Your Ultimate NFL Week 13 Betting Guide: Tips, Picks, Strategies for Every Game

Your Ultimate NFL Week 13 Betting Guide: Tips, Picks, Strategies for Every Game article feature image
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USA Today Sports. Pictured: Saquon Barkley, Jared Goff, Rob Gronkowski

  • If you're looking for comprehensive betting and fantasy football previews for every Week 13 game, you've come to the right place.
  • Our experts cover trends, sharp action, fantasy football sleepers and make the case for a few bets.

All odds as of Friday morning. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets.


Betting odds: Baltimore Ravens at Atlanta Falcons

  • Spread: Falcons -1.5
  • Over/Under: 49
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: CBS

Betting market: Despite the Ravens’ big win and cover against the Raiders last week, bettors were not buying the fact that they should’ve opened as road favorites against the Falcons.

Behind nearly 60% of bets, the Falcons have moved from +2 to -1 since opening (find updated betting data here). — Mark Gallant

Trends to know: This would be the 15th time in the regular season that Matt Ryan has been listed as a home underdog — and the first since Week 4 of the 2016 season (+2.5 vs. Panthers), according to our Bet Labs data.

In the previous 14 games, the Falcons went 9-5 straight up and 11-3 against the spread. — John Ewing

Did you know? The Falcons are falling apart, they have lost three consecutive games SU and ATS and have scored fewer than 20 points in all three games.

Their biggest issue during the losing streak might be their rush defense, which has allowed 493 yards (5.5 yards per attempt).

Under Ryan, the Falcons are 3-9 ATS (25%) after allowing at least 100 rushing yards in three straight games since 2012, losing bettors 6.2 units in that span.

Ryan is the third-least profitable quarterback in the NFL in this spot, ahead of just Jay Cutler and Ben Roethlisberger. — Evan Abrams

Biggest mismatch: Ravens rushing attack vs Falcons defense

The Falcons rank 31st in rush defense DVOA entering Week 13 and are one of four teams to allow five or more yards per carry (Chiefs, Rams, Seahawks).

Per Football Outsiders, the Ravens’ offensive line ranks second in Power Rank, which measures success in short-yardage situations on the ground.

The Ravens’ solid run-blocking offensive line should push around a Falcons D-line that ranks 22nd in that same category and 31st overall against the run, as measured by adjusted line yards.

While you may look at Baltimore’s season rushing numbers and be less than impressed (4.1 yards per carry ranks 26th in the NFL), this is obviously a completely different Ravens rushing offense since Lamar Jackson took over as the starter and undrafted rookie running back Gus Edwards emerged.

In Jackson’s two starts, the Ravens have rushed the ball an astonishing 96 times for 509 yards — that’s an average of 5.3 yards per rush, which is what the Panthers lead the league with.

Yes, those came against two poor run defenses (Raiders and Bengals), but the Falcons have an even worse run defense. Look out for Jackson’s speed on the turf. — Stuckey

Which team is healthier? Falcons

The Falcons are still waiting for stud linebacker Deion Jones (foot) to return to a full practice, so it’s unclear if he’ll be able to play this week. Kicker Matt Bryant (back) and Calvin Ridley (ankle, elbow) also aren’t guaranteed to suit up Sunday.

The Ravens are expected to be without Joe Flacco (hip) for another week, and he could be joined on the bench by safety Tony Jefferson, slot corner Tavon Young (ankle) and right tackle James Hurst (back).

The good news? Running backs Alex Collins (leg) and Gus Edwards (ankle) are tentatively expected to suit up.

Note: Info as of 6 p.m. ET Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff. — Hartitz

DFS edge: The Ravens’ fifth-ranked defense in overall and pass DVOA has spelled trouble for most opposing passing attacks they’ve faced this season.

Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley (ankle, elbow) should see a mix of corners Jimmy Smith and Marlon Humphrey, while Mohamed Sanu will square off the in slot with Brandon Carr if nickel corner Tavon Young (ankle) remains sidelined.

In the four games since his infamous 12-week touchdown drought, Jones found his way back to the end zone while maintaining his dominance.

Week 9 vs. Redskins: 7-121-1
Week 10 vs. Browns: 7-107-1
Week 11 vs. Cowboys: 6-118-1
Week 12 vs. Saints: 11-147-0

He’s more than capable of winning any matchup, yet carries a middling 13-16% projected ownership rate on DraftKings at $7,700. — Hartitz

Bet to watch: Ravens +1.5

I already mentioned how successful Baltimore can be on the ground, which I think is the ultimate key to the game.

I also think Jackson can have some success when he does need to throw, primarily because he will have time behind an offensive line that ranks fifth in adjusted sack rate.

That unit will take on a Falcons defensive line that rarely generates any pressure, ranking 27th in that same category. Jackson has a long way to go in his development as a passer, but he can still make some throws if given time.

On the other side of the ball, the Ravens also have the personnel in the secondary to match up with the plethora of receiving options Ryan has at his disposal. The Ravens bring a top-five pass defense to Atlanta and their physical corners will go a long way in this one.

Add in a special teams advantage, which the Ravens have over most teams, and I ultimately think Lamar Jackson moves to 3-0 as a starter (a lot of that will have to do with the three favorable matchups he has drawn in his three starts). Stuckey


Betting odds: Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Spread: Colts -4
  • Over/Under: 47
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: CBS

Betting market: The Colts are going for their sixth-straight win. The Jags just lost to the Bills, fired their OC and benched their starting QB. Unsurprisingly, the public is all over Indy at the time of writing — to the tune of 75% of bets (see live betting data here).

Indy has moved to -3 to -4 since opening. The line had reached 4.5, but sharps actually hit the Jags at that number pretty hard. Given Blake Bortles’ performance this year, his value to the spread isn’t going to be worth that much more than Cody Kessler’s.

With 65% of bets, this game features the second-most popular under of the week, which has helped push the total down from 48 to 47. — Mark Gallant

Weather report: This game is projected to have average wind speeds of just a hair over 10 mph blowing across the field with temperatures in the upper 70s. —Mark Gallant

For whatever reason, road teams do well in windy games in the Sunshine State. Since 2003, when there is at least 10 mph winds at a Jaguars, Buccaneers or Dolphins game in Florida, the road team is 71-37-3 against the spread. — Evan Abrams

Trends to know: As a road favorite, Andrew Luck is 12-3 straight up and 10-5 against the spread, covering on average by 3.3 points per game, according to our Bet Labs data.

As a road favorite in division games, Luck is 8-0 SU and 7-1 ATS. — John Ewing

Did you know? Cody Kessler will start Sunday for the Jags. In eight career starts he is 0-8 straight up and 2-6 ATS. Of course, all of those were in his rookie season with the Cleveland Browns.

While the team struggled, Kessler wasn’t bad completing 126 of 193 passes (65.3%), with six touchdowns and two interceptions. — John Ewing

Biggest mismatch: Colts’ red-zone prowess

I know, I know: The Jags actually have to get to the red zone first. But when (if?) they do, the struggle will be real.

The suspended Leonard Fournette piled up five red-zone touchdowns over the past three weeks, and the Jags still rank 24th overall inside the 20. Those five touchdowns accounted for more than a quarter of Jacksonville’s total on the year — not just red-zone touchdowns; total offensive touchdowns, period.

The Colts have not only held up well on defense in the red-zone (No. 9 overall), but they also don’t miss chances to cash in on the other end of the field, ranking fifth in red-zone conversion rate on offense — which also gives them the edge on Jacksonville’s 13th-ranked red-zone defense.

This puts the onus on the offense to generate explosive plays — except Kessler is known for his lack of arm strength, Carlos Hyde’s longest run with the team is 11 yards, and one of their most explosive receivers, Keelan Cole, has spent the past five weeks oscillating between liability, non-factor and benched.

I’m sure there’s a “finally it’s over” narrative scenario in here somewhere where the Bortles benching galvanizes the team, but it’s tough to envision the Jags scoring many points on offense.

Don’t be surprised if the score looks like Fournette wasn’t the only one on hiatus. — Chris Raybon

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) runs the ball away from Tennessee Titans outside linebacker Kamalei Correa (44) in the third quarter at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12).

