Mike Tomlin

USA Today Sports

Week 14 of the NFL season kicks off with the Minnesota Vikings hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Both teams are in win-or-go-home mode, as each franchise is clinging onto a potential postseason appearance. The Steelers are coming off a pivotal upset victory over the Baltimore Ravens whereas the Minnesota Vikings were upset by the Detroit Lions. The Vikings are currently three-point favorites despite the absence of star wide receiver Adam Thielen.

Betting on the NFL makes the game more exciting among fans. Monitoring public betting trends is one of the most pivotal tools used by professional handicappers to find the top wagers in the sports betting marketplace. Public betting trends allow you to track which teams the public is chasing and which teams professional gamblers are high on each and every week. Whether you want to tail or fade the public, knowing the public betting trends (bet percentages and money percentages) is pivotal when determining which teams to back. So without further ado, let’s take a look at who the public likes in Week 13’s Thursday Night Football matchup, and where you should place your wagers.

Note: The lines and public betting trends are always changing so be sure to check out FantasySP for the latest odds and trends.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Minnesota Vikings (-3)

The playoff race in each conference has become very tight. Nothing is guaranteed aside from a few teams at the top of their respective conferences. After fending off the Ravens in Week 13, the Steelers are ranked eighth in the AFC. They are behind the Los Angeles Chargers, Cincinnati Bengals, and Buffalo Bills in the Wild Card race.

Ben Roethlisberger has taken a significant step back in his production this season, partially due to the several injuries and ailments he has had to endure. Big Ben is no longer the master of the deep ball and barely slinging it more than 20 yards. The Steelers are 21st in total offense. They have the 14th ranked passing offense and the 28th ranked run offense despite drafting rookie running back Najee Harris in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

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After losing 29-27 to the winless Lions last week, the Vikings are in major need of a victory tonight, especially if Mike Zimmer wants to keep his job as head coach. Let’s not forget that the Steelers didn’t fare much better against the Lions earlier this season when they had countless opportunities to win, but finished the game with the first and only tie of the season.

The Vikings were missing star running back Dalvin Cook, but Alexander Mattison played well in his absence. Once Thielen went down, Kirk Cousins had no choice but to rely pretty much exclusively on All-Pro wideout Justin Jefferson. Jefferson did his job against the Lions, hauling in a season-high 11 receptions for 182 yards and a touchdown. Despite the second-year receiver’s phenomenal outing, it just wasn’t enough for the Vikings to escape Ford Field with a victory. Cousins completed 75% of his pass attempts for 340 yards and two touchdowns. It was the Vikings' defense that really let the team down. Minnesota’s secondary was in far too soft of a coverage formation on the last play of the game that allowed Jared Goff to throw an 11-yard strike to rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown for the game-winning score. Minnesota’s defense will have to improve if they have any shot at defeating the Steelers tonight.

The Vikings have played more one-possession games (11) than anyone in the NFL. All but one of their contests this season have been decided by one score. Minnesota is a bit of an enigma this season, almost impossible to predict. Fortunately for the Vikings, it appears Dalvin Cook will at least try to suit up for tonight’s pivotal matchup. Thielen will be out but Cook’s presence opens things up for the entire offense.

However, it’s difficult to back the Vikings when they are the favorites this season, especially when the spread is so minimal. Minnesota is 1-9 as favorites against the spread in their last 10 games while the Steelers are 7-3 as underdogs against the spread over their last 10 games. The public seems to be backing Minnesota, but this is a situation when I would fade the public. A whopping 68% of the money on spread bets is currently backing the Vikings. That’s why the spread has jumped back up to 3.5 points on some sportsbooks.

The only reason Minnesota is being favored is that they are the home team. Typically, Vegas oddsmakers automatically give the home team a 2.8-point advantage. If this game were to be played on neutral grounds, there probably wouldn’t even be a spread, as this would likely be a coin flip. Both the Steelers and Vikings rank similarly in many key categories.

