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NFL Week 14: Top Three Betting Picks

Max Meyer |
December 6, 2012 | 1:20 p.m. PST

Associate Sports Editor

The Bears defense should have no problem shutting down the Vikings, even without Brian Urlacher. (Mike Morbeck, Creative Commons)
The Bears defense should have no problem shutting down the Vikings, even without Brian Urlacher. (Mike Morbeck, Creative Commons)
After a 1-0-1 finish last week, I've concluded that picking three teams to beat the spread is a lot more fun. Therefore, over the last four weeks of the NFL regular season, I'll keep the trend going. Here are three teams that are playing in divisional rivalry games on which the public should bet:

Bears (-2.5) over VIKINGS

With the public down on the Chicago Bears, everyone seems to forget that this is still the same Bears team that beat the Minnesota Vikings two weeks ago by 18 points. Granted, that game was at Soldier Field and the Bears had their stud middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, but there's still no reason why they aren't favored by more than a field goal.

Besides Urlacher, Bears cornerback Tim Jennings will also be out for the game. However, the Vikings placed electric wide receiver Percy Harvin on injured reserve. With Minnesota QB Christian Ponder struggling mightily over his past couple games, the Bears can afford to stack seven or eight players in the box to contain star running back Adrian Peterson. And the Bears still have several blue-chip players on their defense to do so.

The Bears need this game more than people think, and they will be playing with great intensity in this NFC North rivalry battle. The Bears have actually won their last six meetings against the Vikings, and I'm completely expecting them to extend that streak to seven. The Bears have also beaten the spread their last four games when they have been road favorites. Take advantage of this line, as this is my lock of the week.

Falcons (-3.5) over PANTHERS

The Atlanta Falcons have played weak competition quite closely this season, but I think this will finally be the game in which they demolish a bad opponent. The Falcons have won seven of their last eight against the Carolina Panthers, including beating the spread six of those times. The Panthers have also struggled recently playing at home, failing to cover in any of their previous five home games.

With the Panthers struggling to contain the mighty juggernaut that is the Chiefs' offense last week, is there any hope for them to stop the Falcons? Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez are much more explosive than Brady Quinn and company.

The Panthers have struggled stopping the run, allowing over 140 rushing yards in their past three games. While Atlanta's Michael Turner and Jacquizz Rodgers haven't exactly made defensive coordinators game plan for them, they looked awfully good last week against the Saints. The Falcons' offense will simply overpower the Panthers, and this game will be decided by at least a touchdown.

Can Aaron Rodgers beat the Detroit Lions twice this season? (Mike Morbeck, Creative Commons)
Can Aaron Rodgers beat the Detroit Lions twice this season? (Mike Morbeck, Creative Commons)
PACKERS (-6.5) over Lions

The Detroit Lions have had two of the worst losses of the season in the past two weeks. Their defense continues to get lit up, and their offense is often forced to be one-dimensional. What a lot of people are starting to realize is that the Lions aren't a very good football team. Yet, the Green Bay Packers are favorites by less than a touchdown at home on Sunday Night Football.

I also picked this game earlier in the season, because the Packers have dominated this NFC North rivalry. Even though the Packers got an extremely lucky win against the spread in the first matchup, I'm confident the Packers will be able to embarrass their counterparts on national television. The Lions have actually lost 21 straight games at Lambeau Field, and are 3-11 against the spread in their past 14 games against the Packers.

The Packers have a distinct home-field advantage playing at Lambeau in December. I don't think the Lions (who play home games in a dome) will be able to adjust. Since 2000, the Packers are 20-11 against the spread in December home games. Also, would anyone seriously bet against Aaron Rodgers against a bad team on primetime television?


Reach Associate Sports Editor Max Meyer by email, or follow him on Twitter.



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