|
|Bengals at Vikings||Vikings -9||Vikings -10.5|
|Dolphins at Bills||No line||No line|
|Texans at Jaguars||Jaguars -8.5||Jaguars -11.5|
|Jets at Saints||Saints -10.5||Saints -15|
|Cardinals at Redskins||Redskins -6||Redskins -4|
|Ravens at Browns||Ravens -6.5||Ravens -7|
|Rams at Seahawks||Seahawks -2.5||Seahawks -1|
|Patriots at Steelers||Patriots -2.5||No line|
|Titans at 49ers||Titans -4||49ers -2|
|Cowboys at Raiders||Raiders -2||Cowboys -3|
|Falcons at Buccaneers||Falcons -3.5||Falcons -6|
There are three games where an underdog on the look ahead line is now a favorite. Those three favorites are the Broncos, Cowboys and 49ers. I think all of those line moves are warranted after what we saw in Week 14 but the Cowboys might be a touch high, which results in value on the Raiders as a field goal underdog.
The big story in the NFL on Sunday was the season-ending injury to Carson Wentz. I had the Eagles rated as the second best team in the league but I’m going to drop them at least three points with Nick Foles at quarterback. I think Foles is a better backup than most teams have so this won’t be a drop off like I had with the Packers and Texans. The difference between the look ahead and current number for Eagles-Giants is 1.5 points so I think there is some respect for Foles and an expectation that Philadelphia players will rally around the injury of their starting quarterback.
Speaking of the Texans and quarterback injuries, it looks like they will be without Tom Savage for their Week 15 contest against the Jaguars. T.J. Yates is set to take over and I don’t think there needs to be a drop in Houston’s power rating between the two quarterbacks. The Texans are depleted and know they can’t make the postseason so the three-point line move in this game is appropriate.
The quarterback injury on Sunday that has the biggest point spread significance is Josh McCown breaking his hand. Of course the Carson Wentz injury impacts the postseason but the difference between McCown and Bryce Petty is at least 4.5 points. McCown has had a really strong season on an overachieving team so you can argue the drop off from him to the Jets backup is closer to six or seven points. The Jets were 10.5-point underdogs at the Saints on a look ahead line and now it’s up to +15, which still might not be enough.
Nothing jumps out at me as for making picks on Week 15 games. Chargers-Chiefs, Packers-Panthers, Rams-Seahawks and Patriots-Steelers all have playoff significance. Based on the Packers-Panthers line it appears that Aaron Rodgers will return. I’m curious to see how that line moves throughout the week.
I will be rooting for the Chargers and Buccaneers for season win total purposes. I already clinched two wins with Texans under 8.5 and secured Raiders under 9.5 yesterday. I just need the Chargers to win one of their last three games to go over 7.5. I’ll need the Falcons to drop two of their last three games for them to go under 9.5 wins. Atlanta finishes the season playing the Panthers and at the Saints so there’s still some hope even if they beat the Buccaneers in Week 15.