Top 5 Betting Takeaways From NFL Week 14

Everyone keeps thinking that as we get deeper into the regular season, teams will start to emerge as elite, whereas other teams will inevitably fall out of the race for the postseason. But that just hasn’t been the case as of yet, as seemingly the entire league is still in the hunt for the postseason with just a handful of weeks left in the regular season!

There is a lot to unpack this week, and without further ado, we will jump into the week 14 edition of my NFL betting takeaways! Let’s get started!

Aaron Rodgers Still Owns The Bears

In case anyone out there has forgotten, Aaron Rodgers completely owns the Chicago Bears. The game started out well enough for the Bears, as they jumped out to an early double-digit lead, scoring 27 first half points. But Rodgers decided he needed to remind everybody that he does whatever he wants against Chicago, and he led his Packers to a huge finish, eventually winning the game in blowout fashion, 45-30.

A-Rodg finished up his day by completing 29 of 37 passes for 341 yards and 4, count ’em, 4 scores. Rodgers didn’t rub salt in the wound this time around, like he did when he knocked off the Bears in Chicago earlier this season, shouting I own you to the Chicago crowd. Instead, Rodgers decided to do his best nonchalant, act like you’ve been here before charade in the post-game interviews, which honestly might be worse for Bear’s fans than celebrating.

At least when Rodgers was talking trash, it felt like beating the Bears meant something. That wasn’t the case this time, as there was never a doubt in Rodgers’s mind that he was going to blow out the Bears, and when he delivered on that promise, there was no real need to celebrate.

Rodgers and the Packers were so much better than Chicago, particularly in the second half, that they just walked off the field like a worker walking off the factory floor and clocking out for their shift. Nothing to see here, folks, just a far superior team taking care of business and moving on to the next one, knowing that beating the Bears meant little in the grand scheme of things.

All that being said, the win was a huge one for the Packers, as they took advantage of the Arizona Cardinals loss to pull into a 3-way tie with the Tampa Bay Bucs and the Cardinals for the number 1 seed in the NFC playoffs. We are going to talk a lot more about the playoffs in the NFC here in a bit, and while the bottom half of the bracket is getting a lot of attention, the top half has some drama as well, making the final stretch of the regular season one of the more exciting races of all time.

Things lay out well for Green Bay, as they have upcoming games against the Ravens, who may be forced to play without Lamar Jackson, as Jackson sprained his ankle this week and did not return to action. After the Baltimore game, Green Bay hosts the Browns and Vikings at home before finishing up the season on the road against Detroit.

That is a fairly soft schedule for the Packers, and you can be sure that Green Bay is going to be pushing hard for that top seed, as they would much rather host the Bucs, Cowboys, or Cardinals in the frozen tundra of Green Bay, rather than have to travel and play in either warm weather or in a dome. No team is better at winning in a blizzard than the Packers are, and with a strong finish to the regular season, they can ensure that the road to the Super Bowl will have to go through Green Bay.

And Just Like That, The Rams Are Back

I am going, to be honest, here, I didn’t think that the Rams were going to be able to go into Arizona, facing a healthy Kyler Murray, without the likes of Daryl Henderson, Jalen Ramsey, and Tyler Higbee and leave town with a win. The Rams were just too short-handed to be taken seriously, in my opinion. But boy, was I wrong!

The Rams had to sweat it out some, as they gave up a late score and let the Cardinals execute an on-side kick to get the ball back with a chance to tie the game, but at the end of the day, LA won the game, and the Rams are now just a game back of the top seed in the NFC.

So, just how did the Rams get the job done in hostile territory? It was a combination of a stingy defense, an efficient day throwing the ball from Matthew Stafford, a solid running attack led by Sony Michel, and big outings from both Cooper Kupp and O’Dell Beckham Jr.

The win was the 2nd straight for LA after dropping 3 games in a row in the aftermath of adding ODB and Von Miller at the trade deadline, and after coming into the season as one of the odds-on favorites to win the NFC championship, the Rams are once again a threat to win it all. And as easy as he is to dislike, ODB is starting to look like a killer addition for Los Angeles, as he has now scored in 3 consecutive games. And more importantly, the addition of O’Dell hasn’t messed up the chemistry between Stafford and his number 1 target, Cooper Kupp.

