Every Early NFL Game Handicapped with Picks (Week 13)

NFL Dec 03, 2022

Let's take a look at Sunday's eight early NFL games, starting at 1 pm ET / 10 am PT.

Disclaimer:  Opinions are those of Nolan Dalla. All information here and the comments provided on this website are for entertainment purposes only.  I do not intend nor advise readers to make any wagers. Ultimately, you must make your own decisions about if to gamble, how much to wager, and which bets to make.




94  Wins

63  Losses

0  Pushes



Tennessee at Philadelphia
Line: Eagles -4.5
O/U: 44.5

Analysis: Tennessee (7-4) had won 7 in a row and covered 8 in a row prior to last week's 20-16 home loss to Cincy. This week, the Titans go on the road against Philadelphia (10-1) an even tougher opponent that's arguably the NFL's best team at the moment. It's tough to predict how Tennessee will fare in this spot. They're 5-0 SU against inferior losing teams....but are just 1-4 SU when facing teams with winning records, and that single victory was an unimpressive win against Washington. / Philadelphia hasn't inspired much betting confidence of late, either. Sure, they covered by a half-point last week hosting the Packers, but that 7-point win was against an opponent playing with a backup QB. The Eagles haven't played (or looked) like a 10-1 team in more than a month. The main takeaway from last week's 40-33 win vs. Green Bay was Philadelphia's gargantuan rushing stats, which obliterated franchise records dating back more than 70 years. If the Eagles maintain anywhere near those rushing stats, they could be unstoppable. / Meanwhile, when we think of the league's best rushing teams, Tennessee is certainly in that conversation. However, the Titans have rushed for woeful numbers lately -- 63-88-63 -- in its last three games. Given Tennesee's average passing game, they absolutely must run the ball well to have any success. What has carried the Titans during this stretch has been a very good defense, ranking #8th in the NFL in points allowed, including just 17 PPG in their previous nine games. Grabbing +4.5 with the Titans is tempting. After all, this is the NFL"s best team against the spread this season (8-3 overall), which tells us that betting markets continue underestimating feisty Tennessee. However, I see slightly better value in going OVER 9.5 points on Tennessee's team total in the first half. As evidence, the Titans have outscored opponents 147-85 in the first half, while scoring at 13.4 PPG1H, which ranks #8th in the NFL. I'm betting they can get to 10+ points in the 1H of this game, although the vig price is -130.

The Pick: Tennessee Titans [Team Total-First Half] OVER 9.5 (-130)


Cleveland at Houston
Line: Browns -7
O/U: 47

Analysis: Here are two teams out of the playoff hunt, yet this game will receive considerable attention since it marks the return of controversial QB Deshaun Watson, finally making his first start for the Browns. Adding to all the drama, Watson is returning to the NFL after nearly two years on the sidelines and is facing the Texans, his former team. I'm surprised at this line, though I won't touch either side. Do bettors really think a potentially rusty Watson will simply step into the huddle after spending 22 months in street clothes and walk away with a happy ending? Oops, let's skip that. Sure, it could happen. Perhaps Cleveland (4-7) will build on their thrilling come-from-behind victory vs. Tampa Bay last week and manhandle the much weaker Texans, which has the NFL's worst record (1-9-1). But that sure seems like expecting a lot. The Browns could just as easily be in for a mental letdown. Also note that Cleveland has been a horrible road team, posting just 1 win in 5 games this season. It doesn't matter who they play against, laying a touchdown seems excessive. Nonetheless, I can't play Houston either, which has lost each of its last six games by at least 7+ points. / Instead, where I do see value is betting the UNDER. The total at 47 looks high, especially given how bad Houston's offense is at the moment. The Texans trashed-yardaged their way to scoring 15 points last week in Miami, but the game was already decided at halftime, as the score was 30-0. They won't be playing against a prevent defense with backups this time around. The UNDER has cashed in Houston's last 4 of 5. They aren't moving the ball, either. In their last two games, Houston was held to just 148-210 yards respectively by Washington/Miami. The Texans are averaging a horrible 15.8 PPG this season, which means based on their season average, Cleveland likely has to crack 31+. But they've only reached the 30-point mark only twice in 11 games this season. The UNDER 47 looks like a solid bet.