Despite Cook’s potential return to the lineup, it’s hard to envision him being at full strength after the severity of the shoulder injury he suffered back in Week 12. Pittsburgh’s defense isn’t what it used to be, but T.J. Watt has been perhaps the best defensive player in the entire NFL this season. Something tells me that he and the rest of the Steelers’ defense will be ready to shut down Minnesota’s run-heavy approach. That will mean that Kirk Cousins will be forced to beat Pittsburgh’s secondary with Justin Jefferson, K.J. Osborn, and tight end Tyler Conklin. Expect Jefferson to be double-teamed with Thielen out of the lineup. The Steelers are going to force the Vikings to beat them with their least reliable playmakers.

All that said, I think the Vikings will continue to play very close games. Pittsburgh’s offense isn’t anything to write home about either. Big Ben is simply a shell of the quarterback he once was and is unable to hit his receivers on the deep ball, which is what Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson are best at. However, the Vikings have allowed the fourth-most rushing yards this season, which means Pittsburgh will likely rely on Najee Harris to move the chains.

In a game that should be a low-scoring affair and come down to the wire, I like the Steelers on the road. They are flying high after knocking off their AFC North division rival from the top spot in the conference while the Vikings are in survival mode after suffering the worst upset of the season last week.

One of the biggest differences between these two teams is the head coaches that run the show. The Vikings lack synergy and rumors of Mike Zimmer’s potential firing can create a very uncomfortable atmosphere in the locker room. Mike Tomlin, however, runs a very tight ship and has the respect of all his players. The Steelers have never had a losing season in Tomlin’s 14-year tenure as Pittsburgh’s head coach. Many teams would have imploded following Pittsburgh’s tie with the Lions, but Tomlin did an excellent job at getting the Steelers back on track.

The Steelers should win this game because they are more effective on defense and are a bit healthier on offense. Minnesota also has a propensity to play down or up to their opponent’s level. The Vikings are a team that follows the pace of their opponent, rather than setting the tempo. Tomlin will get to determine how this game unfolds, and he will make sure that the game script plays to his roster’s strengths. The Steelers will run the ball a lot and use the play-action pass to move the chains. Pittsburgh will also put as much pressure on Kirk Cousins as he can handle. And while the Vikings are very difficult to predict in terms of how well they will play, their play calling is very easy to predict. Tomlin will make sure his defense dials in on Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook (if he indeed suits up).

Last week, Tomlin bested John Harbaugh, and called the Ravens’ two-point attempt at the very end of the game “predictable.” Something tells me he will have no problem taking advantage of the Vikings’ and Zimmer’s predictable nature as well.

Pick: Steelers (+3)

Prediction: 23-21 Steelers

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Andrew Wiggins and Jayson Tatum

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In Game 5 of the NBA Finals, the Warriors defended the home floor to take a 3-2 lead in the finals over the Boston Celtics. Largely, this is because Boston was careless with the basketball. The Warriors tallied nine steals and forced 18 turnovers by the Celtics. In contrast, the Warriors only got the ball stolen twice and turned the ball over just six times Monday night. While Stephen Curry was guarded ferociously and was held to just 16 points on 7-of-22 shooting (and 0-9 from downtown), his teammates stepped up.

Andrew Wiggins had another huge double-double, scoring 26 points (12-23 FG) and hauling in 13 rebounds. Finally, if the Celtics hope to win in Game 6, they will need to stay awake in the fourth quarter. Over the last two games, Boston has fallen asleep at the end of the game while the Warriors managed to sneak away with two consecutive victories.

Let's take a look at some of tonight's best bets for this huge NBA Finals Game 6.

Please Note: All betting odds were correct today as of 2:00 pm EST from Caesars Sportsbook

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Best Bets of the Night

Golden State Warriors at Boston Celtics -4 (GSW Leads 3-2)

NBA Finals Best Bet #1: Boston Celtics -4 (-110)

It’s difficult to envision the Boston Celtics collapsing in the fourth quarter in three consecutive games. The Celtics may briefly watch the tape from Game 5 but they are going to have to shake it off and move forward immediately. Boston’s carelessness with the basketball Monday night should produce a much-needed wake-up call that will allow the team to make smarter passes and take fewer risks on offense against a Golden State defense that has surged over the last two games.

