Another successful week has me at 98-86-8 overall, and 26-17-2 in Best Picks. That’s the good news. The bad news is that after several weeks of really intriguing high-profile matchups, the NFL schedule is notably devoid of them in week 13.
I actually have a theory that people bet heavier on games in weeks like this, because there’s even less to care about the outcomes if you don’t have money on them. We’ll see if that’s true, but there are some good plays this week, even if the games don’t figure to be all that exciting.
Hit the title/continue reading to check out the picks for the thirteenth week of the NFL…
(All lines as of 11/29/12 @9:30 a.m. – line credit posted per game)
Seattle (+3.5) @Chicago (Sheridan’s)
I’ve heard all the excuses about the Seahawks. I can tell you this: I am DONE with them as a road team. If the Bears were giving a significantly bigger number here, I’d probably go with Seattle, but thank you very much, I’ll just take Chicago and give whatever. Seahawks on the road = suck.
Chicago Bears 21 Seattle Seahawks 17
Minnesota (+9.5) @Green Bay (5Dimes)
The Packers have won the last four meetings in this divisional rivalry, and they’ll be looking to rebound after getting pasted by the Giants. Minnesota’s defense has really crumbled during their current bad stretch; I think the Pack may put up 30 plus in this game. I don’t like this game at this number. I like Green Bay to win, but I’m not comfortable giving more than a touchdown. I like the over a little bit here, but I’m staying away from that one too. Both of these teams have been a little volatile over the last month – you just can’t be too sure what you’re gonna get.
Green Bay Packers 30 Minnesota Vikings 21
San Francisco (-8) @St. Louis (5Dimes)
The 49ers are going to be looking for payback against the Rams for getting them into a tie a few weeks back. So what. The Rams are up against a better opponent, but they’re not pushovers. I think they can keep this game low scoring and within a touchdown.
San Francisco 49ers 20 St. Louis Rams 14
Arizona (+4.5) @NY Jets (Sheridan’s)
Hey, finally a chance to take the NY Jets. Arizona is awful, and they’re traveling east for an early game, and they’ve still got Ryan Lindley under center. Plus, the Jets are due for their periodic good performance once every three or four games. Here’s also a spot where Rex Ryan’s insanity will help him. He’s still talking playoffs, telling his guys all they have to do is win the rest of their games. They can’t do that, but they can win this one.
New York Jets 24 Arizona Cardinals 16
Carolina (-3) @Kansas City (Sheridan’s)
So, when did Carolina suddenly get good enough to be giving points on the road? I know Kansas City’s awful, but the Chiefs run the ball well, and Carolina absolutely can’t stop anyone on the ground. Maybe the Panthers win this game – it is against the Chiefs after all – but don’t be surprised if it goes the other way.
Kansas City Chiefs 21 Carolina Panthers 20
Houston (-6) @Tennessee (Las Vegas Hilton)
The Texans have New England next week, so you have to be a little wary of the look ahead, but the Titans are terrible. Houston should smash this team into tiny little pieces. In three of their last four meetings where Matt Schaub was quarterback, the Texans have blown the Titans out.
Houston Texans 27 Tennessee Titans 17
Tampa Bay (+9) @Denver (Legends)
I hate to bet against Peyton Manning, especially now that he’s on track to win another MVP. But Tampa Bay is fighting for their playoff lives, and the Broncos have a Thursday game coming up, and that’s not a good spot for a prohibitive favorite. I’m taking the Bucs and the points, although Manning keeps me from liking the game enough to make it a Best Pick.
Denver Broncos 34 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 28
Pittsburgh (+3) @Baltimore (BetOnline.ag)
I don’t know how accurate you can treat this line. No other book has this game listed, even the International Business TImes lists it as off. I have to assume that a three point spread applies if Big Ben plays. If it’s Charlie Batch, the number would be a touchdown or so. IF it were Batch, and IF it were 8 or 9 points, I’d take Pittsburgh and figure on a low scoring game. With the line at 3, I’m taking the Ravens. That’s with Ben or without him.
Baltimore Ravens 21 Pittsburgh Steelers 17
Cleveland (pick ‘em) @Oakland (Las Vegas Hilton)
The Oakland Raiders are the Philadelphia Eagles of the AFC. They should be quite a bit better than they are, and they have completely quit. The Browns may be without Brandon Weeden, but he’s no great shakes anyway. Cleveland can win this game with Colt McCoy under center.
Cleveland Browns 24 Oakland Raiders 20
Cincinnati (-1) @San Diego (BetLegends.eu)
The Chargers are another team that hasn’t shown up in a while, save for last week when they had the Ravens on the ropes only to blow it. The Bengals are fighting for their playoff lives, and while this is the kind of spot where Cincinnati typically lets you down, I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and say they’ll find a way.
Cincinnati Bengals 28 San Diego Chargers 24
Philadelphia (+11) @Dallas (5Dimes)
DO NOT BET THIS GAME. Dallas screws up way too much for you to want to give that many points, and the Eagles are the Eagles. I’ll take Philadelphia and the 11 points here because NFC East games just never come out the way you would think, but this game is a no-no.
Dallas Cowboys 27 Philadelphia Eagles 20
NY Giants (-1) @Washington (BetLegends.eu)
Both of these teams are coming off big wins. The Giants, however, look like they’re gearing up for that late season push, and the Redskins are the last team standing in their way in the NFC East. The Giants are just plain the better team here, and while Washington has been a good story and a decent team at overcoming adversity, they haven’t been able to knock off a high caliber opponent this season.
New York Giants 27 Washington Redskins 24
BEST PICKS OF THE WEEK
“You still like the Eagles? You really are crazy.”
Indianapolis (+4.5) @Detroit (Wynn Las Vegas)
The Colts have had a remarkable season, and at this point they’re probably going to make the playoffs. But don’t forget that they’ve feasted on a last place schedule. The Lions are probably done, but this is surely their last gasp. The Colts’ defense won’t be able to stop Detroit, and the Colts are due for a reality check.
Detroit Lions 27 Indianapolis Colts 21
Jacksonville (+6) @Buffalo (Sheridan’s)
God help me, but I’m putting the Jaguars as a Best Pick this week. There’s just no way the Bills should be giving close to a touchdown to anyone, and the Jaguars have been a better road team than home team, and a completely different team since Chad Henne took over at quarterback. Can the Jags win games back to back? Maybe yes, maybe no, but the Bills certainly aren’t going to win this one easily.
Buffalo Bills 23 Jacksonville Jaguars 20
New England (+7) @Miami (Sheridan’s)
New England has won five in a row against the Dolphins, and in 8 of their 12 meetings, the Patriots have won by double digits, frequently by BIG double digits. The Dolphins’ pass defense has really disappeared over the course of the season, and the atmosphere is ripe for Tom Brady to go nuts on them. I like the Patriots to win big here.
New England Patriots 28 Miami Dolphins 17