NFL Week 13: Numbers Don’t Lie
Thanksgiving Games were… interesting. Seeing CHI -3 in question was pretty shocking, however they pulled out to cover that number as they won by 4. Bills Mafia struck again, and although I was proud to hold a Buffalo +6.5 – I did not anticipate what we all witnessed. Can we give Josh Allen the respect he deserves? I skipped the third game after watching the kicker absolutely shank a 40 yarder… I’ll catch the condensed version at some point.
Note: I am grading Bears/Lions as a push. I published my updates all week that had CHI ATS at -1, 3, 3.5… With the line closing at 5.5, it would have not bet the pick.
Projections YTD: 103-56-2 (161 sides with variance) 64%
** Denotes analysis for those games.
1pm EST Slate
Tennessee Titans @ Indianapolis Colts
San Francisco 49ers @ Baltimore Ravens **
New York Jets @ Cincinnati Bengals **
Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers **
Philadelphia Eagles @ Miami Dolphins
Washington Redskins @ Carolina Panthers
Green Bay Packers @ New York Giants **
Tampa Bay Bucs @ Jacksonville Jaguars
49ers @ Ravens
Line: Ravens -5.5, 44.5
Projected Line: Ravens -4
This is a must watch game of the 1pm slate. Don’t get me wrong, the battle for the AFC Wild Card with Titans/Colts and Browns/Steelers has immense playoff implications, but these are the two best teams in the league. Both of these teams have been beating their opponents at will. San Francisco has a tremendous offense with a really strong pass rush, this is unfortunate for Baltimore as they just lost their starting center. The Baltimore offense under Greg Roman has become one of the more innovative offenses in the league and will surely test the San Francisco defense. While SF receives a lot of praise for their pass rush, not many credit their stingy secondary as much as they deserve. The Baltimore secondary has played lights out and looks to shut down George Kittle today, something few teams have successfully done.
Being given as many as 6 points at some books just feels too much. I found a nice San Francisco +6 and am happy with that number. My projections have this at 4, so surely I’d support anything over that number, but please remember to shop around.
Jets @ Bengals
Line: Bengals +3, 42
Projected: Bengals +6.5
Horrible. That is the only word I can use to describe Cincinnati this season. Jets are fighting for a playoff spot (technically) and are going against a team that seems content with getting a high draft pick.
As always, the Jets injury report could fill an NBA roster, but I couldn’t care less as I back the J-E-T-S going into Paul Brown Stadium. Sam Darnold is back on his bullshit, swapping spit with co-eds at night clubs and I love it. This Jets roster has talent, they were simply marred by injuries early in the year and never could come back from it.
The AFC East has a couple of young QBs who have started to step up in recent weeks… Just saying! Model says that Bengals ought to be 6.5 point dogs, gimme the Jets. I was able to find a -3 (-105) but I really like them here. With the final wild card spot in the AFC still in flux, look for the Jets to capture this one and improve to 5-7.
Browns @ Steelers
Line: Steelers +2.5, 39
Projected: Steelers -1.5
Oh man… Where do we even begin. Last game ended with Steelers taking a knee on fourth down and the clock didn’t expire, people were going crazy! Oh, sorry… and Myles Garrett bonked Mason Rudolph over the head with his own helmet, with the “Bonk Heard ‘Round the World” ™ .
As this is the first game I am covering where the projected line is opposite of the game line – I’ll break down some of the reasons my model would like Pittsburgh better. The model begins with some things like market perception (preseason), coaching experience (head coach down through offensive line) and home field advantage to name a few obvious. I factor in other things such as injury, actual performance and then sprinkle in some analytics as well. The analytics that I measure show Pittsburgh as the 12th most efficient team (total game, both offense/defense combined), while Cleveland is the 17th most efficient team. All of this combined with Steelers home field advantage, project Steelers as 1.5 point favorites.
Considering the ‘revenge’ factor of this, and that Pittsburgh is rolling out QB, Duck Hodges which must be an upgrade over Mason Rudolph as they go back to him yet again.
With suspensions still in place, Cleveland has no pass rush and will allow Hodges some time to get comfortable in the pocket. The Steelers secondary is going to have their work cut out for them, but knowing the rivalry and what went down last game… I like my chances.
For the Steelers, this is their Super
Bowl Bonk, and revenge is a dish best served at home.
The model projects Steelers -1.5, recommended play on any Steelers spreads. Make sure to shop for the best number as there are Steelers +3 available. Even if you were to sprinkle some money line, same thoughts apply.
Packers @ Giants
Line: Giants +6.5, 44
Projected: Giants +10.5
Yikes, this is a wide spread. The variance between the actual spread and my projection is 4 points. While this is probably heavy 1-1.5 points, I think the Packers cover even as road dogs.
No need to dig too deep on this one, and while rain is called for in the forecast – I think that Rodgers will want to continue to work with his receivers as there has been timing issues all season along with injuries. The Packers will still be fairly run heavy, but ought to still cover the TD spread.
My projections have the Packers favored by up 10.5, I’d be comfortable taking up to 7 or 7.5 if the points make sense (use this calculator).
4pm EST Slate
Los Angeles Rams @ Arizona Cardinals
Oakland Raiders @ Kansas City Chiefs
Los Angeles Chargers @ Denver Broncos **
Although I will only handicap the Chargers/Broncos, check out the market if you want either side of the other two late games… It is all over the place, so shopping for your number is very important.
Chargers @ Broncos
Line: Broncos +3.5, 37.5
Projected: Broncos +1.5
I know, rookie QB making his first start. However, with the Broncos and the Chargers, there are some things we must always consider. Playing in Denver is extremely hard for road teams as they are adjusting to altitude. Los Angeles is coming off a bye, but with Rivers under center they have never been remarkable in this spot, and even worse ATS. Drew Lock, second round draftee out of Missouri is making his first start for the Broncos. Lock has mobility and a decent arm, however something to watch is that Derwin James is activated for today’s matchup. Although James will likely be limited, having the presence of an All-Pro safety opposite you for your first career NFL start is daunting. With a low total,I like Denver to keep it tight against a division rival they have seen once this season.
My projections have Denver as 1.5 point dogs. The line is available up to 3.5 in some spots and I certainly recommend the hook at -110, unless you are able to find +3 for plus-money.
Sunday Night Football
Patriots @ Texans
Line: Texans +3.5, 46
Projected: Texans +4
This is my smallest edge on the card. As a Patriots fan, I am strangely negative about my team – despite our long-term success. With that being said, I think this is a great spot for the Patriots but it depends on the number you get.
I am not going to downplay the talent of Watson, and I am sure he will give the defense fits. This is the one area that scares me, but if you can get NE as a field goal favorite – it is hard to pass up with their defense.
Another great look in this game is the point total as it feels like one of those low scoring games. Unless the New England offense comes out firing, I have a hard time seeing this break 46 total points.
Kicking has become a huge concern for New England, but at least this game is indoors which eliminates weather from the equation.
My projections have the Patriots as four point favorites, therefore recommended play is on NE at -3.5 or better.
As always, my lines are via Pinnacle. Refer to the spread and compare your available lines to determine edges for your specific odds. Best of luck!!
Note: SEA/MIN is not updated… Too many names on the injury report. Will update via twitter.
Model Recommended Sides:
Raiders +13 *
Dolphins +10.5 *
I will be off these two games. My better half is a Raiders fan and gets upset regardless of which side I like, although I love that 13 it is only available at Pinnacle. Dolphins, I simply cannot and will not trust this week. Instead I will shop for off-market lines for the three games matching perfectly .
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