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DraftKings is offering up a new free-to-enter pool for the 2022 NFL season. It runs for the first 17 weeks of the season, and users are allowed to pick their five favorite spreads each week. You’re also allowed one self-appointed bye week, meaning each player will pick 80 games by the end of Week 17. The players who do the best will have a chance to take home part of a $100,000 prize pool, plus millions in bonus prizes.
Let’s take a look at my five favorite picks for NFL Week 14.
The Pick: Lions -2.5
It might feel weird to see the Lions favored at home against the 10-2 Vikings, but everyone who has been paying attention knows that the Vikings are fraudulent. They rank 29th in the league in yardage differential, meaning only three teams have been outgained by more than the Vikings this season. They were outgained by nearly 200 yards by the Jets last week, yet the somehow managed to hold on for a narrow victory.
Regression is coming for this team eventually, and it could happen against the Lions. Detroit has played some of their best football of late, winning four of their past five games. Their only loss in that stretch came against the Bills – arguably the best team in the league – and they managed to lose by just a field goal.
The Lions’ defense remains suspect, but they have a legitimately good offense. They rank in the top seven in both yards and points per game, and they would probably be even higher if not for Amon-Ra St. Brown getting hurt. They can put up plenty of points this week vs. the Vikings, and I expect them to secure another victory.
The Pick: Jaguars +4.5
The Jaguars put together a disastrous performance last week vs. the Lions, losing by 26 points. Detroit scored on each of their first eight possessions, and making matters worse, Trevor Lawrence suffered a toe injury. Lawrence is expected to suit up, but there are still some question marks with this team.
Still, Jacksonville is a team that has been undervalued all year. They have just two double-digit losses this season: last week vs. the Lions and a 10-point loss to the Chiefs. They have played very competitive contests virtually all year, so getting 4.5 points is very appealing.
Additionally, the Titans are not the type of team that can run away from the Jaguars like the Lions did last week. They have just two wins by more than a touchdown this season, so they don’t figure to blow the Jaguars out of the water.
Overall, this game feels like it will be decided by a field goal one way or the other. Getting the Jaguars at +4.5 gives us a cover in both scenarios.
The Pick: Cowboys -16.5
I almost never lay the wood with big favorites, but I am going to continue to fade the Texans. They are making the decision to go back to Davis Mills as quarterback, which is clearly the right move. Kyle Allen is one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL, and he was directly responsible for more than half of the Browns’ points last week.
That said, Mills is far from a world-beater. He’s regressed from his rookie season, averaging just 5.7 adjusted yards per attempt with just 11 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions. Things don’t figure to get any easier for him against the Cowboys, especially with Brandin Cooks and Nico Collins out of the lineup.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys are absolutely rolling. They didn’t play their best game last week vs. the Colts, but a 33-0 fourth quarter propelled them to a massive victory. They’ve won five games since Dak Prescott returned to the lineup, and they’ve won by at least 18 points in four of them. Prescott has also historically fared extremely well as a favorite of at least a touchdown, posting a record of 14-6-1.
The Pick: Broncos +9.5
I completely understand if you want nothing to do with the Broncos. Their offense has been abysmal all year, and now they’re going to have to play without their top receiver in Courtland Sutton.
However, there are reasons to believe in the Broncos as nearly 10-point home underdogs. For starters, their offense should be better than usual vs. Kansas City. The Chiefs have struggled on defense all year, ranking just 25th in Football Outsiders defensive DVOA.
On the other side, the Broncos’ defense is one of the best in the business. They rank in the top three in both points and yards per game, and if their offense was even league average, the Broncos would be a no-doubt playoff squad. They’re going to have their hands full vs. the Chiefs, but they should be able to slow them down.
This is also a spot that the Chiefs have historically struggled to cover. Patrick Mahomes is 1-6 against the spread when favored by at least a touchdown on the road, and he’s 28-33-1 against the spread when favored by more than a field goal overall. The Chiefs continue to win ball games, but they are not exactly a juggernaut.
The Pick: 49ers -3.5
Brock Purdy will make his first career start for the 49ers, and he’ll face the winningest quarterback in NFL history. On paper, this is a massive mismatch in favor of Tom Brady, but Brady is clearly not the same player at this point of his career. They have won three of their past four games, but their offense has scored 21 points or fewer in all of them.
Even if the 49ers do have a disadvantage at quarterback, they are clearly better than the Bucs at virtually every other position. Their defense is loaded, and their offense is loaded with skill-position players that can turn routine plays into big ones. All Purdy is going to have to do is get the ball in their hands at let them do most of the work.
Year-to-Date Results: 47-18 (4-1 last week)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mlamarca) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.