NFL Sunday Week 13 Betting Preview December 2nd 2012
There are no bye weeks for the rest of the season, so from here out on out it is a full slate of NFL action.
The 2-9 Jaguars do not have any playoff hopes this season, but many players and staff are playing for jobs in 2013. Most importantly, quarterback Chad Henne, who has a chance to supplant Blaine Gabbert as the starter if he keeps up his torrid pace. Taking over the NFL’s worst offense after an injury to Gabbert two weeks ago, the Jaguars have averaged 30.5 points per game and almost 390 yards of offense with Henne as the starter. Jacksonville relied on Henne last week in an upset win over Tennesee as he threw for 261 yards and two touchdowns to spark the 24-19 victory.
The Bills at 4-7 are also likely out of the playoff picture, but still have an outside shot if they could win out. Buffalo lost their fourth game out of their last five last week, a 20-13 loss to the Colts last Sunday. While Buffalo’s defense is improving, it seems they cannot put both phases of the game together as their offense is now struggling. They have just scored over 20 points in two of their past seven games.
This game opened at Bills -5.5, but is mostly at -6 or -7 across the board. Action seems evenly split between the two sides. The total opened at 45.5 and has moved down to 44.5.
The Jaguars have been extremely impressive under Henne, and while we’re not sure how this experiment will turn out long term, it is clear he has been a smashing success so far. The Bills still struggle from inconsistency on both sides of the ball and are banged up on defense. Defensive end Chris Kelsay and starting cornerback Aaron Williams are unlikely to play Sunday. This one is close, but we’ll go with the new and improved Jaguars under Chad Henne.
The Patriots are well on their way to another AFC East crown and perhaps a first round bye in the playoffs. New England put a severe beating on the rival New York Jets on Thanksgiving, beating them, 49-19. The Pats have the league’s best offense which averages 37 points per game and over 435 yards of offense per contest. During their recent five game win streak, New England is scoring on average 43 points per game.
Miami has had an up and down season, but is still in the thick of the playoff hunt, even at 5-6. However, a seventh loss would make things much harder on the Dolphins’ postseason aspirations. The Fins won a tough game over Seattle last week, winning 24-21 on a Dan Carpenter field goal as time expired. If Miami wishes to stay with New England, they will need to eliminate turnovers and keep their running game going. Daniel Thomas and Reggie Bush combined for 189 yards against a tough Seattle run defense last week.
This one opened at Miami +6.5 and the current line varies widely at different books. Some books are offering +7, +7.5 or +9. Check the odds at various books before you bet this one. The total opened at 51 and is at 51.5 now.
Fading the Patriots even on the road is a tough proposition this season, but we are liking Miami in this game. The Patriots have been driving up scores over the past few weeks with some fortunate turnovers and instant points scored by their defense. We doubt this continues forever. Also, Miami is in do or die mode this week as this is a must-win game for them. Tannehill and the Miami offense have looked better as of late and should be able to run the ball to kill clock and limit turnovers. Even though the Patriots rank 6th against the run, Tannehill should benefit from the running threat via play action. We like the Dolphins as live home dogs.
The Colts at 7-4 take on the Lions this week in a critical game for their playoff chances. Riding a five game win streak, Indy pulled out a victory last week at Buffalo winning 20-13. Indianapolis has surpassed expectations this season and has a chance to make the playoffs, something not often done with a rookie QB such as Andrew luck. However, The Colts will need to take care of the ball better on the road, as 16 of their 21 turnovers have come on the road this season.
Detroit had high hopes coming into the season, but have failed to live up to expectations. At 4-7, the Lions are extremely unlikely to make the playoffs and will already be assured a worse record than their 10-6 campaign in 2011. It is not as if the Lions are getting blown out though as all of their seven losses have come by 10 points or fewer. Last week, they lost by three points in a 34-31 overtime loss in Houston. Detroit have been mired in controversy as tackle Ndamukong Suh will play this week despite being fined for kicking Matt Schaub in the groin last week. Also, previously number two wide out Titus Young is still suspended, not with the team and will likely sit out Sunday’s contest.
Opened at Detroit -4 and has moved to -5 at pretty much every book. The total opened at 51 and has not moved from that opening number.
We cannot help but laugh at some of the Lions’ losses this season, but we’re sure they are not too happy about it. Marred by inconsistency Detroit has plenty of trouble closing games and scoring in the first half. Recently though, they’ve been in a groove offensively and their defense has slowly gotten better despite some sub-par run defense.
Luck also has not been accomplished on the road this year, completing just 57 percent of his passes to go with 4 touchdowns and 10 picks. Detroit is still hungry, desperate and likely angry about how things have gone the past few weeks for them. While it looks strange to have a 4-7 favored by 5 points against a 7-4 team, it makes senses to us in this spot. We love the Lions at home.
