Fairway's Football Forecast - NFL Week 14 Underdog Picks And Insights

FairwayJay looks to improve on his 8-4 ATS run picking underdogs the past three weeks and chips in underdog with bite in a key Monday night matchup in Week 14.

Identifying Value and NFL Week 14 Underdogs 

A 2-3 ATS result in Week 13 included outright 'Dog winners on the Lions (+3) and Browns (+6), who buried the Titans 41-35 after building a 38-7 halftime lead. A pair of very close ATS losses on the bungling Bengals and Falcons included both teams deep in opponents territory in the closing minutes and failing to score. No comment on the Chargers getting crushed, other than the obvious coaching mismatch and soon to be fired Anthony Lynn. Nice job opening for next coach to build around a future star quarterback with staying power in this year's likely Rookie of the Year, Justin Herbert.

This week will be light with few underdogs of interest. I did include the Bills and Browns in a teaser tied to the Rams winner Thursday night as favorite. I bet the Rams, and it played out strong in the rushing game with Los Angeles pounding the Patriots 24-3 with 186 rushing yards on 36 attempts. Shutting down crumbling Cam Newton and the Patriots offense was no problem for a top-ranked Rams defense.

Inside the Numbers and Match-ups

If you read my recent Inside the Numbers article, you'll better understand the power and production of the running game and what specific advantages you have when isolating edges at the point of attack and how it increases your ATS winning percentages when it plays out like it did beautifully with the Rams on Thursday Night Football. 

Underdog NFL picksHome underdogs struggled last week going winless thanks to the Jets last second all out 'blitz'! that allowed the Raiders to escape with a 'Meadowlands Miracle' win (video) and Hail Mary to Henry Ruggs on the final play. Wow. Not so good for fired defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, or still winless Jets head coach Adam Gase.

Meanwhile, as the Jets and Patriots are now out of the playoff picture, a surprising AFC East team is pushing hard for a postseason position. The Miami Dolphins (8-4) have the playoffs in sight, but this season's turnaround, which includes a 9-3 ATS mark for bettors that have backed Miami each week, won't include the playoffs for Miami as I project in this week's feature on the Dolphins. Too many match-up advantages for the Kansas City Chiefs at Miami for me to include the Dolphins on this week's 'Dog log. 

The Jaguars as home 'Dog don't match-up well at all along the line of scrimmage and in the running game, so that's another home 'Dog I pass on this week. The Jags kept it close in a 27-24 overtime loss to the Vikings last week, but Jacksonville still allowed 145 rushing yards on 38 carries and Titans RB Derrick Henry should bounce back this week with a big game. The Bears and Texans have the league's worst running games, and the Bears can't take advantage of the Texans AFC-worst run defense, adn lack a quarterback to make enough plays in the passing game. The Bears as slight home 'Dog not enough to get behind, but the uneven and poorly coached Texans are an even worse option.  

The Giants, Raiders, Lions, Chargers and Eagles are also home underdogs Sunday, along with the Browns on Monday night. I would have included the Bills, but the line has flipped from Bills as underdog to a 1.5 or 2 point favorite over the Steelers. I already bet the Bills as underdog and included in teasers.

So we'll keep it light this week and just add one underdog on Monday night looking to improve on our 19-22 ATS record with 13 outright underdog winners on these pages this season. That makes the 3-plus year mark 96-76 ATS (55.8%) selecting only underdogs. Be sure to shop and bet the best lines at top online sportsbooks and take advantage of special promotions and bonuses each week. 

NFL Week 14 Underdog Picks 

180 Cleveland (+2.5) vs Baltimore - Browns Moneyline +125

This is a game you would love to watch with fans in the stands. Or be there live with spectators. The Browns (9-3) are going to snap the league's longest playoff drought since 2002 when they make the AFC playoffs. The Ravens (7-5) are on the outside looking in as the preseason consensus favorite to win the AFC North. The data driven analysis site FiveThirtyEight gives the Browns a 91% chance to make the playoffs and the Ravens a 59% chance to make the postseason with Baltimore’s final three games against losing teams Jacksonville, New York Giants and at Cincinnati in Week 17. 

Ravens browns free pickBut Baltimore has lost their way since starting the season 5-1 while the Browns are riding a 4-game winning streak into their redemption rematch with the Ravens. Baltimore blasted Cleveland 38-6 in Week 1 although the stats were not one sided with total yards only favoring the Ravens 381-306. The Browns are a completely different team since that three turnover game. Reality is the opening week or two was like preseason since there were no preseason games due to the pandemic. The Browns in particular were adjusting to new coaches and schemes, and have gone 9-2 since that loss and are plus-7 in turnover margin for the season. Now it's the Ravens who are desperate and needing to win to keep their playoff hopes alive. 

These are the league's top two rushing teams with the Ravens running for 169 yards per game at 5.2 yards per rush with QB Lamar Jackson a major part of the rushing attack. The Browns average 158 rushing yards per game at 4.9 yards per rush. Both teams average 32 rushing attempts per game to rank top-3 in the league, and it's the Browns who have the slightly better run defense. What many observers may be surprised to know is that the Browns now lead the league in pass blocking efficiency. The Browns’ offensive front has allowed pressure on just 12% of dropbacks since week 7, which is best in the league, and it all came together last week at Tennessee when QB Baker Mayfield passed for 290 yards and 4 touchdowns in the first half alone. Pro Football Focus notes that Mayfield finished the game against the titans with a 90% accuracy percentage - the best mark for a quarterback in a game this season. 

Cleveland MNF betting tipsMayfield has gone 156 attempts without an interception, and the Browns are 5-1 in that span. He'll be under more blitz pressure from the Ravens, who rank first in blitz rate this season (47%). But Baker is averaging 7.7 yards per pass play against the blitz, as coach Stefanski calls more play-action passes and rollout options for Mayfield.  

Injury news shows that Browns cornerback Denzel Ward (calf) sat out practice Thursday and Friday and is questionable to play Monday. The Browns did claim Tedric Thompson off waivers last week from the Chiefs and he can contribute against the Ravens as safety Andrew Sendejo is a weak spot that can be exploited. The Ravens however are without All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley (ankle), and any replacement is going to struggle against Browns roaving dominant defensive end Myles Garrett. 

Redemption aside, ride the momentum and improved play of the Browns in this Monday night match-up over the Ravens. Add the Browns to your teaser bets as well.  

FairwayJay is a leading national sports handicapper and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful analysts. Read more great insights from Jay and follow him on Twitter: @FairwayJay 

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