Which team is healthier? Jaguars

Early week scares with tight end Eric Ebron (back), safety Clayton Geathers (knee), No. 1 receiver T.Y. Hilton (groin) and starting running back Marlon Mack (concussion) appear to be nothing serious for the Colts, as each player was able to return to practice Thursday.

The outlook is less clear with safety Malik Hooker (hip), center Ryan Kelly (knee), along with tight ends Ryan Hewitt (ankle), Erik Swoope (knee) and Mo Alie-Cox (calf).

Kessler is tentatively expected to have right tackle Jermey Parnell (knee) and left tackle Josh Walker (foot, ankle) back.

The offense could be without field-stretching rookie D.J. Chark (quad) again, while the defense is dealing with injuries to difference-makers, including cornerback Jalen Ramsey (knee), defensive end Calais Campbell (ankle), safety Tashaun Gipson (ankle) and defensive tackle Marcell Dareus (back).

Ramsey seems to be at the most risk of missing the game among this group.

Note: Info as of 6 p.m. ET Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff. — Ian Hartitz

DFS edge:  Ramsey’s injury status will have ripple effects in the DFS world, so be sure to monitor our news feed for up-to-the-minute updates on Ramsey’s status.

Hilton and Ramsey are far from strangers at this point. The Jaguars’ No. 1 cornerback has been deployed in shadow coverage in each of his last three meeting against the Colts.

  • 2017 Week 7: 2 receptions-27 yards-0 TD (8 targets)
  • 2017 Week 13: 3-51-1 (6)
  • 2018 Week 10: 3-77-0 (7)

Also working against Hilton are his concerning home/away splits since 2014 (per our NFL Trends tool):

  • Hilton at home: 17.01 DraftKings PPG, +1.91 Plus/Minus, 51% Consistency
  • On the road: 14.2 DraftKings PPG, -0.87 Plus/Minus, 32% Consistency

The Jaguars are certainly in a tail spin that has sapped their defense of any sort of intimidation factor, but Ramsey still ranks among the league’s top-15 cornerbacks in passer rating allowed into his coverage.

He’s essentially won every battle this season vs. wide receivers not named Odell Beckham Jr. (11-111-0) or Antonio Brown (5-117-1). — Ian Hartitz

Bet to watch: Colts -4

At this point the Jaguars resemble a team that has simply quit. They have fired their offensive coordinator, benched their quarterback and their best offensive player is suspended for this game.

The Colts are hot and trying to stay in the AFC South race. Frank Reich has his team committed and playing hard which is far more than can be said for Doug Marrone and the Jags. — BlackJack Fletcher


Betting odds: Los Angeles Rams at Detroit Lions

  • Spread: Rams -10
  • Over/Under: 55
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: FOX

Betting market: With 80% of betting tickets, the Rams are the most popular pick of the week at the time of writing.

The line has dropped down to 9.5 several times since opening, but continues to bounce back to 10, as there has been two-sided sharp action depending on the number.

The Lions are receiving about 41% of dollars despite getting 20% of tickets (check here for updated data). — Mark Gallant

Trends to know: The 10-1 Rams are coming off a bye week. Whether that gives them an edge remains to be seen.

Since 2003, great teams (won at least 90% of their games) have gone 24-11 against the spread with at least 13 days between games. However, since the 2013-14 season, these same teams are only 5-6 ATS, according to our Bet Labs data. — John Ewing

Matthew Stafford and the Lions face the Rams, who are defeating their opponents by 9.7 PPG, the third-highest margin this season.

In Stafford’s career, he is 4-14-1 ATS (22.2%) when facing a team winning by more than a touchdown per game on the season, failing to cover the spread by 5.6 PPG and losing bettors 10.2 units.

Since 2003, Stafford is the least profitable quarterback in the NFL in this spot, including 1-9 straight up and 1-8-1 ATS when his opponent is also averaging at least 30 PPG (Rams average 35.5). — Evan Abrams

Did you know? For the second time in Stafford’s career, he has opened as double-digit home underdog. In 2009, Stafford opened as a 10.5-point home dog against the Packers and lost in Detroit, 34-12. — Abrams

Biggest mismatch: Rams wide receivers vs. Lions cornerbacks

Darius Slay has the speed (4.36-second 40-yard dash) to hang with Brandin Cooks (4.33), but there’s hardly been anybody capable of stopping the Rams’ premiere field-stretcher while indoors since he entered the league in 2014.

Cooks has posted an average line of 5.1 catches-72.4 yards-0.53 TDs in 32 career games inside compared to 4.8-70-0.35 in 37 career games outdoors.

Woods (in the slot) and Reynolds have more favorable matchups against Nevin Lawson and Mike Ford. Quarterbacks have posted absurd passer ratings of 115.4 and 118.8 against Lawson and Ford, respectively.

Only the Chiefs possess a higher combined explosive pass play rate than the Rams this week. While a run-heavy game plan is possible, it likely won’t be because the Lions were able to shut down the Rams’ passing game. — Ian Hartitz

Which team is healthier? Rams

The Lions won’t have Marin Jones (knee, IR) for the remainder of the season, and backup receivers Brandon Powell (Calf) and Bruce Ellington (back) aren’t 100% either. The offense will likely be without stud rookie running back Kerryon Johnson (knee) for another week.

Meanwhile, the only minor concern for the Rams entering this week was Todd Gurley (ankle), but head coach Sean McVay confirmed he’ll be a full go for Sunday. The Rams are also expected to welcome back No. 1 cornerback Aqib Talib (ankle) from injured reserve.

Note: Info as of 6 p.m. ET Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff. — Hartitz

DFS edge: Kenny Golladay has taken over as the Lions’ clear-cut No. 1 receiver with Marvin Jones (knee, IR) sidelined and Golden Tate in Philadelphia. Historically, Babytron has consistently balled out with the workload of a featured target.

His nine career games with more than five targets …

  • 5-90-0
  • 8-113-1
  • 6-78-1
  • 7-114-0
  • 6-89-1
  • 4-98-1
  • 4-28-0
  • 4-69-2
  • 6-53-1

There’s a chance that Talib (ankle) returns from IR this week, but it’s unlikely he’ll be used in shadow coverage. This means we can expect Golladay to run a decent portion of his routes against the ever-burnable Marcus Peters.

Golladay costs $6,700 on DraftKings and boasts a massive 29-point projected ceiling. — Hartitz

Bet to watch:  Lions +10

Remember my three principles:

1. Look for lines that seem crooked or feel like the bookmakers are daring you to bet them.

2. Check the market. Is the money going in the same direction or the opposite direction of the side you want?

3. Look at the numbers.

This line immediately jumped out at me as being driven by recency bias. On Thanksgiving, the Lions lost to the Bears and didn’t cover as home dogs thanks to Stafford’s pick-six. But they hung in there against a Bears defense that is much better than what they will face with the Rams.

Still, thanks to a loss and the fact the Rams are, well, the Rams, the Lions opened as big home dogs. The public betting market is taking the bait, with 80% of the tickets coming in on Los Angeles. But the Rams defense is, well, not very good. Especially against Pro Bowl-caliber quarterbacks, a category that Stafford fits into.

Now I’ve got all three levels of my principles working in my favor. Go Lions. — Chad Millman


Betting odds: Cleveland Browns at Houston Texans

  • Spread: Texans -5.5
  • Over/Under: 47
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: CBS

Betting market: With eight straight wins in the bag, the Texans’ hot streak is overriding Cleveland’s big road W over the Bengals last week in the eyes of the public.

Houston is getting more than 60% of spread bets. Books opened this line anywhere between -4.5 and -6.5, but mostly -6 was available at the time of writing.

There has not been essentially no professional action to hit the game, yet. — Mark Gallant

Metrics that matter: The Browns are tied with the Chicago Bears for the best turnover differential this season at +14. — Evan Abrams

Did you know? The Texans have won eight consecutive games after starting the season 0-3. Since 2003, the Browns have faced a team on at least a three-game winning 34 times and the results are not good.

In this spot, Cleveland is 3-31 straight up and 11-22-1 against the spread, per our Bet Labs data. That makes the Browns the second-least profitable team in the NFL, just ahead of the Rams. — Evan Abrams

If the Browns win on Sunday they’ll have as many victories (3) in four games since firing Hue Jackson as they did during his entire tenure with the franchise. — John Ewing

The Browns are on a winning streak, the first time Cleveland has won back-to-back games since Week 10 of the 2014 season.

