We’re all set to get going with the Week 13 odds for NFL this week at Bang the Book, as there are a plethora of games that we are going to be focusing in on that are going to have some huge impacts on the entire season.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all from all of us here at Bang the Book! Of course, when you’re talking about Turkey Day, you’re also talking about a lot of great NFL betting action, and it is going to be awfully good on Thursday for sure.
As interesting as it has become, the game of little note is actually the Dallas Cowboys’ afternoon game on Thanksgiving. Few care what happens against the Oakland Raiders, but the bottom line is that this is one that Dallas had better win. Losing as the biggest favorites on the board at -9.5 at home in your showcase game of the season against an Oakland team which is starting QB Matt McGloin under center would be an awfully bad thing.
Instead, hold off your Thanksgiving Day dinner this week to see the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions. The winner will, at least for the moment, seize control of the lead in the NFC North, a division which is quickly spiraling out of control. No one in the division won last week, and all of these teams are searching for answers. The Packers still don’t have a quarterback to speak of with QB Aaron Rodgers hurting, and they are going to be starting their fourth different signal caller in the last five weeks with QB Matt Flynn doing the duties. We have seen Flynn come up big before, but this would be a season-saving ‘W’ on the road if Green Bay could get it as six-point underdogs in Motown.
On Thursday night, two of the traditional rivals in the NFL will collide, as the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers do battle with one another. The winner of this game will, for the time being, take control of the last Wild Card slot in the AFC and become the sixth team in the conference to boast a record of .500 or better. The loser is going to be in a world of hurt for sure, though nothing is out of the question at this point in the AFC, where a 6-9 record going into the last week of the season could still keep you mathematically in the hunt. Baltimore is favored by a field goal, the value of home field advantage.
The other team that will be tied for that last Wild Card spot in the AFC at the end of Week 13 will be the winner of the duel between the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins. These two teams both feel like they stink, but they’re both 5-6, and the winner will be back at .500 when this week is said and done with. New York has scored one touchdown in its last 31 offensive possessions, but the Fins are averaging less than two yards per carry seemingly week in and week out. This one won’t be for the faint of heart, as the Jets are favored by a point and a half in what amounts to be the lowest ‘total’ we have seen of the season at 38.5.
Elsewhere on Sunday, there are a heck of a lot of dogs who seem to be awfully live. Teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been hot, yet they are getting seven and eight points respectively. The Jags go on the road to the Dawg Pound to take on the Cleveland Browns, while the Carolina Panthers are set to put their seven-game winning streak on the line on Sunday against Tampa Bay.
Some dogs have become awfully live because the foes which they are playing against have been ice cold. The Indianapolis Colts, for example, have been blown out in two of their last three games. Winning the AFC South title seemed like a given a few weeks ago, but now, the Tennessee Titans are coming to town just two games back with five to play. The Colts are -4 at home, but thanks to their struggles, particularly in the first halves of games, they are certainly favorites which are worth watching your back over.
The San Francisco 49ers fit into this mold as well. The Niners have already been beaten four times this season, twice of which they were huge favorites at home. Granted, those losses to the Colts and the Panthers look okay right now, but losing to the St. Louis Rams is definitely a possibility. These two teams played to a tie last year at Candlestick Park in what really helped propel the Rams to their nearly .500 campaign. Remember that St. Louis has won two straight games, and it is still playing for its playoff life as well. Getting 8.5-points seems like a whole heck of a lot.
The Minnesota Vikings have started to figure things out just a bit over the course of the last few weeks, and they are now being rewarded by being favored at home by a point over the Chicago Bears, while the Buffalo Bills, playing in their annual game at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, are -3 against the Atlanta Falcons. The other biggest disappointments in the league this year, the Houston Texans, are +7.5 at home against the New England Patriots, who are hoping to avoid a letdown after last week’s stunning comeback victory on Sunday Night Football.
The last games we have yet to talk about on the docket are all incredible affairs that could have huge swings in the control of playoff power in both conferences. The Denver Broncos were able to beat the Kansas City Chiefs two weeks ago to take control of the AFC West, but since that point, both teams have been beaten once again. If Denver can win this one, the likelihood is there that the road to the Super Bowl will go through Mile High for the second straight season. However, a KC win gives it control of first place by a game in the AFC West, and it puts itself in a situation where it doesn’t have to worry about the fact that it will probably lose any tiebreaker this year to the Broncos when push came to shove. The Chiefs are getting 4.5 in this one though, and they are going to have to play a lot better ball this week when than they did two weeks ago if they want to get back to their winning ways.
The team that beat the Chiefs in surprising fashion last week, the San Diego Chargers, are back at it again on Sunday. This is a team which has played a brutal schedule of late, including this game at Arrowhead that we have mentioned a ton. If the Bolts can throw down nearly 500 yards and 41 points on the Chiefs on the road, they can surely do anything that they put their minds to. San Diego has the Cincinnati Bengals this week in a game which could have huge playoff implications. The Bengals are trying to restore their two-game lead in the AFC North, but if they lose, they will see that lead cut to just one. The Chargers are tied for the last Wild Card slot right now, and a win would force a three-way tie at 6-6 for that last spot. The Chargers are -1.5 at home, but this one could clearly go either way.
In the NFC playoff picture, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Arizona Cardinals are right in the thick of the fight. These two teams could still reasonably both be Wild Cards in the NFC, but they both could just as easily be left out. Philly has only won one home game this year, but this is its chance to shine against an Arizona team which we feel has overachieved. Don’t get us wrong. Both of these teams are good. It’s another shot for QB Nick Foles to strut his stuff after posting the best quarterback rating in a single month of play in NFL history. The Eagles are giving 3.5 off of their bye week, and many think this is the week they have their breakthrough and declare themselves as Super Bowl contenders.
Sunday Night Football could be a dog game this week, though we know that it is a vitally important game for the New York Giants. The G-Men are two back with five to play in the NFC East, and with the likelihood there that both the Cowboys and the Eagles will win this week, losing this game would probably spell the end of the season for sure. QB Robert Griffin III, who many think should be benched at this point, has his work cut out for him just to keep the FedEx Field faithful on his side. The Redskins are +1.5 against the G-Men.
But of course, there isn’t a game more important than the Monday Night Football duel at CenturyLink Field between the Seattle Seahawks and the New Orleans Saints. If the Seahawks win this one, there is little doubt that they are going to be the #1 seed in the NFC playoffs. If the road to the Super Bowl has to run through CenturyLink, there is a good chance that the rest of the field is playing for second best in this conference. It has been two calendar years since the Seahawks have lost a game on this field, and though the Saints may challenge that, many have a hard time believing that a prototypically good home team is going to be able to go on the road and get the job done on the other side of the country. Remember the last time the Saints came here against a 7-9 Seattle team which had barely won the weak NFC West? Beast Mode happened, and RB Marshawn Lynch literally carried the Seahawks to victory. New Orleans, which has its hands full with the hard charging Panthers, whom are on deck twice in the next three weeks when this one is said and done with, is +5.5 on the road in what is going to be one of the most hostile environments we have seen all season long.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.