Ross Williams picks out his best bets for Week 13 of the NFL season, with four games in focus across Sunday and Monday.
2pts Detroit Lions (-4.5) to beat New Orleans Saints at evens (bet365)
1pt Najee Harris to score the first touchdown at 6/1 (Sky Bet)
1pt Jaylen Warren to score the first touchdown at 15/2 (Sky Bet)
2pts Philadelphia Eagles (+3.5) to beat San Francisco 49ers at 4/5 (General)
1pt Calvin Ridley (Jaguars) & Ja’Marr Chase (Bengals) 1+ receiving touchdowns each at 11/2 (Sky Bet)
Sadly, Monday Night Football will not be providing a battle between Trevor Lawrence and Joe Burrow, but we can still expect some success through the air.
With Burrow out for the year, Jake Browning has the reins of the Cincinnati Bengals. The inexperienced quarterback is limited – and he can expect some pain against a strong Jacksonville pass-rush – but the Bengals didn’t abandon the pass in his first NFL start last week.
Browning had a decent statistical day, completing 19 of his 27 passes for 227 yards and, although he did throw a pick, he could take heart from a touchdown pass to Drew Sample.
Crucially, Browning found star receiver Ja’Marr Chase for 81 of his yards and, with a partnership established, that will surely be the route for Cincinnati on Monday night.
Chase’s ability requires little introduction and the fact that he’s 86 yards away from a third-straight 1,000-yard season only adds to the case that he’ll be favoured by Browning under the bright, primetime lights. Chase is a big-time player and there’s no doubt that he’ll be option #1 in scoring situations for the Bengals.
As for Jacksonville, they’re going under the radar somewhat but it’s becoming harder and harder to ignore Calvin Ridley. The receiver has been unleashed in recent weeks with depth returning to the Jaguars’ ranks. He’s scored three touchdowns and picked up 192 yards in his previous two games and Lawrence would be foolish to not continue the trend and feed him the ball.
Dan Campbell’s DETROIT LIONS head to New Orleans and the franchise where their head coach made his name as a player in the NFL.
It was disappointment last time out for the 8-3 Lions, but they’ll be keen to put things right after a lengthy wait since their Thanksgiving clash with the Green Bay Packers.
The long turnaround should freshen up Detroit and I like them to cover the spread in a bounce-back win over a team that is well down on their luck.
The Saints haven’t covered the spread in any of their four home games to date and points have been at a premium for New Orleans. They didn’t find the endzone at all against another poor team in the Falcons last week and, to make matters worse, the Saints are likely to be down to their fourth-string receiver with Mike Thomas, Chris Olave and Rashid Shaheed all on the shelf.
It’s a grim reality with an eight-win team coming to town that will be eager to get back on track after a tough divisional loss. I expect the Lions to do just that and win by a score.
The Steelers’ clash with the Cardinals throws up a dilemma that we can avoid by splitting stakes.
Arizona have the second-leakiest defence in the NFL, conceding 26.8 points per game, and are torrid against the run. Each of their last three opponents have picked up over 170 rushing yards and at least one rushing touchdown, so there are obvious claims for Pittsburgh’s running backs to find the endzone.
The problem is, which one?
Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren have been the focal point of a Pittsburgh offence that has struggled in the pass game, but that means they have very much split the workload. They’ve had seven rushing touchdowns between them, with Harris just outdoing his teammate with four touchdowns to three.
Both are very capable of scoring from a range of scenarios and choosing one over the other at this point seems foolish and is, frankly, asking for trouble.
Instead, there’s value in backing either of the two running backs to get the scoreboard rolling on Sunday with the first touchdown of the game.
There’s an element of luck required in the coin toss, but at around the 11/4 mark it’s worth a small play in the hope that Pittsburgh get the ball early and take advantage of a defence that simply rolled over and allowed 37 points just a week ago.
There’s really no debate around which of Week 13’s games is the main event and – thankfully, despite its clear primetime appeal – we get to see it at the reasonable time of 9:25pm in the UK.
In a repeat of January’s NFC Championship game, the San Francisco 49ers take on the 10-1, NFL-leading PHILADELPHIA EAGLES.
It’s an outstanding game on paper, with the two teams heading to Lincoln Financial Field with a combined record of 18-4.
It’s a battle of the two best teams in the league right now, so it is somewhat surprising that the hosts have been handed a sizeable 3.5 points on the handicap – but we shouldn’t complain.
Had the spread been shorter, I’d probably leave this alone and enjoy the fireworks, but the idea of the handicap surpassing a field goal is far too tempting and – although I can understand the Niners being marginally favoured – it does seem a tad disrespectful to the team that has suffered just one defeat this season.
Philadelphia have covered the spread in four of their last five games and they’re no stranger to a dogfight. They’ve ran a gauntlet of the Cowboys, Chiefs and Bills in their last three games and come away with three wins, all within five points. The Eagles play to the bitter end and it comes as no surprise that they average more second-half points than any other team in the NFL.
Fresher after playing last Thursday, the Niners may come away with the win, but it’s hard to believe that the Eagles won’t be having a say inside the final moments and, for that reason, I like the value of them covering 3.5 points.
Posted at 1840 GMT on 02/12/23
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