NFL Week 14 Opening Odds Analysis
NFL Week 14 Opening Odds Analysis
Let’s take a look at a few games that are sure to draw attention from bettors for Week 14. We will just be discussing the matchups; if you are looking for more concrete predictions and projections, be sure to check back throughout the week for our game picks.
All odds are courtesy of our friends at FanDuel Sportsbook.
Minnesota Vikings at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Odds: Buccaneers -6.5, O/U 52.5
The Minnesota Vikings are now 6-6 on the season. They have battled their way back into the playoff mix, and if the season ended today, they would be the seventh seed thanks to the common games tiebreaker over the stumbling Arizona Cardinals. Minnesota’s defense has been improving thanks to their young corners, but they still do not have the pass rush to create headaches for the league’s best. Danielle Hunter is sidelined for the season, and they traded away Yannick Ngakoue after signing him as a free agent in the offseason. The Vikings are still a run-first-and-second-team but appear to have found something special in rookie wide receiver Justin Jefferson. He gives the team the dimension many thought they lost when they traded away Stefon Diggs and may be an even better fit due to his team-first attitude. Minnesota controls their own destiny but must go through Tampa Bay and New Orleans over the next three weeks. The battle for their playoff lives (now that they are in) begins in Week 14 against Tampa Bay.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are now 7-5 and have lost two games in a row. Hopefully, the bye week helped them iron some things out because a loss to the Vikings could make them slip to seventh or even eighth place (if Arizona wins in Week 14). Tampa Bay has just one win against a team that would make the playoffs if the season ended today, making their record and the early season optimism that came with their wins more mirage than a convincing sample. Tom Brady still needs to get on the same page as Bruce Arians and Byron Leftwich, and the defense needs to play as well against playoff-caliber teams as they do against non-playoff teams. Despite the sheer explosiveness of the offense, it is the defense that will be leaned on to carry the Buccaneers to the promised land. The absence of Vita Vea and the presence of extreme youth in the secondary is going to make it a tough job, but when that front seven is on, they are a hard team to contend with.
The -6.5 is a massive spread for the form of the two teams involved in this contest. As mentioned, Tampa Bay has lost two straight while Minnesota has won two in a row. Yes, this game is in Tampa Bay, but no one would have batted an eye if this line opened at -4 or -4.5 instead. There are sure to be definitive leans for this contest, meaning this point spread could change before Week 13 is officially over. Be sure to check back later this week to hear what our analysts think of this matchup and the line movement. The 52.5 over/under is an extremely interesting number as well. Both teams have explosive offenses, but at the same time, they have both proven more than willing to lean on the run. Do not expect the over/under to hold where it is, so if you have a compelling lean at the current number, you may want to get a taste sooner rather than later.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills
Odds: Steelers -2.5, O/U n/a
The Pittsburgh Steelers are still undefeated and now sit at 11-0. The Buffalo Bills are the last tough team on their schedule, so a win this week will put them on easy street to an undefeated season and a chase of the rare 19-0 season. Pittsburgh should have the majority of their players back from the reserve/COVID list for this Sunday night tilt. James Conner, a cancer survivor, is an obvious major question mark. The Steelers have defeated just two teams that would make the playoffs if the season ended today, so games like this will go a long way into providing a true litmus test. This is especially true after the Steelers Week 12 performance against an extremely depleted Baltimore Ravens team that has struggled when healthy. Pittsburgh’s offense is one of the most explosive in the league, but it is their defense that is going to carry them for the rest of the season.
The Buffalo Bills sit at 8-3 on the season. They are in first place in the AFC East and will stay there for at least one more week. The Miami Dolphins are nipping at their heels, but Buffalo is firmly in control of their own destiny. The defense has taken a major step back, largely due to attrition at the defensive tackle position, but the cornerback group has also had their struggles. Luckily for them, quarterback Josh Allen has taken a major step forward with the acquisition of star wide receiver Stefon Diggs. The defense is still good enough to help them remain competitive, but it is Josh Allen who will be leaned on to turn wins into losses, not the defense.
The -2.5 is a highly enticing number that is sure to generate interest on both sides. The casuals will be all in on the Steelers at such a low line, but which way the sharps lean is more up in the air. The early juice has been on the Bills, who currently have -114 odds attached to their +2.5 spread. The over/under for this contest has yet to be posted due to the fact that Pittsburgh is playing their Week 13 contest on Monday afternoon. We will likely see something in the 49-54 range, especially with Buffalo’s defense being just a shell of what it was in year’s past. These will be interesting lines to monitor throughout the week.
Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns
Odds: Ravens -1.5, O/U n/a
The Baltimore Ravens are an extremely disappointing 6-5 heading into Tuesday night. Pegged as the Super Bowl favorites leading up to, and even in the early part of the season, the Ravens have fallen hard due to an unwillingness to do three things. One, to find some sort of answer for the major question mark the retirement of Marshal Yanda left at tight guard. Two, not using the regular season as practice time in which to get their young receivers ready for the playoffs. And three, not sticking to their gameplan when they fall behind. Baltimore is not going to be the dominant rushing team they were when they had Yanda and a healthy Ronnie Stanley (lost for the season), as replacing two All-Pro offensive linemen is difficult at best. The Ravens are going to need to adjust if they want to make a final push for playoff position.
Don’t look now, but the 9-3 Cleveland Browns have the third-best record in the AFC entering Monday night. It’s true that they have only beat one team that would make the playoffs if the season ended today, but they cannot be held responsible for having the NFC East and AFC South on their schedule. The Browns will be hoping to welcome top corner Denzel Ward back to the lineup on Monday night, as the sometimes lockdown corner has missed the last two contests with a calf injury.
The Ravens are going to come out swinging against Cleveland, as a loss could keep them in ninth place or drop them to 10th. Cleveland is going to need to have one of their best games of the season to add another ‘W’ to their record.
The over/under is not yet up for this contest due to the Ravens playing their Week 13 contest on Tuesday, but we should see something in the 46-53 range. Where the number ultimately lands will determine the predicted line movement. The point spread gives deference to the home team, but the lack of a -3 line or higher on the Ravens suggests that Vegas does not know what to think of this contest. The early money and sharp action has been on the Browns, with the juice already moving to -112 at FanDuel. The spread (and the total) are both going to see movement, especially with this being a Monday ‘nighter’.