NFL Betting Odds: Week 14 Line Movements & Last-Minute News
I am growing tired of talking about the inept New York Giants and their quarterback/coaching/general manager situation, and you have my word this is the last time I speak of them for the 2017 season. But I'm a sucker for special coaching props, and BookMaker has one up .
The big news of the week was the Giants, as no surprise whatsoever, firing Coach Ben McAdoo and GM Jerry Reese. McAdoo was a pretty good offensive coordinator under Tom Coughlin, but that offense had only gone backward in his not-quite-two seasons as head coach. Reese was the architect of two Super Bowl teams but hasn't drafted well in recent years outside of taking Odell Beckham Jr. at No. 12 overall in 2014 and safety Landon Collins at No. 33 overall in 2015.
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Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is the interim coach, and he has a less-than-zero chance of the full-time gig. Spags' first order of duty was to reinstall Eli Manning as the starting quarterback after McAdoo benched him for last week's loss in Oakland - with ownership's permission, it should be said.
New York opened as a 6-point home dog this Sunday against Dallas, which is on extra rest and absolutely has to win to keep its wild-card hopes alive. That number is down to 3.5 at some books. The Giants are taking solid action, and sometimes a coaching change can spur guys for a week or two. I don't see it.
BookMaker offers a prop on the next Giants coach. The favorite is the field at -105, but the individual favorite is former Falcons coach and current Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith at +390. I don't see that happening as Smith's defense has vastly underachieved this season. I get why the site makes him a favorite as Smith was a finalist for the job last time and probably would have gotten it had Manning not spoken up for McAdoo. But Smith's stock is down right now.
The second-favorite is the guy I think will be offered the job first: Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels (+410). He could be a package deal with Patriots VP of player personnel Nick Caserio, who would take over as GM. Pats coach Bill Belichick has a close relationship with Giants owner John Mara and would probably recommend McDaniels to go there. Other teams certainly will want to interview McDaniels, but the Giants job might be the best one open in terms of franchise stability and ownership. The Colts job will be coveted simply because of Andrew Luck - assuming he's ever healthy. The Bears will call McDaniels too.
Some other interesting but unlikely names on that prop: Stanford's David Shaw (+2286), Jim Harbaugh (+2795) Notre Dame's Brian Kelly (+4100 - I actually think he might be somewhere in the NFL next year), Jon Gruden (+4199), Bill Cowher (+6000) and Nick Saban (+8000). I'll be putting money down on McDaniels.
Here are some line moves or potential game-changing injury notes for Week 14.
Vikings at Panthers (+2.5, 40.5): Carolina opened at +1. The Panthers need this one much worse as they are fighting for the NFC's final wild-card spot (Atlanta's win Thursday didn't help the Cats). It's also the first of three straight at home before closing in Atlanta. Some great news for Cam Newton as he will see the return of two Pro Bowlers: center Ryan Kalil and tight end Greg Olsen. Kalil has been bothered by a neck injury nearly all season and has been inactive for four of the past five games, not playing in the one game he suited up. His backup, Tyler Larsen, has a foot injury. Olsen broke his foot in Week 2 and returned two weeks ago vs. the Jets but only lasted a half before the foot started bothering him, and he sat out last week. Newton will need all the help he can get against one of the NFL's best defenses. That Vikings unit has held opponents to 289.1 yards per game (2nd in the NFL) and 17.0 points per game (2nd in the NFL). Minnesota has won five straight road games for the first time since 1974. I think that ends.
Bears at Bengals (-6.5, 38.5): If this gets over 7 points, I'm jumping all over the Bears even as sorry as that franchise is right now. I can't imagine the Bengals have much left in the tank after Monday night's emotionally draining and physically devastating last-second home loss to the Steelers that ended Cincinnati's playoff hopes. That was one of the most physical NFL games in recent memory, often not in a good way. Among the Bengals injured: cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, linebacker Vontaze Burfict and running back Joe Mixon are in the concussion protocol, while cornerbacks Adam Jones and Darqueze Dennard, linebacker Nick Vigil and safety Shawn Williams are all nursing various maladies. The team did get one piece of good news this week when the one-game suspension issued to safety George Iloka was reduced to a fine.
Raiders at Chiefs (-4, 48.5): The winner could be in sole possession of first in the AFC West depending on what the Chargers do against Washington. Oakland goes for the season sweep as well. A big reason the Raiders beat the Chiefs in a wild 31-30 game in Week 7 was Amari Cooper. He's having a disappointing season but had a huge night vs. Kansas City with 11 catches for 210 yards and two scores. Many of that came against to Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters. It's looking like neither will play here. Peters for sure won't as he was suspended for one game by the team for his antics at the end of last week's loss to the Jets. I think there's more to this story, because this could be K.C.'s season and now Andy Reid won't have his top cover guy. Cooper, meanwhile, missed last week with both a concussion and ankle issues. He has cleared concussion protocol but it's looking like the ankle will keep him out again.
Eagles at Rams (-2.5, 48): My biggest surprise on the game of the week is that the total has shrunk 3 points from its opening. These teams are tied for the NFL lead in scoring at 30.1 points per game. It's 2016 No. 1 overall draft pick Jared Goff against 2016 No. 2 overall draft pick Carson Wentz for the first time, maybe the future marquee individual rivalry in the NFC. It's amazing how much better both are compared to their rookie seasons - just shows how much coaching matters in the NFL. The Eagles had their nine-game winning streak snapped last Sunday night in Seattle but went to the Los Angeles area this week to practice. Philly can clinch the NFC East on Sunday. The Rams are atop the NFC West - Seattle can still win that, though -- and on track for their first playoff appearance since 2004.
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