NFL Week 14 Sharp Betting Report: Action Creates Intrigue in Vikings-Lions Tilt

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LAS VEGAS — The team with only a pair of defeats, the second-best record in the NFL, and the largest divisional advantage of five games is an underdog this week against a team that might be logging a fifth consecutive losing season.

BetMGM opened Minnesota at Detroit as a pick’em, but action shifted to the Lions as 2.5-point favorites by Wednesday.

“That’s just crazy,” said Lamarr Mitchell, BetMGM’s Director of Trading. “Kind of surprising.”

The ticket count, by mid-week at BetMGM’s nine Strip properties, favored Minnesota by a 2-to-1 margin.

“But sharp money has been coming in on the Lions,” Mitchell said. That’s what moved the line, which hit 1.5 come Thursday.

It isn’t a secret that the 10-2 Vikings have scored 289 points and yielded 279, the slimmest of a positive points differential that normally spells mediocrity.

By contrast, Philadelphia (338-226), Buffalo (333-209), Kansas City (350-270), and San Francisco (282-190) all possess better differentials and healthier outlooks, pending the performance of Niners third-string quarterback Brock Purdy.

NFL Week 14 Sharp Betting Report: Action Creates Intrigue in Vikings-Lions Tilt
Minnesota is featured in our NFL Week 14 sharp betting report: action creates intrigue in Vikings-Lions tilt. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)

The resumé for the Vikings in that opening statement led Mitchell to scratch his head.

“Like Mark Twain said, there are lies, damned lies, and statistics,” he said. “You can turn stats around either way you want to. You can look at all of the Vikings’ one-score victories and say they’re battle-tested, winning those close games.

“Typically, it doesn’t go that way in the NFL. You’ll win some. You’ll lose some.”

There is a great lesson here and Mitchell uses the Raiders, who benefited from winning close games last season as an example.

“This year, the Raiders haven’t won the close games,” he said. “If I’m looking ahead to next year, it’ll be interesting to see; you can’t go two years in a row winning all those close games. Maybe the Vikings do come down to earth next year.

“Even if they were to win four or five of nine close games, that’s five out of nine. That’s a lot. But nine in a row winning one-score games? That’s just absolutely amazing.”

It’s where regression to the mean comes into play. When does that trend begin pivoting the other way? Some sharp professional bettors have weighed in this week, which has moved the needle toward the Lions.

“I just think it all balances out, at some point,” Mitchell said. “I don’t whether I have more confidence in it long- or short-term. I just know, at some point, it’s going to come back to where it’s supposed to be.”

Minnesota Vikings (10-2, 6-5-1 ATS) at Detroit Lions (5-7, 8-4 ATS)

The dominant team is fortunate to have an above-the-water ATS mark, while the lowly squad has been profitable at the window.

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The Vikings have won five of their past seven games in Detroit, and four of the previous five have averaged more than 63 points. Since 2020, games involving these two are a combined 54-35-1 (60.6%) to Over.

Lately, the Lions have been roaring with a points-per-play (PPP) margin of 0.172, which is third in the league. The Vikings at -0.084 are 26th.

Read: Vikings’ Super Bowl 57 odds | NFL Week 14 betting tips and strategies

New York Jets (7-5, 7-5 ATS) at Buffalo Bills (9-3, 6-5-1 ATS)

The money difference is about even with a slight edge toward the Bills. The ticket count, however, favors the Jets by a 4-1 margin, according to Mitchell.

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“And that seems about right. This being another divisional game, the point spread is very high for a Jets team that has played extremely well, defensively, most of the year.”

Over the course of the season, the Jets sport the league’s fifth-best defense, allowing 0.291 PPP. Away from home, though, they’re even better (third at 0.269).

Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, the 6-foot-3, 200-pound rookie cornerback out of Cincinnati, has played a key role in that stinginess. He owns a league-high 15 passes defended and has picked off two passes.

One scouting service projects Sauce to intercept a pass from Josh Allen in this one. Allen has thrown 11 this season, second to Indy QB Matt Ryan’s league-worst 13.

Robert Saleh, 43, spent four seasons as San Francisco’s defensive coordinator before taking over the reins of the Jets before the 2021 season, in which they finished 4-13.

This season, the 7-5 Jets are breathing down the Dolphins (8-4) and Bills (9-3). Bringing up the rear of the AFC West, which is a very rare sentence to type, are the 6-6 New England Patriots.

“Ya gotta think these Jets think Saleh has something working with this team,” Mitchell said. “That AFC East has turned into a beast.”

All about the Bills: Big favorite at home vs. Jets | Josh Allen Under 256.6 passing yards?

Philadelphia Eagles (11-1, 7-5 ATS) at New York Giants (7-4-1, 9-3 ATS)

Sun (12/11) @ 1 p.m. ET
MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ

Eagles -7 (-105), Total 45

Excavating this zany league unearthed a gem in that Giants home games since 2020 have finished Under at a 78.3-percent rate (17-4-2).

In the past 10 games in this series in East Rutherford, the Giants are 4-0 when they’ve held the Eagles to 23 or fewer points, and 0-6 when allowing Philly more than 24 points.

For whatever it might be worth, the Eagles have averaged 22 points in their past three games on the highway.

“I wouldn’t be surprised, in this spot here, if the Giants do show up,” Mitchell said. “They had a tough game last week where they should have won, could have won … I kind of think this spread is a little too high.”

At home last Sunday, the Giants tied Washington, 20-20. Before that, New York had dropped three of four, defeating only Houston, 24-16, in Jersey.

