What is worth betting in the NFL in Week 13? And what are the best plays to help you make smart wagering decisions?
Betting analysts Eric Moody, Tyler Fulghum, Seth Walder, Anita Marks and Aaron Schatz are here to provide their thoughts.
Note: Odds by ESPN BET.
49ers (-3, 47.5) at Philadelphia. The Eagles are just the seventh team in the Super Bowl era to have 10+ wins and 0-1 losses and be a home underdog. The 49ers have quickly put that three-game losing streak in the distant past, dominating opponents. How are you betting this one?
Fulghum: I remain steadfast that the 49ers have been and will continue to be the best team in the NFL. I'm not surprised that they quickly got bet from a +1 underdog to a -3 road favorite. I think it's a fair move. However, the time to strike on the Niners is gone. The market has properly adjusted. I think San Francisco wins this game, but laying three points on the road against a 10-1 team is pretty uncomfortable. If you're comfortable playing the ML on San Francisco, have at it (-155 which is a 60.8% implied probability). I lean to San Francisco and the OVER 47.5.
Walder: I agree with Tyler. The Eagles aren't as good as their record indicates -- they are fifth and 23rd in EPA per play on offense and defense, respectively -- but it's not like that's fooling anyone: the betting market agrees. Like Tyler, I don't see laying the three points on the road but I'd consider the 49ers if the line dipped below a field goal and, if forced to choose a side here, would definitely pick San Francisco.
Schatz: I'm actually going to go with the 49ers on this one because their advanced stats are not only much higher than the Eagles but also price in those three games when they were missing some combination of Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, and Trent Williams. The 49ers are currently second in DVOA by a fraction of a percentage point and they're an even better team with those three players healthy. I agree with playing the 49ers moneyline instead of the spread because of Philadelphia's habit of keeping games close, but I would definitely choose 49ers -3 if I had to choose the spread here.
Marks: Eagles teaser (+9) with Jags (-1.5). Jalen Hurts is great at home (17-6-1 ATS) and Purdy is (4-5 ATS) on road. The Eagles offense is top 5 in third-down and red-zone rates, and has put up at least 28 points in every home game this season. They are scoring touchdowns on 30% of their possessions, third best in the NFL. The birds will keep this close.
The Falcons and Jets current Over/Under sits at 33.5, which is the lowest of any game this season. Which side are you on for this one, and why?
Fulghum: I'm definitely on the UNDER 33.5. The Jets are going to struggle to score against anybody with Tim Boyle at QB. Atlanta actually has a very capable defense to defend against Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall. On the other side, I have very little faith in Desmond Ridder operating an efficient offense on the road against the Jets defense for four quarters. Don't be afraid of the low total, here. This one has 13-10 written all over it.
Walder: I'm fading the Jets as long as Boyle is their quarterback. I couldn't believe this stat: from 2013 to 2015 Tim Boyle ranked last in QBR out of 251 college quarterbacks (!) with at least 200 pass attempts. No team trying to win should be relying on him.
Marks: UNDER 33.5. The Jets have averaged 10 points per game over their last five games and have scored fewer than one offensive touchdown per game. They are last in both third down conversion rate and red zone touchdown conversion rate. Weather conditions expect 20 mph wind gusts, which will not benefit Tim Boyle. Atlanta has not played outside in over a month and have played only three outdoor games all season. This will be a snooze fest.
After a 1-5 start, the Broncos have five wins in a row including victories over Kansas City, Buffalo and Cleveland. Do you see them making it six-straight at Houston (-3.5, 47.5)? And how are you betting this game?
Fulghum: This is a tough game to handicap. I can see it going either way. My gut tells me Houston wins this game and ends the Broncos win streak, but it's close, tightly contested game. Given that belief, I'd rather have the Broncos +3.5 side than the Texans -3.5 side. That extra hook on top of the field goal could end up proving very valuable when the clock hits zero.
Schatz: The Broncos are eighth in DVOA since Week 6, the game where their defense began to turn things around. The Texans have been the better team over the entire year but their offense is so stacked on the passing side of the ledger that the Broncos might be able to come back from a deficit because I'm not sure the Texans can run out the clock efficiently with a lead. The Texans' injury report is also pretty long here. Getting a field goal but also the hook is nice, so Broncos +3.5 it is.
