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Week 14 of the 2021 NFL season starts off with the Minnesota Vikings hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers. Here are our staff's favorite bets for TNF.
ANALYSIS

Thursday Night Football Best Bets Week 14: Our Staff's Locks For Minnesota Vikings vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Week 14 of the NFL season is upon us and we'll be treated to an old-school NFL matchup. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings have met up 18 times, splitting the series 9-9, and even faced off in Super Bowl IX in 1975 where the Steelers came out on top.

This time, it's two teams who are fighting for their playoff lives. The Steelers are one spot out of the playoffs in the NFC while the Vikings dropped to the nine seed (two spots out) after their last-second loss to Detroit last week.

Who comes out on top this week? Find out which plays our staff likes the most from this Thursday Night Football matchup.

Click Here For Vikings vs Steelers odds

Minnesota Vikings vs Pittsburgh Steelers Picks

KJ Osborn Over 40.5 Receiving Yards (-110)

Vikings star wide receiver Adam Thielen left last week’s loss to the Lions in the first quarter. Thielen is reportedly dealing with a high ankle sprain, which will keep him sidelined for the near future. Enter KJ Osborn, Minnesota’s talented, under-the-radar third receiver.

Osborn has been solid even with Thielen in the lineup this season, averaging 34.3 yards per game, which isn’t far off from the 41+ we need from him tonight. But, his usage will undoubtedly spike thanks to his promotion to WR2 in this offense.

Osborn played a career-high 92% of Minnesota’s offensive snaps last week and finished with a receiving line of seven targets, four catches, 47 yards, and a touchdown. The game marked Osborn’s fifth of the season seeing at least five targets. Here are his yardage totals in games where he’s been targeted 5+ times: 76, 26, 78, 47, 91

That boils down to 63.6 YPG in games he sees 5+ targets this season. And with Thielen’s 8.2 targets per game now missing from the Minnesota passing attack, I’d expect Osborn to pick up the slack and see at least six or seven looks from Kirk Cousins tonight.

The Steelers are allowing the 13th most yards per game to opposing wideouts and will have their hands full trying to stop Justin Jefferson tonight. Simply put, this is a plus-matchup for KJ Osborn in what could be a Primetime breakout game for the young receiver.

-- Gray Gutfreund (@PropBetGuru)

K.J. Osborn OVER 41.5 Receiving Yards (-110)

Adam Thielen will be out for tonight's game, which automatically opens up some additional target share for K.J. Osborn. When Thielen exited last week's game, Osborn caught 4 of 7 targets (his most targets since Week 6) for 47 yards and a touchdown. A lot of people are banking on Viking's tight end, Tyler Conklin to step up, which is very possible, however, the Pittsburgh Steelers have defended the tight end position a lot better than wideouts. I'll give K.J. Osborn the edge tonight. He will see a healthy dose of targets in Thielen's absence.

-- Nate Hamilton (@DomiNateFF)

Vikings -3 (-120)

This is a playoff game essentially in Minnesota tonight for the Vikings who need to win these games to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Steelers have proved to be a tough defense again this season but they also present one of the worst offenses in the NFL and will struggle to score in this game. I believe the Vikings run game will be good enough to get it done tonight & the lack of scoring from Pittsburgh will catch up to them in this game. Give me the short home favorite tonight!

-- Matt McCuen (@DeadPresPicks)

These two teams come into tonight off two very different Sunday emotions but both teams need this game to keep alive any post-season aspirations. One of these squads beat its biggest rival and division leader at the buzzer, while the other lost to a team that was 0-10. I'm picking the team that just lost to the winless Lions. Vikings -3 for me

-- Geoff Fienberg (@gfienberg17)

Chase Claypool Anytime TD (+210)

How many touchdowns does Chase Claypool have this season? One…yikes. Well let me tell ya, this Steelers team has been a mess this season. While I’m obviously not excited by the fact that he only has one this season, grabbing nine in his rookie season showed me he has all the tools to get the job done. As the deep threat on this team, Claypool has a catch of 35+ yards in three-plus games and I see the Steelers passing plenty tonight. Great matchup vs the porous Vikings secondary, Chase might have a couple tonight, bounce-back time.

- Stuart Durst (@MonotoneFootbal)

Chase Claypool Over 50.5 Receiving Yards (-110)

The Vikings have struggled mightily against wide receivers all season. During the past five weeks, they've afforded wide receivers the most production in the NFL. They have allowed the third-most yards to the position in 2021. As Diontae Johnson should get his all night, one area in which the Vikings have particularly struggled is on vertical passes. They rate as one of the five worst defenses on throws of 15 or more yards in the league. That's good news for Claypool, the team's top deep threat, He has a team-high 12.6 yard average depth of target. He's averaging a decent 7.1 targets per game and has 70-plus yards in five of the six games in which he reached six targets. He’s topped this number the last three weeks. With Patrick Peterson back for the Vikings, Diontae Johnson will see more attention from him possibly funneling more throws Claypools’ way. Best of luck if you tail!

-- Tom Viera (@Tom_Viera)

Over 44 (-110)

On Monday Night Football, I had some luck on the under in that bad weather contest but this time, we’re going indoors to the Minnesota Vikings. I’m switching it up to the over. The Vikings are averaging 25.7 points per game and 29 over their last three while Pittsburgh is sitting at 20.3 and 22.3 over their last three games. Only two of these games at home for Minnesota this year have gone over 44, but I think we see a clear tonight with Ben Roethlisberger throwing for a little bit more than we think heading into this one.

-- Matt O’Leary (@MattOLearyNY)

Justin Jefferson over 91.5 receiving yards (-115)

No Adam Thielen means Jefferson is going to be peppered with targets. And while Dalvin Cook looks like he will try and give it a go, I do not see Minnesota leaning on their running game as heavily as they normally do. Jefferson went off for 11-182-1 in Thielen’s absence last week, and he should be the focal point of the Vikings offense tonight

-- Mike Spector (@MikeSpector01)

Najee Harris Over 70.5 Rushing Yards (-115)

The Vikings have been inconsistent defensively this year, but one thing is certain. Minnesota can't stop the run. The Vikings have allowed 131.5 yards per game on the ground this season. Meanwhile, the Steelers have given Najee Harris over 20 rushing attempts in six of their last eight games. If Harris gets the rock over 20 times, he will break out for a big gain or two and get over 70.5 rushing yards in this game.

-- Jason Radowitz (@Jason_Radowitz)

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OddsChecker sports writer Matt O'Leary brings experience sports betting advice to the OC staff. You may recognize Matt from his popular New York Jets youtube channel, but his vast knowledge of sports and betting goes well past the boundaries of New York.

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