UPDATE:  Cleveland is up to -8.  A flood of money is coming in on Browns, and while books held -7 for a while, it's probably an overwhelming figure that compelled a line move.

The Pick: Cleveland / Houston UNDER 47 [Full Game] (-110)


Denver at Baltimore
Line: Ravens by 8.5
O/U: 39.5

Analysis: The entire football gambling world is likely to load up on Baltimore in this game, especially since Denver has become the NFL's most disappointing team this season. It's a bet against Denver-fest.  What's a real shame here is the overlooked talent on the Broncos' stout defense. It's been a royally wasted effort by the Broncos, which might otherwise be a Super Bowl contender if there was anything comparable on the other side of the ball. Once again, let's point out that if Denver had scored just 18 points in every game, they'd be 9-2 right now and tied with the Chiefs. The dichotomy between the Broncos' outstanding defense (ranked #3 in both points and yards allowed) and putrid suck-ass offense is almost unfathomable. Denver has lost 7 of its last 8 games, scoring just 13 PPG in its previous seven contests (even Houston ranks better statistically). In fact, the lowly Broncos scored 16 or fewer points in 9 of 11 games this season. Here's another stat that's hard to digest for any NFL team in the modern era: Denver has scored just eight touchdowns on its last 81 drives (1/10). Nothing on this offense inspires confidence nor a wager on Denver +8.5 in this game, certainly not the coaching, the play-calling, nor the poor performance and void in leadership of Russell Wilson. So, it's either a bet on Baltimore laying points (or teased), or nothing in this game. What scares me is the Ravens being so obvious as the pick here. Moreover, I'm tempted to lay more on another teaser (adding to last week's carryover) since I can still catch -2.5. Baltimore coming off last week's last-second loss should be even more motivation for the Ravens, who haven't played well at home. Then again, do I really want to bet more money on a team that's struggled the last few games against Carolina and Jacksonville? Not really. Six of the last 8 Ravens' games were decided by 5 or fewer points. Baltimore is also 0-4 ATS as a home favorite this season. Yuck! I like my early bet at Baltimore -1.5. But that's enough exposure. What I will bet here is a prop on the FGs. Both teams can move the ball somewhat, but stutter nearer the goal line. Both teams also have above-average kickers. Denver's Mcmanus is 7/7 from 40-49 yds and 4/8 from 50+. Baltimore's Tucker is legendary, of course -- 3/3 from 40-49 yards and 6/9 from 50+. That's a combined 10/17 from 50+ between the two kickers, and we have an O/U prop on the longest FG at 46.5 yards. With both teams likely to try longer FGs more often than average given the confidence in kickers, I think OVER on this prop at -115 is worth a bet.

UPDATE:  Line is up to Baltimore -9.5 which shows the importance of acting early in the week, when possible.

The Picks: Baltimore -1.5 [Teaser--Posted Last Week] / PROP: Longest Field Goal (either team) OVER 46.5 yards [no successful FG is a push]


Green Bay at Chicago
Line: Packers -3.5
O/U: 44.5

Analysis: There's a debate now brewing in Packerland about which QB should start for Green Bay. Should the Packers bench/sit Aaron Rodgers and allow backup Jordan Love to start? Rodgers appears to be playing out his tenure in Green Bay, and with no real shot at making the playoffs, Love getting the opportunity to show his skills and gain some experience makes more sense. Love also played an outstanding game last week in Philadelphia albeit a valiant losing effort, a very encouraging sign for the Packers' quarterbacking future. Of course, this is no guarantee he'll get the nod. I presume if Rodgers is good to go, he'll be on the field in Chicago to face a team he's dominated throughout his pro career. / The Bears have a similar pregame decision to make, though their future at QB now looks secure with Justin Fields. Why risk making an injury worse by starting him here in what amounts to a meaningless game for Chicago? But, just like the Packers' situation, common sense will probably be ditched and Fields will suit up and start (according to Friday afternoon reports). I would dearly love to bet on Love and the Packers and lay the points here if I knew for certain that Trevor Siemian was starting and will play the full game for the Bears. Siemian, an NFL bust now with his 4th team in five seasons, makes Andy Dalton look like a 1958 edition of Johnny Unitas. Chicago is decimated at the moment, but Fields gives them an added dimension and will keep them in most games. Even with a horrid defense, the Bears are significantly improved with Fields healthy and starting. / Given so much uncertainty about both teams, it's probably advisable to pass on this game. However, if Love and Siemian both start, I may make a near-gametime bet on Green Bay and lay up to -4.