The scary part about how great the Rams looked in primetime last night is that they were forced to play without several of their best players, as a COVID-19 outbreak wreaked havoc in the Ram’s locker room sidelining 5 different players. Those guys should all be back well in time for the playoffs, and if the Rams can beat a healthy Cardinals team on the road with some of their best guys sitting out, the sky is the limit on what they can do once they get all of their best players back on the field.

The Rams still have to play home against Seattle, at Minnesota and Baltimore, and home against San Francisco before the end of the regular season, and while the Rams are very likely to be favored in each of those games, all of those teams are still fighting for the postseason, so they are going to have to earn it the rest of the way out.

Watch Out For San Francisco

Speaking of those San Francisco 49ers, the Niners are starting to look very much like a playoff team after a slow start to their season. SF has won 4 of their last 5 games and 6 of their last 8 to run their record to 7-6, and if the season were to end today, the 49ers would be in the postseason.

Early in the year, there was clearly pressure from above to give first-round draft pick Trey Lance a chance to play quarterback, but with Jimmy G fully healthy and playing as well as he ever has, that QB controversy is long gone, and all that San Francisco is focused on now is winning football games.

The win this week was especially big, as they went into Cincinnati and beat a Bengals team that was playing for first place in their division. The Niners blew a 20-6 4th quarter lead, and they found themselves down 3-points in overtime before Garoppolo found Brandon Aiyuk in the end zone for the game-winning touchdown.

San Franciso has one of the most versatile players in the league in Deebo Samuel, as Samuel leads the team in both rushing and receiving yards and has a team-high 11 TDs. Samuel has scored in 6 games in a row and should only be better once rookie running back sensation Elijah Mitchell is able to return to the field.

Mitchell is expected back next week, and all of the sudden, you have an offense with a proven winner at quarterback in Jimmy G, a versatile do everything stud in Deebo Samuel, a rookie runner who is on track for a 1,000 season, and oh, did I mention they have what just might the best tight end in the game as well, with George Kittle heating up? Throw in their defense, which is very underrated, and this is a team that nobody is going to want to play in the postseason.

The cutline in the NFC is super soft, so any record where you have more wins than losses should be plenty to get you into the playoffs, and after a quick glance on the Niners schedule, you may as well pencil them in now, as the schedule is a soft one for SF. Next up for San Francisco is a home game against the Atlanta Falcons, where the Niners have already been installed as large -8.5-point favorites.

After that is a trip to Tennessee to play a Titans team that has just 1 win in the last month, coming over the awful Jacksonville Jaguars, as times have been tough for the Titans after losing Derrick Henry. San Fran finishes up the regular season with a home game against the Houston Texans, where they are sure to be laying double digit points before a week 18 finale on the road against the LA Rams. That Rams game is going to be a tough one, but San Francisco will almost for sure already have a postseason spot locked up by then.

You aren’t hearing much about the 49ers right now, but this is a balanced team with an efficient offense, stars at the skill positions, a stingy defense, and a great head coach. Those are the types of teams that win in the playoffs, and with so much parity in the NFL right now, it is hard to count any team out, let alone a team that just might be sneaky good like these 49ers. San Francisco is currently 35-1 to win the Super Bowl, and that line shows outrageous value, if even just for the hedge value alone.

26 of 32 teams Are Within A Game Of The Playoffs

We have spent most of this article talking about playoff positioning, and while the headline here sounds like it should be impossible, it is indeed true. Basically, the entire NFL is still in the hunt with just over a month left to play in the regular season. We all knew that adding an extra regular season game and adding another playoff spot to each conference would help keep more teams in the hunt longer, but I am sure that nobody expected the season play out like this!

The parity can be seen up and down the standings, as there are tight races everywhere. The race for the top seeds in the NFC and AFC are all 1-game races, with both conferences having a 3-way tie for the top seed as of now, with the 4th division leaders just a game back. On the bottom end of the playoff chase, things are even tighter as we have 9 teams fighting for 3 spots in the AFC and 9 teams fighting for 3 spots in the NFC.

Teams that I would confidently say are downright bad, teams like the Vikings, Falcons, Panthers, Seahawks, Steelers, and Raiders, are all within 1 game of making the playoffs. And on the flip side, teams that I think we all thought were great, or at least very good, teams like the Bills, Chargers, 49ers, and Rams, are all at risk of missing out on the postseason altogether.