We like the Lions -5 in this match and as a Bonus play we’re taking the over: Over 51.5
The Texans at 10-1 hold the AFC’s best record and go for a franchise record 11th win against the Titans on Sunday. Houston has the sixth ranked defense in the NFL but has lost a few players to a rash of injuries lately. Linebacker Brooks Reed will likely miss Sunday’s game and Houston also has lost Brian Cushing for the season after an Oct. 8th game with a knee injury.
The Titans, at 4-7 are clinging to slim hopes of a playoff appearance. After last week’s loss to Jacksonville, head coach Mike Munchak fired offensive coordinator Chris Palmer on Monday and replaced him with quarterback coach Dowell Loggins. If the Titans want any chance of competing with the Texans they will likely have to get half back Chris Johnson going. The running back has averaged 122 yards per game in his last six contests, but was held to just 51 yards rushing last week.
This one opened at +5.5 for the Titans and has moved to +6 and +7 at some shops due to heavy action on the Texans. The total opened at 48 and is now at 47 across the board.
While we’re sure some bettors might immediately be drawn to Houston because they are a much better team and are coming off an extended week due to their Thanksgiving win over the Lions – we love the Titans in this spot. The Texans defense – although still ranked 6th in the NFL – has been especially poor over the past several weeks. In addition, the Texans are playing the Pats next week, and this could be a classic let down/look ahead game for Houston.
On the other side of the ball, Tennessee has played better despite their loss last week. The firing of the offensive coordinator should light a fire on this unit to start converting in the redzone. The Titans have no problems moving the ball with Jake Locker’s strong arm and just need to execute inside the 20.
We like the Titans in an upset. Titans +6
The Seahawks need to get over their road woes as they fight for a spot in the postseason. They will be in for another stiff test this week against the Bears. At 6-5 Seattle has lost all five games on the road including a 24-21 loss at Miami last week. Running back Marshawn Lynch was held to 46 yards last week breaking a streak of four straight games of 100 yards rushing or more. He gained just 42 yards in his previous matchup with the Bears last season.
Chicago is plugging along in the NFC with a record of 8-3 and is tops in the NFC North. But, coming into this game they have plenty of injuries. Their receiver core is depleted besides Brandon Marshall and kick return/wide out Devin Hester is out with a concussion. Matt Forte is also doubtful but expected to play, and right guard Lance Louis suffered a season ending knee injury in the 28-10 win against Minnesota last week.
Chicago opened as -3 favorites, but that number has moved to -3.5 across the board. The total opened at 38 and has moved slightly to 37.5.
Seattle has been terrible on the road this season, but this might be a spot where they may be worth a play. The +3.5, rather than +3 is critical in this matchup as we could easily see this one coming down to a late field goal in a low scoring field position type game. The Bears are thin at wide out and running back, but Seattle fields debatably the NFL’s best secondary and should be able to contain Brandon Marshall. The Bears are beat up, and we’re betting all these injuries take their toll this week against an extremely physical Seattle defense. We just hope Russell Wilson and Lynch can manage to do a little bit on offense to help our cause.
Go for the Seahawks +3.5
The Vikings at 6-5 are another team that is in the thick of the playoff hunt and may need to win out to get into the postseason. They fell flat last week in a 28-10 loss to the Bears, in a game that was not close in the 2nd half. Currently tied for the final wild card spot with Tampa Bay, Minnesota must play a flawless game against the Packers if they want to have a chance in this one. To make matters worse, they will likely be without top wide out Percy Harvin the team leader in receptions and receiving yards and touchdowns.
The Packers were embarrassed last week against the Giants, losing 38-10 in a rout. The game marked their worse defeat of the season so far, dropped them to 7-4 and also to 2nd place in the NFC North. They will be motivated to play better this week, but will still likely be without linebackers Clay Matthews and C.J. Wilson.
This one has been all over the place, originally opening at Green Bay -7 it is now scattered at different books with some having -7.5, -8 and -9 lines. The total opened at 47 and has moved to 46.5 across the board.
Depending on what price and line you can get on this one, we like the Packers. They were embarrassed on national television last week and are looking to bounce back in a big way against the Vikings. Minnesota has been absolutely terrible lately defensively and have not been able to move the ball well unless in the hands of Adrian Peterson. Even an epic game from Peterson probably won’t save the Vikings from a loss, and we love the Packers in a bounce back game despite the high number for a divisional affair.
The 49ers head into St. Louis looking to extend their win streak to six games with their new starting quarterback, Colin Kaepernick. He still has the job despite Alex Smith coming back from injury and has been dynamic in his two starts. ‘Kap’ went 16 for 25 against New Orleans throwing for one touchdown and rushing for another in the 31-21 victory.