The BetMGM tickets, however, favor Philly by a 4-1 measure.

The Eagles racked up a total of 953 yards in their past two games, home wins over Green Bay and Tennessee. Philly tallied at least 400 yards in five other games this season, but it produced a season-low 264 in its lone loss (at home to Washington).

“They haven’t played each other yet and, typically, these divisional teams split,” said Mitchell, a Cowboys fan until a few years ago. Expecting the Giants to lose in Philly, then, further gives Mitchell reason to circle the Giants in this spot.

NFL MVP odds: Jalen Hurts closing the gap on Patrick Mahomes 

Miami Dolphins (8-4, 6-6 ATS) at Los Angeles Chargers (6-6, 7-5 ATS)

Sun (12/11) @ 8:2 p.m. ET
SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, CA

Dolphins -3.5, Total 52

From their risk room at BetMGM headquarters at Mandalay Bay, Mitchell and his team watch the Chargers and head coach Brandon Staley every week and, well, let’s just let Mitchell take it from here.

“Staley and his analytics … we watch this guy every weekend and something always happens. We’re just befuddled at the things they do. 

“We know a lot of Chargers fans, and they say they always find a way to lose at the end of games, dumb plays that just make you scratch your head.”

The money and tickets here both favor Miami by a 4-1 margin.

Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa leads the league in 13 categories, including passer rating (112.0) and yards per pass attempt (9.0).

Also read: Dolphins vs. Chargers odds and prediction

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-6, 3-8-1 ATS) at San Francisco 49ers (8-4, 7-5 ATS)

Sun (12/11) @ 4:25 p.m. ET
Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA

Niners -3.5 (Even), Total 37.5

Tom Brady and his 375 NFL starts (which includes playoffs that won his teams seven Vince Lombardi Trophies) versus Brock Purdy, who has thrown 46 passes in the league.

Essentially down to their third-string quarterback after Jimmy Garoppolo was lost last week with a broken bone in his left foot, the Niners now rely on Purdy, Mr. Irrelevant from the 2022 NFL Draft as its 262nd and final selection out of Iowa State.

Money at BetMGM has come in on Brady and the Bucs at an 8-1 clip, and the ticket count is even.

“All the money has been coming in at plus-3.5,” Mitchell said, “after Brady pulled a rabbit out of his hat again.”

At home, New Orleans led 13-3 on Monday night when Mitchell left his house to pick up daughter Keelie at volleyball practice. He didn’t put the game on the radio. He picked her up, tuned into the game, and heard Brady had pulled it out, 17-16.

“Unbelievable. Public money is all on the Bucs and Brady.”

Check out: Mr. Irrelevant gets more betting love than the GOAT | NFL Week 15 odds feature 49ers vs. Seahawks

Kansas City Chiefs (9-3, 3-8-1 ATS) at Denver Broncos (3-9, 4-8 ATS)

Sun (12/11) @ 4:05 p.m. ET
Empower Field at Mile High, Denver, CO

Chiefs -9.5, Total 44

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes against the stingy Broncos defense in its own yard.

At BetMGM, the Chiefs have garnered more tickets at a 6-1 pace and more money at a 10-1 rate.

The big question, of course, will be how Denver will score, and it might need at least two touchdowns from its defense to have a chance. This is the worst offense in the league, averaging 0.220 PPP; that number is worse in its past three games, and even worse in its last game.

To put the cherry on this offensive stink bomb at 0.178, Denver owns the worst scoring efficiency at home in the NFL.

Mahomes has turned in his worst two passing performances in his past two games, throwing for just a single TD in both, a 26-10 home win over the Rams and last week’s 27-24 defeat in Cincinnati.

It was the first time all season he registered a single TD toss in consecutive games. He also ran one in in Cincy.

Denver’s defense is tops in the league, allowing foes a meager 0.267 PPP. Conversely, KC is No. 1 in away PPP margin at 0.152. When the Broncos have the ball, it’ll be a good time to grab a beverage or visit the facilities.

Remember that since 2018, Broncos games to Under are 53-24 (.688) and by an average of nearly four points — huge by NFL standards.

Chiefs vs. Broncos: Under 43?

New England Patriots (6-6, 6-5-1 ATS) at Arizona Cardinals (4-8, 6-6 ATS)

Mon (12/12) @ 8:15 p.m. ET
State Farm Stadium, Glendale, AZ

Patriots -1.5, Total 43.5

BetMGM tickets are 2-1 toward New England, but the money favors the Patriots by a whopping 13-1 margin.

“There aren’t many believers in [quarterback] Kyler Murray or [coach] Kliff Kingsbury,” Mitchell said.

The Cardinals had their bye week last weekend, which maybe gave them extra time to dwell on having lost their previous two games, four of their past five, and six of their previous eight tilts.

Last time out on Nov. 27, the Cards lost to the Chargers, 25-24, despite Murray throwing for two TDs and running one into the end zone.

Arizona is tied for 30th in PPP margin with the Rams at -0.107. In yards per pass attempt, it’s tied for 31st with Pittsburgh at 6.1. And in yards per throw at home, the Cards are dead last in the league at 5.8.

In his past four games, Pats quarterback Mac Jones has four TD passes and no picks.

Also check: Patriots vs. Cardinals odds and prediction | Discover the best sports betting app for you

About the Author
Rob Miech

Rob Miech

Rob Miech is a writer and contributor for Gaming Today, covering soccer and producing sports betting features. He has written about college hoops for the Las Vegas Sun, CBS SportsLine and the Pasadena Star-News. He is the author of four books, including Sports Betting for Winners.

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