The Browns won their previous two games each by double-digits, the first time that has happened since Weeks 4 and 5 in 2013. — John Ewing

Biggest mismatch:  Browns Pass Rusher Myles Garrett vs. Texans Left Tackle Julie’n Davenport

Davenport’s 47 pressures allowed are the most by any player in the league this season, according to Pro Football Focus, and he’s also allowed the most quarterback hits (11) and second-most sacks (8) — all while committing three more penalties (14) than any other offensive lineman in the NFL.

Garrett, meanwhile, ranks fifth among edge rushers in sacks (11), quarterback hits (11), and pressures (47) of his own.

Despite not having attempted more than 25 passes in any of his past six games, Watson has been sacked an appalling 3.9 times per game over that span, so I’d expect Garrett to get home at least once.

How will Bill O’Brien stop Garrett from completely ruining the game for his streaking squad? It all starts with two backs, Lamar Miller and Alfred Blue.

I’d expect a heavy dose of the Texans backs both on the ground, where Cleveland’s defense ranks 25th in rushing DVOA compared to No. 4 against the pass, and in pass protection, where Miller (fifth) and Blue (11th) have each earned top-11 grades from Pro Football Focus. — Chris Raybon

Week-3-NFL-Over-Under-Results
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Deshaun Watson

Which team is healthier? Browns

The only Browns worth monitoring this week are tight end David Njoku (knee) and center JC Tretter (ankle).

The Texans could be without slot receiver Keke Coutee (hamstring), along with cornerbacks Johnathan Joseph (ankle, knee) and Kareem Jackson (groin). DeAndre Hopkins (foot), J.J. Watt (knee) and tight end Jordan Thomas (hamstring) are fully expected to suit up Sunday.

Note: Info as of 6 p.m. ET Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff. — Ian Hartitz

DFS edge: Despite Watson throwing 25 or fewer passes in six-straight games, he’s still flashed some upside in some of those spots.

He’s been the ninth-most efficient fantasy quarterback this year, averaging 0.55 fantasy points per dropback.

Watson makes for an excellent tournament pivot on both DraftKings and FanDuel, where he boasts a Leverage Rating of 85% and 88% in our FantasyLabs Models. — Justin Bailey

Bet to watch: Browns +5.5

The Texans are the hottest thing going. They haven’t lost a game in about two months and just ran all over Tennessee in front of a national TV audience on Monday night.

Meanwhile, in addition to snubbing his former coach, Baker Mayfield and the Browns have actually played much better recently, beating Atlanta and Cincinnati the last two weeks.

Despite the Texans’ gaudy record and winning streak, they STILL don’t really have an impressive win of the bunch, as almost all the teams are sub-.500 or close, and Washington lost Alex Smith during their meeting with the Texans.

Monday night against Tennessee has been Houston’s most impressive victory thus far, so I’m still not convinced the Texans are this good, so the difference between these teams may end up being a little smaller than the market thinks.

I’ll — gulp — take Cleveland on the road here. — Ken Barkley


Betting odds: Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Spread: Panthers -3
  • Over/Under: 54.5
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: FOX

Betting market: One of several lopsided games this week, the Panthers were commanding 73% of bets as 3.5-point favorite at the time of writing.

They had been at -4 for a while, but that number attracted sharp action on the Bucs. The line had been pretty stable at 3.5 since then, before bumping down to 3 late Thursday/early Friday.

With nearly 80% of the cash on the under, this total has dropped from 56 to 54.5 (see live betting data here). —Mark Gallant

Weather report: Winds of about 12 mph blowing across the field may be the reason behind the cash flow on the under. Historically, divisional games with winds of at least 10 mph have gone under almost 60% of the time, per our Bet Labs data.

Along with Buffalo-Miami, this game will be a rare December 80-degree showdown. Assuming the forecasts hold up, these will be the 11th and 12th such games we have on record dating back to 2003. —Mark Gallant

Trends to know: Carolina lost last Sunday to Seattle. Late in the regular season (November-January), teams favored on the road following a loss have gone 133-108-8 against the spread (55%) since 2003.

In division games, these teams have been even more profitable going 55-36-3 (60%) ATS. — John Ewing

This is one of two games in Week 13 that features a home team allowing at least 30 points per game this season (Broncos-Bengals is the other).

Interestingly, the under has historically been a good play in this spot.

In games in November or later that feature a home team that allows at least 30 PPG, the under is 35-17-1 (67.3%), going under the total by 3.1 PPG per Bet Labs. — Evan Abrams

The Panthers and Bucs are both “over” teams as the over is a combined 8 games above .500 in their games in 2018. Tampa Bay is 8-3 to the over while Carolina is 7-4. — Evan Abrams

Biggest mismatch: Panthers WR D.J. Moore vs. Bucs secondary

The Panthers could be without wide receivers Devin Funchess (back) and Curtis Samuel (hamstring), which means that first-round wide receiver D.J. Moore should get all the usage he can handle.

Since his insertion into the starting lineup in Week 8, Moore has played at least 70% of the team’s snaps in each game, and over the past two weeks, he’s emerged as the team’s top aerial playmaker, turning his 17 targets into a 15-248-1 receiving line.

With his elite combination of size (6-foot-1, 210 pounds), speed (4.42-second 40), agility (6.95-second three-cone) and explosiveness (39.5-inch vertical), Moore has the potential to destroy the Bucs, who rank dead last in pass-defense DVOA.

On top of that, the Bucs secondary has been decimated by injuries. Strong safety Chris Conte (knee, IR) and cornerback Vernon Hargreaves (shoulder, IR) are out. Slot corner M.J. Stewart (foot) has been out since Week 9. Free safety Justin Evans (toe) has missed the past two games. And outside cornerback Carlton Davis (knee) exited last week early and is uncertain for this week.

Left corner Brent Grimes is 35 years old and 185 pounds. If Davis is out, he’ll be replaced at right corner by Ryan Smith, a 2016 fourth-rounder who was flamed for an 8-101-1 receiving line on nine targets in his last start (Week 6 at Atlanta).

And filling in for Stewart in the slot is Javien Elliott, an undrafted third-year player who has allowed a 92.9% catch rate and has a 48.5 Pro Football Focus coverage grade this season.

Moore runs about a third of his routes from each of the wide receiver positions. Wherever he lines up this week, he has a significant advantage. — Matthew Freedman

DJ-Moore-Carolina-Panthers-2018
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: D.J. Moore

Which team is healthier? Panthers

The only real question mark for the Panthers is wide receiver Devin Funchess (back), who wasn’t able to play last week. He was at least able to get in a limited practice on Thursday, but this could be a game-time decision.

Meanwhile, the Bucs are dealing with injuries to center Ryan Jensen (hamstring), right tackle Demar Dotson (hamstring), running back Peyton Barber (ankle, shoulder) and DeSean Jackson (thumb) … on offense.

The defense is banged up as well, with none of Grimes (knee), Davis (knee), Evans (toe), defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (knee), linebacker Lavonte David (knee), and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (ankle, shoulder) close to 100%.

Note: Info as of 6 p.m. ET Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff. — Ian Hartitz

DFS edge: Christian McCaffrey’s absurd usage for the Panthers gives him one of the highest floors and ceilings on a weekly basis. He leads the Panthers in target share (23.5%) and red-zone opportunities (43.5%), while his 20.4 touches per game ranks fifth among all running backs.

The Bucs have lost some key pieces on their defensive front this season and presently rank as Pro Football Focus’ No. 32 defense against the rush, which should bode well for CMC.

He’s a cash-game building block, trailing only Todd Gurley in ceiling projections on the main slate for DraftKings in our FantasyLabs Player Models. —Justin Bailey

Bet to watch: Bucs-Panthers Under 54.5

This is will be a windy game between divisional opponents and that’s a good thing for under bettors.

Also, Tampa Bay’s league-worst 29 turnovers are a huge outlier and bound to regress to the mean. (Turnovers tend to inflate scoring more often than not — touchdown returns, short fields, etc.