St. Louis will be looking to get back to their winning ways after a 31-17 road win against the Cardinals last week. The victory ended a five game losing streak. The 4-6-1 Rams will need to play their best against the 49ers especially without top wide receiver Danny Amendola who is doubtful to play Sunday. They may be able to get a boost from the running game as Steven Jackson is coming off his best game of the season in Arizona, rushing for 139 yards.
These teams tied 24-24 in their previous matchup this season.
The opener was St. Louis +6.5, but is now at +7 at most books. The total has moved down from the opener of 41 to 40.
This one is a difficult one to predict as the previous matchup ended in a tie and while the Niners are clearly more talented – St. Louis is a well coached young team with something to prove. We’ll stay away from the sides on this game, but we lean towards the Niners and Kaepernick.
However, we do like the over 40. Both of these teams are run oriented offenses, but we would not be shocked to see the Niners open it up more as Kap starts his third game. St. Louis has also been able to move the ball well lately and should give the San Francisco defense a tough test late into the season tomorrow.
We see this one heading over. Pick Over 40.
The Panthers have had an up and down season in Cam Newton’s sophomore reign, but are perhaps starting to find their stride late. The 3-8 Panthers did not envision their season playing out like this, but it was good to see some signs of life in a 30-22 win on Monday Night. Cam Newton and the offense looked their best in the win as the QB threw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for another two scores. Carolina will also be without top running back Jonathan Stewart, thrusting Deanglo Williams into the starting role.
The Chiefs at 1-10 sport the NFL’s worst record and haven’t had a win since September against New Orleans. They have struggled in all phases of the game and are averaging just over 10 points per game on their current losing streak. Their defense as of late has been a bright spot, as they held Peyton Manning and the Broncos to just 17 points last week. They still ultimately fell 17-9, handing them their 10th loss of the season.
This one opened at KC +2.5 and has moved to +3 at nearly every book. The total opened at 41.5 and has moved to 40.5 at most books.
The public has been all over Carolina in this game, but we love the other side. Cam Newton has struggled with inconsistency all year long and has posted back to back terrific performances once this season. Usually, a big game from Newton is followed by a letdown game the week after. We’re banking on this against a KC team that kept the game close against the Broncos and finally showed off their running game that was so successful early on in the season. Jamal Charles should be able to run wild against a porous Carolina rush defense.
We like Kansas City at home. Chiefs +3
The Cardinals, mired in a seven game losing streak have not had much go right since they started the season 4-0. Ryan Lindley is the 3rd QB to take snaps under center for the Cards this year as Kevin Kolb is still injured and John Skelton was benched. They all have not fared well as Arizona ranks in the bottom five in total offense in the NFL. Lindley made his first NFL start last week, throwing 4 picks in a 31-17 loss to St. Louis.
The Jets have not been quite as dreadful as Arizona in recent weeks, but still sport the same record of 4-7. New York was embarrassed on national television last week as the Patriots demolished them 49-19 on Thanksgiving. This included giving up three touchdowns in just 52 seconds of play in the second quarter. It will be another uphill battle against a Cardinals defense that has forced 15 interceptions this season and is ranked 4th against the pass.
After an opener of New York -3 heavy betting has taken this one to the Jets -4.5. The total has not moved from the opening number of 37.
This game surely is not at the top of anyone’s list this Sunday, but in our opinion presents a good betting opportunity. The Jets were thoroughly beaten last week and will be out for revenge. Rex Ryan should have a solid game plan against Lindley, and we like the Jets to rebound after their pathetic display against the Patriots. Arizona’s already terrible offensive line lost their center for the season last week, so the Jets should be able to bring competent pressure with just their front four.
Tampa Bay heads to Denver in a critical game for their playoff hopes. With a season record of 6-5, the Bucs would take the second wild card spot if the season ended today. It would be their first playoff appearance since 2007 and would be all the more surprising considering their 1-3 start. Tampa almost knocked off division leading Atlanta last week, but lost the game in the final minutes as the Falcons pulled out a 24-23 victory.
Denver has been outstanding this season – the first for Peyton Manning in Denver. They can wrap up the AFC West title with a win this week and are running away with the division. They were inconsistent last week at Kansas City, but still left with a win in a 17-9 victory. The Broncos will be without Willis McGahee for the second straight week as he was lost for the season with a torn ACL. Knowshon Moreno will lead the running back by committee in Denver.
Opened up at Denver -7 and hasn’t moved. The total started at 51.5 and is still available at some books.