While Steph will likely score more than 16 points in Game 6, Jaylen Brown must have a bounce-back performance after going 5-of-18 for 18 points in Game 5. Though the Celtics shot above 40% from the field on Monday night, they turned the ball over at an uncharacteristic rate, finishing the night with 18 turnovers. Some of those were unforced errors while the Warriors earned nine steals as well.

At home in Game 6, the Celtics will play better and bring this 2022 NBA Finals series to a blockbuster Game 7 at the Chase Center. For NBA fans wishing for a seven-game series in the 2022 Finals and bettors looking to cash in on Game 6, Boston will win by at least four points at home in a win-or-go-home scenario. Jayson Tatum has yet to play his best basketball this series with Andrew Wiggins playing lethal defense but tonight will be the night that he finally drops 30+ points. Although Steve Kerr seems to think his squad is ready to close out the series, he may have to think again given how well Boston has bounced back from losses this postseason.

Don’t forget that the Celtics were in a three-game to two-game deficit against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals yet found a way to come out victorious. They may not be able to win two straight against Golden State but it’s tough to imagine the Warriors defeating the Celtics in three consecutive matchups. Boston wins by a few possessions: 110-104.

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NBA Finals Best Bet #2: Over (O/U) 210 Total Points (-110)

Though only 204 points were scored between both teams in Game 5 (BOS 97 - 107 GSW), Game 6 will be a higher-scoring contest for multiple reasons. First, Jaylen Brown will have a bounce-back night. After being held to 18 points on 27.8% shooting from the field on Monday, Brown will almost certainly play more efficiently and score more in Game 6. Additionally, Boston had way fewer scoring opportunities due to their whopping 18 turnovers. Ima Udoke will make sure his starters take care of the ball in a game that can decide Boston’s fate. Marcus Smart and Al Horford have come up huge as role players but Tatum needs to really shift into an entirely new gear. Don’t be surprised if that happens tonight.

The story through Games 4 and 5 has been the same. Golden State has stepped it up on defense, managing to out-rebound the Celtics in both contests. Robert Williams III might have something to say about that tonight. In Game 6, the Celtics should be more cautious with the ball and therefore have more opportunities than they did over the last two contests. Meanwhile, the Warriors are always expected to drop at least 105+ points.

NBA Player Props

Golden State Warriors at Boston Celtics -4 (GSW Leads 3-2)

Prop #1: Andrew Wiggins To Record a Double-Double (+225)

Throughout these NBA Finals, Andrew Wiggins has been on an absolute tear. Just over the last two contests where he finished both with double-doubles, he’s recorded 29 rebounds and 43 points. He has adapted his style of play and is spending more time down low in the post to help the Warriors out on the glass. Wiggins is putting significant pressure on Robert Williams III, Al Horford, and Jayson Tatum to rebounds the ball more efficiently. Not only is Wiggins keeping his scoring numbers up, he’s drastically improved on the defensive end to record 49 rebounds (9.8 rebounds per game in the Finals) through the first five games of this series. Wiggins’ shift to focus on rebounding and keeping the pressure down low has worked brilliantly for the Warriors over the last two games, both of which they won. In Game 6, expect him to continue to do what has been working, giving him a great chance to produce a third consecutive double-double in the NBA Finals. Perhaps he can even win the NBA Finals MVP Award if he continues to play at this level. Wiggins has been the true x-factor for the Dubs in this series.

Prop #2: Jaylen Brown Over 24.5 Points (-110)

After a rough shooting night in Game 5 where Brown only converted on five of his 18 shots from the field, he should wake up and score 25+ points in Game 6 at TD Garden. While you may want to stick away from three-point shooting props involving brown right now, he’ll hit the over in points tonight at the TD Garden. Brown has only scored over 24 points in one of five games this series (27 points in Game 3) but the Celtics do much better when Brown and Tatum perform like the perennial All-Stars that they are.

