When marquee players go down with injuries, oddsmakers notice and value is lost for bettors. The key is to find lesser-known players that could have an impact on the scoreboard. Here are four NFL injuries not to undervalue in Week 14:
Dennis Pitta, TE, Baltimore Ravens (probable, hip)
Pitta, who has missed the entire season due to hip surgery, is a great route runner who often gets separation and runs the ball well. He had huge success in the red zone with seven of his nine touchdowns coming from inside the 20-yard line last year. He's one of Joe Flacco’s favorite targets and his return should give the Ravens a boost in the red zone Sunday.
Baltimore is a 7-point favorite against Minnesota. The total is 42.5.
Mike Brisiel, G, Oakland Raiders, (questionable, knee)
The Raiders had six offensive starters out of practice this week, including their starting right guard. Brisiel went down with a knee injury on Thanksgiving and is a major contributor to the run game. Running back Darren McFadden is out and third-stringer Jeremy Stewart is questionable, leaving a dinged up Rashad Jennings to shoulder the load on the ground - possibly without one of his best blockers.
Oakland is a 2.5-point road underdog against the Jets. The total is 40.
Delanie Walker, TE, Tennessee Titans (questionable, concussion)
With Walker questionable and TE Craig Stevens out of action, the Titans are left with only one healthy tight end. In an offense that relies heavily on the position for blocking and receiving, Tennessee may be forced to improvise. Walker is the Titans' second-leading receiver with 454 yards and leads the teams in touchdown catches with five.
Tennessee is a 12.5-point road underdog against Denver. The total is 48.5
Greg Toler, CB, Indianapolis Colts (out, groin)
Colts’ secondary has been struggling since the bye week, allowing 790
passing yards and six TDs in three weeks – all with Toler on the
sidelines. They have gone weeks without an interception and will likely
continue to give up huge receiving yards with Toler out against a
Bengals team that likes to attack downfield.
The Colts are 6.5-point underdogs against Cincinnati. The total is 43.