Week 13 of the 2013 NFL season promises to be a good one, with three games on Thanksgiving, a full slate on Sunday and a marquee showdown on Monday Night Football to cap it all off.
Perhaps the only way to get more excited about the upcoming contests is to place a wager on the action. Whether you are making a small bet among friends or plopping down a fortune at the sportsbook, it’s always wise to know the latest lines and have some insight before making a pick.
Here’s a look at the updated spreads, my picks for the winner of each game and a couple of can’t-miss plays you are going to want to get behind in Week 13.
|Away Team||Home Team||Line||Prediction (ATS)|
|Green Bay Packers||Detroit Lions||DET -6||GB|
|Oakland Raiders||Dallas Cowboys||DAL -9.5||DAL|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||Baltimore Ravens||BAL -3||BAL|
|Tennessee Titans||Indianapolis Colts||IND -4||IND|
|Denver Broncos||Kansas City Chiefs||DEN -3.5||KC|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||Cleveland Browns||CLE -7||CLE|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Carolina Panthers||CAR -8||TB|
|Chicago Bears||Minnesota Vikings||MIN -1||CHI|
|Arizona Cardinals||Philadelphia Eagles||PHI -3.5||PHI|
|Miami Dolphins||New York Jets||NYJ -1.5||MIA|
|Atlanta Falcons||Buffalo Bills||BUF -3.5||BUF|
|St. Louis Rams||San Francisco 49ers||SF -9.5||STL|
|New England Patriots||Houston Texans||NE -5.5||NE|
|Cincinnati Bengals||San Diego Chargers||SD -1.5||SD|
|New York Giants||Washington Redskins||WAS -1.5||NYG|
|New Orleans Saints||Seattle Seahawks||SEA -5.5||NO|
New England Patriots (-5.5) over Houston Texans
The fact that New England is conceding less than a touchdown to lowly Houston should make this an automatic bet for most.
One of the league’s best teams is coming off an epic win and has all the momentum in the world, and it should have no issues blowing out a squad that lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 12 and mustered a mere six points in the process.
Remember, the Pats are averaging 26.2 points per game this year and holding the opposition to 20.9 points. That’s a respectable 5.3-point margin, which indicates New England should be able to cover this spread if it plays a slightly above-average game.
Considering the Patriots are riding the high of an overtime win against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos—in which they came back from a 24-point deficit—it is safe to say this group is firing on all cylinders and ready for much more than a slightly above-average outing.
For some reason, linemakers are still respecting Houston as if it is on the verge of a postseason run. This squad is a pitiful 2-9 and has absolutely no chance of making the playoffs in 2013.
Players on the Texans roster are simply going through the motions at this point in the season, as evidenced by their inability to force turnovers during this abysmal nine-game losing streak. The team has taken the ball away a paltry eight times this year and has given it away on 20 occasions.
Which team will cover?
That minus-12 differential is one of the worst marks in the league and a large reason why Houston is losing games to clubs like Jacksonville.
The Pats should waltz into Reliant Stadium, put on an offensive clinic, make enough stops on defense to win by a double-digit margin and exit with a victory. They are a stone-cold lock of the week and well worth a massive bet.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+8) over Carolina Panthers
The Bucs and Panthers are clashing in an NFC South battle between two of the hottest teams in the NFL.
While Carolina is certainly looking like a Super Bowl contender, the Bucs have been on fire the past three weeks and are looking to push their winning streak to four straight games.
The odds of that are low, but the chance that Tampa Bay will cover a spread that is over a touchdown seems astronomically higher.
Mike Glennon has emerged a legit franchise quarterback since taking over as the starter. The rookie is putting up big numbers, and his arm allows the Bucs to compete with anyone due to their vertical passing attack.
|Arizona Cardinals (L)||193||1||2||55.7|
|Philadelphia Eagles (L)||273||2||1||84.7|
|Atlanta Falcons (L)||256||2||0||90.7|
|Carolina Panthers (L)||275||1||0||80.1|
|Seattle Seahawks (L)||168||2||0||123.1|
|Miami Dolphins (W)||139||1||1||69.3|
|Atlanta Falcons (W)||231||2||0||137.5|
|Detroit Lions (W)||247||2||0||138.4|
Carolina’s secondary has been slipping as of late too, as a unit that gives up only an average of 215.9 yards per game via the air has looked beatable.
Ryan Tannehill of the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots’ Tom Brady have successfully attacked this team with precision passes and deep balls over the past two games, although the Panthers still found a way to win those close ones.
Which team will cover this spread?
If Carolina gives up over 300 yards passing to Glennon—something you can expect with Bobby Rainey likely struggling to find rushing room against a defense that allows a mere 88 yards per game on the ground—he should have the Bucs right in the thick of things until the end.
Expect a late field goal to decide a closer contest than the bookmakers are envisioning. Back the underdog and get paid for a fourth straight Sunday with the Bucs.