Written By Billy Attridge
Despite a lot of big, early moves, and plenty of closing line value, the outcomes haven’t cooperated as much as usual. The sample size remains small and irrelevant, but to say the least, it’s been a frustrating season. Moving forward to NFL Week 14, Cincinnati and Cleveland play the second leg of their in-state rivalry, and the Bengals seem quite motivated! In the AFC Oakland hosts a smoking hot Tennessee club, and the question is, can Derek Carr have success through the air against the Titans? The Rams try to keep their slim playoff hopes alive against the Seahawks on Sunday Night Football; Los Angeles managed to boot the earlier matchup away in Week 5 despite out-gaining Seattle on the road. Before investing a single dollar this weekend, find out why these lines are on the move. Finally, we head west to discuss Vegas look ahead lines for Week 15!
Cincinnati +8 (-110) @ Cleveland:
Cincinnati opened +10.5 for their AFC North clash with Cleveland at FoxBox.com, but we’ve seen drastic movement since then. Currently sitting at +8, professional bettors have gravitated towards the Bengals after the return of Andy Dalton and their first win of the season. We did see the market react towards the possibility of a Mayfield injury, but even after Freddie Kitchens confirmed Baker would not be limited this week, we saw even more money enter the market Wednesday evening. With Cleveland losing last Sunday at Pittsburgh, a game in which they led by 10 in the second quarter, the Browns hopes of a late season playoff push have essentially ended. If you’ve done your reading this week, you’re hearing how upbeat and optimistic Cincinnati is after their first win, and now have their sights set on getting their first divisional “W”. Speedster John Ross returns this week as well, bolstering a receiver group that was in need of a field spacer to pair with Boyd and Tate. Ross has been practicing full-speed since November 14th while waiting for his IR designation to end, so we should see him impact the game immediately. Another interesting tid-bit from this Cincinnati group is the improvement on the defensive side of the ball. Over the past 10 quarters, the Bengals have allowed just one TD, and with the return of Carl Lawson on the defensive line, we’ve seen Carlos Dunlap get going now that he’s not the focal point. We’ll see how much fight the Browns have let, but this early move on the Bengals is very real. Expect the number to hit “7”, and it once it does you’ll see just how strong the position from professional bettors is.
Tennessee @ Oakland +3 (-106) :
We’ve got a good one on the West Coast with Tennessee trekking across the country to face Oakland in a game critical to the AFC playoff race. Three weeks ago the Titans, thanks to the Chiefs inept special teams unit, pulled out a miraculous win and haven’t looked back since; winning two straight versus division foes Jacksonville and Indianapolis. When assessing Tennessee, the strength of schedule that the defense has faced throughout the season has been weak. They’ve faced the third easiest schedule of opposing offenses, including the second easiest against the pass. Despite facing such an easy schedule of opposition on that side of the ball, Tennessee ranks 24th in defensive pass efficiency. Over the next month, the Titans will play four of the Top 12 most efficient offenses in the NFL, starting with the Raiders who rank 7th overall in offensive success rate. Despite the 31-point drubbing on the scoreboard last week, the Raiders actually were a net +1.4 yards per play, out-gained Kansas City by 70+ yards, but dropped an easy pick-six early in the first half that changed the course of the game. Oakland also committed 12 penalties for 99 yards, while the Chiefs didn’t have a single one. There isn’t two playoff contending teams in the AFC race with different perceptions right now than the red-hot Titans and the “same old” Oakland Raiders. This price ballooned to a buy-point on Oakland, and it wouldn’t shock us if professional bettors took +3, where it currently sits at FoxBox.com.
Seattle @ Los Angeles Rams +1 (-110):
Let’s start with the market price, and what it suggests in this NFC west clash. Seattle opened -2.5 (-115) on the road (remember the Ravens closed -3 (-110) on MNF), and we have seen nothing but Rams money hit the market since; pushing this line to +1, or PK depending on the shop. The Rams looked dead and buried after their Monday night football debacle against Baltimore, but this is the NFL, and teams are never as bad (or good) as they looked the previous week. LAR went on the road and handled Arizona with ease, and the offense looked like the Rams of last year, as Cooks, Kupp, Higbee and Woods are all back and healthy, while Todd Gurley looked like a man on a mission last week. Despite the perception of the Rams offense throughout this season, which is partially warranted, they have still pushed out a Top 15 success rate against the 5th toughest slate of opposing defenses. Seattle ranks 16th overall in defensive efficiency, and the Rams have averaged 29 ppg against defenses ranked outside the Top 15 in defensive efficiency. There is no denying the Seahawks have improved throughout the season, especially on the offensive side of the ball with the addition of Josh Gordon and the emergence of rookie receiver D.K. Metcalf. Seattle’s won 5 straight, and Russell Wilson makes his case each week for why he’s a worthy MVP. That said, the market has more than tipped it’s hand on what the right side is for this game, and that’s why we believe the favorite will flip and the Rams will close with a minus sign in front despite the public support for Seattle.
NFL Week 15 Look-Ahead Lines:
Baltimore -14 vs. New York Jets
Tampa Bay -4.5 @ Detroit
Philadelphia -6 @ Washington
Green Bay -7 vs. Chicago
New England -10.5 @ Cincinnati
Tennessee -3 vs. Houston
Seattle -4.5 @ Carolina
Kansas City -12.5 vs. Denver
New York Giants -3 vs. Miami
Pittsburgh -1 vs. Buffalo
Oakland -4 vs. Jacksonville
Cleveland -2 @ Arizona
San Francisco -11.5 vs. Atlanta
Dallas -3.5 vs. Los Angeles Rams
Minnesota -3 @ Los Angeles Chargers
New Orleans -8.5 vs. Indianapolis