Oddsmakers are setting these lines as if Tampa Bay is going to maintain its historic turnover rate, but last week we got to see what happens when the Bucs plays a game more within the normal range of outcomes in regard to turnovers: Its 27-9 victory over the 49ers went under the closing total by nearly 20 points. — Chris Raybon


Betting odds: Arizona Cardinals at Green Bay Packers

  • Spread: Packers -14
  • Over/Under: 44
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: FOX

Betting market: One would expect the public to be all over the Packers in an Aaron Rodgers-Josh Rosen showdown. However, given the Packers’ lack of success and the lofty line, it’s the Cardinals who are actually getting 51% of bets and nearly 65% of dollars (check out the updated betting data here).

Once available at +14.5 for a long chunk of time, the Cardinals are largely +14 around the market.

The under is getting just 45% of bets, but more than 70% of the cash, helping the over/under drop from 46 to 44. Also helping push the total down is the weekend weather. — Mark Gallant

Weather report: We could see some classic Green Bay snow this Sunday! Winds above 15 mph are in the forecast per our Sports Insights weather bug, and it looks as if we’ll see the snowiest game thus far this season. — Gallant

Trends to know: The 4-6-1 Packers are double-digit favorites. Since 2003, teams with a losing record favored by 10 or more points have gone 23-37-1 against the spread according to our Bet Labs database.

Aaron Rodgers has been in this spot three previous times with the Packers going 3-0 straight up and 2-1 ATS. — John Ewing

The Packers became the third team since 2003 to open as a two-touchdown favorite in October or later despite being under .500 straight-up for the season.

The previous two teams in this spot played both their games in November, making this game the latest into the regular season a team has been a two-touchdown favorite in this spot.

The previous two teams also played down to their competition:

2011 Eagles: (-13.5) lost at home 21-17 vs. Cardinals
2008 Chargers: (-15.5) won at home 20-19 vs. Chiefs — Evan Abrams

Did you know? The Cardinals are allowing 26.6 PPG this season, which is tied for 26th in the NFL, but their pass defense hasn’t been a huge issue lately, holding teams below 300 yards passing in six consecutive games.

In Rodgers’ career, he has faced a pass defense that held five straight previous opponents under 300 passing yards 26 times, and he is 20-6 ATS (76.9%), covering the spread by 5.6 PPG, the most profitable quarterback in the NFL in this spot. — Abrams

Biggest mismatch: Packers pass rush vs. Cardinals offensive line

The Cardinals are one of just three offenses that have allowed pressure on at least 40% of their dropbacks this season.

Meanwhile, the Packers rank fifth in adjusted sack rate and boast one of the league’s best home-field advantages. Overall, the Packers have allowed 19.4 points per game at home since 2014 compared to 26.1 PPG on the road. — Ian Hartitz

Which team is healthier? Cardinals

The Cardinals’ defense is dealing with injuries to linebacker Deone Bucannon (chest), slot corner Budda Baker (knee) and linebacker Haason Reddick (neck), but the offense is almost 100% aside from left tackle D.J. Humphries (knee) and wide receiver Chad Williams (ankle).

The Packers aren’t so well off, as the offense is dealing with injuries to left tackle David Bakhtiari (knee), left guard Lane Taylor (quad) and tight end Jimmy Graham (knee, thumb) in addition to wide receivers Randall Cobb (hamstring) and Equanimeous St. Brown (elbow).

The defense also isn’t doing all that great considering cornerbacks Kevin King (hamstring) and Bashaud Breeland (groin) could join defensive tackle Mike Daniels (foot) on the sideline.

Note: Info as of 6 p.m. ET Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff. — Hartitz

DFS edge: Davante Adams and Rodgers have formed one of the league’s most prolific WR-QB combinations in recent memory. Since 2016, Adams has scored a touchdown and or gained 100-plus yards in 25 of his 34 games (74%) with Rodgers under center.

Adams has already been through the Detroit Lions’ den of shadow cornerbacks this season, winning battles against Darius Slay (9-140-1), Xavier Rhodes (8-64-1, 5-69-1), Stephon Gilmore (6-40-1), Tre’Davious White (8-81-0) and Marcus Peters (5-133-0).

Patrick Peterson has a strong case as Adams’ toughest test of the season, but we haven’t seen the same version of the all-world cornerback in 2018.

The Cardinals defense has embraced a more zone-heavy scheme under new head coach Steve Wilks, and Peterson has only ventured into the slot on 10 total snaps all season.

He’s only been charged with two touchdowns allowed this season by PFF, but Peterson didn’t exactly dominate shadow dates against Stefon Diggs (3-33-0), Marquise Goodwin (1-55-1) or Tyreek Hill (7-117-2).

Adams is more than capable of having a productive day against Peterson, although it’s probably not wise to expect either player to approach his ceiling in this battle of elites. — Hartitz

Bet to watch: David Johnson Over Rushing+Receiving Yards

This line isn’t up yet, but when it posts, I have a hard time believing it’ll be anything north of 105.5 — and I like the over at anything around that number.

Now for the handicap: Three weeks ago, DJ put up 85 receiving yards against the Chiefs’ horrendous defense.

Why’s that pertinent in Week 13 against the Packers?

Green Bay has one of five NFL defenses that actually ranks worse than Kansas City against pass-catching running backs, per Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric, which has the Packers 31st overall. That should ease any concerns about game flow impacting DJ’s rushing output.

At this point, Johnson is clearly the Cardinals’ most effective offensive weapon — and new-ish offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich appears to be well aware of that fact.

Johnson has had 19-plus touches in each of the four games since Leftwich took over play-calling duties on Oct. 19, and most notably, Johnson delivered by torching the Chiefs and Raiders for 308 total yards.

The Packers are better than both of those units, but not by much.

Keep an eye out for this line to post and hit the over when it does. It should only go up. — Scott Miller


Betting odds: Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals

  • Spread: Broncos -5.5
  • Over/Under: 45
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: CBS

Betting market: Let’s just say public bettors aren’t ready to back Jeff Driskel, who’s starting in place of Andy Dalton (thumb) for the Bengals.

At the time of writing the Broncos are getting 76% of bets, so folks expect the Broncos continue their two-game winning streak. They’ve moved from -3.5 to -5.5 since opening (see live betting data here). —Mark Gallant

Weather report: Forecasts are currently projecting 14 mph winds in Cincy for Driskel’s first career start. The weather will otherwise be nice, with clear skies and temperatures in the mid-50s. — Mark Gallant

Trend to know: This is one of two games in Week 13 that features a home team allowing at least 30 points per game this season (Panthers-Bucs is the other).

Interestingly, the under has historically been a good play in this spot.

In games in November or later that feature a home team that allows at least 30 PPG, the under is 35-17-1 (67.3%), going under the total by 3.1 PPG per Bet Labs.

When the total is set below the key number of 47, the under is 23-10-1 (69.7%), going under by 3.7 PPG. — Evan Abrams

Did you know? This is just the fifth game Dalton has missed since being drafted in 2011. The previous four games came in the 2015 season when another thumb injury knocked him out of the final three games of the regular season and a playoff game.

In those four games the Bengals went 2-2 straight up and 2-1-1 against the spread. — John Ewing

Under head coach Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati is 7-1 ATS when it is on a three-game losing streak. — Evan Abrams

Biggest mismatch: Broncos CB Chris Harris Jr. vs. Bengals WR Tyler Boyd

Boyd has run 74% of his routes from the slot this season, which means he’s likely to see a lot of Chris Harris Jr. on Sunday. Harris is Pro Football Focus’ No. 5 cornerback this year and quarterbacks have a passer rating of just 63.6 when targeting him.

Overall, Harris is allowing just 0.84 yards per cover snap from the slot. Boyd could be in for a rough outing, especially with Driskel behind center. — Justin Bailey

Which team is healthier? Broncos

The Broncos could welcome back stud linebacker Brandon Marshall (knee), but the outlook for cornerback Tramaine Brock (ribs) and outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett (hip) is less optimistic.

The most concerning injury is wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (heel), who was downgraded to a limited practice Thursday.

Driskel might be without left tackle Cordy Glenn (back) in addition to backup offensive tackle Jake Fisher (back, IR).

The good news is wide receiver A.J. Green (toe) is tentatively expected to suit up Sunday, but the bad news is the defense is dealing with injuries to defensive end Carlos Dunlap (hip), linebacker Nick Vigil (knee), along with cornerbacks Dre Kirkpatrick (shoulder) and Darqueze Dennard (illness).

