Justin Herbert celebrates a touchdown in a victory over the Las Vegas Raiders.

Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports)

Week 14 (1-3) was not the best week for bettors, so let's get some wins to make up for it on Sunday.

The Colts handled their business in Las Vegas, like an air conditioning repairman in the desert heat. Meanwhile, the Raiders went on to lose their Thursday night game behind a competent Mariota performance, but seem to be melting down, like an ice cream cone in the desert heat. Keep that in mind for possible fade opportunities in the coming weeks.

As for our losses, it was an assortment of disappointments. The Taysom Hill Traveling Show seems to have come to an unceremonious end. Backups starting this late in the year have typically meant variance, so I wasn't so surprised by Jalen Hurts hurting my wallet.

The Chargers actually managed to beat the Falcons somehow. Even more amazing? It came down to the final seconds and Matt Ryan's line looked like this: 21/32, 224 yards, 1 TD, and 3 INTs. Even more amazing? Justin Herbert's line looked like this: 36/44. 243 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT. I really can't wrap my head around how they won this game and how Herbert could complete 36 passes WITHOUT him throwing over 281.5 yards. Another classic football mystery for the ages.

Lastly, the Steelers didn't even bother showing up to Buffalo. The drop parade continued for the Pittsburgh wide receivers and Josh Allen has mastered cutting up highly rated defenses.



Minnesota Vikings -3 over Chicago Bears

This is a week of overwhelming favorites, each with their own particular hook that should scare off any seasoned bettor. Tennessee -9, Tampa Bay -6.5, Indy -7.5, Seattle -6.5, Baltimore -13, LA Rams -17, Cleveland -6.5, and Pittsburgh -14.5? All too rich for my blood, sir. However, something like a passable Minnesota Vikings team, who easily handled the Chicago Bears on Monday night just over a month ago on the road. Justin Jefferson has been a revelation for the offense, filling the hole left by the Stefon Diggs trade, and joining some hallowed company in the record books. I'd look for him to go over 4.5 RECEPTIONS to power a nice win and cover.

Kansas City Chiefs -3 over New Orleans Saints

Super Bowl preview? It's possible. The Chiefs feel undeniable in a way that's both terrifying and comforting. You know that they will score and score and score. The Saints have stayed afloat without Drew Brees for a few weeks, which all came to a head against a floundering Philly team, who got a shot of life in the form of Jalen Hurts. If they had a hard time containing or keeping up on offense against him, may I re-introduce you to Patrick Mahomes. Things have gotten more interesting given the announcement that Drew Brees, 11 broken ribs and collapsed lung, will return to his starting position. However, the football gods gave and take away in equal measure. Michael Thomas will be out and that offense seemed to suffer more without the 40 year old signal caller.

Miami Dolphins -1.5 over New England Patriots

This line starting at 2.5 and working it's way down to 1.5 is like manna from heaven. The Patriots have a few extra days to prepare after the Thursday night dismantling by the Rams and the Dolphins are coming off a game against the Chiefs that they kept much closer than they had any right to. (Breaking a few -11.5 and Chief win by 14+ points along the way.) The Miami D is for real, Xavien Howard is an interception machine, and Tua is a born leader. Belichick will find a way to make this a grind it out, ball control, and last possession wins kind of game, but I'm willing to bet the Dolphins kick that game winning field for the win.

Arizona Cardinals/Philadelphia Eagles over 49.5

Jalen Hurts scrambles out of the pocket and points downfield. Jalen Hurts tucks the ball to run, pointing for a block, against the Saints. JOE LAMBERTI/COURIER POST

The Cardinals and Eagles have not been known for their defenses this season, falling outside of the top 10. The Cardinals are 28th in points allowed, the Eagles are 27th in turnovers caused, and each struggles getting opposing offenses off the field. However, the Cardinals offense, powered by Kyler and DeAndre, has been averaging over 30 points a game at home. That feels like a pretty easy floor for them to hit with a much higher potential ceiling. That leaves the Eagles to pick up the slack for two, maybe, three scores, which feels very doable for the reinvigorated Philly team and their quarterback, who loves food analogies.

Paul George grabbing a rebound in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals

Barry Gossage/Getty Images

In a must win game for the Los Angeles Clippers, Paul George was finally able to look like the best player on the floor in a playoff game.

After a slow start, George poured it on in the second half on his way to a game high 41 points in Game 5. The performance elevated the Clippers over strong outings from the likes of Devin Booker and Chris Paul as L.A. outlasted Phoenix 116-102.

The Clippers don't have much time to bask in their win however as they have to turn around and play two more elimination games just to make it out of the West. The Suns jumped out to a 3-1 series lead as Los Angeles struggled to find their identity without Kawhi Leonard. If the Clippers are to stave off elimination any longer, George has to continue this level of play.

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Ben Simmons disappointed in the playoffs this season

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Following a Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the Philadelphia 76ers and coach, Doc Rivers, are questioning if Ben Simmons is the right guy to be running their offense through moving forward.

Offense being the key word here.

Simmons is an all-world defender possessing the ability to guard virtually any opponent on the court from the perimeter to the rim. But it was his lack of offensive help throughout this playoff season that stood out beyond any accomplishments this year. Simmons joined Rudy Gobert as unanimous selections for the NBA's All-Defensive First Team this year and also finished fifth in the NBA in assists per game with 8.8 per contest.

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The Lakers looked lost in the Valley

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns are just a win away from sending LeBron James home in the first round of the playoffs for the first time in the King's illustrious career.

After stating that "These shoulders were built for a reason," James referring to facing the challenge of taking on added responsibilities after Anthony Davis was ruled out for Game 5, the Lakers and LeBron disappointed in a big way Tuesday night. L.A. started off hot jumping out to a 10-5 lead behind a couple shots from James and a three from Davis' replacement Markieff Morris. But it didn't take long for the wheels to completely fall off for the defending champion Lakers as they spent most of the first half trying to remember how basketball works.

LeBron James LeBron looking on during Game 5Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Two numbers stick out in the Game 5 loss for the Lakers and those are 34.5 and 12. Los Angeles shot 34.5% from the field on Tuesday night and were minus 12 in turnover ratio. No matter who's on your team, if you can't shoot and you can't protect the ball, the outcome is already determined.

The Suns weren't simply beneficiaries of a poor performance however as the Suns put it on the Lakers early and often and they never let their foot off the pedal for 48 minutes. Phoenix ended with 15 more assists, had seven more combined steals and blocks, and outscored L.A. in the paint by 12 points. Devin Booker and Cameron Payne were spectacular and they seemed to hit big shots every time the Lakers appeared to threaten a comeback. Mikal Bridges was effective on both sides of the ball adding three steals and two blocks to help electrify his team with the defensive effort.


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