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NFL Week 13 Betting Preview: Thanksgiving Edition

Max Meyer |
November 27, 2013 | 9:08 p.m. PST

Senior Sports Editor


(Creative Commons)
(Creative Commons)
Happy Thanksgiving NFL gambling community! After an 8-4-1 record last week with both of my best bets cashing in, I'm hoping to deliver some more great picks during one of the best sports weekends of the year. So here are the best bets of the week, Thanksgiving edition. 

The Turkey: Jaguars (+7.5) over BROWNS

Before you declare me insane for picking the Jacksonville Jaguars on the road as one of my best bets of the week, hear me out. Gamblers rejoice whenever Brandon Weeden is the Cleveland Browns starting quarterback. Weeden is not only favored in this game, he's favored by more than a touchdown! It seems awfully nice that Vegas wants to give the betting community a little extra cash this holiday season, thanks to this line.

Weeden has played in seven games this season, and has completed fewer than 50 percent of his passes in three of them. He's had more touchdowns than interceptions in only one game. Overall, he has a 51 percent completion rate on the season, and is averaging only six yards per attempt. The only two games the Browns have won with him at quarterback were against the Bills when he came in after a Brian Hoyer injury and against the Ravens with Jason Campbell playing close to the entire game. Now that Weeden is back, it's clear that the Browns are throwing the towel on this season and are ready to play for better draft position. 

Believe it or not, the Jaguars are actually a better team on the road. Not only have they won their past two road games, against their division rivals in the Titans and Texans, they simply put up more points away from home. Their season-high for points at home is 14, whereas they've put up at least 17 points in five of their six road games this season. 

The Browns do not have a running game, and Jacksonville's secondary has improved from earlier in the season. If the Jaguars can shut down Case Keenum last week, won't stopping the mighty Weeden be a significantly easier task? The Browns aren't great either when they've been the favorite over the past few years. In their last 18 games in that role, they've beaten the spread only seven times. There is no way I can see an inept Brandon Weeden beating the Jaguars by more than one possession. There's a very good chance Jacksonville will win this game outright. Either way, enjoy the early Christmas present from Vegas. 

The Stuffing: Giants (-1) over REDSKINS

Last week, I had the Cowboys as a best bet, against these same New York Giants. This week, coming off of that brutal loss to Dallas, the Giants have great value against a Washington Redskins team that is an absolute mess right now. The Redskins have allowed at least 24 points in 10 of their 11 games this season, and they will have trouble again this week, even against a team that has had trouble scoring.

Ever since their 36-31 loss to the Cowboys in Week 1, the Giants have not been able to put up more than 30 points. Part of that reason is because of their lackluster running game, but with Andre Brown back the past few weeks, this has been the most consistent their offense has looked all season. In their second meeting against the Cowboys last week, Brown looked really effective as he rushed for 127 yards on six yards per carry. 

The Redskins allowed just 56 yards on 24 carries against the 49ers last week, but that's because they often has eight men in the box and dared Colin Kaepernick to throw. There is no way they will employ that same strategy against Eli Manning, especially since Kaepernick burned them through the air this past Monday night. The Redskins are 26th in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game at 270.6. The Giants have a lot of weapons in the passing game, and should torch Washington's secondary.

The whispers surrounding Robert Griffin III's sophomore slump grew louder after his struggles against the 49ers, and he hasn't looked like the same electric rookie after his ACL injury. Griffin has been pressured a lot this year, and the Giants pass rush has improved of late, sacking Tony Romo four times last weekend. The Giants thrive on the road, and they've won 10 of the last 14 contests against their divisional rival. Expect that number to improve after another primetime loss by the Redskins. 

The Cranberry Sauce: RAVENS (-2.5) over Steelers

You didn't think I'd do a betting preview this week without including at least one Thanksgiving game right?

Doesn't it feel like the battle between these two teams is always decided by a field goal? Well, in eight of the last 10 games played by the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers, the victor won by exactly three points. It's surprising to see that the Ravens at home aren't favored by at least three, especially when they are the better team.

The Steelers were 2-6 and left for dead after the Patriots put up 55 points against them in Week 9. Since then, they've beaten the Bills and Lions at home and the Browns on the road. Those wins are not very impressive, yet the public is back on the Steelers bandwagon again. They will have trouble against a Ravens defense that has secretly been outstanding since the Broncos destroyed them in Week 1. They lead the NFL in sacks with 38, and will feast on Pittsburgh's below-average offensive line.

The Ravens offense hasn't been great this season, but Joe Flacco has been a better quarterback at home this season compared to on the road. In fact, with Joe Flacco and John Harbaugh, the Ravens sport a 37-8 home record. The Steelers have lost four of their six road games this season, with their only two wins coming against Geno Smith and Brandon Weeden. In his career, Ben Roethlisberger has beaten Joe Flacco only once in Baltimore.  

I also like that the Steelers have to travel on a short week, and the fact that the Ravens will be out for revenge after losing to the Steelers 19-16 in Week 7. While the Ravens against the spread is a good bet, teasing them is very smart as well, since I highly doubt that they'll lose by more than a field goal. 

Other Picks:

Packers (+7) over LIONS

Raiders (+9) over COWBOYS

COLTS (-4) over Titans

CHIEFS (+5.5) over Broncos

PANTHERS (-8.5) over Buccaneers

VIKINGS (PK) over Bears

Cardinals (+3) over EAGLES

JETS (-1) over Dolphins

BILLS (-3) over Falcons

49ERS (-8) over Rams

TEXANS (+7) over Patriots

Bengals (+1.5) over CHARGERS

SEAHAWKS (-4.5) over Saints

LAST WEEK 8-4-1 || SEASON 87-67-4 || BEST BETS 14-11

Reach Senior Sports Editor Max Meyer by email.

Follow @TheMaxMeyer



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