Week 14 NFL Best Bets: Packers to Win, Seahawks Against the Spread

By Peter Brooks in Sports
| December 8, 2017 12:00 am PST
Wilson Matthews NFL

I’ve combed through all of the wagers available for NFL gamblers this upcoming Week 14 and below I’ve got the pair that I think will hold the best value. As always, remember that value is a combination of both risk and reward: These two bets may not offer huge payouts, but they do have a great balance of risk and reward.

Take a shot on the two bets below and thank me later.

Best Bet #1: Packers -175 in Cleveland

It boggles my mind that the Packers are not south of -300 in this game. To me, this is one of the biggest blunders I’ve seen from odds-makers in a long time, and I think they’ll get squeezed because of it.

Everyone knows that Brett Hundley has been decidedly average in his six starts for the injured Aaron Rodgers, but everyone should also know that these are the Cleveland Browns.

The same Cleveland Browns that just fired their GM again. The same Cleveland Browns who have won only one single game over the last 28 contests. Heck, the Jimmy Garoppolo era in San Francisco has already yielded the same number of wins as the Hue Jackson era in Cleveland. And yet somehow people still think that the Browns have a chance in this game.

The Green Bay Packers are tied with the New England Patriots for the most consecutive playoff runs.

Last season, everyone remembers Aaron Rodgers saying that he felt the Packers could “run the table,” despite the fact that they were 5–6 and had played historically bad defense for an entire month. Two months later they were in the NFC Championship game. And this season, in order to make the playoffs once again, they have to go from 5–6 to 10–6 for the second straight season, and it starts in Cleveland.

You don’t make the playoffs 8 seasons in a row losing a crucial game to the Browns.

When the Patriots started out the season with the worst defense in the league, the inexperienced gamblers panicked and invested in the Bills. The savvy veteran gamblers grabbed up Patriots’ futures when they were at their lowest point. To me, Mike McCarthy and the Packers deserve the same trust.

I completely understand that this is a different team without Aaron Rodgers: but he’s back next week.

It’s not a guarantee: Rodgers has not yet had his collarbone scanned to see if the bone has fully healed. But given the fact that he’s back at practice and looking full strength, I don’t see any way that the future Hall of Famer doesn’t return next week against the Panthers. And you think his team will let him down one week before his return?

It pains me to have to state the case for how bad the Browns are (given the fact that they’re the Browns), so I’ll keep it simple. During a game this season, Browns’ rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer had the ball on the goal line within the opponent’s five-yard line on three separate occasions, and managed to come away with zero points: a fumble, an interception, and a turnover on downs.

Generally speaking, every single week, any team in the National Football League whose head coach is worth anything should be able to beat the Cleveland Browns.

And yet, for some reason, the only head coach in the National Football League other than Bill Belichick who has steered his team to the postseason for eight consecutive seasons is getting only -175 to beat Cleveland. Don’t overthink this: Take the team that desperately needs this win. Take the team that has a real-life head coach. Take the team whose GM didn’t get fired. Take the Packers moneyline.

Best Bet #2: Seahawks +3 (-135) in Jacksonville

Last week, the Seattle Seahawks felt disrespected by odds-makers, who set the line for their home game on Sunday Night Football against the Philadelphia Eagles at +6. You would think the odds-makers would have learned their lesson after Seattle laid the smackdown on the putative NFC Super Bowl representative.

But somehow, the Seahawks are underdogs for the second straight week, on the road in Jacksonville.

The Seahawks are a very proud team and they don’t take kindly to being disrespected. There’s a reason why they perform so well at home, why they perform so well in the month of December and why they have such an incredible record when underdogs (including last week, now 24–9–2 against the spread).

Basically, what happened last week is that the Seahawks’ defensive line took things personal. The narrative all week surrounded the inability of the Seahawks’ defense to perform without Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor. In response, Michael Bennett and the other D-linemen single-handedly dominated the game, holding the Eagles under 100 rushing yards for the first time since Week 1.

Even in the beginning of the year, the Seahawks didn’t lack any playmakers on defense: Their run D was held back only by the fact that they struggled to trust each other and play together as a unit.

Well, it seems to me at this point that there’s no way anyone could say that the Seahawks lack motivation, given their position in the playoff hunt, and the show that they put on last week against the Eagles should give them an abundance of confidence to take into this game against the Jaguars.

And don’t forget to keep the matchup in mind. All of the success that the Jaguars have had on offense this season has been predicated on running the football.

No one could deny that rookie Leonard Fournette is well on his way to being a special talent in the league. The miraculous thing about Fournette this season is that all the defenses who play the Jaguars know to expect Jacksonville to run the ball, knowing that Blake Bortles is wildly insufficient in the passing game – and yet Fournette is still able to gain yards against eight-man boxes.

When the Jaguars try to utilize this offensive approach against the Seahawks, whose 3.8 yards-per-carry average ranks 7th in the league, they’re going to get stymied.

And of course, all of this discussion has centered entirely around the matchup between the Jaguars’ offense and the Seahawks’ defense. I haven’t even gotten to Russell Wilson yet.

Even though I think the MVP talk is a little premature (you can’t throw out the season that Carson Wentz is having just because of one bad game, and Tom Brady probably has a better shot at this point than Wilson), regardless of what I think, the fact of the matter is that with his dominant performance against the Eagles last week Russell Wilson injected his name into the MVP conversation.

Throwing for 227 yards and 3 touchdowns (with 0 interceptions) on an exceedingly efficient 20 of 31 (64.5% completion) for a passer rating of 118.6, you can’t ask for more from a quarterback. Russell Wilson is heating up, just around the same time as the Seahawks’ defense is starting to figure things out. And they’re going to lose? By more than 3? To the Jaguars? Not likely.



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