First things first, Don Bradman is the GOAT of all GOATs. For anyone to argue otherwise is generally pure folly.
For NFL Week 14, I will analyse five games I think are the best predictions and back it up with my reasoning and strategies to make successful picks.
New England Patriots versus LA Rams
The Patriots have been a shadow of themselves this season following the departure of the immortal Tom Brady.
To be fair, COVID has not been kind to Bill Belichick’s side which has impacted their chance to find momentum throughout the season, with new quarterback Cam Newton also taking time to adjust to the new system and link up with new faces around him.
They come into this Friday morning primetime game with a .500 record of 6-6, whereas the 2019 Super Bowl runners-up in the Rams sit on 8-4.
For the betting line, the value is with LA as sharp money has been placed on the Patriots, bringing it down from 6.5 to a 5 point spread.
The total markets are also interesting with some intriguing stats I was able to uncover: New England have averaged just under 2.5 points in first quarters this season and have yet to score a single point at home in the first quarter.
This Rams defence is elite with the likes of Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey and I can easily see the Patriots struggling from the get go to deal with so much pressure from the Rams’ defensive line.
With the Rams and Patriots scoring 38 and 45 points last round respectively, the points total has been inflated by a few points and so with two very good defences, don’t expect many points to be scored early on.
LA Rams -5 and first half total under 22.5
Pittsburgh Steelers versus Buffalo Bills
In one of my previous articles I was able to successfully predict Washington to get the outright win when they were an 8.5 point underdog against the then-11-0 Steelers.
That was a very bad spot for Pittsburgh and there were a lot of key points I picked out that backed up my pick. However, for this game against the in-form Bills, I’m leaning towards the opposite direction and backing the Steelers away from home.
Much like the Patriots-Rams match-up, primetime games are where the general public (known as square bettors) like to place a wager for fun because it is the only game which is nationally televised.
Because of this, the public bets on what they last saw and that was an impressive ten point win by the Bills over the San Francisco 49ers and a first loss of the season for Pittsburgh against the then-4-7 Washington.
The line opened at 0.5 but there is value with the Steelers at +2.5. They have the ability to bounce back from their disappointment, and at the same time, the Bills are due to lack focus after winning five from their last six.
As the total is concerned, I love the over-under because what we learnt from the Steelers’ game against Washington was the only way they can be successful is passing the football, as they rushed for 21 yards in 14 attempts, which is a very alarming statistic. This makes Pittsburgh one-dimensional without James Conner and Maurkice Pouncey to rely on the run-game.
Another point is the Steelers are also without their kicker which means coach Mike Tomlin will risk plays on 4th down instead of taking the field goal option for an extra three points which was evident a couple of times against Washington.
The Steelers will make this Monday afternoon game scrappy and will find a way to get the outright win.
Pittsburgh Steelers +2.5 and under 46.5 points
San Francisco 49ers versus Washington
Last week I analysed why it was a good spot for Washington to pull off the upset win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, it’s completely normal to hop off the train and bet against the team you backed the week before.
Washington are playing away from home for the third consecutive round, as well as just coming off a big high to give the Steelers their first loss of the season. Shouldn’t this high mean that they have the momentum to keep playing good football? I see it as a sugar rush… an instant high when consumed, but then energy levels quickly drop back down after a short time. Exactly the same when it comes to sports teams.
At the start of the season, I wasn’t excited about this 49ers team due to the amount of injuries they had to face to star men including defensive end Nick Rosa and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who were key to leading them to the 2020 Super Bowl.
In saying that, they have proved me wrong in the past few weeks by playing well, despite not getting the results they hoped for. The last five weeks have seen them come up against the Buffalo Bills, LA Rams, New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks – all of these opponents are sitting in first place in their respective division, so don’t be fooled.
The 49ers are around mid-table in most departments when it comes to key NFL stat leaders, so nothing really stands out. However, I feel as though that they have a good balance between the offence and defence which should work in their favour.
I rate Washington’s defence highly and it’s underrated, but this is just simply a bad spot for Washington.
San Francisco 49ers -3
New York Jets versus Seattle Seahawks
Ah, yes, the winless 0-12 Jets look to try and make this a respectable game against a Seattle team who will look to recoup after a disappointing loss to the inconsistent New York Giants.
I know this will seem like an ugly play for many, but I’m someone who looks at the situational side as much as the statistics. What team wants to end a season 0-16 without a single victory? The answer is not the Jets, because they have been able to cover four of their past six games against the spread, meaning they have outperformed the betting market as of late.
It is this motivation behind a team that makes me comfortable to back them, because you know they will give everything to try and get their first win of the season. Don’t worry anymore about tanking for that elusive number one draft pick… it’s safe to say that they’ve been horrible enough to have that in the bag already!
Seattle haven’t overly impressed me this season despite a lot of people jumping on the bandwagon.
Their biggest marginal victory this season is 10 points and they tend to keep games which should be over by halftime close.
Be brave and lay the points with the Jets.
LA Chargers versus Atlanta Falcons
For the Falcons to be favoured in this Monday morning (AEDT) game by a couple of points has overreaction written all over it.
This has occurred because of what the public saw last week where the Chargers got destroyed 45-0 by New England and the Falcons were able to keep it close against the New Orleans Saints, who are seen by many as Super Bowl contenders.
The number one rule is to never overreact to something just because of what you saw last, so this is where value is identified.
No team is ever as bad as their worst game and no team is as good as their best game – just keep that in mind when you try to make predictions on your own, and this goes for any sport.
As far as stats go, the Falcons rank last in defensive yards given up per game at 394.4 and sit 19th in the league for sacks with 24, compared to the Chargers who rank 23rd with 21, highlighting defensive pressure is going to be rare in this football game.
Although I rated the Chargers’ defence in their first few games, they have dropped off recently and it is for this reason that I can’t see anything but a shoot-out.
Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert will look to put in a great offensive performance to give him the best chance of winning rookie of the year, as I’ve been impressed with what he has been able to display in his first year.
LA Chargers +2.5 and over 49.5 points
Hopefully the strategies I have learnt and shared make sense and I can back some winners for readers this week. Fingers crossed.