Note: Info as of 6 p.m. ET Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff. — Ian Hartitz

DFS edge: If you’re in need of a pure punt on DraftKings, Matt LaCosse could be your guy. Jeff Heuerman (ribs) is on injured reserve, leaving LaCosse as the Broncos’ starting tight end.

He put together a 3-34-1 game on just four targets and 27 snaps last week, but that snap count will be on the rise as the featured tight end.

On deck is a Bengals defense that’s allowing the second-most fantasy points per game to tight ends. LaCosse costs just $2,500 on DraftKings and is sporting position-high +3.86 Projected Plus/Minus. —Justin Bailey

Bet to watch: Bengals +5.5

The Bengals have lost three straight games. They will be without their starting QB and their offense is averaging only 18.3 PPG during their current losing streak. On the other side, the Broncos have won two straight against two current AFC playoff teams.

The mixture of both circumstances is creating some value on Cincy.

Denver hasn’t turned the ball over in its past two games and has created six takeaways. That won’t keep up and I wouldn’t be surprised if regression comes against the Bengals.

Denver has never been this big of a road favorite under Vance Joseph. It’s worth nothing the Broncos have played well on the road lately, but that hasn’t always been the case with Joseph, as he started his coaching career 1-9 ATS on the road.

Even with everything that’s going against them, I like the Bengals in a value spot. Let’s just hope Driskel can keep things tidy.Evan Abrams


Betting odds: Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins 

  • Spread: Dolphins -3.5 
  • Over/Under: 40
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: CBS

Betting market: Buffalo a trendy dog, who woulda thunk it? With 55% of bets, Buffalo is getting a hardy share of public love (see the updated odds here).

There are even some sharp bettors included in there, as multiple bet signals have helped them move from +6 to +3.5. — Mark Gallant

Weather report: Warm and breezy weather will make this December game at the Hard Rock feel like September. Dating back to 2003, we’ve tracked just 10 games in December with temperatures of at least 80 degrees, with the record being 83.

This game is forecasted to average between 83 and 84 degrees, so it could end up breaking the record. — Gallant

Trends to know: You probably aren’t watching this game unless you’re betting on it. One tip: follow the tickets. Since 2003, in games featuring division opponents with losing records it has been profitable to follow the crowd, according to Bet Labs:

  • Teams getting more than 50% of bets: 138-123-8 (53%) against the spread
  • 60% or more of bets: 96-78-7 (55%) ATS
  • 70% or more of bets: 44-29-3 (60%) ATS John Ewing

Ryan Tannehill returned for the Dolphins after missing five games last week against the Colts. Miami lost the game straight up, but covered the lofty nine-point spread.

With Tannehill at quarterback, the Dolphins have struggled against the spread vs. AFC East opponents, but are actually five games over .500 ATS vs. non-divisional opponents.

  • vs. AFC East: 10-18-1 ATS (35.7%, -8.4 units)
  • vs. Non-Divisional Opp: 29-24-1 ATS (54.7%, +4.4 units) Evan Abrams

Biggest mismatch: Bills pass coverage vs. Dolphins passing offense

The Bills pass defense has been stellar, allowing just 6.4 yards per attempt and a league-low 193.7 passing yards per game. As a result, they boast the league’s best pass defense in pass DVOA.

Meanwhile, the Dolphins rank 24th in pass DVOA on offense, making them one of the least efficient passing offenses in the league. The Dolphins have an implied team total of just 22 points as it’s dropped nearly 1.5 points since the line opened. — Justin Bailey

Which team is healthier? Bills

The Bills could welcome back tight end Charles Clay (hamstring), but could be without guard John Miller (oblique). The defense will be at 100% with the potential exception of cornerback Taron Johnson (shoulder).

The Dolphins aren’t nearly as well off, as the offensive line alone is dealing with injuries to right tackle Ja’Waun James (knee), left guard Ted Larsen (neck), center Travis Swanson (ankle) and left tackle Laremy Tunsil (knee).

Additional concerns on the offensive side of the ball include running back Kenyan Drake (shoulder), tight end A.J. Derby (foot, knee) as well as wide receivers Danny Amendola (knee) and DeVante Parker (shoulder).

Note: Info as of 6 p.m. ET Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff. — Ian Hartitz

DFS edge: LeSean McCoy’s 22.5 touches per game rank sixth in the league among running backs in the past three weeks, and he’s taking on mediocre Dolphins defense, which ranks 18th in rush DVOA.

While McCoy isn’t a cash-game play, he’s a viable tournament option if he continues to see the number of touches that he’s getting. His 23.3-point projected ceiling and minimal ownership projection gives him a 99% Leverage Rating on DraftKings. — Bailey

Bet to watch: Dolphins -3.5

From a pure value standpoint, the play here has to be the Dolphins. The Bills have won two in a row, while the Dolphins have dropped two straight. The difference?

Buffalo beat Jacksonville and the Jets, and the Dolphins lost to the Colts and Packers. Three weeks ago, this line is close to a touchdown if not more and Tannehill returning last week for Miami is a nice boost — he looked really good in the loss against a solid  (2 TD, 0 INT, 68% completion percentage).

The Dolphins dropped from a 6-point favorite down to just a 3.5-point favorite, and even though the Bills boast one of the most impressive defenses according to DVOA (second in overall defense, first in pass defense), one category allows me to sleep sound: Buffalo’s defense ranks last in the NFL in variance according to DVOA, which is basically measures how consistent a team is from game-to-game.

The Bills have won two straight, allowing 4.6 yards per attempt against Blake Bortles and Josh McCown. Tannehill isn’t Dan Marino, but I think he takes Buffalo back to its first nine-week yards per attempt total of 6.8 on defense.

When it comes to variance and consistency, this is a trend I think comes to an end on Sunday:

In terms of motivation, I think Miami is in a prime spot returning home after consecutive losses on the road, especially since Tannehill has a start under his belt after the injury.

The Bills are coming off consecutive wins as underdogs, including a hard-fought game against the physical Jaguars. The Dolphins are the play for me. — Abrams


Betting odds: Chicago Bears at New York Giants

  • Spread: Bears -4
  • Over/Under: 44.5
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: FOX

Betting market: This line didn’t open until Friday morning, as uncertainty around Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky’s status scared off bookmakers. We haven’t seen a ton of movement in the early going, but will update this blurb with any new developments (check live betting data here).

Trends to know: Eli Manning is an underdog at home once again this season. Manning is 13-19-1 against the spread as a home dog including 0-4 ATS in 2018, according to our data from Bet Labs.

In 33 games as a home dog, Manning has only pulled the upset six times. — John Ewing

The Bears’ defense leads the NFL in interceptions (20, or 1.82 per game) and faces a Giants offense that has turned the ball over just 12 times this season, tied for the seventh-fewest in the NFL.

Over the past decade, Eli Manning has faced a defense averaging at least 1.5 interceptions per game 17 times. He’s 5-11-1 ATS (31.3%), failing to cover the spread by 4.6 PPG.

Manning has lost bettors 6.4 units in this spot, making him the least profitable quarterback in the NFL over the past decade against ball-hawking defenses. — Evan Abrams

Biggest mismatch: Bears pass rush vs. Giants offensive line

Manning is one sack away from tying his career-high (39) set in 2013, and he still has five games to play.

The Giants’ offensive line, which ranks 26th in adjusted sack rate, has been overmatched for most of the season, and the Bears’ 12th-ranked unit in adjusted sack rate isn’t exactly what the doctor ordered.

Khalil Mack gets most of the recognition, but don’t be surprised if stud defensive tackle Akiem Hicks (PFF’s No. 5 overall interior defender) also finds a way to make an impact this Sunday. — Ian Hartitz

Which team is healthier? Giants

The Bears will reportedly let Trubisky (shoulder) heal up for another week. Stud defensive tackle Akiem Hicks (Achilles) is also banged up, but the team is at least expected to welcome back outside linebacker Aaron Lynch (concussion) along with tight end Adam Shaheen (concussion).

The Giants have health problems themselves, as linebackers B.J. Goodson (neck), Tae Davis (ankle) and Lorenzo Carter (hip) join cornerbacks Grant Haley (hamstring) and Curtis Riley (shoulder) on the injury report. Starting tight end Evan Engram (hamstring) isn’t expected to suit up Sunday.

