Written By Billy Attridge
Week 14 is here and there are great games in each time slot; Baltimore travels to Kansas City at 1:00pm (we’ll touch on that below), the Eagles and Cowboys battle for the division at 4:25, and the Bears and Rams were flexed into the Sunday night spotlight. On Monday, Minnesota takes on the 12th man and the Seattle Seahawks, in a game with massive wild card implications. Before investing this week, see why these numbers have moved, and will continue to do so. We also head west to the desert and reveal the Vegas look ahead lines for Week 15.
Baltimore +7 (-115) @ Kansas City:
BetOnline.ag opened Kansas City 7.5-point favorites, and we’ve seen some movement around the second most important number in the NFL. Baltimore will be the first real test for Kansas City’s offense without it’s Pro Bowl running back Kareem Hunt, and the Ravens should provide quite the opposition this week, as they rank 3rd in defensive rush success rate and 1st in passing success rate. Baltimore brings a physical and aggressive defense combined with a pounding run game (2nd in rush success rate) that can really control the tempo and dominate the trenches. Kansas City is still dead last in defensive rushing efficiency, so this matchup could give the Chiefs fits. Kansas City also has a massive Thursday home game on deck against the Chargers, which will very likely determine the AFC West. While “motivation” and “momentum” is usually over-played in handicapping talk, Baltimore seems to have hit another stride since the switch to Jackson, and the player’s quotes reflect that. This line is more likely to hit “6” and potentially lower than move back up to the opener of 8, despite the majority of tickets on Kansas City.
Denver @ San Francisco +4.5 (-110):
The market opened 4.5, moved to 6, and then we saw a wave of money come in on the home underdog Wednesday afternoon. Last week, Denver closed 4-point favorites and proceeded to win and cover in Cincinnati for the third straight game (+7 turnover margin in those three games). The 49ers couldn’t get out of their own way last week, with costly turnover’s that changed the course of the game starting in the 2nd quarter, with a fumble inside the 10 and a muffed punt at the end of the half that led to a Seattle touchdown. The final score was 43-16, but that was not indicative of what really transpired on the field. This 49ers team, despite being 2-10, is still a +0.1 net yards per play, but have suffered all year from a -20(!!!) turnover margin. With the loss of Emmanuel Sanders on Wednesday, the Broncos lose a key cog on offense, and will lean heavily on their strong run game. That said, the strongest part of the 49ers defense is stopping the run (11th in defensive rush success rate). One the other side of the ball, Chris Harris will not be on the field for Denver, and that’s a hit to a secondary that has improved a bit throughout the year. This line should continue to tank, and seeing +3.5 or even +3 (EV) on the home dog isn’t unrealistic.
Minnesota +3.5 (-119) @ Seattle:
Seattle has won three straight and have caught the public’s eye for their Monday night football showdown against Minnesota. This line opened 3.5, and we’ve seen an appetite for Minnesota from professional bettors. Seattle has lived off turnovers and some clutch play from Russell Wilson, but that’s built the perception that Seattle is better than the metrics indicate. The Seahawks are a net negative -0.4 yards per play, with the defense ranking 27th in the league in yards per play allowed (6.1). As we discussed in the above write-up, San Francisco, if not for crucial turnovers, were a live dog. One thing Minnesota does well is pass the football successfully (8th in pass success rate), and this is a very favorable matchup for them against the Seahawks secondary, which ranks 25th in defensive passing success rate. On the other side of the ball, the Vikings pass rush, which is 4th in adjusted sack rate, can get after Wilson and cause major issues for the Seahawks offense (29th in offensive adjusted sack rate). If we evaluate these teams with a stock-market mentality, this is a “sell” spot on Seattle. There’s a reason the 3.5’s are getting gobbled, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see this number dip below 3, which would indicate a monster position on the dog.
NFL Week 15 Vegas Look-Ahead Lines:
Kansas City Chiefs -4 vs. LA Chargers
Houston Texans -7 at New York Jets
Denver Broncos -6 vs. Cleveland Browns
Minnesota Vikings -8.5 vs. Miami Dolphins
Cincinnati Bengals -4.5 vs. Oakland Raiders
Baltimore Ravens -7 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Indianapolis Colts PICK’em vs. Dallas Cowboys
Buffalo Bills PICK’em vs. Detroit Lions
Chicago Bears -6 vs. Green Bay Packers
New York Giants -1.5 vs. Tennessee Titans
Jacksonville Jaguars -6.5 vs. Washington Redskins
Atlanta Falcons -7.5 vs. Arizona Cardinals
Seattle Seahawks -7 at San Francisco 49ers
Pittsburgh Steelers -1.5 vs. New England Patriots
Los Angeles Rams -7.5 vs. Philadelphia Eagles
New Orleans Saints -6.5 at Carolina Panthers