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Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

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In Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Finals, Stephen Curry and the Warriors executed exactly where they didn’t in Game 3 to tie up the series 2-2. Notably, Golden State dominated down low Friday night after being outrebounded and suffocated by the Celtics in Game 3. As a team, the Warriors recorded 16 offensive boards for a total of 55 rebounds for the night. For instance, Draymond Green struggled Wednesday night to finish the night with only four rebounds and three assists before fouling out in the fourth quarter.

In Game 4, Draymond dominated down low for eight rebounds, eight assists, and four steals without getting himself into foul trouble (only three PFs for Green in Game 4 after fouling out in Game 3).

Best Bets of the Night

Game: Boston Celtics at Golden State Warriors - 4 (-110)

Similar to Game 3, both teams shot the ball rather evenly. The Warriors finished the night with 44% shooting from the field, and 34.9% from downtown. The Celtics converted 40% of the field goal attempts and 39.5% of their shots from deep. One factor which helped Golden State keep up with the Celtics throughout the game was terrific rebounding. Andrew Wiggins stepped it up off the glass to produce a 17-point and 16-rebound double-double. What really caused the Celtics to lose in Game 3 was a complete offensive collapse in the fourth quarter.

With seven minutes remaining in the game, the Celtics had a 91-86 lead over Golden State. That means Boston was outscored 21-6 in the second half of the fourth quarter to lose Game 4 107-97. With Golden State back home, expect their offense to shoot better than they did on the road and secure a home victory in Game 5.

Bet: Golden State Warriors -4 (-110)

Throughout the 2022 NBA Playoffs, the Warriors shot 49.4% from the field and 40.7% from downtown in 11 games played at home. For their nine road games, the Warriors were less efficient on average averaging 47.2 FG% (2.2% less efficient from the field) and 34.9% (-5.8% less efficient from 3PT range). The numbers reveal clearly that for the 2022 NBA Playoffs, the Warriors have been more efficient scoring. With the prospect of taking a 3-2 lead over the Celtics, its likely that Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson have another big night in front of the home crowd.

Bet: Over (O/U) 212.5 Total Points (-110)

While only 204 points were scored in Game 4, expect Game 5 to be a much higher-scoring game. In addition to the Warriors shooting much better from the field, the team seems to have found some efficiency against the bigger Celtics down low. These two factors could push the Warriors to score 120+ points in Game 5. In turn, Jayson Tatum who scored 23 points (8-23 FG) will bounce back to have a 30+ point game. Both he and Steph are scoring big these NBA Finals.

While the defense was the main story of Games 3 and 4 at the TD Garden, scoring buckets will be the principal feature of Game 5 at the Chase Center. With him and Stephen Curry averaging more than 34 PPG through these finals, you can count on Game 5 in Golden State to be a high-scoring game.

NBA Player Props

Game: Boston Celtics at Golden State Warriors - 4 (-110)

Prop: Jayson Tatum, Over 26.5 Points

Jayson Tatum, like the rest of the Celtics, started hot but finished ice cold. If it wasn’t for the fourth quarter where Tatum shot the ball multiple times unsuccessfully. This negatively impacted his shooting numbers from Game 4 where he finished the night with 23 points (8-23 FG) converting only 34.9% of his shots taken. After a disappointing Friday night, Tatum will shoot more efficiently in Game 5. Since he still scored 23 points on an off-night, you can count on Tatum to score 30+ points in Game 5 even if the Warriors defeat the Celtics.

Prop: Andrew Wiggins, Over 6.5 Rebounds

One of the major adjustments made by the Warriors in Game 4 was boosting their presence off the glass. Andrew Wiggins recorded 16 of Golden State’s 55 rebounds Friday night.

