Entering NFL Week 13, now is the time for would-be bettors to strike on early offerings.
Those start-of-week lines from oddsmakers feature plenty of holes for bettors to exploit. While the house continues to try to protect itself by not even listing the line for the Denver-Cincinnati game due to Andy Dalton's injury, other lines are more than worth a look for those willing to invest some time in research.
At first glance, Week 13 figures to be another high-scoring affair with some rather large spreads. But upon closer inspection, it's clear some of those bigger lines are both more than understandable and great plays.
Week 13 NFL Odds
New Orleans (-7) at Dallas | O/U 53
Denver at Cincinnati (n/a) | O/U n/a
Arizona at Green Bay (-14) | O/U n/a
Baltimore (-3) at Atlanta | O/U n/a
Buffalo at Miami (-7) | O/U 40.5
Carolina (-4) at Tampa Bay | O/U 56
Chicago (-4) at N.Y. Giants | O/U n/a
Cleveland at Houston (-4.5) | O/U n/a
Indianapolis (-3.5) at Jacksonville | O/U 48
L.A. Rams (-9.5) at Detroit | O/U 54.5
Kansas City (-15) at Oakland | O/U 55.5
N.Y. Jets at Tennessee (-9.5) | O/U n/a
San Francisco at Seattle (-10) | O/U 46
Minnesota at New England (-4.5) | O/U n/a
L.A. Chargers at Pittsburgh (-3.5) | O/U n/a
Washington at Philadelphia (n/a) | O/U n/a
New Orleans (-7) at Dallas
Thursday games tend to favor the home team—or explosive offenses.
There is good reason oddsmakers have the New Orleans Saints as favorites by a touchdown over the Dallas Cowboys here. Those Saints haven't lost since Week 1, putting up at least 31 points in each of their last four triumphs, which happens to include wins over the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles.
In the process, Drew Brees has thrown for 29 touchdowns and just two interceptions while completing 76.4 percent of his passes.
Rest assured he's taking the 6-5 Dallas Cowboys serious, too:
By comparison, those Cowboys are hard to get excited about. Amari Cooper is starting to turn some heads with his new team with three touchdowns over four appearances, but overall the Cowboys are only scoring just enough to compensate for an iffy defense.
Said defense has still permitted 19 or more points over the course of a three-game tear, which includes downing Atlanta and Philadelphia squads, not to mention a Washington team without its starting quarterback. Over their last three wins, the Saints haven't allowed more than 17 points.
On a short week, taking the more complete team with a far superior quarterback under center is the smart play. That Las Vegas opened this one at a touchdown for the road team says everything, so there isn't any reason to believe a team that has won five in a row by at least 10 points will stumble now.
Prediction: Saints 35, Cowboys 23
Kansas City (-15) at Oakland
Here's another massive line for the Kansas City Chiefs, which isn't hard to complain about given the way they keep playing.
Now 9-2 coming out of a bye, bettors last saw the Chiefs losing an odd 54-51 game to the Rams. But it's a hard one to base anything off of given the circumstances, especially when they had won their four prior games while putting up 30 or more in three.
As expected, Patrick Mahomes kept it moving even in the loss to the Rams:
For those keeping count, Mahomes is now up to 37 touchdowns and 10 interceptions while completing 67.5 percent of his passes. He's getting almost five yards per carry from his running game and nine different players have caught a touchdown.
The genius of the Andy Reid-directed attack is going to be a nightmare for an archaic-looking Jon Gruden effort that just went to Baltimore and lost 34-17.
There, one of the league's worst defenses coughed up two total touchdowns to a rookie quarterback, and Derek Carr came unglued in a 16-of-34 effort with just one touchdown pass.
Since a Week 7 bye, the Raiders have now lost four of five, with the exception a win over a putrid two-win Arizona team and the losses coming by 34 or more points three times.
Mahomes shouldn't have any problems carving up the Raiders like holiday leftovers. If some of the league's top teams can't stop the diverse attack and can only hope to win in a shootout, the Raiders aren't coming close to doing either.
L.A. Chargers at Pittsburgh (-3.5)
The Los Angeles Chargers have quietly compiled eight wins this season already and have been a smooth betting play for those willing to roll the dice on Philip Rivers continuing to light it up.
Rivers most recently went 28-of-29 with 259 yards and three touchdowns in a 45-10 win over Arizona.
That's impressive, though the 23-completion mark was the record:
Call it a nice summation of Rivers' season, as he's now thrown multiple touchdowns in every game, with three or more four times. He's also getting nearly five yards a carry from his backfield and entered Sunday with seven targets boasting a touchdown grab.
And for those that realized the record came against the Cardinals, keep in mind the Chargers have lost just once since Week 4 and the last three wins have seen them score 25, 20 and 45 points.
Things aren't as rosy for the Pittsburgh Steelers coming out of a 24-17 loss to the Denver Broncos. They had cobbled together a nice six-game tear, though one has to wonder how exaggerated it was thanks to games against teams like Atlanta, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Jacksonville.
Either way, the Steelers have scored 20 or fewer points in two straight games, and perhaps the biggest concern is the disappearance of James Conner, who went from elite Le'Veon Bell replacement to 65 yards or fewer in two straight games.
A talented Chargers defense that doesn't get enough credit has only allowed more than 20 points four times this year and should keep Conner slowed while Rivers does his usual thing. Away from home or not, that should be enough to pull away in the second half.
Prediction: Chargers 27, Steelers 23
Odds via OddsShark
Odds via OddsShark