Don't look now, but my NFL favorites are starting to shine.
In the first 10 weeks, I was 9-20-1 ATS with my favorites. In the last three weeks, I'm 8-1 ATS with my favorites. That's a slight turnaround.
Giving up major points has been the biggest change in strategy in recent weeks. This week offers a different challenge, with so many small spreads, so it's mostly about just picking winners. Here's the week 14 NFL picks featuring my three best favorites that will cover the spread.
Favorites: 17-21-1 ATS
Overall: 33-43-2 ATS
Oakland at Kansas City (-4)
The Chiefs are becoming my Browns, only on the favorites side. I've avoided Kansas City for the most part in recent weeks, other than that one blemish in the last three weeks.
After starting strong, Kansas City has not only been terrible straight up, but horrible against the spread. And that started to snowball on that fateful Thursday night in Oakland, when the Chiefs covered the whole game, and then allowed the Raiders to drive the length of the field, watch referees throw enough flags at the goal line that I lost count, and eventually lost the game, and most importantly, didn't cover.
Before that game, the Chiefs had won five games. Since that contest, Kansas City has won one game. It's time to exact some revenge against an Oakland unit that still isn't great on offense, and is leaky on defense.
The last game was a high-scoring affair, but I actually expect fewer points in this game. Both defenses have actually played better in recent weeks (minus last week's Jets loss by Kansas City). Offensively, I expect Kansas City to be consistent moving the ball since the Raiders won't turn them over. That may not always lead to touchdowns, but will do enough to keep it out of Oakland's hands on offense.
This spread may be a bit higher than many expected, but it's there for a reason. Kansas City is a better team than Oakland, and it will show in week 14. — Go Chalk with Kansas City
Tennessee (-3) at Arizona
Tennessee is not great at anything, but just doesn't do anything particularly bad. The Titans are decent on offense, especially when it can run the ball, and the passing game is showing some life. Defensively, Tennessee matches up with most teams, especially ones that employ bad quarterbacks.
Hello, Blaine Gabbert. Tennessee will be relentless with its blitzing packages, so Arizona would have to run the ball efficiently to ward off that pressure. The problem is that the Cardinals average just 3.2 yards per carry, more than a yard less than Tennessee.
The Titans are starting to get some momentum with their running game, so that should help open up some passing lanes for Marcus Mariota. I don't love giving up three points, but the Titans are a better overall team than Arizona. Arizona has been susceptible to the running game at times this season, so expect the Titans to pound the ball en route to a cover. — Go Chalk with Tennessee
Baltimore at Pittsburgh (-5)
I know it's a major rivalry and that the Ravens have an elite defense, but the Steelers are the better overall team.
Pittsburgh will be able to move the ball, forcing the Ravens offense to be like the one we witnessed last week and not the one we've seen the rest of the season. Baltimore averages fewer yards per play than any team in the NFL, while the Steelers are one of the most potent offenses in the league.
And Pittsburgh has a defense that can keep up with Baltimore's defense. The Steelers have enough weapons to neutralize the Ravens defensive pressure, so this game will be busted open in the fourth quarter as the Ravens offense won't do enough to stay on the field. — Go Chalk with Pittsburgh
Scott Levine is the Associate Editor for the Clinton Herald. During his free time, he blogs about fantasy sports and handicaps games. Check out more at Against The Chalk.
Scott Levine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ScottLevineCH