Week 13 of the 2013 NFL season promises to be one of the best stretches of football this year. Perhaps the only way to make it more exciting is to bet on the outcome of a few of these intriguing matchups.
With three marquee games being nationally televised throughout Thanksgiving Day, a full slate of Sunday contests due to the end of bye weeks and a marquee Monday Night Football showdown between two of the NFC’s best teams, you certainly won’t be hurting for action.
Let’s take a look at the latest lines for every game, check out my predictions for the winner of each and highlight a few matchups on which you won’t want to miss betting big.
|Away Team||Home Team||Line||Prediction (ATS)|
|Green Bay Packers||Detroit Lions||DET -6||GB|
|Oakland Raiders||Dallas Cowboys||DAL -9.5||OAK|
|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|
Oakland Raiders (+9.5) over Dallas Cowboys
This Turkey Day battle has Oakland as a near double-digit underdog on the road against Dallas. While the Raiders have been far from a good team away from O.co Coliseum in 2013—going just 1-4 straight-up in five games—it hasn’t been as bad as the general gambling public expects.
As per VegasInsider, the Raiders have covered in four out of those five away contests, and it seems they are on the verge of making it five of six. This team has the tools to hang with the Cowboys, especially with Matt McGloin under center.
The rookie quarterback has been a revelation for the Silver and Black, as he has already led this team to one road victory in Texas, that coming in Week 11 against the Houston Texans. While his team fell just short in Week 12 against the Tennessee Titans, McGloin and the rest of this Oakland squad are ready to bounce back in a big way.
Dallas is a perfect matchup for the undrafted free agent out of Penn State, as America’s Team is conceding the second-most yards per game through the air in the NFL. The Cowboys are going to struggle to cover a 9.5-point spread when they are letting the opposition dice them up for nearly 300 yards passing per contest, a high number that will almost inevitably lead to points on the board.
The rushing defense isn’t much better—allowing 133.6 yards per game—which should allow the Raiders to turn to Rashad Jennings to keep Dallas honest. The veteran back has put together a string of great performances over the past four weeks, totaling up 413 yards and two scores on the ground in that span.
Don’t be surprised if he goes over the 100-yard mark yet again on Thursday, as McGloin’s pinpoint passing and downfield shots should keep the lanes open.
As long as McGloin, Jennings and the rest of the Raider offense can avoid turnovers, they will be in position to win this one handily. Dallas’ strong suit in 2013 has been its ability to create turnovers and capitalize on mistakes.
|Team||Interceptions||Fumbles Recovered||Total||Interceptions Thrown||Fumbles Lost||Total||Differential|
The Cowboys are tied for second in the league with a turnover margin of plus-11, having taken the ball away 23 times and giving it away just 12 times over their first 11 contests.
It’s clear that ball security will be the key in this one, and the Raiders will easily cover—and possibly outright win—if they can take care of the rock. Trust they will do so and take the ‘dog in this Thanksgiving showdown.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+8) over Carolina Panthers
You are going to want to get behind the Bucs before this line moves below a touchdown. Bettors have wisely been hammering Tampa Bay and have already moved the spread more than two points from the opening line of Carolina -10.5.
The Buccaneers are still a juicy proposition at plus-eight and should be backed with full confidence, especially after their recent run. This team is looking for a fourth straight victory on Sunday and may be able to get it against a Panthers squad due for a letdown.
Even if they don’t, a cover is in order as the Bucs have shown the ability to hang tough with some of the league’s best teams and should be able to against an NFC South rival in Week 13.
Much credit for that is due to Mike Glennon’s emergence. The rookie quarterback is rapidly growing into a franchise-caliber signal-caller due to his big arm, willingness to take calculated risks and overall toughness. He’s been efficiently beating opponents with precision passes over the past few weeks, raising his QB rating significantly in the process.
Take a look at the strides the NC State product has made since taking over as a starter against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 5:
|Week 4 vs. ARI||24||43||193||55.8||1||2||55.7|
|Week 6 vs. PHI||26||43||273||60.5||2||1||84.7|
|Week 7 @ ATL||26||44||256||59.1||2||0||90.7|
|Week 8 vs. CAR||30||51||275||58.8||1||0||80.1|
|Week 9 @ SEA||17||23||168||73.9||2||0||123.1|
|Week 10 vs. MIA||11||21||139||52.4||1||0||69.3|
|Week 11 vs. ATL||20||23||231||87.0||2||0||137.5|
|Week 12 @ DET||14||21||247||66.7||2||0||138.4|
While the Carolina secondary will definitely pose a real challenge to Glennon’s run of solid outings, it has looked somewhat beatable over the past two weeks.
Which team will cover?
Tom Brady threw for 296 yards and a score in Week 11, while Ryan Tannehill eclipsed the 300-yard mark and also scored the following Sunday. Both games came down to the wire and could have easily been Panthers losses had last-second passes been completed for touchdowns.
Don’t be surprised if that is the case again—with Glennon throwing into the end zone looking to get a go-ahead score late in the game—which means Tampa will definitely cover the spread and cash tickets.