I am officially the Pittsburgh Steelers of the 2014 NFL gambling season. The Steelers have looked incredible at times this season (vs Colts & Ravens) and awful against others (vs Browns, Jets, Buccaneers, Ravens), but have still managed to hold a 7-5 record with a playoff shot very within reach.
Heading into last week I was hitting at a blazing 55.5% on the year with my picks against the spread. I’ve had some really good weeks (like going 11-2 in Week 9), some really bad weeks, but through it all I’ve managed to land in the money.
Then the Thanksgiving holiday hit. I must have had turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes on my mind plus onset Meat Sweats because I turned in a Tampa Bay Buccaneers-esk 5-11 week with my picks.
Because of my putrid performance G-Hunt ended up taking the week, albeit at a disappointing 7-9 record. I hold a three game head to head lead on G-Hunt, but now only a two game lead overall. More importantly, we are both now flirting with the “will we have a positive gambling season” line, which sits at 52.4%.
That means the pressure is on to finish strong and send us into the playoffs ready to have a magical playoff run, just like the Steelers are currently facing.
Here are our NFL Week 14 Picks ATS (lines are from Tuesday).
Cowboys -3.5 @ Bears
Greg: Bears +3.5
Rob: Bears +3.5
Everything about this game scares me from a gambling perspective. The Cowboys are notorious for choking down the stretch, and laying points with them on the road doesn’t seem like a good recipe for success. The Bears have been a disaster for the majority of the year and blowing a 14-3 lead against the Lions and losing 34-17 doesn’t help.
The Cowboys are only 1-4 ATS their last 5, the Bears a not much better 2-3. Both defenses in this game are gross and both offenses have weapons that can exploit them.
Last week I took the Eagles and the points and it treated me well against the Cowboys and once again I’ll invoke the “when in doubt, take the points” clause.
Steelers @ Bengals -3
Greg: Steelers +3
Rob: Steelers +3
This is the first of two matchup’s between the Steelers and the Bengals over the final four games of the season. The division and a spot in the playoffs is up for grabs. The Steelers are 0-3 ATS in their last three, which followed a 3-0 streak. The Bengals are 4-2 over their last six, but their performance against the lowly Buccaneers didn’t exactly inspire.
Can the Steelers win this game? Yes. Will they? Not sure. However, I like getting the points.
Colts -3.5 @ Browns
Greg: Colts -3.5
Rob: Colts -3.5
Indianapolis is a weird team. I hear a lot of chirping that the Colts are a good bad team, but their 9-3 record ATS would say otherwise.
In the last few weeks Brian Hoyer has played so bad that despite the Browns having one of the best win-loss seasons of recent memory, his spot as QB1 is shakier than accepting a free trip to West Africa.
I’d like to think that Brian Hoyer would step up to the challenge knowing that his job and potential opportunity to lead the Browns into the playoffs very heavily hinges on this game. But that means that what we’ve seen the last few weeks out of him is less the reality and I’m not so sure about that.
Smart money is probably going to be on the Browns at home (81% of bets are on the Colts, 80/20 Rule applies), but I have more faith in Andrew Luck winning a road game against Brian Hoyer than I do Brian Hoyer keeping it close against Andrew Luck.
Buccaneers @ Lions -10
Greg: Buccaneers +10
Rob: Lions -10
Sometimes the cure for sickness is playing the Chicago Bears. The Lions snapped their two game losing skid where they scored in single digits each game by putting up a Bo Jackson on the Bears. The Lions D is legit and there’s not a ton positive I can say about the Buccaneers.
Naturally this is the point where Matthew Stafford then has a 3 INT game and Reggie Bush plays sparingly but fumbles twice and I kick myself for believing in the Lions late in the season.
Giants @ Titans (even)
Greg: Giants (even)
Rob: Titans (even)
80/20 Rule. I don’t know if the gambling public is drinking some of the Mike Smith Kool-Aid or what, but this is the second consecutive week where over 80% of the bets have been on the lost 7 in a row and are 1-6 ATS over that time Giants. The low point of the Eli Manning/Tom Coughlin era is about to happen if the Giants lose consecutive games to the Jaguars and Titans.
Ravens @ Dolphins -2.5
Greg: Dolphins -2.5
Rob: Dolphins -2.5
I like the friskiness of the Dolphins minus last weeks game versus the Jets (which they still won). They are 5-2 ATS their last seven and if Ryan Tannehill wants to take another step up then he has to win this game. Haloti Ngata’s 4-game suspension definitely isn’t going to help the Ravens cause, and since it’s less than a FG I like the Dolphins.
