John Anthony AvatarJOHN ANTHONY




Sunday NFL Best Bets, Week 14

The Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys are heading into battle Sunday with the NFC East crown hanging in the balance. For Dallas, this is pretty much a ‘win and you’re in’ situation. The Cowboys already hold a one-game lead in the division and they beat Philadelphia 27-20 in the first meeting. With the Colts, Bucs and Giants ahead, a win will have Dallas feeling more comfortable than Jerry Jones’ luxury box up at the stadium. Philly wants to ruin the party and to do so they are going to have to rely on more than just a crumbling defense.


Line: Cowboys -3.5 and O/U 44

The Eagles are coming off back-to-back divisional home wins against the Giants and Redskins. It’s already tough enough having to play three divisional games in a row. Then throw in travel, the short week and the fact that Dallas is playing with extra rest. Yikes! For the defending Super Bowl champs, this will be a defining moment. The rest situation alone creates a 14-20 ATS record for teams like the Eagles and totals in this spot are 26-6-2 to the “Over”.

Philly’s offense has benefitted from the emergence of RB Josh Adams and the return of veteran RB Darren Sproles. Adams’ rushing totals have increased in four consecutive games and he’s averaging 5.0 yards per touch. In the first meeting against Dallas he carried seven times for 47 yards but we’ll be looking for 20-plus carries in this contest. Corey Clement is another young back that’s proven to be much more effective as an accessory and in the past five games, Philly has utilized Clement effectively in rushing, pass catching and kick returns. Add a fresh set of legs like Sproles back into the mix and the Eagles finally have a legitimate run game for the first time since Jay Ajayi went down.

Dallas hasn’t had to be quite so creative with their run game, they just needed patience and good things come to those who wait. Since Amari Cooper joined the team and gave Dak Prescott someone to target that was further than 10 yards down the field, Ezekiel Elliot has found another gear. The Cowboys are now sixth in rushing with 131.5 yards per game. Zeke cracked 1,500 yards from scrimmage in last week’s win over the Saints and he’s hit triple-digits in five consecutive games. He also has five touchdowns during the current four-game win streak and in their current state, the Eagles defense does not have the versatility needed to prevent this wrecking ball from having another big day.

With 301 rush yards and five TDs of his own, Dak’s another weapon and Philly has not done well against mobile QBs this season. They break down by the fourth quarter and if given the chance to turn the knife, Dallas isn’t going to let up. The Cowboys have done exceptionally well at home vs. winning teams from last season and division rivals. They are averaging 24 points per game (4-2 ATS and 4-2 O/U) and with the way their offense is running right now, I have a hard time believing the Cowboys won’t put up 27 against this depleted Eagles D.

On the road, Philly has played three games against high caliber opponents/rivals and the final scores totaled 49, 47 and 55 points (50.1 avg). Also working in favor of the Eagles is the fact that Dallas has been home for weeks listening to everyone talk about how great they are. Inflated egos make for ripe picking at this time of year and the record for this situation is 53-22-3 O/U (71%). Divisional games are 24-10-1 O/U and when the total is between 42 and 49 points, the over is on a 14-1 run. Last week’s results earned us a nice number for this game and we’re on board as our top play of the week.

WEEK 14 BEST BET TOTAL: Eagles and Cowboys OVER


Line: Lions -3 and O/U 40.5

The Detroit Lions have lost five of their past six games but they are laying points on the road this week against one of the few teams that still sits below Detroit in the win column. The Cardinals return home from what has to be considered a successful two-game road trip. After getting blown away in Los Angeles, Arizona went north to Lambeau Field and got Mike McCarthy fired. At least we know where Mike will NOT be buying his first retirement home!

When finishing a tour with a road dog win, conference home dogs have a 15-6 ATS record and 11 of those 21 teams managed to win straight up. Detroit’s road record on the season is 1-4 SU, the one win coming over the Dolphins in Week 7, and small December road faves with a poor road record are only 28-39 ATS.

Arizona’s offensive line has once again been ravaged by injuries. They were decimated last year and ranked 17th in run blocking. This season, the overall ranking didn’t improve yet they have rushed for more than 150 yards twice in the past three weeks. HC Steve Wilks brought former Carolina Panthers O-Line coach Ray Brown with him to the desert and despite the huge turnover and multiple combinations, it appears this line is starting to pick up the system.

In last week’s win over Green Bay the Cardinals finished with a 182 rushing yards and David Johnson will once again look to carry the load against a Lions front seven that is also showing improvements. With lower totals the record for conference home dogs up to +3 that cracked 150 rush yards in two of their past three games is 17-9 SU and 17-8-1 ATS.

Our projections suggest a strong likelihood that Arizona can win this game straight up. Wilks’ defense ranks fifth overall in opponent yards per completion (YPC) and in their past three games the Cardinals are allowing just 8.3 YPC. Only the Ravens, Bills, Bears and Steelers are getting to the ball faster. The record for dogs like this up to +3.5 points is 56-23-3 ATS (71%) and based on early line moves, it appears as if the home side could even be available at +3.5 by kickoff. The big factor is the health of Lions RB Kerryon Johnson (Check Status), who missed the past two games with a left knee. As of Saturday he is listed as doubtful.

With two rookie head coaches squaring off, there is a 59% value on the non-divisional home team getting points. When coming home off a road dog win the trend is 13-1 ATS and nine of those 14 dogs won straight up. One fear is that Matt Patricia learned from Bill Belichick that you never let a rookie QB beat you. But that was a lot easier for Belichick to enforce when he had Tom Brady calling the signals.

WEEK 14 BEST BET SIDE: Take the Cardinals

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