Through the first four games of the NBA Finals, Wiggins has recorded a total of 34 rebounds. That means Wiggins is averaging 8.5 rebounds per game in the 2022 NBA Finals. Especially because the Warriors know how effective he was producing much-needed rebounds in Game 4, Wiggins will look to have a similar presence down-low in Game 5.

Boston Celtics, NBA Finals Game 3

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In Game 3, both teams shot almost equally well from the field and from downtown. However, Boston took more shots from the field and dominated off the glass to take Game 3 116-100. Boston’s defensive energy was on full display Wednesday night as they outrebounded and drew countless fouls from the Warriors. Boston’s defense was the story of Game 3. Will Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry overwhelm the Celtics in Game 4?

Let’s take a look at some of tonight’s best bets for Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Finals.

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Best Bets of the Night

Game: Golden State Warriors at Boston Celtics Game 4 (BOS Leads 2-1)

In Game 3, both teams shot virtually as efficiently from the field. The Celtics converted 48.3% of their shots (43-89 FG) from the field and went 37.1% from downtown. Golden State finished the night with a 46.2 FG% (36-78 FG) as a team, converting 37.5% from beyond the arc. The main reason for the Celtics’ victory was fantastic defense. For instance, Robert Williams III who isn’t 100% healthy, played 26 minutes to produce 10 points, eight rebounds, and four blocks. The Celtics dominated the Warriors off the glass to record 47 rebounds as a team with 15 of them recorded on the offensive end. In contrast, the Warriors totaled 31 rebounds on the game and only had six offensive rebounds. In addition, the Warriors committed 23 personal fouls allowing the Celtics to go to the line 24 times (Celtics were 17-24 FT) and had 16 turnovers as a team. For the Warriors to bounce back in Game 4, they will need to be more aggressive down low and less sloppy on the floor.

Bet #1: Golden State Warriors, +4 (-110)

The Warriors shot the ball well in Game 3, but were simply overwhelmed by the Celtics defense and the energy at the TD Garden Wednesday night. Golden State recorded 39 combined turnovers (16) and personal fouls (23) which demonstrates how sloppy they were with the basketball. This gave Boston a possession advantage throughout the game, ultimately allowing the Celtics to take 11 more field goal attempts and finish the night with seven more made FGs than the Warriors. Offensive efficiency is not the issue for the Warriors. Rather, they will need to ramp it up on defense in Game 4 to make the game interesting. Draymond Green fouled out of the contest after being shut down all night. Green was held to just two points, four rebounds, three assists, and two turnovers in 35 minutes on the floor before getting a sixth personal foul in Game 3.

Bet #2: Over (O/U) 215 Total Points (-110)

Though the Warriors were held to 100 points of offense on Wednesday night, they shot the ball well. Golden State was limited as a team for FGAs as a result of Boston’s defense. In Game 4, Golden State will have an answer to put up more points on the board than they did in Game 3. In turn, the Celtics will keep things interesting. Expect this Game 4 to be a high-scoring contest. Both teams have been scoring big throughout these playoffs, and that doesn't seem to be changing right now during the Finals.

NBA Player Props

Game: Golden State Warriors at Boston Celtics Game 4 (BOS Leads 2-1)

Prop #1: Klay Thompson, Over 19.5 Points

Klay Thompson started the night shooting very well but cooled down towards the end. He went five for a whopping 13 attempts from downtown Wednesday night. He finished the night 7-of-17 from the field for 25 points. This comes after a terrible Game 2 performance where Klay went 4-of-19 from the field and only one-of-eight from beyond-the-arc. Tonight, Klay will shoot better tonight after an average Game 3 performance and bad Games 1 and 2.

Prop #2: Jaylen Brown, Over 2.5 Threes

Jaylen Brown has been knocking his shots from downtown as of late. In the last two games, he’s recorded at least three threes. He’s gone 7-of-17 (41.1%) from downtown through Games 2 and 3 combined. In the second of two home games at the TD Garden, it’s likely that Brown knocks down at least three buckets from beyond-the-arc tonight in Game 4.

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