The Lions have probably been raring to get back on the field after their dominant Thanksgiving win over Chicago, but we actually think the best NFL betting value comes with the road team in this situation. Find out why inside.
The Lions are the heavy favorites in Week 14's NFL odds for this home game, which shouldn't be all that surprising considering they're 8-4 and will face a Tampa Bay team that's won just two times all season. The Lions are an even 6-6 against the spread on the year, with the Buccaneers a little behind at 5-7 ATS.
Detroit's defense has been very impressive this season, which explains why the O/U is only at 41.5 for Sunday's game in the Motor City.
It feels like an eternity since the last time we saw the Lions in action. They've been off since a Thanksgiving triumph at home over Chicago, a game they won 34-17.
Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and the rest of the Detroit passing game was on point against the Bears. Stafford had 390 passing yards and two touchdowns, both of which were caught by Johnson, who had 11 catches for 146 yards. Golden Tate added six catches for 89 yards, while running back Joique Bell had 91 rushing yards and two touchdown runs in the winning effort.
The Lions continued their solid play defensively against Jay Cutler and company. It's been a common theme for this Detroit team, as they rank first in the NFL against the run (only 65.9 rushing yards allowed per game) and are 12th versus the pass.
Now that Johnson's healthy again, this Lions offense should continue to put points on the board as well. They got some great production out of Bell as well, and now it seems as if Reggie Bush is ready to return to the fold too. That couldn't be better timing as Detroit looks to keep the pressure on and book a spot in the playoffs.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
We've seen the Bucs fight hard time and time again, only to fall short more often than not. It's been the story of their season so far, one that's featured just two victories in total.
In Week 13, Tampa Bay lost 14-13 at home to Cincinnati in one of the uglier games of the season. Both offenses stalled quite a bit, with neither team topping 300 total yards of offense. The Buccaneers ended up with 263 yards.
Josh McCown didn't have a great game obviously - he had 190 passing yards without throwing a touchdown, and he was also picked off once. The lone Bucs touchdown came on a Doug Martin run, with the RB totaling 58 rushing yards on 18 carries. Mike Evans and Charles Sims tied for the team lead in receiving yards with 49.
Despite failing against the Bengals last week, you have to figure Tampa Bay will try to attack through the air in Detroit this Sunday. The Lions have been stout as can be against the run, and it's not like Martin and the Bucs running game has had much success. This spot sets up nicely for Evans and potentially Vincent Jackson too, despite his inconsistent numbers this season. But, will Tampa Bay be able to stop Detroit from scoring at will?
The Lions have all the momentum in this matchup, but we look for Tampa Bay to make things interesting in Week 14.
While this line of 10.5 is available, we're going to jump on it. A lot of things are going to have to go right for the Buccaneers to win straight up, but they've been a lot more competitive than the general public may realize and we believe they have an excellent chance of covering as the NFL betting underdogs. They haven't lost by double digits on the road since Week 3, battling tough with the likes of the Steelers, Saints, Redskins, Browns and Bears in the process.
A low-scoring total tends to favor sizable underdogs, and we wouldn't be surprised to see the tandem of Evans and Jackson cause Detroit issues.
With your NFL picks, take Tampa Bay to cash as big-time dogs.
Free NFL Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers +10.5