The NFL Lines – Week 13

Filed in NFL, NFL Tips by on December 1, 2011

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Green Bay keep winning while the Colts keep losing. New Orleans continues to win home games. Houston lost another QB to injury. Ndamukong Suh continues to be a cheap thug (although at least this time the NFL stepped in and gave him 2 weeks off). And the NY Giants have cranked up their traditional second half of the season swoon into top gear. With the playoff picture starting to take shape, Nick Tedeschi and Cliff Bingham have much to discuss in Week 13.

CB – Another nice week for you Nick (the last 4 weeks now having netted a 36.15 unit return for 30.5 units outlaid, or around a 19% POT), while another poor week for me has rendered the first 12 weeks of my picks all but redundant. A 0.02 unit profit isn’t exactly something to write home about, and needs to be rectified post haste. 

Summary of Week 12 results

NT – 5 selections, 6 units bet, return of 7.98 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = 33%

CB – 4 selections, 5 units bet, return of 2.76 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -45%

Total – 9 selections, 11 units bet, return of 10.74 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -2%

Summary of Overall results

NT – 63 selections, 90.5 units bet, return of 79.46 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -12%

CB – 39 selections, 49.5 units bet, return of 49.52 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = 0%

Total – 102 selections, 140 units bet, return of 128.98 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -8%


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(Please note – all times are American ‘Eastern Time’ – add 16 hours to get to AEDST)


Philadelphia at Seattle, 8.20 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Seattle +2.5 to +3

NT – Frasier was set in Seattle. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia in Philly. That sums up the differences between the two towns and why I would take Philly, with their cheese steaks, any day over Seattle and their love of coffee. Anyway, on to football. This is a horrible game. Watch a re-run of Frasier or It's Always Sunny.

CB – Yes, the halcyon days of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and even the SuperSonics of the NBA are well truly part of Seattle’s history rather than present. Last week I said that I’d trust Lindsay Lohan before Tarvaris Jackson, but this week the question becomes one of how does Jackson stack up against Vince Young travelling cross country on a short week? That is less clear. Ordinarily Quest Field in Seattle provides one of the better home field advantages in the NFL, but with the venomous demonstrations of Eagles fans who have seen their ‘Dream Team’ fall to 4-7 amid calls for head coach Andy Reid to be fired, the Eagles may be quite happy to stop by the Pacific Northwest for a Thursday evening catch up.



Tennessee at Buffalo, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Buffalo -1 to -3

NT – The Titans and the Bills square off for only the fourth time since the infamous "Music City Miracle", where the Titans shocked the Bills in the final minute with an incredible lateral play. Inspired by three wins in their last five and with the Texans now in trouble, the Titans can provide more heartache for Buffalo. We will take 1 unit on the plus.

CB – Nice try, Buffalo. I’ve supported you for enough years now to know that a semi-frisky road performance (such as that against the Jets last week) is not cause for going the early crow in a home game against a potentially rejuvenated Chris Johnson and a quarterback who is no worse than Mark Sanchez, the man who threw for 4 TDs on you last week. I’m not falling for your seductive trap – no bet.


NY Jets at Washington, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Washington +3

NT – I don't know why but when I saw this on the schedule I couldn't help but think of Freddie "Boom Boom" Washington from Welcome Back Kotter. I will probably just keep on thinking about that for a while now.

CB – Tempted to lay the 3 points at first, but the Redskins’ D has been pretty solid for much of the season, so I can’t trust Mark Sanchez to take care of business here. Speaking of QBs, there’s an episode of South Park where Saddam Hussein (Satan’s ‘bad boy’ boyfriend in hell) keeps getting killed but continues to return to hell each time, with the oft-uttered catch phrase being “Where did you think I was going to go? Detroit?” I’m starting to get the same feeling about Rex Grossman. Despite numerous benchings over the years, he just keeps turning up under centre for NFL teams. Perhaps a trip to Revis Island will finally see him banished to the CFL or to his manifest destiny… back-up QB in Detroit.


Carolina at Tampa Bay, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Tampa Bay -3 to -3.5

NT – Both these teams have dropped off as far as betting is concerned. Not even close to a play here.

CB – The Buccaneers’ 2011 schedule this season has been secretly evil. They’ve only played two sub .500 teams (winning both matches in weeks 2 and 4) and gone 2-7 (2-2 in Tampa) against sides with a combined record of 71-28. Meanwhile, the Panthers are 1-4 on the road (their only win coming against Indy last week – enough said) and have only kept 3 sides (Jacksonville, Washington and Indy) to less than 24 points all season. Never look a gift horse in the mouth – 1 unit on the Bucs -3.


Cincinnati at Pittsburgh, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Pittsburgh -6.5

NT – The Bengals have been honest this year but they are usually brought back to earth when they square off against an AFC North rival. They struggled with Cleveland last week and against a Steelers team that has covered against them in 8 of the last 10, it looks like Pittsburgh are set for a comfortable win. Bet 1 unit on the Steelers -6.5.

