2016 NFL Week 13 Bettor’s Guide (Audio Embedded)
Last week was probably the best week of handicapping we have had in ages, and, if Seattle had defeated Tampa, we would have gone 16-0 on money lines for the first time in over 15 years. We had a couple of pushes on spreads, as well, which skewed the numbers a bit. However, as it is…
Week 13: Thursday Night Football: MIN +3 (Covered), DAL (Money Line Hit)
Denver Broncos vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
My Call: DEN -3.5
Over/Under: Under 39.5
The Jaguars will be without Allen Hurns and Chris Ivory, which further exacerbates matters for the Jags offense that struggles for entire halves to even move the ball at times. Malik Jackson and Julius Thomas get to host their former teammates again, and the B-men are desperate to maintain pace in the AFC Wild Card, as the Dolphins have won six straight to manage identical 7-4 records. Trevor Siemian was beaten up pretty soundly by Justin Houston and the Chiefs on Sunday night, and therefore did not practice all week and will not play. Paxton Lynch will get his second career start in this one. He looked good in relief of Siemian vs. Tampa, but not the following week. The Jags defense is but a mere speed bump. Expect Denver to do just enough to cover.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Atlanta Falcons
My Call: KC +5
Over/Under: Under 49
Everyone knows the Chiefs’ M.O. by now: they are never out of any game, they like to grind and wear down the opposing offenses, and get important plays at critical junctures. We know the Falcons can score, although that should be stifled a bit in this game. Justin Houston was banged up at some point during the week in preparation for this game, but is expected to play, and it appears that Dee Ford will return to the lineup after tweaking his hamstring a couple of weeks ago. Expect the Chiefs pass rush to give Matt Ryan fits for much of the game, similar to the Falcons’ game in Philadelphia a few weeks ago. The question is, can the Chiefs do enough against the paltry Falcons defense? We’ll see. May be another “whoever has the ball last wins” scenario. Chiefs covering seems like somewhat of a lock, though.
Kansas City 24
Houston Texans vs. Green Bay Packers
Green Bay, Wisconsin
My Call: HOU +6.5
Over/Under: Under 44.5
Green Bay is in a must-win situation every week for the rest of the way, here. Expect them to play with that level of urgency on both sides of the football. The offense may be able to muster such in large part due to the scheme and design of their offensive gameplan, but the defense cannot take much away from facing a rookie quarterback (Carson Wentz) who has been figured out, and arguably the league’s worst set of receivers in Philadelphia. The Packers were giving up nearly 40 points per game in the three games preceding the Eagles match up. The Texans are not a great offense by any means, but they do have Lamar Miller, DeAndre Hopkins, Braxton Miller and Will Fuller with which to exploit the Packers defense. They also have CJ Fiedorowicz and Ryan Griffin at tight end who both play roles in the passing attack. Jaelen Strong will miss this, his fourth straight game, due to an ankle injury.
Green Bay’s secondary will be tested more than it was on Monday night. It is difficult to take the Texans straight up, but we do believe they will cover.
Green Bay 20
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Paul Brown Stadium
My Call: CIN -1.5
Over/Under: Under 41.5
This is bad football on tap. Just close your eyes and take a pick or avoid it altogether. Not worthy of analysis.
Detroit Lions vs. New Orleans Saints
New Orleans, Louisiana
My Call: DET +6
Over/Under: Over 53
The Saints are at home, so you know that this means a higher scoring game. The Lions can stop the Saints at times, but on what will likely be 11 or 12 possessions for each team, do you think the Lions can score on 7 or 8 of those possessions, as the Saints likely will? That is tough.
New Orleans 31
San Francisco 49ers vs. Chicago Bears
My Call: SF -1
Over/Under: Under 43.5
San Francisco 24
Los Angeles Rams vs. New England Patriots
My Call: LA +13.5
Over/Under: Under 44
People are understating how important Gronkowski’s absence is to the Patriots offense. He was their only deep threat. Tom Brady loves to get the run game going with LeGarrette Blount, dump it off a couple of times to James White in the flat, or underneath to Julian Edelman, then come back to the stretch play action, with a pass downfield against what is often single high safety coverage. It is almost literally the only time Brady passes the ball more than 15 yards downfield. That is now gone. Teams can keep their safeties back a bit more often, and expect the Patriots to run the ball more, and utilize Edelman underneath more frequently. Malcolm Mitchell will have to show his worth down the stretch here. The Rams will have opportunities to make plays against a pedestrian defense (even if there are people who would lead you to believe the Patriots defense is actually good), but the rookie quarterback Jared Goff will have to make throws in the 4th quarter that he may not be able to make.
Plus the officiating factor.
