NFL Week 13 Predictions: Latest Odds and Picks Against the Spread
As the case will be for each of the next five weeks, Week 13 of the NFL season provides a full 16-game schedule (with all 32 teams in action) for bettors to analyze and make their picks against the spread.
And as we do every week in this space, we'll use all the betting trends and information we can find, add it to the recent performances of each team, and then provide you with the best prediction against the spread that we can come up with it.
It's not a perfect, can't-lose formula, but it's better than simply looking at a line and going with your gut.
In the following slides, we'll present you with what we've found for each game on the Week 13 schedule.
Note: All lines and odds taken from ESPN.com and FootballLocks.com.
New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons (-3.5)
The Saints are 6-5 against the spread this season, including 3-2 away from home. The Falcons are 6-4, 2-3 at home.
So the trends don't give us a lot here. But check out the last eight games between these two teams: In that fairly large sample, the Saints have won seven games (including each of the last four) and covered a 3.5-point spread in the one loss (27-24, 2010).
Even on the road, the Saints look good here.
Pick ATS: Saints
Jacksonville Jaguars at Buffalo Bills (-6.0)
Both the trends and recent performances love the Jags in this one. Jacksonville is a perfect 5-0 against the spread away from home this season, with all five games coming as the underdog.
That's the situation the Jaguars find themselves on Sunday in Buffalo. What's more, Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne (back-to-back games with a passer rating over 100.0) is really playing well since taking over, and the Bills defense isn't a great unit.
Pick ATS: Jaguars
Seattle Seahawks at Chicago Bears (-4.0)
Here's what we know about the Seahawks: No team is better against the spread at home (5-0), but few teams are worse on the road, especially in attempting to cover. Seattle is 1-3 (with one push) on the road over its last five, and just 2-4 overall this season.
Until the Seahawks shake the "weary road team" label, ride the trend.
Pick ATS: Bears
Indianapolis Colts at Detroit Lions (-4.5)
This line is already starting to push closer to Indianapolis, mostly because the betting action is going towards the Colts. Don't let that fool you.
This is actually a very solid line for Detroit. The Lions have played very well over their last three home games (two losses by a combined seven points to Houston, Green Bay; win over Seattle), while the Colts are one of those scary road teams, despite a 7-4 overall record.
Andrew Luck has also thrown 10 of his 13 picks on the road, resulting in a 65.4 passer rating away from Indy.
Pick ATS: Lions
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (-9.5)
Neither team is any good at covering overall (Minnesota 4-6 against the spread in 2012, Green Bay 5-6) or in the situation they occupy this weekend (Minnesota 1-4 away, Green Bay 2-3 home).
With no help from the trends, go to some of the recent history.
The Packers beat the Vikings by a healthy margin last season in Green Bay (45-7), and the Vikings have lost three of their last four games by more than nine points.
Pick ATS: Packers
Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans (+5.5)
The Texans haven't been a great bet the last two weeks, blowing a huge line against the Jaguars at home, and then pushing the Lions on the road on Thanksgiving. But it's hard not to like Houston here.
In the last two meetings that Matt Schaub has been healthy, Houston beat Tennessee by a combined score of 79-21. The Texans are also 3-1 on the road against the spread this season, so it's really not the riskiest bet trends-wise.
Pick ATS: Texans
Carolina Panthers at Kansas City Chiefs (+2.5)
Carolina's awful record against the spread at home (1-5) masks what actually is a pretty good trend record on the road. Through five games, the Panthers are a very solid 4-1 covering away from home.
The Chiefs have been a betting nightmare with lines below a touchdown (1-6). Panthers should be safe here, even on a short week.
Pick ATS: Panthers
San Francisco 49ers at St. Louis Rams (+7.0)
It'll be hard to find a better matchup of teams against the spread this season, as both the 49ers and Rams are a very good 7-4 in covering in 2012. Both are good in their roles this week too, with San Francisco 4-1 away and St. Louis 7-3 as an underdog.
Can we pick a tie?
All jokes aside, the series history actually points toward St. Louis. In three of the last four games between these two, the Rams have covered or pushed a seven-point spread.
Pick ATS: Rams
New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins (+9.0)
The Dolphins are 1-0 (with two pushes) as the home underdog this season, but consider those teams and spreads: Seattle (+3.0), New York Jets (+3.0) and Oakland (+1.5).
New England is a much different beast, especially considering its 5-1 record in covering road spreads. The Patriots also have back-to-back wins in Miami by double digits (38-24, 2011; 41-14, 2010).
Pick ATS: Patriots
Arizona Cardinals at New York Jets (-4.5)
Since starting 3-0 against the spread, Arizona has covered just once in six games (+9.0 spread at Atlanta). The Jets are all over the map at 5-5, and you never really know what you're going to get from week-to-week with these guys.
As you can probably see, this is an avoidable betting matchup. But if you have to go either way, lean towards the Cardinals. The Arizona defense is better than the one in New York, which will probably be the difference in this offensively-challenged clash.
Pick ATS: Cardinals
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Denver Broncos (-7.0)
This game will really test how much you trust the betting trends. While facing a team on the road that can clinch their division with a win, the Bucs are an NFL-best 8-2 against the spread this season (including 5-0 away).
The Broncos have also tripped up in covering a favorite spread in each of the last two games (-7.5, San Diego; -10.5, Kansas City). Given those trends, a seven-point spread is simply too high for the Bucs not to get the nod here.
Pick ATS: Buccaneers
Cleveland Browns at Oakland Raiders (-1.5)
It's hard to knock a line from the people in Vegas, who know everything about this process. Lines like this make you wonder what they know that you don't.
Consider the trends: Cleveland is 6-4 against the spread and is coming off a win over the Steelers in Week 11, while the Raiders are 3-8 and 0-3 as the home favorite in 2012.
What gives? The only worry here is a letdown from the Browns after a big division win.
Pick ATS: Browns
Cincinnati Bengals at San Diego Chargers (+1.0)
This is one of those tough games where the betting trends really don't lend a hand in making the pick, and you really have to guess about one of the teams.
The Bengals are just 5-5 against the spread in 2012, while the Chargers are 5-6. But San Diego is coming off a demoralizing loss in Week 11, and this team could collapse under its own weight over the last five weeks. Or Norv Turner could pull off a Norv Turner and turn this thing around at the very last second. Who knows.
The Bengals' three-game winning streak is the one stat that sways me here.
Pick ATS: Bengals
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens (Off)
I would guess that Vegas is holding off on setting a line until they know the Steelers' quarterback situation. Smart.
Ben Roethlisberger's status changes everything. We'll update this later in the week when a line is set.
Pick ATS: N/A
Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys (-10.0)
What an intriguing, can't-miss game for the entire nation on Sunday Night Football! Sorry, there's no sarcasm font.
Rant aside, the Eagles have been easy money to bet against this season. The team is an awful 2-9 against the spread. But the Cowboys are going to make this really interesting, as they bring a 0-5 cover record at home into the mix. Considering that futility, a 10-point line for Dallas is ridiculous.
Pick ATS: Eagles (But I hate myself for doing so.)
New York Giants at Washington Redskins (+2.5)
The Giants are the most predictably unpredictable team in the NFL. Understand? They blow out the 49ers in San Francisco, then sleep-walk through a month, then awake in a fury in prime time.
Who couldn't have guessed all that happening for this bunch?
But back to the betting trends. New York is just 1-3 in covering against the division this season, but that one cover came against the Redskins. However, Washington has covered in two straight (and in impressive fashion). At +3.0, this game has push written all over it. At +2.5, I'll take New York.
Pick ATS: Giants