Just in time to rescue our bank accounts from Black Friday madness, Week 13 of the NFL offers up some vulnerable spreads this week.
As I try to add a little cash to my budget, I've scoured the expert selections for the coming weekend and have begun analyzing popular selections so I can prognosticate with confidence.
Hopefully, this helps us all finish off the Thanksgiving weekend on a lucrative note...and not just a full one. Have a look at all my picks for the remainder of the week, and then I'll highlight three of the more popular ones.
|Away Team||Home Team||Spread||ATS Pick|
|Tennessee Titans||Indianapolis Colts||IND -4||Titans|
|Denver Broncos||Kansas City Chiefs||DEN -3.5||Chiefs|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||Cleveland Browns||CLE -7||Jaguars|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Carolina Panthers||CAR -8||Panthers|
|Chicago Bears||Minnesota Vikings||MIN -1||Bears|
|Arizona Cardinals||Philadelphia Eagles||PHI -3.5||Eagles|
|Miami Dolphins||New York Jets||NYJ -1.5||Dolphins|
|Atlanta Falcons||Buffalo Bills||BUF -3.5||Bills|
|St. Louis Rams||San Francisco 49ers||SF -9.5||Rams|
|New England Patriots||Houston Texans||NE -5.5||Patriots|
|Cincinnati Bengals||San Diego Chargers||SD -1.5||Chargers|
|New York Giants||Washington Redskins||WAS -1.5||Giants|
|New Orleans Saints||Seattle Seahawks||SEA -5||Seahawks|
The following three selections have been mentioned by numerous experts. As evidence, here are the picks of eight CBS experts and three experts at the LasVegasSun.com, where these three plays are all featured often.
Jacksonville Jaguars +7 at Cleveland Browns
The Jacksonville Jaguars are a popular pick this week for a big and very valid reason, despite being in the midst of an abysmal season.
Jason Campbell's officially out now, clearing the way for the next Brandon Weeden Era to begin http://t.co/UVXeEGodPg— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) November 29, 2013
Second-year quarterback and 30-something Brandon Weeden has not been a good NFL quarterback.
Brandon Weeden starts for Cleveland this week. His 23.9 Total QBR this season is 3rd-worst among qualified QB.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 27, 2013
So, while the Jaguars have been awful on defense, they will stand a strong chance of shutting down the Browns' offense. After all, last week the Jaguars held Case Keenum and the Houston Texans to six points.
Meanwhile, Cleveland's defense has been strong this season, and it is first in the NFL in yards allowed per play. The Jaguars will struggle to move the ball in this one, and there is no way I'd pick them on the moneyline.
That also means, however, that I expect a low-scoring game, which makes seven points even more valuable.
New York Giants -1.5 at Washington Redskins
The New York Giants are coming off of a crushing 24-21 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. After starting the season at 0-6 and then winning their next four games, that loss was a big blow to the Giants' playoff chances.
It would be impossible for this not take the wind out of the team's sails a bit.
Still, the Giants' sails have to be catching a lot more wind than the Redskins'.
Washington's season has come completely off the rails. Not only is this team losing, but there appear to be some serious behind-the-scenes issues.
Stories of drama surrounding Robert Griffin III and his coaches, teammates and even his dad have been hovering over the Redskins for weeks. I have no idea what's really going on; however, it does seem pretty clear that things are not moving in the right direction.
The worst part for Washington is that Griffin and the offense aren't as big of a problem as the anemic defense.
The Redskins are 28th in yards allowed per game and 29th in yards allowed per play. This defense rarely gets in position to make quality tackles, and when it does, it rarely makes those tackles.
One possible reason for the Redskins poor year? Missed tackles for every Team (Includes Special Teams) pic.twitter.com/06L9c6otyA— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) November 26, 2013
The Giants will send this sinking team further into the abyss.
St. Louis Rams +9.5 at San Francisco 49ers
The St. Louis Rams are surging. The Rams have won the last two games, against the Colts and Bears, by a combined score of 80-29.
This explains why the Rams can be a popular bet despite playing in San Francisco after falling to the 49ers in St. Louis, 35-11, in Week 4.
Which of these teams is the best bet to cover?
Obviously, the Rams have been playing like a different team than they were in Week 4. Kellen Clemens has been solid while filling in for the injured Sam Bradford. Also, the running game has come alive in St. Louis. The Rams have rushed for an average of 186 yards throughout their last three games.
What really makes this an attractive selection, however, is the Rams improved defensive play.
The Rams have been solid on the year by allowing an average of 4.1 yards per carry. Throughout their last three games, the Rams have allowed an average of 3.9 per carry.
This will allow the Rams to limit the 49ers' fourth-ranked rushing attack, and when defenses can force the 49ers into passing downs, San Francisco struggles.
Season stats and rankings via TeamRankings.com.