On paper, this one looks a like a little too much for Denver to be giving up against a decent Buccaneers team that has a lot to play for. Denver, of course wants to win every game, but has essentially already locked up the division even with a loss against Tampa. Still, this one screams matchup nightmare for the Buccaneers as they boast the NFL’s worst pass defense. Peyton and company already will be shying away from the run with McGahee out and Manning should have a field day against a terrible Buccaneers secondary.
We see a two touchdown victory for the Broncos. Denver -7
The Bengals have won three games in a row and are now 6-5 on the season and back into the mix for the playoffs. Cincinnati has been impressive during their streak winning by an average of 21 points in the past three weeks. It all starts with Andy Dalton, the second year QB has thrown for nine touchdowns and zero picks over the last three weeks. They have also gotten production from their running game as BenJarvus Green-Ellis has finally shown a pulse after a slow start, rattling off back to back 100 yard games.
San Diego’s rocky season has fallen off altogether as of late. The Chargers are in an epic free fall losing six out of their last seven games, including a brutal 16-13 loss to Baltimore last week. The Chargers had a 13-10 lead late in the game and forced the Ravens into 4th and 29, which they shockingly converted. They also lost SS Atari Bigby for the season in the loss and linebacker Donald Butler is doubtful to play, as well.
This one has moved a lot. Heavy action on the Bengals forced the oddsmakers to move the Chargers off their -2 opening number all the way to +1.5. The total opened at 47 and has moved down to 46.
While we do not normally love betting with “Joe Public” this is one that is hard to stay away from. The Chargers looked dejected after their loss to the Ravens last week, which effectively put them out of the playoff picture. The Bengals traveling across the country to face a better than average defense is not something we’re eager to bet, but San Diego is falling apart from within and have been hit with another rash of injuries.
The Steelers have struggled mightily without QB Ben Roethlisberger and will be without him for the third game in a row Sunday. Charlie Batch draws the start again as Pittsburgh takes on the Baltimore. The Steelers lost to the lowly Browns last Sunday 20-14 and turned the ball over eight times. With a 6-5 record tied with the Bengals in the AFC North, Pittsburgh is almost in must win mode. The Steelers will welcome back strong safety Troy Polamalu and wide out Antonio Brown from injuries this week.
Baltimore can lock up a playoff spot with a win this Sunday after beating the Chargers in overtime last week 16-13 to move them to 8-3 on the season. The Ravens seem to play much better at home than on the road, especially offensively. For example, QB Joe Flacco has a 108.3 passer rating at home versus a 70.2 passer rating on the road. The Ravens have won 16 straight at home.
The Ravens defeated the Steelers two weeks ago 13-7 in Pittsburgh. However, Bryon Leftwich – who is now out with injury started the game for Ben Roethlisberger.
This game was off the board for a bit this week as Roethlisberger’s status was up in the air. It was announced Friday that he would be ruled out. The total opened at 34 and is now at 35 at most books, which is still the lowest total this week.
It could be a long afternoon for the Steelers with Charlie Batch under center, as the previously third string QB looked terrible last week and threw four picks in the loss. Still, the game will likely be low scoring and 8 points is a lot to give in a divisional game with a lot of bad blood. We think the Steelers keep this one close despite being outmatched against a great Ravens team playing at home. We just do not think Flacco and Rice can move the ball too well against the Steelers number one ranked defense and look for this one to be closer than most think. We’ll also recommend a small play on the Under 35.
Steelers +8 and Under 35
The Browns head to Oakland coming off their first win since October 28th against San Diego. Cleveland defeated rival Pittsburgh last week 20-14. The Browns will try for their first road win in six tries Sunday and may have a better chance as of late due to the play of their defense. The unit has come together in the 2nd half of the season and have been keeping the Browns in games down the stretch.
The Raiders 3-8 record has been a terrible disappointment for a franchise that was one game away from the playoffs in 2011. Oakland was beaten soundly by the Bengals last week, 34-10, and if they do not improve defensively they could easily lose to the Browns. The Raiders have lost three straight games by 21 points or more for the first time in the history of their franchise. The return of Darren McFadden may help the Raiders offense convert more, but it is likely the once featured back will be eased in slowly. Marcel Reese will now have to compete for carries against a semi-healthy McFadden.
Oakland opened as a -1.5 favorite, but has moved to +1 or higher at most shops now in what is another big line move. The total opened at 41 and has moved to 38, this may be due to hurricane like conditions being predicted at game time in the Bay Area.
This is another tough one for us. The Raiders are certainly not playing well, but the Browns have not won a game on the road all season. For us, this one boils down to one matchup. The Raiders terrible rush defense that has given up over 700 yards per game in the last three games versus Trent Richardson. The young Cleveland running back has gained over 400 yards in his past two games and should be able to bash the Raiders for big yardage and help the Browns control the clock.
We like them to get their first road win. Cleveland -1
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