Note: Info as of 6 p.m. ET Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff. — Hartitz

DFS edge: Both Janoris Jenkins and B.W. Webb rank outside of PFF’s top-75 cornerbacks. They’re expected to each see a mix of Taylor Gabriel and Allen Robinson, with undrafted free agent rookie Grant Haley spending most of his time with slot receiver Anthony Miller.

Daniel’s target distribution from Week 12 featured Gabriel (eight targets) and Tarik Cohen (eight) over Miller (four) and A-Rob (four).

Gabriel seems like the best value here at just $4,200 on DraftKings. He boasts a strong +2.8 Projected Plus/Minus in our FantasyLabs models. — Hartitz

Bet to watch: Bears -4

This may well be another Chase Daniel game, but that’s not what’s driving my bet. This game is reminiscent of when the Texans played the Redskins a couple of weeks ago. The Texans dominated the weakened Redskins offensive line and seriously injured Alex Smith.

The Bears defense will do the same to a putrid Giants offensive line. The Giants have awful pass protection and the Bears will be in Eli Manning’s kitchen all day long. They will also make life difficult for rookie sensation Saquon Barkley.

It’s a short number for a team that’s clearly better, I’m laying it. — BlackJack Fletcher


Betting odds: Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders

  • Spread: Chiefs -14.5
  • Over/Under: 55.5
  • Time: 4:05 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: CBS

Betting market: Bettors don’t care what the line is, they’re going to bet the Chiefs.

K.C. is getting nearly 80% of bets as 14.5-point road favorites against the lowly Raiders at the time of writing (see live data here).

If the line were -20, I bet the Chiefs would still get more than 60% of bets. There’s been some sharp action on the Raiders, but not enough to push the line to 14 yet.

Over/under bets are relatively split, but nearly 70% of the money is on the under. This cash flow has dropped the total from 56 to 55.5. Mark Gallant

Trends to know: Road favorites of 10 or more points have gone 4-0 against the spread in 2018. I wouldn’t expect that small-sample-size trend to continue.

From 2003-17, double-digit road favorites were 28-45 ATS. John Ewing

The Chiefs are fifth team to be favored by 2+ TDs on the road in a divisional game since 2000.

The previous four teams went 4-0 straight-up and ATS, covering the spread by an average of 12 points. Evan Abrams

Did you know? Arrowhead Stadium has one of the best home-field advantages in the NFL, but since Andy Reid arrived in Kansas City in 2013, the Chiefs are actually the NFL’s most profitable road team (+15.2 units).

Reid is 14-3 (82.4%) ATS on the road against the AFC West over that span, covering the by 8.4 points per game, but two of his three ATS divisional losses have come in Oakland. Abrams

Biggest mismatch: Travis Kelce vs. Raiders defense

This one is easy. Kelce leads the Chiefs with 101 targets and 67 receptions. In fact, he’s led the team in targets and receptions each season since 2016, when he was a first-team All-Pro.

On pace for the best statistical campaign of his career, Kelce is in a smash spot.

The Raiders are dead last in Football Outsiders’ pass-defense DVOA against tight ends. Safeties Karl Joseph and Marcus Gilchrist and linebackers Tahir Whitehead and Marquel Lee have collectively allowed a 77.3% catch rate, 900 yards and 12 touchdowns into their coverage.

It’s possible that the Chiefs won’t need Kelce to go off in order to win, but the Raiders will be entirely outmatched by the stud TE. Matthew Freedman

Travis-Kelce
Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Travis Kelce

Which team is healthier? Raiders

The only Raiders at risk of missing this game are wide receiver Martavis Bryant (knee), cornerback Leon Hall (back) and defensive tackle Maurice Hurst (ankle).

The Chiefs are also fairly healthy; only wide receiver Sammy Watkins missed practice to open the week. The offense is expected to welcome back starting center Mitch Morse (concussion), while the defense seems closer to getting stud safety Eric Berry (heel) back after he practiced for the first time all season on Wednesday.

Note: Info as of 6 p.m. ET Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff. — Ian Hartitz

DFS edge: The Chiefs are implied for a slate-high 35.25 points, so you can make a case for any of the Chiefs’ offensive starters: Patrick Mahomes, Spencer Ware, Kelce and Tyreek Hill all project favorably against the Raiders.

Mahomes is a better tournament option with his expensive price tag on both DraftKings and FanDuel. He carries a 90% Leverage Rating on DraftKings in our FantasyLabs Models.

And as 14.5-point favorites, the game script should favor Hunt, who boasts the second-highest ceiling projection on FanDuel.

Hill’s 16.6 median projection on FanDuel trails only DeAndre Hopkins on the main slate. Hill is a better value on FanDuel with his 99% Bargain Rating.

And finally, Kelce’s median projection on the main slate for DraftKings and FanDuel leads all tight ends by more than three points. Justin Bailey

Bet to watch: Raiders +14.5

The Chiefs have only been double-digit favorites one other time this season. That was Week 11 at home against the Cardinals, when K.C. 15.5-point favorites. We saw them ease off the gas a bit and coast to a 26-14 victory, failing to cover.

We have to always remember that a team is simply trying to win, not trying to cover the spread.

On the flip side, we saw the Raiders go beat that very Cardinals team the following week in Arizona.

The Raiders are a very bad football team, but I can see them sneaking in a backdoor cover here as the Chiefs play bend-don’t-break defense toward the end of the game. Sean Koerner


Betting odds: Minnesota Vikings at New England Patriots

  • Spread: Patriots -4.5
  • Over/Under: 49
  • Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: FOX

Betting market: With the Patriots listed as less than a touchdown favorite at home, almost two-thirds of the public is willing to bet on them. Sharp bettors aren’t in that same boat, though, as steam on the Vikings helped push them from +5.5 to +4.5 at some books.

The total isn’t seeing such discrepancies, though, as more than 70% of bets and dollars on the over has pushed it from 48 to 49 as of writing (see live odds here). Mark Gallant

Trends to know: Since hiring Mike Zimmer in 2014, the Vikings are 23-12 against the spread as an underdog, including 16-5 ATS when getting three or more points, according to our Bet Labs data. John Ewing

Brady beat the Jets on the road to bring the Patriots to 8-3. Since 2003, Brady is 57-24-4 (70.4%) ATS the week after facing an AFC East opponent, covering the spread by an average of 6.4 points.

For context, the week after facing teams outside his division, Brady is 90-71-3 (55.9%) ATS, covering by only 2.4 points per game.Evan Abrams

Did you know? Brady will make his 300th career start this Sunday. He’s 231-68 (77.3%) straight-up in his career and 174-116-9 (61%) ATS (including playoffs).Abrams

Biggest mismatch: Vikings RB Dalvin Cook vs. Patriots LB Kyle Van Noy

As good as Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs are, it would serve the Vikings well to diversify their offense as they haven’t been particularly efficient, ranking 15th in net yards per attempt.

One matchup they should look to exploit is Cook vs. Van Noy — a reliable type who Belichick loves and will keep on the field, but he’s also a player who can be exploited in coverage.

Van Noy has been targeted 33 times in coverage this season, allowing 31 completions for 313 yards. That’s a 94% completion rate and 9.5 yards per target.

Being more aggressive about attacking mismatches with Cook in the passing game would enable one of Minnesota’s most explosive players to have a greater impact on the game.

Putting the ball in his stomach clearly isn’t working.

Cook has carried between nine and 16 times in all six of his games, clearing 3.8 yards per carry only once. But he’s been able to rack up 47 or more receiving yards in three of those games. The Vikings will try to make it four if they’re smart.Chris Raybon

Dalvin-Cook
Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Dalvin Cook

Which team is healthier? Patriots

Zimmer was confident that No. 1 cornerback Xavier Rhodes (hamstring) will suit up on Sunday, but Rhodes failed to practice on Wednesday or Thursday. Diggs (knee) also didn’t practice, though he told the media that he plans to play. The defense could also be without cornerback Mackensie Alexander (knee).

The Patriots added Rob Gronkowski (ankle, back) to the injury report on Thursday, but both Gronk and Brady (knee) are tentatively expected to play. Rex Burkhead (neck) is positioned to return from injured reserve and form a three-back committee with Sony Michel and James White.

Note: Info as of 6 p.m. ET Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff. — Ian Hartitz

DFS edge: Assuming he plays, Rhodes could dominate his matchup vs. Josh Gordon. He has the type of size (6-foot-1 and 210 pounds) and the speed (4.43-second 40-yard dash) to hang with even the league’s freakiest receivers.