CB – The Bengals have been a very competent team in 2011, exceeding almost all expectations. However, a lot of this result is derived from beating the lower-ranked teams – to wit, they are 6-0 against sub .500 teams and 1-4 against teams better than .500 in 2011. The Bengals are middle of the road in many statistical categories (apart from their run defence, which is excellent) but the Steelers are top-5 in stopping the pass and top-10 in stopping the run. Throw in home field for Pittsburgh, the fact that they desperately need this win to stay in the AFC North race and the all-important ‘half point short of a touchdown’ line and I can be with the Steelers -6.5 for 1 unit.


Detroit at New Orleans, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  New Orleans -8.5 to -9

NT – Drew Brees was brilliant in totally tearing apart the Giants on Monday night. He can do something similar against the Lions, who have lost their most fearsome defensive lineman to suspension. This could get a little messy. Bet the Saints for 1 unit.

CB – New Orleans at home in 2011: 5 starts, 5 wins, average of 41.6 points scored, 18.6 points against (including wins of 30-13 over Chicago, 40-33 over Houston and 49-24 over NY Giants). Meanwhile, since Jahvid Best went down the Lions have lost 4 of their last 5 matches against teams with records better than .500 (3 home losses and a 37-13 pasting at Chicago). Matt Stafford will have to pass a lot…. having just thrown 9 interceptions in the last 3 games. And now the Lions have lost Suh for 2 weeks to suspension. Don’t get cute here – either lay the points or stay out. Against a short-staffed Lions team, I’ll have 1 unit on the Saints -8.5.


Oakland at Miami, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Miami -3

NT – Both these teams have found some form with Oakland winning three on the trot and Miami doing the same before losing on the last play to Dallas. The line is spot on here. I can't see Oakland scoring too many on this stout Miami defence but where do the Dolphins score?

CB – I struggle to see how the line has slipped out to 3 points here. Granted, Miami have been playing much better football than you’d expect from a 3-8 team – had they split the 4 games decided by 3 points or less instead of losing them all, they’d be 5-6 and have their true performance much better reflected. Nonetheless, the Raiders are 7-4, including a 4-2 record against teams with records above .500. Subtract the 2 ‘transitional’ weeks where Carson Palmer got across the Oakland playbook and they’re 7-2 otherwise. That’s good enough for me – 1 unit on Oakland +3.


Kansas City at Chicago, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Chicago -7 to -8

NT – I am going to institute two policies right about now: don't bet on Tyler Palko and don't lay points with Caleb Hanie under center. Both just love a turnover. No play.

CB – Playing my ‘how many points is the downgrade from Jay Cutler to Caleb Hanie worth?’ game again, I’d have set this line at two touchdowns or more with Cutler in play, but then subtract around a touchdown for the switch to Hanie. Which puts the line pretty much in the spot bookmakers have placed it. Plus, do you really want to trust any of Hanie, Tyler Palko on the road or Kyle Orton on the road with one week to learn the playbook? Me neither.


Baltimore at Cleveland, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Cleveland +6.5

NT – The Ravens have covered 5 of 6 against the Browns and have covered all three times against divisional rivals this year. The Browns were honest last week but I think they may struggle against a better team. Saying that, the line looks about right.

CB – This match has massive ‘trap game’ potential for the Ravens. They’re only 2-3 on the road this season including losses to Jacksonville and Seattle. Both teams have excellent pass defences in terms of completion rates allowed average yards conceded per attempt, while the Ravens’ D also leading the league in sacks and TD-to-intercept differential. Each also has a bottom-7 running attack in 2011 (sorry Ray Rice fans, but it’s true) in terms of both yards per carry and yards per game. I get the feeling this will turn into an underwhelming Ravens win by something like 17-10 or 17-13, and thus will stay away from this line, though an unders play on total points may be worth thought.


Atlanta at Houston, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Houston +3

NT – It seems that either T.J Yates, Jake Delhomme or Kellen Clemens will be starting for the Texans this week. No thanks. I'll take the ever-solid, always competitive Atlanta Falcons, who have won three straight on the road. Bet 2 units on the Falcons laying 1.5.

CB – Myth: Houston’s running game is awesome. Fact: The Texans get 4.3 yards per carry running the ball (compared to a league average of 4.2), but carry it 8 more times per game than the league average, inflating their total rushing yards. Another Fact: Atlanta concedes only 3.7 yards per carry (fifth best in the league) and will almost certainly stack the box to minimise the impact of Arian Foster/ Ben Tate and dare rookie QB T.J. Yates to beat them in the air. I can’t see that panning out for the Texans, and will have 1.5 units on Atlanta -1.5.


Denver at Minnesota, 4.05 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Minnesota -1

NT – I'm not quite sure why the Vikings are favourites here, considering they are 2-9 and are 1-4 at home this season. Tim Tebow deserves more respect. Whatever the cynics think, he is a winner. He has won 5 of 6 as a starter and he has beaten better teams than the Vikings. Bet Denver +1 for 1.5 units.

CB – Neither side does a huge amount of throwing (nor are they much good at it), so expect a defensive struggle with a lot of pounding the football via the run and by extension, a lot of plays where the clock keeps running. The big question once again revolves around the availability (and if he’s available, match fitness) of Adrian Peterson. The Vikings are better than their 2-9 record suggests, having played (and lost) 6 matches against sides with records of 7-4 or better and squandering leads in each of their other 3 losses. The Broncos are rolling at the moment though and I have a slight lean to the plus, but not enough to bet.