UPDATE:  Fields is expected to start.  / Rodgers is expected to start. / Total is up to 45--probably should be higher, up around 47.

The Pick: No Action


Jacksonville at Detroit
Line: Lions -.5 (half point)
O/U: 51

Analysis: Jacksonville and Detroit both have both improved this season after being the losing laughingstocks of the league for a very long while. While both teams remain inconsistent, there are compelling reasons for optimism--especially about both offenses. Hence, the high total of 51 for this matchup. The Lions have covered the spread in 4 of their last 5 games, and have also covered the spread in 8 of their last 10 home games. Detroit also won three straight -- against the Packers, Bears, and Giants -- and very nearly extended that streak to 4 games on Thanksgiving Day, but lost a 28-25 heartbreaker against Buffalo. So, Detroit appears to be in a confident mental state and the moment, which means they're probably worth consideration laying a half point. Moreover, the Lions scored  25+ in four of their last five overall, and eight of their last nine at Ford Field. So this team can put up points lately and is especially strong at home. / Meanwhile, Jacksonville got off to a strong start in September, winning 2 of its first 3 games. But then the Jags lost their next 5 in a row--although all five of those losses were one-possession games. JAX bounced back since then, winning 2 of their last 3 games, including a thrilling 28-27 win versus the Ravens last week. Normally, we might expect a letdown by Jacksonville, unaccustomed to dealing with the emotions of a huge win, followed by a road game the next week. However, these Jags could see a carryover, as we saw early in the season when JAX came off a shutout win at home, and went on the road, ending up destroying the Chargers by 3 TDs. / Instead of picking a side, I think what has value are some of the props connected to points being scored. Two that stand out are the teams total for both teams in the first half -- which is 12.5. This is a critical number, since *13* gives us a winner. The Lions average 13.4 PPG1H. Jacksonville averages 10.7 PPG1H. What compels an OVER is that both defenses are well below average--and Detroit's D is exceptionally bad. I predict at least one of these teams reaches 13+ and possibly both hit the mark in what could be a high-scoring shootout.

The Picks: Jacksonville Team Total OVER 12.5 [First Half] (-120)  / Detroit Team Total OVER 12.5 [First Half] (-125)


NY Jets at Minnesota
Line: Vikings -3
O/U: 44.5

Analysis: I'm seeing an equal split among sportsbooks on the Jets +3 at -120 and Vikings at -2.5 laying -120. I much prefer to seize the FG margin and lay -120. This is a far more important game to the Jets, boasting a Top-5 defense and perhaps a newly-discovered QB who might lead them into the playoffs. With Buffalo on deck next Sunday, this is a critical game for NYJ at 7-4. Win this game, and they can probably afford a loss next week. At 9-2, Minnesota can clinch the NFC North crown with a win. However, first place and a bye (along with Philadelphia) are likely all but settled. I'm not sure there's as much urgency to the Vikings here, so I'm going with a bet on the hungrier Jets. Last week, NYJ benched Zach Wilson in favor of Mike White, who went 22-of-28 for 315 yards and 3 touchdowns. But that was against the Bears. Could he repeat those numbers? The stats say--yes. Minnesota ranks #30th in passing yards allowed this season, so look for White and the receivers to move the ball. NYJ have won/covered in 6 of their last 8 games (and one of those losses was the ridiculous last-second punt return for a TD vs. NWE). NYJ also has one of the best defenses in the NFL, ranking #4th in YPC and #5th in PPG. I also think there's some justifiable doubts about Minnesota and questions about how good they really are. Despite being 9-2, the Vikings outscored opponents by only 5 points (262-257). That shows Minnesota does enough to win (and covered in a majority of games), but also isn't a team that blows teams away. I expect NYJ to stay in the game, and perhaps even pull off the upset. They have more to play for, have the better defense, and are getting a FG in what should be a close game.

