Coach’s Picks: Best Bets Against The Spread, NFL Week 14

Each week throughout the 2023 NFL Season, coach Kevin Kelley will give a coach’s perspective and provide analysis for a few games against the spread.

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Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions Spread Prediction:

Look for the Lions to cover the spread as 3.5-point road favorites against the Bears.

» Bet the Lions -3.5 now

Why I like the Lions to cover the spread vs. the Bears in Week 14:

The worst thing that could have happened to the Chicago Bears and Justin Fields was to ALMOST beat the Detroit Lions when they played them in Detroit.

The Lions had just gotten off a crazy game against the Chargers. They had a short week coming with Thanksgiving on deck. They turned the ball over (specifically Jared Goff) 4 times. They only ran the ball 20 total times with David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs while Fields ran the ball 18 times himself.

Quite frankly, I don’t think they believed the Bears could beat them. Now that they played close, the Lions will be much more ready, eliminate some of the mistakes, and I don’t believe they will turn the ball over like they did, either.

From a coach’s view, that’s just where I think the game stands. From an analytics perspective, this game points to a solid win by the Lions.

The Lions come in ranked No. 7, No. 6, and No. 10 in overall, offensive, and defensive DVOA respectively. The Bears come in ranked No. 24, No. 25, and No. 20 in those same categories. The Lions simply play the game better and more efficiently.

Everyone who reads my stuff regularly knows I am not a Fields fan when it comes to quarterbacking. He has made some improvements, but I still think he is late, doesn’t make consistently good decisions, and lets his feet get him in trouble. Sure he is the Bears leading rusher as he has 400 yards, but he also has 7 fumbles and runs away from completions sometimes.

Sticking with that same area, running the ball, I do like D’Onta Foreman okay, but coming in with 381 yards as the leading rusher that is not a quarterback doesn’t scare the Lions too badly I don’t believe.

In the passing game, let’s call Fields serviceable. They have one guy that can hurt you in D.J. Moore. Cole Kmet is solid but he is not a game-changing tight end. Moore’s 1,000 yards receiving on 70 catches can beat you, but with Moore having 96 yards in the first game between these two and all the other receivers having a combined 57 more, you’d think the Lions would do a better job the second time around. The Lions do need to do a better job of rushing the passer in this situation, but I don’t think it matters a ton.

When the Lions are on offense, Goff has to play better than he did last time. I don’t want to jinx him, but 3 interceptions will not happen again.

I love the way the Lions are giving Gibbs more carries now. He is averaging 5.4 YPC while Montgomery is no slouch either with 4.7 YPC. 15 TDs between the two running the ball helps set up the play action pass that the Lions got taken away from them in the first game once they got behind and started having to play that way.

Both Sam LaPorta and Amon St. Brown are emerging as true players to fear in the receiving game. Josh Reynolds and Jameson Williams seem to emerge when needed most and are extremely capable. The Bears defense should have to pick their poison in this game, and I look for them to not have nearly as much success this second time around.

I look for the Bears to fight early, but the Lions will completely take over the game late for a double-digit win.

Give me the Lions -3.5 over the Bears.

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Buffalo Bills Spread Prediction:

Look for the Bills to cover the spread as 1-point road underdogs against the Chiefs.

» Bet the Bills +1 now

Why I like the Bills to cover the spread vs. the Chiefs in Week 14:

This game comes down to which team’s quarterback is playing the best right now, and that’s Josh Allen.

I can already hear the Patrick Mahomes fans now. But Mahomes has reached a level I have never seen him sink to in completions over expected. He is No. 24 among active quarterbacks right now.

I am not saying that’s all his fault. But it is a big thing in winning and losing, especially in the NFL and in games where every throw counts. I know Allen has turned the ball over a little more than usual, and that’s important, but he played really well versus the Eagles and scored more than enough points to win the game. He played equally well against the Jets’ very good defense.

Meanwhile, against the Eagles in a losing contest, Mahomes threw for 177 and a staggering 4.1 YPA. Skip over the hapless Raiders and check in on Mahomes versus the Packers and you get 210 and 6.4 YPA. This is for a variety of reasons.

Obviously, everyone knows about the drop problems that the Chiefs have, leading the league for much of the season. Another problem is, against certain coverages, the receivers just aren’t getting open like they have.

On the other side, I love that the Bills finally got Gabe Davis involved. He had over 100 yards against the Eagles and could have had the game-winning TD if not for a misread against a Cover 0 the Eagles ran against them late where Allen made a perfect throw. Khalil Shakir is starting to come alive, and Dalton Kincaid is rock solid. They are not missing anything without Dawson Knox, but he also could be back this week.

Maybe the biggest factor in this game is surprisingly the running games and what comes from them.

The Chiefs are going to be missing Isiah Pacheco, who simply by watching them play, you could say is the team inspiration because of the way he runs the ball. He also sets up a good play action game for them, which helps Travis Kelce, who has not had a 100-yard game since October 22.

Without that, this makes what has been a difficult offensive season even more so. Defenses respect him, and that changes drops for the linebackers. I hope the Bills “make Clyde Edwards-Helaire beat them”.

The Bills have a real chance here to hurt the Chiefs defense in the same area. They are the second-best play action team in the NFL. Now, sadly, they use it a below-league-average amount. But seeing what the Packers did last week to the Chiefs absolutely had to catch the Bills’ coaching staff’s attention.

The Bills offense is actually ranked ahead of the Chiefs in DVOA. On the other side of the ball, the Chiefs defense is dropping quickly. I find it hard to believe that they were nearly as good as they seemed, and I expected a reversion. I think they are in the middle of it. And they picked a bad time to do it versus a Bills team that has to feel like this is a must-win.

I also like the fact that Bills head coach Sean McDermott is under attack for some comments made in 2019. I think his players like him, and defensive leader Micah Hyde, one of the best, came out and spoke for him. This usually splits a team or galvanizes them, and I think it does the latter.

Finally, I think this difference in the offensive and defensive line play is a huge thing in this game.

The Chiefs offensive line is ranked No. 1 right now in pass block win rate but No. 22 against the run. This will be negated by a Bills defensive line that is No. 3 in pass rush win rate. And they are No. 19 in run stop win rate.

Here is the big one.

The Bills are No. 7 and No. 9 respectively in pass block win rate and run block win rate. The defense of Kansas City is No. 28 and No. 32. Add in the fact that the Chiefs cannot afford to add anyone to the box to help stop the run with Stefon Diggs, Kincaid, Shakir, and the newly bursting Davis, and you have all the makings of the Bills being able to run the ball, play action, and throw it all over.

Give me the Bills +1!

Bonus NFL Best Bets for Week 14:

  • Bengals/Colts UNDER 40
  • Teaser: Denver + 8 ½ & Jacksonville +9

Throw some Chick-fil-A money on them!

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