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Reply To: NFL Week 14 • Previews, Articles, Info. • Sunday 12/13/15

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NFL Odds and Betting Week 14: Line Movements & Last-Minute News
by Alan Matthews

I don’t have a dog in the NFC East battle. And I’ll admit I took these scenarios from other sites. But I am praying that all four teams in that division finish at 6-10, although if this scenario I list below plays out then the Dallas Cowboys would be the champs and get to host a wild-card playoff game against probably Minnesota or Seattle. And I hate Dallas.

The Eagles are +200 division favorites with the Giants are +210, the Redskins at +300 and Cowboys at +330. Here is a four-way 6-10 scenario.

Week 14: Washington loses at Chicago, NY Giants lose at Miami, Philadelphia loses to Buffalo at home, Dallas loses at Green Bay. All four of these easily could happen, although I tend to think Eagles win.

Week 15: Washington beats Buffalo at home, NY Giants lose to Carolina at home, Philadelphia loses to Arizona at home, Dallas beats the Jets at home. Also very realistic.

Week 16: Washington loses at Philadelphia, NY Giants lose at Minnesota, Dallas loses at Buffalo. I think this goes exactly this way.

Week 17: Washington loses at Dallas, Philadelphia loses at New York. Also a very good chance of this occurring.

I don’t think even a 6-10 champion, which would be the worst record ever in a non-strike season for a division winner, will be enough for the NFL to take away a home game from a division champ. This isn’t the NBA or NHL where divisions don’t matter. In the NFL and baseball they do.

Here are some line moves or potential game-changing injury notes for Week 14.

Redskins at Bears (-3.5, 43.5): Something has to give here. The Redskins are 0-5 away from home, although those losses have come to potential playoff teams: Carolina, New England, New York Jets, Atlanta and New York Giants. The Bears are 1-5 at home, and four of those losses were to potential playoff teams: Green Bay, Arizona, Minnesota and Denver. The fifth was to San Francisco. The Bears have put top tight end Martellus Bennett on season-ending injured reserve, and he won’t be with the team next year as Bennett has worn out his welcome. Projected No. 2 receiver Marquess Wilson is likely to miss another game. Linebacker Pernell McPhee has been Chicago’s best defensive player this season but has been battling a knee injury that has really limited him and he’s doubtful. In McPhee’s last four games, he has zero sacks, one tackle for loss and one pass defense. He will probably be shut down.

Lions at Rams (+3, 41): Interesting that this line has moved from the Rams as opening 1-point favorites. The Lions are taking a sizable lean. These teams have plenty in common. They both have massively underachieved and will miss the playoffs, both have already fired their offensive coordinators and each team’s head coach will be fired, most likely the day after the regular season concludes. I am guessing this line move is because bettors don’t trust Rams QB Case Keenum, who is back starting after missing the past two games. And why should they? The Rams have lost five straight and not topped 18 points in any of them, costing Todd Gurley his Offensive Rookie of the Year chances. That the Rams finish the season on a nine-game losing streak is a Bovada special this week, with “no” at -2000 and “yes” +900. After this, Rams host Bucs, visit Seahawks and are at 49ers. Yeah, they could win three of those (including this game).

49ers at Browns (-2, 41): Line has risen a half-point, but I don’t even care about the spread here as much as I do a few Bovada props involving Cleveland. One asks whether Mike Pettine will be Cleveland’s head coach next season. I would say one of the Kardashian sisters (sorry, I’m not looking up their names because I just don’t care) has a better chance of being Cleveland’s coach in 2016 unless Pettine has some incriminating photos of Cleveland owner Jimmy Haslam. No is the heavy -1000 favorite with yes at +500. Where will Johnny Manziel be in Week 1 next season? That he’s either starting for the Browns or a backup there are both +250. A backup for another team is +300. And a starter for another NFL squad is +500. There is a “none of the above” option at +200, but my only “other” thought would be suspended. My early guess would be a backup for another team. You can also get Johnny Football at +110 to start the final four regular-season games and -150 not to. He should barring injury or another drinking episode. Cleveland also is the -200 favorite to get the No. 1 overall pick. And as long as the Browns don’t screw up and win this game, they should get it by losing the final three against good teams.

Seahawks at Ravens (+11.5, 41.5): The side has risen 1.5 points and the total dropped the same. And here’s why: Baltimore starting quarterback Matt Schaub hasn’t practiced at all this week through Friday and thus probably misses this game. That means Jimmy Clausen, recently picked up off waivers from Chicago, will get the call. He started for the Bears in Seattle on Sept. 27 and was 9-for-17 for 63 yards as Chicago was blanked 26-0. With sacks included, the Bears finished with 48 net yards passing, the second time since 1990 they finished with less than 50 net yards through the air. Chicago punted on all 10 of its possessions and ran only three plays on the Seahawks’ half of the field. Think I will be moving Seattle to No. 16 in my confidence pool now even with the 10 a.m. Pacific time start. Ravens haven’t been double-digit home dogs in eight years.