Dallas at Arizona, 4.15 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Arizona +4 to +4.5

NT – Dallas have won four straight but have made the number only once in their last five. They are overrated by the books. The Cards, meanwhile, have covered four of their last five and have been honest at home this year. I have a sneaky like of the points here. Bet the plus for 1.5 units.

CB – I don’t trust the Cardinals even remotely and therefore can’t take the plus. But with the Cowboys’ history of (a) playing up or down to the level of their opponent (7 of their 11 games this season have been decided by 4 points or less) and (b) letting their advantage slip just as everyone gets on board the ‘Giants are done for, Cowboys to take the NFC East!’ wagon, can you really talk yourself into the minus on the road? Tony Romo loves shooting himself in the foot at the wrong times, and that’s before we even consider his former relationship with Jessica Simpson. I want no part of this game.


St Louis at San Francisco, 4.15 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  San Francisco -13.5

NT – The Niners should win this comfortably but they don't score a lot of points so laying 13 is a dangerous proposition. No bet.

CB – A word of warning – people who hate stats nerds can scroll down to the Giants-Packers game right now….. are they all gone? Good. San Francisco’s 2011 record against sub .500 teams: 6 games, 6 wins, average of 27.8 points scored, 11.8 points conceded. St Louis’ 2011 record against teams above .500: 5 games, 4 losses (and one incredulous win against New Orleans at home), average of 12.8 points scored, 28.8 points conceded. These stats have me leaning to the minus, but not enough to have a bet – the threat of a late Rams score to bring it back to 23-10 or something like that scares me off.


Green Bay at NY Giants, 4.15 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  NY Giants +7  

NT – The street corner tip in this is the Giants because Tom Coughlin is looking at the axe if the Giants lose this but I will be going hard the other way, taking 2 units on the minus. Aaron Rodgers is going to have a field day against this insipid secondary and the Giants can't run the ball and thus, control the clock. Bet 2 units on Green Bay -7.

CB – I dislike road favourites as a rule, especially those who have to win by a touchdown or more to cover the line. But with the Giants coming off a short week, having been torched by the Saints (who came up with 577 total yards and scored 7 TDs in just 10 drives) and now having to face the 11-0 Packers, it’s nigh on impossible to talk myself into taking the points here.


Indianapolis at New England, 8.20 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  New England -20 to -21

NT – This is going to be a bigger touch-up than a year 10 social. The Pats, back on song against an old rival, should absolutely murder the winless Colts. I have a lean on the minus here but such a big number is fraught with danger so no play.

CB – On principle I can’t take a line this big, but a vested interest in a huge Patriots win still remains. My fantasy NFL team needs a win this week (the final week of our regular season) and one more result to fall its way in order to make the playoffs. With Tom Brady and Wes Welker leading said fantasy team, the timing of this match-up could not have worked out better. Let’s just hope Bill Belichick goes into full blown Cobra Kai mode for this game. No Bill, 41-7 up early in the last quarter against your arch rival of the past decade is not enough! No mercy! Sweep the leg!



San Diego at Jacksonville, 8.30 pm

Bookmakers’ line: Jacksonville +2.5

NT – The Jags just fired their coach. The Chargers look like they are about to fire theirs. Advantage Jacksonville though you couldn't play them with confidence so no play.

CB – At first glance I thought this line might break nicely for taking the Jags at the plus against the most overrated team in football. However this week Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio was fired and the Jaguars’ owner sold the team, though assurances were made that the team would remain in Jacksonville. Those assurances sounded a lot like “(insert coach) has the full support of the board” or “I don’t know why you’re so worked up about me having drinks with him, it’s not like we’re having an affair!” style words. If you could get even money about the Jags hooking up with a new beau (potentially Los Angeles – rumour has it the city has been sending the Jags suggestive texts and Facebook messages of late) and taking half of Jacksonville’s stuff in the break-up, I say get on board. But don’t bet on this game.


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Recommended bet summary

NT – 1 unit on Tennessee +3 at $1.77 (Sportsbet), 1 unit on Pittsburgh -6.5 at $1.92 (Luxbet), 1 unit on New Orleans -8.5 at $1.92 (Luxbet), 2 units on Atlanta -1.5 at $1.80 (Sportingbet), 1.5 units on Denver +1 at $1.95 (Luxbet), 1.5 units on Arizona +4.5 at $1.91 (Luxbet) and 2 units on Green Bay -7 at $1.92 (Luxbet),

CB – 1 unit on Tampa Bay -3 at $1.79 (Centrebet), 1 unit on Pittsburgh -6.5 at $1.92 (Flemington Sportsbet), 1 unit on New Orleans -8.5 at $1.92 (Luxbet), 1 unit on Oakland +3 at $1.85 (Luxbet), 1.5 units on Atlanta -1.5 at $1.80 (Sportingbet).

Thanks to Joe Robbins/ Getty Images North America for use of the photo



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