Where to place your money in Week 13:
Dolphins at Ravens (-3.5)
The Dolphins have caught fire, winning six straight games, yet are considerable underdogs against the mediocre Ravens. Though Baltimore’s rush defense can be stingy (best in the league at just 74.7 YPG allowed), Jay Ajayi and the Dolphins have taken it to some of the better run stoppers in the league during their six-game run, including the top-10 rated Steelers, Jets and Chargers.
And while the Ravens defense is among the better units in the league at preventing points (18.3 PPG allowed, fourth-best in the NFL), Baltimore’s offense led by Joe Flacco has been very shaky. Just last week, they squandered many an offensive opportunity in a 19-14 win over Cincinnati and had to have kicker Justin Tucker more-or-less win the game for them. Miami’s pass stoppers are among the best in the league (ninth), so Flacco could be in for even more headaches on Sunday. The Dolphins are the best bet of the week.
The pick: Dolphins +3.5
Buffalo Bills at Oakland Raiders (-3)
The Raiders have won eight of their last nine games (including this current five-game winning streak) and look like one of the elite teams in the AFC. Meanwhile, the Bills continue to get credit for playing hard and keeping games close, but have failed to cover in four of their last five contests.
Buffalo’s wins over Cincinnati (off a bye week no less) and Jacksonville in successive weeks were not that impressive, while Oakland has beaten (in order) Denver, Houston and a desperate Carolina team in three straight; a demanding feat.
Latavius Murray should exploit the Bills’ porous rush defense (20th by YPG), enabling Derek Carr to torch Buffalo through the air when he has to go there. LeSean McCoy and the Bills’ rushing attack will keep them alive for a while, but if the Raiders can figure out Cam Newton they can figure out Tyrod Taylor too. Eventually Buffalo will have to abandon the run and try to play catch-up, and that’s when the Raiders will start to pull away. Lay the points with the team that’s currently best in the west.
The pick: Raiders -3
Redskins at Cardinals (-2.5)
These two clubs couldn’t be trending any more differently at the moment. The Redskins have covered in eight of their last nine contests (and four of their last five on the road), while the Cardinals have dropped their last five games ATS. And Arizona can’t take any solace in returning to Glendale after two demoralizing road losses in a row, as they’re just 3-7 ATS in their last ten home tilts.
Because of all this, Washington looks like a good bet even though their second-ranked offense by YPG meets the NFL’s most uncompromising defense by the same measure. Expect Kirk Cousins and company to collect another win to stay afloat in the playoff hunt while effectively sinking the Cardinals.
The pick: Redskins +2.5
Best of the rest (picks in bold)
Los Angeles Rams @ New England Patriots (-13.5)
Detroit Lions @ New Orleans Saints (-6)
Philadelphia Eagles @ Cincinnati Bengals (-1)
Houston Texans @ Green Bay Packers (-6.5)
Kansas City Chiefs @ Atlanta Falcons (-3.5)
Denver Broncos (-4) @ Jacksonville Jaguars
San Francisco 49ers @ Chicago Bears (-1)
New York Giants @ Pittsburgh Steelers (-6)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ San Diego Chargers (-3.5)
Carolina Panthers @ Seattle Seahawks (-6.5)
Indianapolis Colts (-1.5) @ New York Jets