warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

NFL Week 14 Betting Preview

Max Meyer |
December 8, 2013 | 9:40 a.m. PST

Senior Sports Editor


(Creative Commons)
(Creative Commons)
This has been a crazy NFL season, and as December starts, the number of meaningful games increases. This week, there aren't many home underdogs that look like great bets, but two road underdogs have caught my eye. 

Giants (+3.5) over CHARGERS

The San Diego Chargers have lost four of their five games after their bye, and have a 2-3 record at home this season. Their offense struggled mightily in last week's 17-10 loss to the Bengals. The New York Giants, on the other hand, have won five of their last six games, and seem like they are trending in the opposite direction of the Chargers.

The Chargers have been able to run the ball effectively, but the Giants run defense has been very solid of late. They held Robert Griffin III, Alfred Morris and the rest of the Redskins to only 32 yards last weekend. If the Giants can turn the Chargers into a one-dimensional offense like the Bengals did last week, Philip Rivers and his unit will struggle.

Additionally, the Chargers defense is among the worst in the NFL. Their pass defense is abysmal, ranking 31st in the league in terms of yards per attempt, and they are the worst defense in terms of yards allowed per play. They are facing a much better quarterback this week in Eli Manning compared to Andy Dalton last game. The Giants offense has been a lot better since Andre Brown has returned from injury, and the Chargers run-defense isn't great either. 

The Giants thrive in the role of road underdog, and I think that they are clearly the better team in this matchup. In their last 21 road games coming off a road win, the Giants are 18-3 against the spread. Also, since 2007, Eli Manning is 29-16 against the spread as an underdog. 

Dolphins (+4) over STEELERS

The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off a draining Thanksgiving loss to the rival Ravens, and lost their center Fernando Velasco for the season in that game, after he replaced the injured Maurkice Pouncey earlier this year. Now, the Steelers are on their third-string center, and they already have a shaky offensive line in terms of pass-protection. Their guard David DeCastro is questionable for this game too. Considering the Miami Dolphins have the eighth-most sacks in the NFL, this could be a very dangerous matchup for the Steelers.

This contest will be a big revenge game for Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace. The former Steeler has accumulated more than 200 yards in his past two games, adding a couple touchdowns as well. Top wide receivers have burned the Steelers over the past three games, as they've allowed Calvin Johnson, Josh Gordon and Torrey Smith to garner more than 500 yards over that span. It seems as if Ike Taylor's age has finally caught up with him, so expect Wallace to have a monster game this weekend.

The Steelers will also be without two starters on their defensive line, and Le'Veon Bell, their best running back, may not play as effectively this week after he sustained a brutal concussion this past Thursday night. The Steelers have the third-least amount of sacks this season, and their running game hasn't been consistent this year either, and those two weaknesses of the team will be even less effective this Sunday.

Despite the funny trend of the Dolphins losing 13 straight games the week after they've played the Jets, I still like the road team in this one. In Dolphins games the past few years, teams have done better against the spread when they've been on the road or if they are the underdog. The Dolphins are both of those in this game, and I don't think Vegas is giving them the respect that they deserve. 

Other Picks:

Chiefs (-3) over REDSKINS

RAVENS (-6) over Vikings

PATRIOTS (-10) over Browns

Raiders (+3) over JETS

BENGALS (-6.5) over Colts

SAINTS (-3) over Panthers

BUCCANEERS (-2.5) over Bills

Titans (+13) over BRONCOS

CARDINALS (-5.5) over Rams

49ERS (-2.5) over Seahawks

Falcons (+3.5) over PACKERS

BEARS (+1) over Cowboys

LAST WEEK 10-5-1 || SEASON 97-72-5 || BEST BETS 16-12

Reach Senior Sports Editor Max Meyer by email.

Follow @TheMaxMeyer



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.