Freedman: NFL Week 13 Early Bets & Trends, Including Cowboys-Saints, Dolphins-Giants
Tom Pennington/Getty Images. Pictured: Dak Prescott.
The Thanksgiving tedium is a thing of the past. Week 13 of the longest NFL season in history is here.
Although I’m not a trends bettor, I find that using the Action Labs database helps me identify spots I should consider further when analyzing games.
Let’s take a look at a few trends for the early spreads and totals for this upcoming week. For the rest of my Week 13 plays, check out the FTN Bet Tracker as well as my best bets article.
All lines are from the Action Network NFL odds page.
Cowboys-Saints Over 47
- Kickoff: Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET
- TV: FOX, Amazon Prime
The Cowboys defense ranks No. 6 in expected points added (EPA) per play (-0.048) and No. 5 in success rate (42.1%, per Ben Baldwin’s RBs Don’t Matter website).
EPA measures how well a team performs relative to historical expectations on a play-by-play basis. Success rate measures play-by-play efficiency within the context of down and distance.
On paper, this defense looks good — but numbers can be deceiving. The Cowboys are also No. 5 in most yards per play allowed to opponents (5.9).
How is is that the Cowboys defense can look so good in EPA and success rate and so bad in a statistic as basic (and yet as predictive as) yards per play?
The Cowboys defense is No. 6 in turnovers (1.73 per game) and bottom-10 in explosive play rate (per Sharp Football Analysis).
- Explosive Run Rate: 13% (No. 24)
- Explosive Pass Rate: 10% (No. 26)
The Cowboys defense has been prone to the big play and opportunistic at best when it comes to turnovers, and lucky at worst.
And eventually luck runs out: “Nothing lasts forever, even cold November rain.”
The Cowboys can be had on defense, as we saw last week, when they allowed the rudderless Raiders to put up 36 points in Dallas on Thanksgiving Day.
And we know that the Cowboys offense can score: Offensive coordinator Kellen Moore has an over record of 20-11 (27.8% ROI) with quarterback Dak Prescott.
Playing in the indoor confines of the Caesars Superdome, the Cowboys should put up points and see points put up against them by the Saints.
- Action: Over 47 (-110) at DraftKings
- Limit: 48 (-110)
Giants (+3) at Dolphins
- Kickoff: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
- TV: FOX
The Dolphins have won four games in a row and look like a team that might be able to steal the final wildcard spot in the AFC with a little good fortune.
The Giants, meanwhile, look destined to part ways with general manager Dave Gettleman, and maybe head coach Joe Judge and quarterback Daniel Jones this offseason.
So naturally I’m betting on Judge, Jones, and the Giants — because I am nothing if not a sharp square.
As road underdogs, Judge is 9-3 ATS (45.3% ROI), and Jones is 11-4 ATS (42.1% ROI).
And this year road underdogs are an outstanding 64-40-1 ATS (18.6% ROI).
It helps that the Giants defense has regained its 2020 stinginess. In the first six weeks of the season, the Giants allowed 29.5 points per game. But since Week 7, they’ve held opponents to 15.2 points per game.
With a suddenly stout defense, the Giants should be able to keep this game close — and this line has already moved to +2.5 at several sportsbooks.
I’m grabbing the +3 while I can get it and wouldn’t bet it past that.
- Action: Giants +3 (-106) at FanDuel
- Limit: +3 (-110)
Broncos-Chiefs Under 49.5
- Kickoff: Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET
- TV: NBC
This line has already dropped to 48.5 at most sportsbooks, so I’m taking the 49.5 while I can get it.
The Broncos have a 9-2 under record thanks to their keep-everything-in-front-of-us defense and ball-control offense.
On top of that, we have two divisional rivals playing in cold weather as the season enters the closing stretch, and the under in divisional games played outdoors in December and January is 290-229-15 (8.8% ROI).
Given that the Chiefs have regressed this year on offense (25.5 points per game, No. 9), I’m skeptical that they will drive this total to the over all by themselves — and the Broncos seem unlikely to make a meaningful points contribution, especially with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (leg) dealing with an injury.
- Action: Under 49.5 (-110) at BetMGM
- Limit: 48 (-110)
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