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NFL Week 13: Top Two Betting Picks

Max Meyer |
November 28, 2012 | 2:33 p.m. PST

Associate Sports Editor

Can Josh Freeman lead the surprising Bucs to a victory over the Broncos? (Bryan Austin, Creative Commons)
Can Josh Freeman lead the surprising Bucs to a victory over the Broncos? (Bryan Austin, Creative Commons)
I can't believe there are only five weeks left in the NFL regular season. As the season winds down, the spreads get only tougher. Luckily for us, Vegas left two very good spreads available for this week. 

Buccaneers (+8) over BRONCOS

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have easily been one of the most surprising teams in the NFL this season. Their offense is ranked fourth in the NFL in points scored, averaging 28.2 points per game. Yet, they are still not getting any respect from Vegas, as they are underdogs by more than a touchdown in Denver.

The Buccaneers have played a brutal schedule so far this season, and that is why they have five losses. However, their losses show that the Bucs are definitely not a fluke. They have yet to lose a game this season by more than seven points. And their five losses were against the Giants, Cowboys, Redskins, Saints and Falcons. The Bucs are also 5-0 against the spread in their last five road games, including winning their last three straight up. Clearly, playing in front of an opposing crowd doesn't scare this team. 

On the other side, Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos have been on a hot streak. But they have not covered in the past two weeks as heavy favorites against weaker teams. Last week against the Chiefs, the Broncos offense sputtered and the game was much closer than expected. Maybe the loss of running back Willis McGahee will have a much bigger impact than anyone anticipated. 

I don't know if the Bucs will win this game outright, but they will certainly make this game close. Tampa Bay head coach Greg Schiano has gotten his team to play extremely well this season against tough competition. Knowing this game will impact their playoff chances greatly, expect the Bucs to be hungry and play their hearts out. 

J.J. Watt collected three sacks last week in Detroit. (Jeffrey Beall, Creative Commons)
J.J. Watt collected three sacks last week in Detroit. (Jeffrey Beall, Creative Commons)
Texans (-5.5) over TITANS

The Tennessee Titans stink. I know I'm extremely sour because they ended my three-week perfect streak of picks against the spread, but they still lost to the Jaguars. Regardless, the Titans have been atrocious recent in divisional games against the spread. In their last nine AFC South contests, the Titans are 1-8 against the spread. On the other hand, the Houston Texans are 8-2 against the spread over their last 10 AFC South games. 

The Texans are coming off back-to-back weeks where they've had to escape in overtime. The Jaguars and Lions have simply exposed the Texans defense over the past two weeks. However, the Titans just fired their offensive coordinator Chris Palmer since their offense has been a mess this season. Facing against a team with a new offensive coordinator will be the cure that J.J. Watt and the rest of the Texans' defense needs to get back on track. 

While the Houston defense has struggled, the offense has been great thanks to the resurgence of wide receiver Andre Johnson. After a slow start, Johnson has been incredible the past two games. His 461 receiving yards in that two-game stretch is an NFL record. His play has opened up the Texans' passing game and made the offense more balanced. Last week, because the Lions had to account for Johnson, it opened up rushing lanes for Arian Foster. Foster's 5.1 yards per carry last week was one of his most efficient games this season.

The Texans will make a statement game after two close calls in a row. Tennessee head coach Mike Munchak is 2-7 in his career against the spread versus teams with a winning record. As long as this line is under a touchdown, definitely take the Texans in this eventual AFC South rout. This is my lock of the week. 



Reach Associate Sports Editor Max Meyer by email, or follow him on Twitter.




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