It is too early to tell if this new structure is what is leading to all of this parity, or if this is just one of those weird fluky years where no team is very good, and no team is all that bad. If we hit championship weekend with the Bucs and Packers playing for the NFC title and the Chiefs and Patriots playing for the AFC title, all will feel normal again, and all of this regular season parity will be forgotten. But if we see a final four featuring teams like the Eagles, Saints, Dolphins, and Broncos, it will go down as one of the most unpredictable seasons of all time.

You have to keep a very close eye on the standings in the final few weeks of the regular season, as teams are sure to be dropping out of the playoff chase as other teams are going to catch fire and look to move up the standings. Understanding where teams stand and just how motivated that they are going to be, is going to be key to finding value down the stretch. It has been a wild regular season so far, and only time will tell just how things shake out in the next several weeks.

Micah Parsons (+400) To Win Defensive Player Of The Year Is High Value

As a sharp handicapper, I am always looking for hidden value. Sometimes these are conventional plays on games and totals, and other times, you can find value in some unconventional places, like the future’s market. Each week, I will swing by the future’s page of my favorite online sportsbook and see if anything sticks out.

This week, the betting odds on which player is going to win the Defensive Player of the year Award stuck out as being insanely high value. As the odds currently sit, it is a 4-horse race for DPOY between established superstars Myles Garrett, T.J. Watt, and Aaron Donald, and Cowboys rookie Micah Parsons. It is hard to say that Parsons came out of nowhere, as he was the 12th overall pick in last year’s NFL draft, but despite having a record-breaking year, Parsons isn’t getting the love that I feel that he deserves.

Donald wins the award every year, and he hasn’t been as good this year as he has been in past years, so I think he is out. T.J. Watt is an animal, but he can’t stay healthy, and with his health up in the air, I am not so sure that he deserves to be priced so aggressively. So, to me, the race boils down to Parsons against Garrett.

Garrett is having a big season with 15 sacks, trailing only T.J. Watt, and with Watt likely to miss some action down the stretch, Garrett could end up leading the NFL in sacks. But Parsons isn’t far behind, with 12 sacks, and when you look at the rest of their stats, Parsons stands out as being better everywhere.

Parsons has more forced fumbles, tackles, and tackles for a loss than Garrett, and what he did last weekend finally got him some spotlight by the mainstream media. Parsons led the team in tackles against WFT and had 2 big sacks, one of which forced a fumble that was returned for a touchdown, and that ended up being the difference in the game.

Parsons is a mortal lock to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award, as his only real competition is his rookie teammate Trevon Diggs, who leads the NFL in interceptions with 9. And in reality, Diggs doesn’t have much of a shot, as Parson is going to win the award. The fact that Parsons is going to win Rookie of the Year might be the single biggest thing going against him to win DPOY, as only one player in NFL history has won both in the same season, all-time great linebacker, Lawrence Taylor.

When you are mentioned in the same breath as Lawrence Taylor, you know you are in some elite company, and Parson absolutely deserves to be mentioned as having one of the best rookie seasons ever for a defender. The Cowboys tend to get left out of the conversation of elite teams in the NFC, but America’s Team is just a game back of the top seed right now, so if you are sleeping on the Cowboys, you need to wake up and pay attention!

Parsons is going to have some nice matchups down the stretch to rack up some more stats and make his case as DPOY. The Cowboys play the New York Giants next week, and if a matchup with Mike Glennon doesn’t get you excited, I don’t know what will. After that game, it is another game against the WFT, who Parsons just destroyed, then home against the Cardinals and the season finale against the Eagles on the road.

If Parsons has another marquee game like he did last weekend in the next couple of weeks, the odds are going to plummet on him to win this award. That is why you need to strike while the iron is hot and get your action in now before the odds drop and you lose all of your value.

Wrap Up

There you have it, folks, my top-5 betting takeaways from week 14 of NFL action. Things move quickly in the NFL, and you have to make sure that you are staying on top of all of the latest news each week. Thanks for reading, and make sure that you swing by TheSportsGeek’s NFL picks page, where our team of expert handicappers bring you free NFL picks for each and every game this season!

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Jason Gray / Author

Jason is a true Las Vegas insider as he has called the sports betting capital of the world his home for sixteen years. Jason started out his career in gaming by running the biggest poker tournaments in the world and managing some of the biggest sportsbooks on the strip. Jason has transitioned out of casino operations and has been covering sports betting for the sports geek for just over two years. His main focus is on baseball, college basketball, and the NFL

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