Week 13: Panthers at Saints
Philadelphia entered rarified betting air last week when they routed Chicago 31-3 as 14-point favorites.
The win made it eight straight covers for the Eagles, putting them in a class with the 2007 Patriots, 2011 49ers and 2015-16 Vikings as the only teams in the last decade to piece together that long of a run. They’re two victories versus the number away from tying the 10-game covering streak the Vikings extended into the start of last season, which was the longest dating back to the turn of the millennium.
Philadelphia will have to secure both wins on the West Coast, as it travels to Seattle on Sunday Night Football this week before going to Los Angeles to face the Rams in a Week 14 afternoon game. Unlike the Vikings’ frequent covering rallies of the last few years, the Eagles’ hasn’t gone unnoticed in the futures market.
Philadelphia is down to 4-to-1 to win the Super Bowl, behind only New England at plus-225 (risking $1 to win $2.25) and Pittsburgh at plus-350. Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is practically a co-favorite to win the NFL MVP at plus-110 next to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s minus-150 (risking $1 to win $1.50) price.
Check below to see if Talking Points is calling for the Eagles to build on their streak, along with picks on the rest of the Week 13 slate. Lines are the best currently available on the chosen side in Las Vegas, with picks separated into three confidence categories. The blog stands at 94-78-4 against the spread on the season after going 8-7-1 last week.
Chicago Bears minus-3 vs. San Francisco 49ers Fading the Jimmy Garoppolo hype, especially with the former Patriots backup debuting behind a decimated offensive line. Even if Garoppolo turns out to be great, it took Matt Ryan more than a year to fully integrate into Kyle Shanahan’s offense; why should Garoppolo be expected to do it in a month?
Seattle Seahawks plus-6 vs. Philadelphia Eagles Outside of an injury to Russell Wilson, there might not have been a single plausible scenario where the Seahawks were getting a touchdown at home at the beginning of the season. The Eagles might be the best team in the NFL, but the towering absurdity of this number makes them a must-sell for at least this week.
Baltimore Ravens minus-2.5 vs. Detroit Lions Ravens have overtaken the top defensive spot in Football Outsiders’ DVOA ratings. With the Lions lagging at No. 19 in defense, there might be an even larger gap on that side of the ball than the visitors’ perceived overwhelming offensive advantage.
Minnesota Vikings plus-3 at Atlanta Falcons Nothing that has happened this season indicates the Falcons should be favored over the Vikings, not even at home. There’s a reason the Vikings continue to crush point spreads with six straight covers — they’re not given the respect they deserve in the betting market.
Houston Texans plus-7 at Tennessee Titans Wasn’t that long ago that the Texans destroyed the Titans 57-14. Circumstances have certainly changed — most notably with the injury to Deshaun Watson — but not considerably enough for Tennessee to lay this many points for only the second time this season.
New Orleans Saints minus-4 vs. Carolina Panthers Line feels a couple points low given Saints’ significant home field advantage and equally important offensive edge — They gain a league-best 6.5 yards per play to the Panthers’ pedestrian 5.1 yards per play. There’s no reason to be concerned with their slight downturn in a two-game against the spread losing streak as they outplayed both opponents on a per-play basis.
Kansas City Chiefs minus-3 at New York Jets Gladly taking the discount on Kansas City, which would have laid significantly more points at the Meadowlands a few weeks ago. The Chiefs aren’t as bad as their current three-game losing streak indicates, just as they weren’t as strong as their 5-0 start to the season.
New York Giants plus-9 at Oakland Raiders The Raiders’ defense, ranked last in the NFL by DVOA, is bad enough that it could even make Geno Smith look competent. Given that circumstance, the two-point addition to the betting line when the Giants announced they were benching Eli Manning for Smith felt a little much.
Pittsburgh Steelers minus-5 at Cincinnati Bengals Steelers seem to have their poor performances — like last week’s 31-28 escape from the Packers as 14-point favorites — held against them more than they are rewarded for their superb showings. They’ve more often blown out current playoff teams like Minnesota, Tennessee and Baltimore, and shouldn’t have trouble doing the same at Cincinnati.
Washington Redskins minus-1 at Dallas Cowboys There are no buy-low opportunities when a team is playing as poorly as the Cowboys. Opponents have outgained Dallas by more than 500 yards and 2 yards per play during a three-game swoon that shows no signs of stopping.
Arizona Cardinals plus-7 vs. Los Angeles Rams Cardinals’ 27-24 victory over the Jaguars as 6-point underdogs last week showed they had far from quit on the season despite dealing with a deluge of injuries including being down to their third quarterback in Blaine Gabbert. The win also improved Arizona to 7-3-1 against the spread under coach Bruce Arians.
Jacksonville Jaguars minus-9 vs. Indianapolis Colts Colts’ offense is bad enough without having to navigate the Jaguars’ defense, which already totally shut down Indianapolis 27-0 earlier in the season. Line seems right, but expecting a focused effort from Jacksonville off a poor performance in a 27-24 loss at Arizona as 6-point favorites last week.
Buffalo Bills plus-9 vs. New England Patriots Not willing to pay the New England tax of a couple extra points going up against a team fighting for a playoff berth. The Bills’ defense has been sneakily solid on the season as a whole behind new coach and longtime NFL defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, who’s surely schemed for the Patriots ever since landing the job.
Green Bay Packers plus-2 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Line swung further in Tampa Bay’s direction with the news that quarterback Jameis Winston was returning. Winston is no savior for the Buccaneers, however, and hasn’t performed any better than fill-in Ryan Fitzpatrick this season.
Denver Broncos pick’em at Miami Dolphins Denver’s defense is the only decent unit involved in this game. Miami might still be ever-so-slightly overvalued with its 4-7 record far better than its minus-115 point differential merits.
Cleveland Browns plus-14 at Los Angeles Chargers Oddsmakers have finally done the trick of cranking a Cleveland line so high that it would be irresponsible to lay the points. For as bad as the Browns have been, they’ve only lost by more than two touchdowns three times this season — and the two most recent were by 16 and 17 points.