Eli’s NFL Week 15 Best Bets: Will Falcons, Bears Cover Spread Odds?

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Written By Eli Hershkovich | Last Updated
NFL Week 14 Best Bets

With NFL Week 14 odds nearing kickoff, this article will hopefully aid sports bettors with price discovery and handicapping point spreads, moneyline odds, and totals while shopping on NFL betting sites. In particular, the Buccaneers at Falcons and the Lions at Bears stand out — juxtaposed with my betting model. With that in mind, let’s break down my NFL Week 14 best bets.

Click any of the sports betting odds to place a bet at the best sports betting sites. We’ve sorted through them to find the best available.

Bet: falcons to win by two or more points

Some bettors may be unfamiliar with the aforementioned term, price discovery. The process commences when wagers are made on the opening spread or total. Early action is used to adjust the number. Shops may also follow the same script of operators that are considered “market makers,” tinkering with pricing because a competitor altered its own. Needless to say, liability tolerance (or lack thereof) could be enough to modify the odds for other sportsbooks.

Regarding the Falcons’ odds, they opened as 2.5-point favorites before being bet down to , as of this publishing. That shift may have been because of the injury report, which I’ll tackle later. Nevertheless, Atlanta is power-rated better than a pick’em versus Tampa Bay on a neutral field, as this spread suggests, in my NFL model. Let’s assess why the Falcons are worth backing in the battle for first place.

In NFC South odds, the Falcons have passed the Saints as the new favorite.

The Quarterback Conundrum

On the surface, Buccaneers signal-caller Baker Mayfield is a better bet than his counterpart Desmond Ridder — simply put. For one, his turnover-worthy play rate is 1.9 percentage points lower than Ridder’s, depicting Ridder’s erratic decision-making. But that isn’t necessarily the case when digging into other metrics.

Let’s focus on their respective success rate. For context, a play is considered successful if it generates at least 50% of the requisite yards on first down, 70% on second down, or 100% on third or fourth down. Ridder ranks league average in this category, with Mayfield stationed at No. 20. While they aren’t separated by much, Ridder’s placement proves that he hasn’t been as horrific when employing a positive game script.

Will Regression Occur?

Despite winning as 2.5-point underdogs in the first matchup, Ridder and Falcons’ offense gifted three red-zone turnovers for their division rival. I’ve noted endlessly that takeaways aren’t predictive. In this case, they likely should’ve won by more than a walk-off field goal. Overall, Tampa Bay’s defense is due for additional negative variance, surrendering the fourth-lowest touchdown percentage (40.0%) inside the 20-yard line.

Moreover, Todd Bowles’ unit has struggled to hinder every-down efficiency since Week 8, yielding a top-seven success rate and EPA per play. It’s been most exploitable on the ground, allowing the second-highest rushing success rate during that stretch. Granted, Atlanta could be without Drew Dalman (ankle) and Kaleb McGary (knee), two of its top offensive linemen who are both stout run-blockers. But I’d expect Bijan Robinson & Co. to rebound after a poor performance versus the Jets, as the Bucs’ defensive line is notably vulnerable outside of Vita Vea. He’s missed the last two days of practice with a toe injury.

Conversely, the Falcons’ defensive injuries don’t appear as severe. A.J. Terrell (concussion) and Jeff Okudah (ankle), their cornerback duo, each tallied a limited practice on Wednesday. Even if Mayfield benefits from his own positive red-zone regression, especially if one or both fail to suit up, the Bucs’ offense has been one of the bigger beneficiaries of fumble luck. That could be inflating Tampa Bay’s market rating, especially if it reverses course.

STATS
Falcons logo Falcons ATL
Buccaneers logo Buccaneers TB
Offense Ranking OFF RNK 25th 15th
Defense Ranking DEF RNK 27th T9th
Offense Net Yards Per Game OFF NET YPG 318.6 346.7
Defense Net Yards Per Game DEF NET YPG 362.1 324.3
Passing Yards Per Game PASS YPG 158.8 269.8
Turnovers Committed Per Game TOC PG 1.2 1.3

Final Thoughts

As you’ll see below, I nabbed Falcons -1.5 on Wednesday. I’d play them up to -2. Join TheLines.com’s free sports betting Discord to get an immediate alert whenever I place a wager. Head over to the #roles server to enroll in the push notifications.

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bet: bears to lose by three points or fewer (or win outright)

Like the previous game, this spread also swung toward the underdog. However, the line movement occurred even quicker, shrinking from Detroit -5 to the key number of a field goal by Monday afternoon. I’ve sided with the market on this one.

Which Trends Matter?

While perched atop NFC North odds, Dan Campbell’s crew has rarely fallen short of expectations. The Lions’ 8-4 against the spread (ATS) record is tied for the third-best mark in the NFL. Their offense triggers their success, generating the eighth-most EPA per play. But veteran QB Jared Goff hasn’t been nearly as reliable outdoors, producing nearly two-thirds of his career interceptions and fumbles away from his comfort zone.

These issues resurfaced against the Ravens in Week 7. In windy conditions, the eight-year veteran compiled his worst efficiency grade of the season. Unfortunately for Goff, snow and rain are in Sunday’s Chicago forecast, along with 21 mph wind.

Additionally, the Bears’ defense has allowed a bottom-10 EPA per carry and rushing success rate since acquiring defensive end Montez Sweat in Week 9. Not only will that make it more difficult for Goff to rely on the ground game, but Lions center Frank Ragnow (knee) could miss this contest, downgrading their run-blocking continuity.

On the flip side, Detroit’s pass defense remains a disaster, ranking No. 30 in dropback success rate allowed. It has also failed to contain mobile QBs, which Justin Fields took advantage of in Week 11. If not for the Lions’ late rally, Chicago would have emerged victorious as a touchdown underdog. Even if the elements work against Fields’ arm, the duel-threat option will have plenty in the tank off the bye week.

STATS
Lions logo Lions DET
Bears logo Bears CHI
Offense Ranking OFF RNK 4th 28th
Defense Ranking DEF RNK 32nd 29th
Offense Net Yards Per Game OFF NET YPG 380 307.9
Defense Net Yards Per Game DEF NET YPG 392.4 375.9
Passing Yards Per Game PASS YPG 251.8 130.5
Turnovers Committed Per Game TOC PG 0.9 1.5

Final Thoughts

Unless the market moves in Detroit’s direction, there are only juiced +3.5s on the board. If you didn’t join me in betting the standard vig on Monday (see below), I’d recommend snagging the hook over +3 (EV). Good luck with the rest of your NFL Week 14 best bets.

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