Underdogs have been wildly profitable this NFL season, but the favorites bit back in a big way in Week 13.
Favorites were 10-4 against the spread in Week 13 entering “Monday Night Football,” according to SportsLine.com, before the New Orleans Saints got in one last bark while losing but covering against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
We were able to successfully pinpoint one favorite trap last week, advising against the Chargers on the road at Las Vegas but weren’t as lucky with Cleveland against a hapless Houston offense, and the Cowboys’ insane fourth quarter got them an easy cover we didn’t see coming against Indianapolis.
Here are three NFL Week 14 betting favorites we’re likely to avoid.
(-9.5) Buffalo Bills vs. New York Jets
Are the Jets a good team? It’s hard to tell at this point. New York had so many opportunities to knock off the Vikings in Minnesota last week but came up short. Good teams win those games, so they’re not quite there yet. But this number feels a little high. We already know the Jets can hang with the Bills; New York beat Buffalo at MetLife Stadium in early November. Based solely on past lines, the number does make some sense. Buffalo was a 6.5-point favorite at home against Minnesota a few weeks ago, and the Vikings were 3-point favorites against the Jets (and covered). Of course, Minnesota also won the game in Buffalo outright, underscoring the potential vulnerability for the Bills. It is worth noting Buffalo has a decisive rest advantage here on the Thursday night mini-bye while the Jets are playing a third consecutive road game. But head coach Robert Saleh has his team ready to go seemingly every week, sometimes in spite of his personnel (Zach Wilson). That they haven’t lost a game by more than a touchdown since Week 3 — with Wilson’s general ineptitude getting in the way — is impressive, and it’s quite clear Mike White raises their floor. This could be a pesky game for the Bills, who are 2-3 against the spread as favorites of nine points or more this season.
(-3) Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens
The big story in this one, of course, is the absence of Lamar Jackson. The market obviously has been adjusted, but has it gone too far? The Ravens were 4.5-point favorites on the look-ahead line, meaning this thing has swung 7.5 points with Jackson going down. That might be a little too much. The argument could be made that the Steelers were going to be competitive no matter who was under center; Baltimore has struggled to cover and even win at points this season even with Jackson pulling the levers. No one would argue Tyler Huntley is an upgrade, but he has been a capable NFL fill-in before. He started four games last season for Baltimore, and the Ravens did go 1-3 in those games. Those three losses, however, were by a combined seven points. The Ravens were certainly competitive. And while the Pittsburgh offense continues to show growth, it’s not a unit that can easily distance itself in a game like this against a divisional opponent with a formidable defense. For all the issues Baltimore has experienced this season, the defense remains stout, allowing 13 points or less in three of their last four games.