The better question is whether Gordon deserves to still be considered one of the league’s premiere talents at the position.

Gordon joins Allen Robinson and Kelvin Benjamin as the league’s only receivers averaging fewer than two yards of separation per target. Gordon has also lost his only two shadow matchups with the Patriots against Adoree Jackson (4-81-0 on 12 targets) and Tre’Davious White (4-42-0).

One look at Rhodes’ track record this season demonstrates how stingy he’s been against the league’s bigger-bodied receivers. Gordon will need to better utilize some of his field-stretching speed to avoid becoming the next receiver to have his #RhodesClosed. Hartitz

Bet to watch: Over 49

31, 43, 38, 38, 27, 24, 36, 26, 37, 35.

Those are the Patriots’ points scored in their past 10 home games. December weather in Foxborough might not be advantageous to every offense, but the Patriots’ suddenly healthy unit has continued to rack up points in the friendly confines of Gillette Stadium.

Meanwhile, Kirk Cousins and the Vikings have scored at least 20 points in every game this season except for that strange Week 3 matchup against the Bills when Minnesota lost by 21 points at home.

This projects to be the week’s fastest matchup in combined situation neutral pace, so I’ll take the over and bet on Cousins and Brady to consistently find ways to move the ball up-and-down the field. Hartitz


Betting odds: San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks

  • Spread: Seahawks -10
  • Over/Under: 46
  • Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: FOX

Betting market: This lofty divisional spread has seen some back and forth action. Lopsided betting activity favors the Seahawks, who are commanding almost 70% of bets as of writing (see live data here).

However, the line has fallen to 9.5 a couple of times, as the Niners are getting 62% of the spread dollars.

The line has yet to move to 10.5, so it looks as if sharp bettors only like Seattle at -9.5.Mark Gallant

Trends to know: Bad teams have a tendency to surprise bettors. Since 2003, teams that have won fewer than 20% of their games have gone 174-140-7 (55%) against the spread when getting seven or more points, according to our Bet Labs data.

If these teams are double-digit underdogs, the record improves to 99-70-3 (59%) ATS. John Ewing

Thinking about using the Seahawks in survivor or a moneyline parlay? The 49ers haven’t beaten the Seahawks in Seattle since Week 16 of the 2011 season behind Jim Harbaugh.

That was four head coaches ago for the Niners. Alex Smith was also the quarterback.

On the flip side, Russell Wilson is 20-2 straight-up at home when he opens as a double-digit favorite. And when he faces a team below .500 in this spot, he’s 15-1 SU, winning by an average of 17.3 points.

The 49ers just lost to the Bucs on the road, 27-9. Wilson is 14-0 SU and 8-5-1 ATS as a starter at home when facing a team that scored 17 or fewer points in their previous game.

Wilson is winning those 14 home games by 16.4 points. Evan Abrams

Biggest mismatch: Seahawks WRs vs. 49ers Secondary

This is a #RevengeGame for 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, who has looked like a Pro Bowler in his first season since leaving Seattle. But the 49ers have a league-worst 40.5 Pro Football Focus coverage grade.

Sherman has held up his end of the bargain, allowing 266 scoreless yards and a completion rate of just 55.2% on 29 targets and 360 coverage snaps.

Playing almost exclusively at left corner, he’s locking down his side of the field. And as a result, quarterbacks have wisely avoided his coverage, pivoting to his teammates who are imminently exploitable.

Cornerbacks Ahkello Witherspoon and K’Waun Williams have allowed a 62.7% completion rate. And the team’s rotation of safeties has allowed a 72.5% completion rate. Even last week, Mike Evans put up a 3-89-0 receiving line against Sherman on three targets.

Everyone in this secondary has issues.

Ahkello-Witherspoon
Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: 49ers CB Ahkello Witherspoon (23) and S Jaquiski Tartt (29)

Wilson has perhaps the best receiving unit of his career. With the steady Doug Baldwin in the slot and the speedy Tyler Lockett and big-bodied David Moore on the outside, the Seahawks could dominate through the air.

Seattle leads the league with a 50.6% rush rate, but Wilson is second with 35 end-zone pass attempts and 19 touchdowns on throws into the end zone. No quarterback has thrown a higher percentage of his passes into the end zone than Wilson has at 11%.

Against this secondary and with a quarterback who gives his receivers lots of high-leverage targets, the Seahawks receivers could collectively have multiple touchdowns. Matthew Freedman

Which team is healthier? Seahawks

The Seahawks have already ruled out difference-making linebacker K.J. Wright (knee), but they’re tentatively expected to have safety Bradley McDougald (shoulder) and defensive tackle Shamar Stephen (foot). Baldwin (groin) is also expected to suit up.

The 49ers are dealing with more uncertainty with center Weston Richburg (knee), running back Matt Breida (ankle) and right guard Joshua Garnett (thumb) unable to get in full practices to start the week. Pierre Garcon (knee) and Marquise Goodwin (personal) should be considered questionable for Sunday, while the defense could be without safeties D.J. Reed (heel) and Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder) in addition to Jimmie Ward (forearm, IR).

Note: Info as of 6 p.m. ET Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff. — Ian Hartitz

DFS edge: The Seahawks’ pass-rush isn’t great. Seattle ranks 17th in Football Outsiders’ adjusted sack rate and 25th in pressure rate, but the defense warrants consideration against a San Francisco offense that ranks 23rd in the same metric.

It helps that the 49ers are implied for a meager 18 points.

Defenses with comparable trends have historically averaged a +1.50 DraftKings Plus/Minus (per our FantasyLabs Trends tool). Justin Bailey

Bet to watch: 49ers +10

Coming off a tough victory all the way in Carolina, the Seahawks return home against a 49ers team that ranks fourth in adjusted net yards per play at +0.7. The Seahawks are -0.6 in the same stat, indicating this point spread is a touch too high.

There shouldn’t be much support for San Francisco in this spot, as the Niners have only covered in Seattle once in their past 10 tries at Century Link. This game will be also played again in just two weeks in Santa Clara.

With a Monday Night Football date against the Vikings in Week 14, it wouldn’t be a shock to see the Seahawks have a letdown week.

Finally, Seattle’s offensive line continues to have issues protecting Wilson, ranking 29th in adjusted sack rate. That should be enough for San Francisco to keep it close. Collin Wilson


Betting odds: New York Jets at Tennessee Titans

  • Spread: Titans -9
  • Over/Under: 40.5
  • Time: 4:05 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: CBS

Betting market: The line is moving against the Titans despite the Jets not even listing a starting quarterback.

Given the Titans’ hit-or-miss tendencies, the public has not been willing to back them as more than a touchdown favorite regardless of who is getting the nod at QB for the Jets.

With 53% of bets and 69% of dollars as of writing (see live data here), New York has gone from +10.5 to +9 since opening. Mark Gallant

Trends to know: The over/under opened at 41, the lowest on the slate. A majority of bets are on the under, but in non-division games with totals of 44 or fewer points with limited wind of 9 mph or less, the over has gone 636-513-21 (55%) since 2003 (per our Bet Labs data).

Check, check, check for Jets-Titans. John Ewing

Officiating report: Jerome Boger will be the head official on Sunday. The over is 94-65-1 (59.1%) in the 160 games Boger has officiated over the past decade (including playoffs), making him by far the most profitable official to the over in that span.

The over is 9-2 in Boger officiated games this season, clearing the total by an average of 6.6 points. Evan Abrams

Biggest mismatch: Titans safeties and linebackers vs. Jets tight ends and running backs

Even after a disappointing Monday Night Football performance in Week 12, the Titans have the best expectations-adjusted defense in the league, limiting opponents to a scoring average 2.75 points fewer than their implied Vegas total.

In the midst of a five-game losing streak, the Jets have struggled to push the ball downfield, which means that if they’re going to succeed against the Titans, the Jets will likely need their tight ends and running backs to outperform.

But the Titans are eighth in Football Outsiders’ pass defense DVOA against tight ends and running backs, positions they’ve held to respective bottom-three marks of 35.5 and 28.2 yards receiving per game.

Although safeties Kevin Byard and Kenny Vaccaro and linebackers Wesley Woodyard, Jayon Brown and Rashaan Evans have collectively allowed a 77.4% catch rate, their bend-don’t-break defense has been effective. In 1,381 coverage snaps, they’ve allowed zero touchdowns.

