Welcome back to the 2023-24 NFL season and the Best Bets article series, where we provide our best game line bets for the NFL slate each week on sportsbooks. This week, we have two 2-unit wagers: the Buccaneers Moneyline and the Seahawks against the spread.
Each week’s article features picks on either the moneyline, spread, game total, or team total. For each bet, we will provide a wager size recommendation (note: 1 unit = 1-percent of your gambling bankroll). Keep exposure disciplined and stick to the recommendations. You might also do some line-shopping at the time you place your bet so you can get the best value available online.
Last Week’s Bets
In Week 13, we had one of our worst showings of the season, going 0-2. The Commanders never had a shot to cover the spread as Tyreek Hill looked like the MVP of the NFL. Then the Saints hooked us with a fake comeback and lost by five. Both teams’ offenses showed up only to lose via embarrassing defensive performances.
We are now 11-11 on the season and last week’s stinker snapped a stretch of five straight good performances. Let’s get back on track with two Week 14 bets on the books.
2 Units: Buccaneers Moneyline (+105, BetMGM)
We head to a pivotal NFC South face-off in the indoors confines of Atlanta. The Buccaneers and Falcons previously met in Week 7 during Desmond Ridder’s first stint of the season as the Falcons starting quarterback. That game was a turnover-fest, as Ridder lost three fumbles and Tampa Bay lost a fumble and threw an interception. This induced a high amount of variance and despite Ridder and Baker Mayfield combining for 525 passing yards, the Falcons won by a measly 16-13 score. We will fade the noise from that matchup and back the team better equipped to win in Week 14.
Part of Tampa Bay’s struggles recently have been related to injuries on the defensive side of the ball. They give up big plays and have not rushed the quarterback as effectively as in recent seasons. However, much of that will be less relevant against Ridder, who is simply not qualified to be a starter in the NFL. Among all qualified quarterbacks, he ranks No. 28 in True Passer Rating, No. 25 in Clean Pocket Completion Percentage, and No. 24 in Deep Ball Accuracy Rating. Unforced errors are on the table for the sophomore under center.
On the other side of the ball, Mayfield is about to face a Falcons defense that is banged up themselves after some recent dominance. Several starters are listed as questionable and the fact that they rank No. 30 in Pass Rush Win Rate could come back to bite them. Mayfield’s Accuracy Rating improves from 5.1 under pressure to 6.6 when in a clean pocket and his adjusted EPA/play since coming off a bye in Week 6 ranks No. 14 among all quarterbacks.
Tampa Bay has the much more trustworthy offense in this one. While the Falcons are coming off two straight wins since their bye, both came against struggling offenses in the Saints and Jets. They should get humbled in this divisional matchup as Tampa Bay looks for vengeance to stay in this division race.
2 units: Seahawks +10.5 (-110, BetMGM)
Once again, we are attacking a divisional rematch in an active playoff battle. The 49ers look like the best team in football at the moment. In these teams’ previous meeting in Week 12, the Niners laid down a road beating on the Seahawks in a 31-13 victory where Seattle looked outmatched and mentally checked out.
The line is officially an overreaction to that previous head-to-head battle. Not only was Geno Smith playing through injuries; so was wide receiver DK Metcalf. Consequently, Metcalf had his first career rough game against cornerback Charvarius Ward.
DK METCALF EXPLOSION GAME
💣 6 REC
💣 134 YDS
💣 3 TDs
💣 37.4 PPR POINTS pic.twitter.com/lt5MpWmmuL
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) December 1, 2023
San Francisco’s one weakness is still their secondary. They’ve given up huge plays all season long to both outside and slot wide receivers. Smith looked healthier last week against the Cowboys and now Seattle has the rest advantage since their Week 13 game was on a Thursday. On the season, Seattle’s quarterback ranks No. 5 in Deep Ball Accuracy Rating, No. 17 in Catchable Pass Rate under pressure, and No. 4 in Passer Rating against man coverage. The 49ers have been playing an increasing amount of man recently.
Limiting the Niners Offense
On the other side of the ball, it is a daunting task to ask the 49ers offense to completely lay a dud, but most of Seattle’s elite defensive weapons are healthy. As a unit, Seattle ranks No. 2 in Zone Coverage Rate, No. 13 in Pass Rush Win Rate, and No. 10 in Run Stop Win Rate. Purdy’s passer rating has taken a hit when facing zone coverage this season and when facing pressure. It is highly telling that San Francisco has scored at least 27 points in each of their four games since their bye, but their Vegas team total is set to only 29.5.
The 49ers posted their biggest statement win of the season in Week 13 when they took down the nearly-undefeated Philadelphia Eagles. Although it may be scary to pick this as the letdown spot for the Super Bowl favorites, this is the perfect time to sell high and snag several key numbers with a 10.5-point spread.