Most Surprising Opening Lines That Look Odd for Week 14

Kevin Stott

Monday, December 4, 2017 2:12 PM UTC

Monday, Dec. 4, 2017 2:12 PM UTC

Let’s look at four Week 14 games with odd-looking lines, try to explain them and then try to offer up a winning pick ATS for SBR's devout NFL readership.

Seattle Seahawks at Jacksonville Jaguars (-3)

Seeing the Seahawks as Underdogs in this Week 14 inter-conference affair from the Sunshine State looks a little bit strange, but it’s a good line with how much the Jaguars (8-4 SU/7-5 ATS) have improved. This will be a huge game for both Russell Wilson and the the Seahawks (+3150 to win Super Bowl, Heritage) and Blake Bortles and the Jaguars (40/1 to win Super Bowl, Bovada) with a Loss here in Week 14 putting a small dent in any Postseason plans, although Jacksonville may benefit from the Kansas City Chiefs' recent fall to earth should Tennessee (8-4 SU) win the AFC South. The two division leaders (Jaguars-Titans) will meet in Nashville in Week 17 in massive showdown that could determine the AFC South.

Looking at the series Trends, we see the Seahawks are 4-1 ATS the L5 meetings with the last last encounter between these two happening when Gus Bradley was still the Jaguars Head Coach and in Seattle in Week 3 of the 2013 Regular Season, with Seattle rolling to a 45-17 victory and covering ATS as enormous 19½-point Home Favorites at CenturyLink Field as part of a 1-7 ATS start that year for Jacksonville.

So this team, which has gone 4-12 (2013), 3-13 (2014), 5-11 (2015) and 3-13 (2016) the L4 seasons SU is in a position to record a winning Record since 2007 and finish above the .500 mark ATS. And the Defense is a huge part of the reason why with Jacksonville having allowed the least points in the NFL (168), are #1 in Total Defense (281.8 ypg) and are #2 in TO Margin at +9 (Ravens #1, +10). With the Jaguars suddenly a threat and covering ATS and the Seahawks at EverBank Field, the oddsmakers have given the obligatory 3 points for Homefield and will let the market dictate Point Spread reality. Lean Under in frustrating gridiron chess match.

San Francisco 49ers at Houston Texans (-1)

This number looks very low for this Week 14 inter-conference meeting from the Lone Star State, but the QBs, as usual, are a big part of the story here as is Motivation, in that, neither the host Texans nor the 49ers really have any of it at this juncture of the 2017 NFL Regular Season. For Houston, the season-ending Injury to new starting QB and Rookie (Clemson) Deshaun Watson, putting Tom Savage in the driver’s seat is a big part of this number -- as are Injuries to players like DE JJ Watt and WR Will Fuller -- while the unveiling of new QB Jimmy Garoppolo for San Francisco gives some home to the nothing-to-lose 49ers (2-10 SU, 6-6 ATS) in what will likely be a lower-scoring game with Savage and Garoppolo. So is there an edge? It will all depend on how healthy Houston (4-8 SU) is heading in and if Fuller (Ribs) plays as there will be no Motivation from the hosts to win at all costs, with the Postseason out of reach.

For those about to bet (we salute you), history shows these to don’t play each other that much, with the Niners dominating the last meeting in San Francisco in 2013 by a 34-3 score, covering ATS as 4½-point Home Underdogs while the Texans won in Houston in 2009, 24-21, pushing ATS as 3-point Home Favorites when Gary Kubiak was still the team’s Head Coach. With the Texans (-8 TO Margin) so out of it and the Niners pretty bad on the Road (1-5 SU) -- although Carlos Hyde and San Francisco won in Chicago in Week 14, 15-14 -- the best ideas here are probably looking at the Under and using host Houston on the Moneyline or -1 if it’s still around in a low-level catch-all Parlay. Garoppolo (26/37, 293 Passing yards, INT vs. Bears) should outplay Savage if those are the two starting QBs, but the Expectations, Site and Defensive edges all point toward taking Jadeveon Clowney, DeAndre Hopkins and the Texans, who lost 24-13 to the Titans in Houston on Sunday in a big AFC South Win for Tennessee (8-4), who stay tied with the Jaguars (8-4) who were also victorious.