The Jets might need big receiving games from tight end Chris Herndon and running backs Isaiah Crowell and Elijah McGuire, but they’re unlikely to get them. Matthew Freedman

Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kevin Byard (31), Jayon Brown (55)

Which team is healthier? Titans

The only Titans starter at risk of missing the game is linebacker Will Compton (hamstring). Everyone else on the injury report got in a full practice on Thursday.

The Jets aren’t so lucky. The defense could be without safety Marcus Maye (shoulder, thumb) and linebacker Jordan Jenkins (shoulder).

The offense is an even bigger mess as quarterbacks Josh McCown (right hand, back) and Sam Darnold (foot) were limited all week, and the status of wide receivers Robby Anderson (ankle) and Andre Roberts (foot) remain uncertain.

Note: Info as of 6 p.m. ET Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff. — Ian Hartitz

DFS edge: The Titans have periodically used Adoree’ Jackson to shadow with mixed results. It’s unclear if that’ll be their gameplan with the statuses for both Darnold and McCown uncertain.

It’d make sense if the Titans treated Quincy Enunwa as the No. 1 receiver if it’s Darnold is under center, and Anderson as the No. 1 if it’s McCown. The problem with Anderson is his injury status.

Either way, Jermaine Kearse has a tough matchup in the slot against the Titans’ true No. 1 cornerback Logan Ryan. Hartitz

Bet to watch: Titans -9

I know it’s a big number — and I’d be lying to you if I said it was one of my favorite bets of the week — but the public is overreacting to a few things:

1. Tennessee got waxed by Indy two weeks ago.

2. Houston took the Titans to the woodshed on Monday Night Football.

But let’s not forget: Indy is legitimately good and that was a classic road letdown spot for Tennessee, coming off back-to-back wins over the Cowboys and Patriots.

Also: Go take a peek at that MNF box score. Marcus Mariota went 22-of-23 for 303 yards and 2 TDs … and the Titans lost by 17.

Talk about a fluke.

They had a chance to go up 17-14 in the first half, but failed on a fourth-and-1 inside the 5 and proceeded to allow a 97-yard TD on the very next play.

Fourteen-point swing … and just like that, the game was over.

This seems like the perfect get-right spot for the Titans. They return home, where they’re 3-1 against some quality competition (Texans, Eagles, Ravens, Pats). And they get to play the Jets, who are far from quality competition.

Both of New York’s mediocre-at-best QBs are banged up, and it doesn’t have the receiving weapons to take advantage of Tennessee’s biggest weakness (pass defense).

This will be a small play for me, but I like Titans at anything below -10. I also think they make a decent teaser piece if you can get the spread under a FG without laying too much juice.

Be sure to shop around for the best number, as there are a bunch of -8s posted around the market at the time of writing. — Scott Miller


Betting odds: Los Angeles Chargers at Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Spread: Steelers -3
  • Over/Under: 51.5
  • Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: NBC

Betting market: Betting activity for this game is very split, and so are the books, with some posting the Steelers at -3 and others at -3.5.

Of course, when a situation like this takes place, we often see heavy juice on either side. Those with Pittsburgh at -3 are in the -125 range, and those at -3.5 are around -125 on the Chargers.

Though the over is the second-most popular of the week with more than 80% of bets as of writing (see live data here), multiple waves of sharp action on the under have dropped it from 52.5 to 51.5. Mark Gallant

Trends to know: The Steelers lost on the road to the Broncos last week, making this Sunday Night Football matchup that much more important for Big Ben & Co.

According to our Bet Labs data, Ben Roethlisberger is 14-8 (63.6%) against the spread when playing in prime time the week after a straight-up loss, covering by more than a field goal per game to profit bettors six units. That makes him the third-most profitable quarterback in this spot behind Drew Brees and Tom Brady.

When playing in December or later, Pittsburgh is 5-1 ATS in this spot, covering by an average of 6.4 points per game. Evan Abrams

Roethlisberger is 22-16 ATS when playing at home following a loss, including 18-11 ATS when facing a non-division opponent. John Ewing

At 8-3, the Chargers are off to their best start to a season since 2009, when they also started 8-3. Since then, Philip Rivers has been listed as an underdog when he has a winning percentage of 70% or higher only four times.

The Chargers are 0-4 SU and ATS in that spot, losing two of those games in prime time. Abrams

Did you know? Rivers was drafted fourth overall by the Giants in 2004 (and traded to the Chargers). Roethlisberger was taken seven picks later at 11th overall.

Here’s how the two have stacked up ATS over their careers. Abrams

Biggest mismatch: Steelers’ OL/DL vs. Chargers DL/OL

Steelers position players get all of the publicity, but it’s their line play that has them in first place in the AFC North. They have arguably the best O-line in football, something Pro Football Focus verified in its latest rankings.

With Joey Bosa back and clearly healthy — he had two sacks in his last game — the Chargers have one of the NFL’s best pass rushes. They rank only 28th in Football Outsiders’ adjusted sack rate, but that will change with Bosa back.

However, the Steelers have the personnel to contain both Bosa and Melvin Ingram, who combined for 23 sacks last season. The underlying metrics agree, as Pittsburgh’s offensive line ranks No. 1 in adjusted sack rate.

Big Ben has been sacked only 16 times, tied with Tom Brady for the second-fewest.

While the Steelers’ O-line can more than hold its own, the real mismatch is on the other side of the ball.

The Steelers should get after Rivers all night long. Just like its offensive line, Pittsburgh’s D-line also ranks No. 1 in adjusted sack rate. The Steelers have already totaled 39 sacks this season, which paces the league.

They’ll face a Chargers’ front that PFF ranks as the NFL’s fifth-worst unit. It struggles more in pass protection, which will be an issue against the Steelers’ pass rush, especially since running back Melvin Gordon (knee) likely won’t play.

The Chargers will be counting on Rivers to drop back and throw frequently, which spells disaster against a Steelers pass rush that might not have to respect the run.

TJ-Watt
Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: T.J. Watt

Look for a breakout game from T.J. Watt, who should take advantage of a very weak right side of the Chargers’ offensive line. Of all 62 tackles who have played at least 400 snaps this season, Chargers right tackle Sam Tevi grades dead last in pass-blocking per PFF.

Bottom line: The Steelers should win this game in the trenches, by containing the Chargers’ pass rush on the offensive side of the ball and by putting constant pressure on Rivers when on defense.

Having the best adjusted sack rate on both offense and defense will win you a lot of games. Stuckey

Which team is healthier? Steelers

The Chargers are expected to be without Gordon for the foreseeable future, and it’s unclear whether wide receiver Tyrell Williams (quad) will be able to do more than serve as a decoy this week. The defense is at least expected to have cornerback Trevor Williams (knee) back.

The Steelers are also fairly healthy. Only linebacker Bud Dupree (pec), right tackle Marcus Gilbert (knee) and safety Morgan Burnett (back) seem at risk of missing Sunday’s game.

Note: Info as of 6 p.m. ET Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff. — Ian Hartitz

DFS edge: A home matchup against a Chargers team that ranks 27th in PFF’s run defense grades looks like an excellent bounce-back spot for James Conner.

Conner’s 21.4 touches per game ranks fourth in the league, and he’s smashed at home this season, averaging 21.38 FanDuel points per game with a +8.46 Plus/Minus. Justin Bailey

Bet to watch: Over 51.5

I know I’m on the donkey side of this bet. I don’t care.

As of writing, 81% percent of tickets and 90% of money are on the over, but the total has dropped one point. This reverse line movement suggests that sharps are on the under.

Even so, I’m drawn to the Steelers home over like a moth to a tiki torch.

In the “Antonio Brown is a perennial All-Pro wide receiver” era (since 2014), the Steelers have an over/under record of 21-10-0 in Roethlisberger’s home starts with an outrageous cover margin of 7.1 points. That’s good for a 31.5% return on investment (per our data at Bet Labs).

And the over has been even more exploitable when the Steelers have faced teams unfamiliar with them. Since 2014, the Steelers have a home over/under record of 15-6 against non-divisional opponents with a margin of 8.6 points. That comes out to a 38.5% ROI.

In prime time with both teams needing wins to solidify their playoff seedings, I expect points to be scored. Matthew Freedman


Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.

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