Thursday night NFL best bets: Steelers at Vikings

Week 14 of the NFL season kicks off Thursday with two teams trying to stay in the playoff hunt.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, fresh off an upset of the Baltimore Ravens, head to Minnesota to take on the Vikings, who are coming off a loss to the previously winless Detroit Lions.

ESPN betting analysts Joe Fortenbaugh (38-35-1, 2-3 last week), Doug Kezirian (13-23-2, 0-2), Tyler Fulghum (15-23, 6-0) and Anita Marks (202-185, 16-10), sports betting deputy editor David Bearman (26-26-1, 2-2), Stats & Information’s Seth Walder 51-44 (2-2), Football Outsiders’ Aaron Schatz (41-35, 3-3) and fantasy/betting analyst Eric Moody (100-93, 8-6) have teamed up to offer their best bets.

Odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook (as of Wednesday).

Pittsburgh Steelers at Minnesota Vikings (-3, 43.5)

Fortenbaugh: Minnesota enters Thursday night’s showdown with a litany of ailments on offense, notably running back Dalvin Cook (shoulder), wide receiver Adam Thielen (high ankle sprain) and offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw (ankle). While none of those three have been ruled out as of the time of this writing, none are anywhere near 100% healthy, either. Further, Minnesota’s defense packs a much tougher punch when playing within the hostile confines of U.S. Bank Stadium, where the team is permitting an average of just 19.8 points per game this season as opposed to 29.4 points per game on the road. Pittsburgh’s offense ranks 21st in the NFL in scoring (20.3 PPG) and 27th in yards per play (5.0), not to mention the fact that the under is an astounding 37-13-1 in the team’s past 51 road games. Additionally, take note that the under is 11-2 in the NFL’s past 13 Thursday games.

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