NFL Betting Odds: Week 14 Line Movements & Last-Minute News
The biggest news in the sports world this week came from college football as one of the great coaches ever in that sport and a lock Hall of Famer, Ohio State's Urban Meyer, announced he would retire after the Buckeyes' Rose Bowl game on New Year's Day vs. Washington.
If you had been reading my NCAA versions of Opening Line Reports & Last-Minute News stories, then you know I had written more than a few times that the whispers were that this was going to be Meyer's last year even though he had said he planned to return in 2019. It's been a rough year for the three-time national champion in seeing his reputation take another hit with the Zach Smith-related suspension and then dealing with some major health problems. At times, Meyer looked like he was ready to collapse on the sideline. Ohio State will be just fine moving forward with OC Ryan Day taking over, although I doubt he goes 7-0 against Michigan like Meyer did.
So what does this have to do with the NFL? Almost no one believes that Meyer is done coaching forever. He only took one year off after resigning at Florida following the 2010 season due to health reasons before taking the OSU job. Meyer does have a brain cyst, but it's not life-threatening. With the right treatment, he should be fine. And the guy is just 54.
The NFL has long had its eye on Meyer, which probably would suit him better because there's much more stress in college when you have to fly around the country and convince 18-year-olds and their parents to commit to your school. Coaches can actually work fairly regular hours in the NFL, although many don't.
Meyer grew up in Toledo, and there's a certain NFL opening right now in the state of Ohio: Cleveland Browns. That is a hugely attractive job with a ton of young talent led by Heisman-winning QB Baker Mayfield. Meyer already coached one Heisman-winning QB in Tim Tebow, a probable Heisman third-place finisher this year in Dwayne Haskins and a future No. 1 overall pick in Alex Smith (Utah).
The Browns would be stupid not to at least call Meyer. Naturally, Bovada offers a prop on whether Meyer will be Cleveland's head coach for Week 1 of the 2019 season. Yes is +600 and no -1200. I would have to go no there as Meyer would look pretty bad if he simply jumped at another job this quickly. Expect him to sit out 2019 and then resurface somewhere in 2020.
Cleveland could really put Carolina's playoff hopes on life support this week with a victory, although the Browns are 1-point home dogs . Here are some line moves or potential game-changing injury notes for Week 14.
Giants at Redskins (+3.5, 41): By far the biggest line move of the week is on this game. Of the books that put up a line for this one before the Redskins-Eagles Monday night game, Washington was generally a 1.5-point favorite. Then the world saw what happened in Philly: The Redskins were dominated and lost yet another quarterback to a broken leg in Colt McCoy. Washington's QB issues would be funny if not so sad. Now it's Mr. Buttfumble taking over in Mark Sanchez, who was signed off the street a few weeks ago and predictably terrible in the Philly loss. Instead of signing Colin Kaepernick to back up Sanchez, the club inked journeyman Josh Johnson. Yeah, there's no collusion. Washington also put top cornerback Quinton Dunbar and starting guard Jonathan Cooper on IR this week. That franchise is an utter mess. The Giants have placed top safety Landon Collins on IR, but tight end Evan Engram might return this week.
Ravens at Chiefs (-6.5, 53): If you were planning to bet Kansas City in this big game, then hopefully you waited because it opened at Chiefs -8.5. Rookie Lamar Jackson will start at QB again for Baltimore, which might run the ball 50 times between Jackson and its tailbacks to eat clock and keep the K.C. offense off the field. The Chiefs this week brought back Charcandrick West as running back depth after the Kareem Hunt news last week. Not clear if WR Sammy Watkins plays after missing last week with a foot injury. Could this be a trap game for Kansas City ahead of a huge one vs. the Chargers on Thursday? The Chiefs would clinch a playoff berth with a win here. With 77 passing yards on Sunday, Patrick Mahomes would join Dan Marino and Kurt Warner as the only first-or-second year quarterbacks in NFL history to pass for at least 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns in a single season. Marino and Warner were named league MVP in their seasons. Pretty sure Mahomes will throw for at least 77 yards.
Broncos at 49ers (+4, 45.5): Not much movement here, but horrible news for the suddenly surging Broncos this week as No. 1 receiver Emmanuel Sanders tore his Achilles' tendon in practice this week and is obviously done for the season. In fact, Sanders' career could be in jeopardy at age 31 - the Broncos surely will cut him this offseason because Achilles tears are in many ways worse than an ACL injury. This leaves Denver really thin at receiver after trading Demaryius Thomas to Houston a few weeks ago. Now, it's rookie Courtland Sutton and a bunch of guys you never heard of. In addition, top cornerback Chris Harris is done for the year with a fractured fibula. Think I like the Niners here now, even though top running back Matt Breida is out. WR Marquise Goodwin has missed the past two weeks due to a personal matter but should play.
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