Week 13 of the NFL season is not over yet. Time to place your bets.
Joe Fortenbaugh: Bills -3 vs. Falcons. In the most favorable spot imaginable (primetime divisional home game on a short week), the Falcons still found a way to keep their losing streak intact. Atlanta has now dropped eight of its last nine contests and is mired in a five-game run of losses in which the offense has averaged just 14.8 points per game with 13 turnovers and a -7 sack differential. Flip the script in Week 13, as it’s now the Buffalo Bills (6-2 ATS over last eight games off the bye) who find themselves in the perfect situation. Doug Marrone’s crew is well rested, familiar with Toronto and, at 4-7, still in the AFC playoff picture. Atlanta has quit on the season and is 0-5 ATS over its last five road games. I’ll back the squad with something to play for over the team that’s packed it in any day of the week.
Tom Mantzouranis: Cardinals +3 at Eagles. This is the buzz matchup of the week, featuring two of the league's more quietly hot teams. But while Nick Foles is beginning to garner some MVP talk, throwing 16 TDs and zero INTs while resuscitating the Eagles' playoff hopes, three of his four wins have come against some of the worst pass defenses in the league in Oakland, Green Bay and Washington. Arizona, meanwhile, has the fourth-best pass defense, according to Pro Football Focus, and Calais Campbell should have a field day against the Eagles' poor pass pro. If you've followed this space long enough, you know I'm a firm believer in the law of averages; Foles is bound to come back to Earth soon, and this matchup seems like the right time for it. The Cards are also capable of negating the Eagles' biggest strength, the run game. Philadelphia is just 1-4 at home this season, losing by an average of nine points.
NFL Week 13 Betting Odds
|(Odds courtesy of COVERS.com)|
Stay Away From
Fortenbaugh: Giants -1 at Redskins. Prior to their 24-21 loss to Dallas last Sunday afternoon, Big Blue was riding a mirage of a four-game winning streak worthy of primo real estate on the Las Vegas Strip. But there’s no plausible way I can get behind a dysfunctional Washington team, losers of three straight, on a short week. The Giants are 2-7 ATS over their last nine road games while the ‘Skins are 1-4 ATS over their last five games overall. I’d rather give my money to that Nigerian Prince who keeps emailing me about a “great investment opportunity” than bet this game.
Mantzouranis: Chargers -1 vs. Bengals. Two of the many teams in the league this year that can be Jekyll or Hyde depending on the week. (To wit: Both teams have lost to the Dolphins in the last five weeks, while the Chargers have beaten the Chiefs, and the Bengals have beaten the Lions.) The Bengals are rested coming off the bye. The Chargers are coming off their biggest win of the season. This one's a toss-up.
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Best Of The Rest
Fortenbaugh: Broncos -5.5 at Chiefs. No Tamba Hali, no Justin Houston and a pissed off Denver squad that just squandered a 24-0 halftime lead at New England. Prior to what took place in Week 12, I really wanted to get behind the Chiefs in this one. Now, I can’t wait to cash in on a Broncos team that is 4-0 ATS over their last four games coming off a loss.
Buccaneers +8 at Panthers. The public is in love with this red-hot Carolina squad that has won seven straight and still looks at the Buccaneers as a dumpster fire. But this is too many points to lay with the Panthers. Carolina’s last three wins have come by a combined total of just nine points, while Tampa Bay has covered the number in four straight.
Mantzouranis: Jaguars +7 at Browns. Jacksonville is beginning to take baby steps, beating the Texans and Titans and staying competitive with the Cardinals. The Browns defense has been Cleveland's one bright spot, but for the team to hold up its end of the bargain here, you'd need to count on a Brandon Weeden-led offense to do anything of substance, and the Jags' young secondary is showing serious signs of improvement. The spread is just way too far in Cleveland's favor considering the "firepower" involved.
Patriots -7.5 at Texans. The Patriots have scored 30-plus points four times this year, including last week against Denver. The first three times, they lost the following game. That, plus the specter of a letdown following a long and emotional night game against the Broncos might tempt you to put money on the Texans. Don't. They're a defeated team dealing with internal issues, and if anything, Bill Belichick is urging his crew to put Houston out of its misery, using the overtime thriller as a springboard for a pretty cake closing schedule. Don't get cute in this situation. Jets -2 vs. Dolphins. This one could be played in sloppy, rainy, disgusting weather, meaning the run games may be key. The Dolphins' woeful blocking on the ground won't be able to get anything done against the stout Jets' front.