What's your favorite prop bet on Sunday?
Fulghum: Sam Howell OVER 37.5 pass attempts (-130). Howell has gone over his attempts prop in six straight games and 10 of 12. He's smashing these numbers in many games. Howell has attempted at least 41 passes in eight of his past nine games. The dude is dropping back to chuck it all over the place. As a 9.5-point underdog against Miami this weekend, it's likely Howell is playing in a game environment that requires he throw 40+ times yet again. OVER 39.5 (+118) is an alternate line to consider as well.
Walder: Quincy Williams over 7.5 tackles + assists (+100). This is all about the opponent: the Jets are light underdogs against the Falcons, who run more on early downs more than any team outside of the 49ers. Even though Williams' tackle rates are just OK, all those extra runs will result in more tackles to go around -- and some of them will make their way to him.
Moody: Bijan Robinson over 58.5 rushing yards. Given the strength of the Jets' secondary, the Falcons should rely heavily on running the ball against them. Atlanta ranks third in rushing attempts per game. Atlanta currently ranks third in rushing attempts per game. In the last three games, the Jets have given up the ninth most rushing yards to opponents. Also, Robinson has exceeded 58.5 rushing yards in three of his last four games.
Schatz: Jahmyr Gibbs under 27.5 receiving yards. I know playing overs is more fun than playing unders but the Saints are the No. 1 defense against passes to running backs in DVOA and they allow only 27 (opponent-adjusted) receiving yards per game from backs. I think Gibbs rushing yards are going to come easier than Gibbs receiving yards.
Is there anything else you're playing Sunday?
Fulghum: I have loved betting Indianapolis games because of the lightning-quick pace Shane Steichen has employed with his offense. The Colts are tied with the Lions and Cowboys for the highest OVER rate in the NFL this season (63.6%). Five of those seven OVER games, though, have taken place at Lucas Oil Stadium. The only home game the Colts have played this season to come in UNDER the total was against? You guessed it, the Tennessee Titans. Now the Titans are at home where they can better dictate game tempo. There's no Jonathan Taylor helping to boost big play probability for the Colts offense. I like this game to go UNDER 42.5 (-115).
Moody: Jahmyr Gibbs over 43.5 rushing yards. He's surpassed this line in four of his past five games while averaging 5.4 rushing yards per attempt. After losing at home to the Packers on Thanksgiving Day the Lions will be eager to bounce back. With Jared Goff struggling over the last two games, leaning heavily on the running game could allow him to get recalibrated, particularly on the road against the Saints. The New Orleans defense has allowed 169.7 rushing yards per game over the last three games, which is the second-highest mark in the league over that time frame.
Moody: George Kittle anytime touchdown. Many bettors know the statistical narrative surrounding the Eagles defense. Philadelphia has a stout run defense that ranks second in run stop win rate. While the Eagles secondary has given up the fourth most passing yards per game. Kittle has scored a touchdown in two of his past three games. The Eagles' defense is currently tied with the Broncos for the league lead in receiving touchdowns allowed to tight ends. A high point total and a narrow spread suggest a high scoring and competitive game. Consider betting on Kittle to score two or more touchdowns if you feel really spicy.
Moody: Diontae Johnson over 48.5 receiving yards. This season, the Cardinals defense surrenders 18.4 targets and 169.3 receiving yards to wide receivers. Arizona also gives up a completion rate of 61% on throws that travel 15 or more yards downfield. Johnson, who has surpassed 48.5 receiving yards in four of his last six games, should benefit from this.
Walder: Andrew Van Ginkel over 0.5 sacks (+150). Even though Howell has been better in recent weeks at avoiding sacks, he still is averaging almost a 10% sack rate and I still love betting against him at this price. Van Ginkel has an above average 20% pass rush win rate at edge and my model prices this at +107.
Schatz: Steelers -5.5. My DVOA numbers feel that Pittsburgh is quite underrated in part because of strong defense and in part because the offense has played the toughest schedule in the league this year. I'm a believer in the new Steelers offense that knows to throw over the middle. It's going to be very mediocre! Which combined with that defense, is a lot better than the Arizona Cardinals.