Jets @ Vikings -6
Greg: Jets +6
Rob: Vikings -6
I’m ignoring the 80/20 Rule on this one as I refuse to take the Jets and I like the way the Vikings have been playing. The Vikings are 5-1 ATS their last six and the Jets are a gross 3-8-1 on the year. I’m a Teddy Bridgewater fan because I had to start him one week in my two QB fantasy league and he gave me 20 points. Because of that I’m a believer.
Panthers @ Saints -10
Greg: Panthers +10
Rob: Panthers +10
Like the Chicago Bears, sometimes the cure for sickness is the Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s always good to get a win, especially on the road, but with the roller coaster nature of the Steelers and their awful defense I can’t fully buy into victories against them leading to being a 10 point favorite despite having a losing record.
Rams -2.5 @ Redskins
Greg: Rams -2.5
Rob: Rams -2.5
Shout out to Colt McCoy for balling hard last week in a loss. Did you know he put up 392 yards, 3 TD’s, 0 INT’s? I’m sure the Raiders will be calling him for a long-term contract in no time. The Rams have covered in three straight and four of five and are trending upward, which isn’t something I can say about the dysfunctional Redskins.
Texans -5.5 @ Jaguars
Greg: Jaguars +5.5
Rob: Texans -5.5
Laying points on the road with Ryan Fitzpatrick plus 85% of the bets are on the Texans? *Shaking my head* Why am I doing this to myself? There’s no such thing as a sure bet in gambling, but the Jaguars are just too bad to trust against JJ Watt and Arian Foster.
Bills @ Broncos -10
Greg: Broncos -10
Rob: Bills +10
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed rooting for the Bills this season. Kyle Orton, mustaches, and awesome chicken wings are all thing that I can get behind. The Broncos lines are always inflated and the Bills have a good D. That’s right, I’m taking Kyle Orton over Peyton Mannin *nodding head*.
Chiefs @ Cardinals -1
Greg: Chiefs +1
Rob: Chiefs +1
Despite looking out of sorts the last two weeks I still like this Chiefs team and it’s tough to really know what’s going on with the Cardinals. In their recent two game losing skid Larry Fitzgerald hasn’t played, Andre Ellington has been dinged up, and Drew Stanton doesn’t exactly look like Kurt Warner out there. Both teams need a win here but I have more faith in Alex “everyone doesn’t like that I don’t put up Peyton Manning-like numbers and completely overlook the fact I’m 37-14-1 in my last 52 games as a starter” Smith.
49ers -8 @ Raiders
Greg: 49ers +8
Rob: Raiders +8
If given free tickets to this game I don’t think I’d go because I’d be worried that someone would stab me or knock me out for no apparent reason. The hate on Colin Kaepernick and Jim Harbaugh sure has gotten pretty heavy. I’d love to see what a straight up loss here would do.
Seahawks @ Eagles -1
Greg: Seahawks +1
Rob: Eagles -1
I’m sticking by my guns that the Seahawks ain’t all that this year. They are definitely trending upward with wins in five of their last six, but they are only 2-4 ATS on the road and I like the Eagles to win the game. In Mark Sanchez I Trust (Gulp).
Patriots -3.5 @ Chargers
Greg: Chargers +3.5
Rob: Patriots -3.5
It’s a lot to ask for the Chargers to win back to back game as underdogs late in the season. Their track record says it ain’t happening. Plus, Chad Millman often says on his podcast, “you don’t win money betting against Brady and Belichick, especially off a loss.” The Chargers are also 1-6 ATS in their last seven.
Falcons @ Packers -13
Greg: Falcons +13
Rob: Packers -13
I dubbed this my Year of Minority were I get comfortable with being uncomfortable. It’s treated me well most of the season as has taking double digit dogs.
There’s very little that I like about the Falcons, especially on the road where they are 1-5 ATS going against a Packers team that is 5-0-1 ATS at home and 7-1-1 as a favorite. Taking all those points looks juicy but that’s just too much discomfort for me to deal with. Luckily only 77% of bets are on the Packers so the 80/20 Rule does not apply here.
Head-to-Head weekly victories and season record:
G-Hunt (4-7-2): 98-89-5 (52.4%)
Rob (7-4-2): 100-87-5 (53.4%)