Los Angeles 16
New England 24
Miami Dolphins vs. Baltimore Ravens
M&T Bank Stadium
My Call: MIA +3.5
Over/Under: Under 40.5
These two teams mirror each other in terms of style of play. The Fins are better at their style offensively, while the Ravens are better at theirs defensively. This isn’t necessarily a “something has to give” scenario, but if Jimmy Smith misses another game, the Ravens are going to have problems with Jarvis Landry, even if Davante Parker cannot go. The Ravens have serious issues with getting into the end zone. Justin Tucker had to nail four field goals last week vs. Cincinnati, and this week can be another one of those scenarios.
Buffalo Bills vs. Oakland Raiders
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
My Call: OAK -3
Over/Under: Over 48.5
Do not understand the pundits picking Buffalo here. No Robert Woods. No Percy Harvin. A gimpy Sammy Watkins. Yes, the Bills have the best rushing attack in the NFL, but it is a statistical anomaly if the perception is that the Raiders cannot slow the Bills’ ground game.
The thing is, the Bills play a ton of man coverage and Ronald Darby has been in and out of the lineup and shaky at times, and Stephon Gilmore has gotten burned quite a bit this season in addition to Darby’s play. Gilmore has gone so far as to play the preemptive Phil Jackson game with the officials regarding Michael Crabtree’s propensity for pushing off defensive backs — something everyone knows he does all game every game, the officials are not going to call it unless it is egregious — as if that’s going to help him with Rex Ryan’s proclivity for playing so much press man coverage. These guys have to be perfect on the outside, and Crabtree and Amari Cooper are too good at route running to expect that to hold up all game.
Oh by the way, the Raiders are 10th in the league in rushing, so it isn’t as if they are the Vikings or Giants in this regard.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. San Diego Chargers
San Diego, California
My Call: TB +3.5
Over/Under: Over 47.5
The Bolts have even more injuries coming into this game, which may be a bit too much to overcome. However, Tyrell Williams is expected to be one of those injury-plagued players who is expected to play on Sunday.
Jameis Winston is in 2013 mode.
You do not bet against 2013 Jameis Winston.
Tampa Bay 26
San Diego 23
Washington Redskins vs. Arizona Cardinals
University of Phoenix Stadium
My Call: ARZ -1
Over/Under: Under 48
The Cards play stiffer defense at home. Tyrann Mathieu will be a gametime decision, but DJ Swearinger has not been that much of a drop off at free safety when Mathieu has been out; particularly since Mathieu hasn’t been 100% all season.
Washington will be without Jordan Reed, which changes the way the Skins operate offensively. He is a chain mover and big play guy. Other than Desean Jackson, that aspect goes away, except when teams play off Jamison Crowder in the slot. The Cards are one of the few teams that match up well with what Washington does, however.
New York Football Giants vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
AMERICA’S GAME OF THE WEEK
My Call: NYG +6
Over/Under: Over 48.5
This line does not make much sense. Yes, the Steelers are generally better both offensively and defensively at home than they have been away, but their defense hasn’t been good at all in any venue. The offense is more efficient at home, but they are facing the best defense they have faced all season other than Baltimore’s, and we saw what happened there. The Giants have likely withheld certain offensive wrinkles in the past couple of weeks because they didn’t need to do as much to defeat the Bears and Browns, avoiding putting more things on tape with this game and three division games remaining in the four games thereafter.
With the way the Giants deploy their secondary and linebackers, Antonio Brown isn’t the main concern. Le’Veon Bell will be held relatively in check on the ground, but he can get loose in the short passing game. The wild card for the Steelers against the Giants defense is Ladarius Green, the speedy tight end.
However, the Steelers have little to no pass rush, and can be exploited over the middle of the field and deep by Odell Beckham and Sterling Shepard. This could be a high scoring game, but not really a shootout, because the Giants defense is good enough to get off the field more frequently than the Steelers.
Consider officiating in a game like this before wagering, you don’t want to kick a hole in the wall when the game is going like you expected and a phantom call or a blatant no-call changes everything as it did during Thursday Night Football in Week 13.
NY Giants 29
Carolina Panthers vs. Seattle Seahawks
SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
My Call: SEA -7
Over/Under: Under 44
Too much is being made of Richard Sherman’s statement, which was made purely in jest, regarding the NFC Divisional Playoff and Cam Newton tossing a “12th Man” banner at Bank of America Stadium. That has no bearing on this game. Besides, Cam Newton was still in Oakland watching Golden State take on Houston on Thursday night, it cannot serve as any more motivation for the Panthers.
Luke Kuechly did not practice all week and therefore will not play in this game. The Panthers miss him dearly in coverage. Carolina may be able to slow the Seahawks rushing attack, but they are going to get exploited in pass coverage, and the Panthers offense simply won’t be able to score enough to win this game; Seattle will have both Earl Thomas and Deshawn Shead back for this game, as well.
Indianapolis Colts vs. New York Jets
East Rutherford, New Jersey
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
My Call: IND -1.5
Over/Under: Under 49
NY Jets 17
BYE: Cleveland (0-12), Tennessee (6-6).