The Pick: New York Jets +3 [Full Game] (-120)


Pittsburgh at Atlanta
Line: Steelers -1
O/U: 44.5

Analysis: This sounds ridiculous, but Atlanta (5-7) has roughly a 50/50 chance to win the NFC South and make the playoffs. Four of their final 5 games are versus teams with losing records, and if they can pick up 3 or 4 wins in that stretch, the Falcons are likely to eclipse Tampa Bay for the division title. That fact makes this week's home game hosting the Steelers a huge opportunity for Atlanta, not that they'll necessarily rise to the occasion, but really big in terms of motivation. I think betting markets overreacted to the Steelers' excellent performance last Monday night when they won 24-17 at Indianapolis. Now, another road game on a short week will be an even bigger test. Credit Pittsburgh for playing much better on defense with T.J. Watt healthy again (his influence is off the charts). Let's also acknowledge the Steelers may have finally found a starting QB with Kenny Pickett, who has displayed some talent and on-the-field leadership. But I also think short week prep against a motivated team will hurt the Steelers here, and we're also getting some excellent line value with a small home dog (I'd make this line....Atlanta -2.5). Let's also note the Falcons are 4-2 SU at home this season, and clearly play better inside the dome. Scheduling factors also help Atlanta in Week 13, since they'll enjoy a bye next week (which means everything should go into this game with focus) while the Steelers face the rival Ravens next Sunday.

Update:  Falcons are now -1.  Some money has come in on Atlanta, which is still probably worth a bet at this price all the way up to -2.5

The Pick: Atlanta Falcons +1 [Full Game] (-115)


Washington at NY Giants
Line: Commanders -2
O/U: 40.5

Analysis: Can you believe the NFC East might produce four playoff teams this season? It's certainly possible. What's really amazing is this division was predicted to be one of the worst in the NFL. Instead, NFC East teams are a combined 34 wins and 16 losses. Both of these teams are huge overachievers and the two coaching staffs deserve a medal. Particularly Ron Rivera who always seems dismissed when we discuss the best coaches. He seems to do consistently more with less talent than any coach in the NFL. I'm surprised to see Washington (7-5) as a division road favorite at NY Giants (7-4) this week, though I do think this is a fair line. The spread is likely influenced by two teams appearing to go in opposite directions of late: NY Giants have lost 2 straight games, and 3 of their last four, beating only the lowly Texans. Daniel Jones at QB is really struggling. Meanwhile, Washington is an entirely different story, winners of 6 of their last seven games, with the only loss a last-second defeat to Minnesota. The Commanders are 6-0-1 ATS in their last 7, as well. Washington is also 4-0 ATS as a favorite this season. Oh, and Washington won/covered its last four road games. So, now we see why the Commanderskins are the favorite. / It's hard to bet against either team, even with solid trends favor Washington in this spot. Given that NYG are 8-3 ATS this season, that's evidence of betting markets underestimating this team, which continues again this week. / This is an interesting scheduling spot for Washington, as well, since they play at NYG this week, get a bye next week, then host NYG (again) the following week. I'm not sure how that plays into the game planning. / What does look compelling is the game total and a bet on the UNDER. Eight of the Commanders' last ten games stayed UNDER the total. The UNDER is also 7-3-1 in NYG games this season. We can probably expect both teams to run the ball heavily. They rank #4 and #5 in the NFL in rushing attempts per game. They love to run the ball.  Translation: This should keep the game clock moving.  Catching a win on the key total number of 40 is also a nice bonus.

The Pick: Washington / NY Giants UNDER 40.5 [Full Game] (-110)