Each Monday morning during the season, I’ll preview three games with spreads that I think will move by the end of the week. This article is designed to help you get the best odds possible by helping you to decide if you should place a bet early in the week or if you should wait to wager until closer to kickoff based on potential line movements. I’ll include any early week leans and wagers that I make in my write-ups.
Note: These lines could swing wildly going forward with so many COVID-19 cases popping up across the country. I’m still going to bet games early in the week while acknowledging I’m going to be both helped and hurt by line movements throughout the week based on COVID-19 List additions. As always, bet within your means, especially with these early-week wagers.
Week 14 Opening Lines
New England Patriots at Los Angeles Rams (-6.5)
Tennessee Titans (-7.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars
Dallas Cowboys (-3.5) at Cincinnati Bengals
Arizona Cardinals (-2.5) at New York Giants
Houston Texans (-1.5) at Chicago Bears
Denver Broncos at Carolina Panthers (-4)
Minnesota Vikings at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-6.5)
Kansas City Chiefs (-7.5) at Miami Broncos
Indianapolis Colts (-3) at Las Vegas Raiders
New York Jets at Seattle Seahawks (-13.5)
Green Bay Packers (-8) at Detroit Lions
Atlanta Falcons (-2.5) at Los Angeles Chargers
New Orleans (-6.5) at Philadelphia Eagles
Washington vs. San Francisco (-4) — at Glendale, Ariz.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-2.5) at Buffalo Bills
Baltimore Ravens (-1) at Cleveland Browns
New Orleans Saints (10-2, 7-5 ATS) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (3-8-1, 4-8)
Opening Line: Saints -6.5
Recent Results: The Saints won and covered their third consecutive game since Taysom Hill took over at quarterback as they knocked off the Falcons 21-16 as 2.5-point road underdogs. The Saints won their ninth consecutive game after a 1-2 start to the season, and they became the first NFC team to clinch a playoff berth this season. Meanwhile, Philadelphia’s chances of winning the NFL’s worst division grew more remote after their 30-16 loss to the Packers as eight-point road underdogs. The Eagles’ pathetic offense muscled out just three points in the first 52 minutes against the Packers.
Injuries/Developments to Follow: Both the Saints and the Eagles have quarterback situations to monitor this week with Drew Brees potentially returning this week off of his rib injury. I could see Sean Payton giving Brees an extra week to heal given the way the Saints are playing since Hill took over. The Eagles will be enduring more quarterback drama this week after Doug Pederson finally benched Carson Wentz for Jalen Hurts last week. This would be a difficult first starting spot for Jalen Hurts this week against a Saints defense that’s the second-best defensive unit in the league behind Pittsburgh.
Potential Line Movement: The betting markets continue to undervalue the Saints when Brees is out of the lineup. New Orleans has now won and covered eight straight games without Brees in the lineup over the last two seasons. Seattle closed as 6.5-point road favorites against the Eagles two weeks ago, and they would’ve easily covered if not for an improbable Hail Mary completion and a two-point completion. I have the Saints power rated as the best team in the NFC even with Hill in the lineup, and I can only see New Orleans finishing as seven-point favorites or better this week. And it could close higher if Brees does in fact play this week so grab the Saints while they’re favored by less than a touchdown this week. There’s no rush to get to the window this week if you’re looking to back the Eagles.
Pittsburgh Steelers (11-0, 8-3 ATS) vs. Buffalo Bills (8-3, 6-5)
- Opening Line: Steelers -2.5
- Recent Results: These teams have yet to play in Week 13 so a lot could change with this spread, but it’s at least notable that both Pittsburgh and Buffalo saw significant line movement against them in Week 13. The Steelers went from -10.5 to -6.5 point favorites against Washington while the Bills went from being -3 point favorites to +1 point underdogs against San Francisco.
- Injuries/Developments to Follow: The reason for those Week 13 line movements may have been because of injury report appearances by both Ben Roethlisberger (knee) and Josh Allen (knee/ankle). The Steelers will look to get Maurkice Pouncey and James Conner back off of the COVID-19 list this week, but the big question coming out of Pittsburgh is will their pass rush be as formidable without Bud Dupree (ACL, IR) in the lineup
- Potential Line Movement: The Steelers could be in a tough spot on Sunday Night Football. They could be vying to keep their perfect season alive while playing their third game in 12 days after playing two physical defenses in Baltimore and Washington. The Bills are back to being undervalued in the betting markets as they’ve covered three straight games after a four-game ATS losing streak in Weeks 5-8. The Bills went from being three-point favorites to being one-point underdogs for their Monday night contest with the 49ers. We’ll see how the Monday night games play out in Week 13, but I’m grabbing the extra points now with the Bills since I don’t think this line will reach a full field goal, barring a major injury or a blow out by the 49ers. I see no rush to bet the Steelers at the current price as this line should finish closer to the pick-em range.
Houston Texans (4-8, 4-8 ATS) vs. Chicago Bears (5-7, 5-7)
- Opening Line: Texans -1.5
- Recent Results: The Texans are coming off a heartbreaking 26-20 loss to the Colts last week as they were in a position to win outright and cover as three-point home underdogs. Center Nick Martin dribbled a snap back to Deshaun Watson at the two-yard line that the Colts fell on to preserve the victory. The Bears are coming off their own heartbreaking loss as they fell 34-30 to the Lions as three-point home favorites. Mitchell Trubisky had a costly lost fumble deep in his own territory in the final minutes of the game, which opened the door for the Lions to pull the outright upset.
- Injuries/Developments to Follow: WR Brandin Cooks took a big hit in their Week 13 loss, but he passed through in concussion protocol to return to the field. It’s still a situation to monitor this week because of his long history of concussions. We’ll see what Chicago wants to do at quarterback this week as they could go back to Nick Foles after Trubisky’s boneheaded play at the end of Week 13. No matter who the Bears choose to lead them this week, it’s unlikely to be a major line mover.
- Potential Line Movement: The Texans are clearly still fighting for Deshaun Watson and Romeo Crennel despite losing key players in Will Fuller and Bradley Roby to suspensions. I haven’t seen that same fight from the Bears in recent weeks as their quarterback situation has finally beaten this team down. Trubisky gave away a victory against a lifeless Lions team that the Texans absolutely waxed, 41-25, on Thanksgiving Day two weeks ago. The Bears have failed to cover in four straight games and they’ve lost six straight games outright to fall out of serious playoff contention. Houston closed as three-point road favorites against the Lions in Week 12, and I see this line closing in that same -3 to -3.5 point range so grab the Texans now while the line is short.
Brolley’s Early Week 14 Bets
New Orleans Saints -6.5
Houston Texans -1.5
Buffalo Bills +2.5