Philadelphia Eagles (-3) at Los Angeles Rams

This Week 14 NFC showdown from the Los Angeles Coliseum on Sunday (FOX, DTV 716, 4:25 pm EST/1:25 pm PST) features two of the four best teams in the NFC (and NFL) -- along with the Saints (9-3 SU) and Vikings (10-2 SU, W8) -- in Jared Goff and the host and NFC West-leading Rams (9-3) and North Dakota State product Carson Wentz and the Eagles (10-1 SU, W9 into SNF) and a potential NFC Playoffs preview. So why does it look odd? Because Philadelphia’s Defense (191 PA) is better than the Rams (222 PA) and when teams are super-streaking, losing does not compute, even on the Road where TE Zach Ertz and Philadelphia (351 PS) were 4-1 heading into Seattle on Sunday Night Football (PHIL -3½ -112, BookMaker). The Rams disposed of Arizona, 32-16 on Sunday in Week 13 as Goff had 2 TD Passes as Los Angeles too a firm grip of 1st place in the NFC West.

The Trends show that LeGarrette Blount, Alshon Jeffery and Philadelphia (6/1 to win Super Bowl, Bovada) are 4-0 ATS the L4 in this series and 4-1 the L5 Road games against the Rams who moved from St. Louis to La La Land in the 2016 season and were once actually the Cleveland Rams (1936-1945). Despite the two much improved Defenses, it seems like many Points will be scored here with the Southern California Weather not an issue in December and two gunslingers behind Center in Wentz and Goff, both in their first real stone-cold groove years with their lucky franchises as finding a good young QB in the NFL these days has devolved into such an expensive and iffy crapshoot.

New England Patriots (-12) at Miami Dolphins, Monday

Even though the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook opened this game as New England -6½ in its renowned 2017 NFL Games of the Year, the Patriots -12 we see from Offshore sportsbooks here on Sunday night still looks a little bit light (Total 48½, BookMaker) -- even in Miami Gardens where it snows Cubano sandwiches and rains Café Cubano -- with the way the New England Defense has totally turned it up and for the SU and ATS streak Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots (+350 to win Super Bowl, Bovada) in this Week 14 AFC East snoozer are currently on. Mo money, mo money, mo money. After Sunday’s Week 13 domination of the Bills in a 23-3 triumph in Buffalo (NE -7½ -109, BetOnline), TE Rob Gronkowski and the Patriots have now W8 straight and are a very profitable 7-1 ATS in those L8—the time of year 18th-year Head Coach Bill Belichick (182-128-8 ATS) and dynasty-lovers New England (8-4 ATS) love. RB Dion Lewis and the Patriots have been the best team in the NFL on which to bet the L2 seasons (24-7 ATS, 77.4%).

New England has now allowed 3, 17, 8, 16, 13, 7, 17 and 14 points in its L8 games (all Wins), or a stingy average of 11.9 ppg as Defensive Coordinator Matt Patricia turns the screws after the Patriots got off to a nasty start on that side of the football, allowing 42 (KC), 20 (NO), 33 (HOUSTON) and 33 (CAR) their first 4 games of the 2017 Regular Season, so, Miami may score a TD and a couple FGs if it’s lucky and we’re looking at a 35-13 type humbling. The Trends show the Patriots are 4-1 ATS the L5 games against Miami after beating and covering (and cooking) The Fish, 35-17 in Week 12 in Foxborough, covering ATS as big 16½-point Home chalks -- or about where this Point spread should probably be. Expect the Patriots to win by 20 or more in a game probably similar to their Week 13 clock-puncher up in Buffalo.

Free NFL Pick: Patriots -12Best Line Offered: Heritage

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