An exploitable stretch of season continues in Week 13 for those who enjoy playing the picks or odds department in an effort to build their bankroll.
Week 12 finally said goodbye Monday night with the Houston Texans predictably covering a 4.5-point spread over the Tennessee Titans. It was a drab 34-17 affair that keeps the hosts well in the playoff picture while the visitors' hopes fade.
So goes the theme this time of year in what seems to typically be some of the easiest weeks of the year as contenders hit full stride. In a few weeks, things get more unpredictable again as playoff-bound teams start to think about resting starters and players on bad teams get the itch for pride-based upsets.
But for now, Week 13 looks like a good earning opportunity for those willing to do some research on the full slate.
Week 13 NFL Odds
New Orleans (-7) at Dallas | O/U 53
Denver (-4.5) at Cincinnati | O/U 43
Arizona at Green Bay (-14) | O/U 44.5
Baltimore (-3) at Atlanta | O/U 49
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 48
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 48.5
L.A. Chargers at Pittsburgh (-3.5) | O/U 51.5
Washington at Philadelphia (-6.5) | O/U 44
Arizona at Green Bay (-14)
When in doubt, roll against the Arizona Cardinals—unless they play the San Francisco 49ers.
The Cardinals have two wins this year, both over the Niners. Otherwise, they have lost every game, including by margins of 34-0, 24-6, 45-10, 26-14 and most recently by 45-10. The last loss came at the hands of the Los Angeles Chargers, and the Cardinals reacted by cutting two starters, according to ESPN.com's John Weinfuss.
That's how bad things are out in Arizona, where the only good thing going is rookie quarterback Josh Rosen. Fans just wouldn't know it because he's only completing 55.5 percent of his passes with 10 touchdowns and 11 interceptions behind a miserable offensive line while being hampered by a coaching staff that can't figure out how to use talents like David Johnson.
Speaking of being unable to figure out how to use players, the Green Bay Packers aren't doing so hot right now either.
The difference between the two teams is Aaron Rodgers.
Rodgers hasn't been able to overcome poor coaching in recent weeks against quality teams like Minnesota, but he's still sitting on 20 touchdowns against one interception and his Packers tend to come out ahead against bad teams like they did in a 31-12 win at home against Miami in Week 10.
The Green Bay coaches at least know there is a problem:
Bettors should view this one as a game when a much better team takes out some frustration while making long-awaited changes. The Packers, misguided as it might be, still fancy themselves playoff-bound and should play like it coming off two straight losses.
Look for Rodgers to pull the Packers ahead and coast against a down team traveling to hostile, cold territory.
Prediction: Packers 34, Cardinals 10
Denver (-4.5) at Cincinnati
This was one of the easier lines of the week even before a major injury development for the hosts.
The Denver Broncos have simply been on a tear in recent weeks, taking down back-to-back contenders like the Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers thanks to a strong defense and rookie runner Phillip Lindsay.
Lindsay totaled 189 rushing yards and three scores over those two games, providing the perfect complement to a Von Miller-led defense giving opponents fits on most drives.
Denver going on the road and taking down a struggling Cincinnati Bengals team was already a given. The Bengals had allowed more than 500 yards in three straight games before another mark north of 400 against Baltimore. Then they got whupped by Cleveland despite hosting the Browns last time out, making them losers in five of six.
Now add losing a franchise quarterback to a season-ending injury to the equation:
In other words, it's Jeff Driskel making a start at home in the cold against Miller's defense. He'll do so behind one of the league's worst offensive lines that last week not only lost starting left tackle Cordy Glenn to injury but backup Jake Fisher as well. Keep in mind A.J. Green isn't promised to finally return from injury, either.
This is a show-up-and-win sort of game for the Broncos, a team with the right mix of strong running game and defense to pulverize a fading team like Cincinnati. Lindsay should have no problems slashing through a poor-tackling defense while the Bengals offense sputters.
Prediction: Broncos 28, Bengals 10
San Francisco at Seattle (-10)
The fact those 49ers went down twice at the hands of the Cardinals should say it all.
In fact, San Francisco's only two wins of the season have come against underperforming (and that's putting it nicely) Detroit and Oakland teams. Otherwise, last time out they went down hard at the hands of the four-win Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 27-9.
That was a road game and it doesn't get any prettier in Seattle of all places against the Seahawks in Week 13. The Nick Mullens hype has faded as he's thrown two touchdowns against four interceptions over his team's last two losses while the defense has allowed 27 points in each.
Meanwhile, the Seahawks have hit cruise control as they always seem to do down the stretch. Winners of two in a row over Green Bay and Carolina, Russell Wilson and Co. are .500 over their last four, but only because of close calls against the elite teams from Los Angeles.
As usual, Wilson continues to work his MVP-esque magic:
It helps that Wilson doubles as part of a ground game averaging 4.6 yards per carry, and the combo of Tyler Lockett and David Moore have combined to score 13 touchdowns. A supposed rebuild hasn't stopped the defense from only permitting an average of 22.1 points per game while tallying 28 sacks, either.
These Seahawks are in postseason form and possess one of the NFL's best home-field advantages, so it's not hard to see why oddsmakers have a double-digit line on this one already. Wilson should have another big day while the Seahawks continue to come back down to Earth now that opponents have adequate film on Mullens.
Prediction: Seahawks 24, 49ers 13