Here is a 5-Pack of NFL value plays for Week 13 to help build your Sunday bank, featuring Chip Kelly’s reeling Eagles visiting a Patriots team coming off its first loss at 4:25 ET.
Well, 12 weeks of this 2015 NFL season are now in the books and the New England Patriots finally suffered their first loss as they were defeated in Denver 30-24 in overtime on Sunday Night Football. That leaves the Carolina Panthers as the only remaining undefeated team at 11-0 as they prepare to visit New Orleans on Sunday. And speaking of Sunday, here we are back again with another weekly 5-pack of Sunday NFL picks.
Week 13 began with probably the most memorable NFL game of 2015 on Thursday Night Football, when sportsbooks around the world were shaken up by a Hail Mary touchdown pass by Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers on the game’s final play to beat the Detroit Lions 27-23. Millions of dollars swung hands on that play with the public being the beneficiary, as it made winners of the popular Packers -2½ and the ‘over’ of 46!
The sportsbooks now look to get their money back on Sunday, although hopefully it will not be at our expense. As it turns out, we have just one side in our 5-Pack this week, although it is an underdog in keeping with our naturally contrarian nature. The rest of our card is made up of four totals, uncharacteristically composed of just one ‘under’ and three ‘overs’. And as has become our custom in recent years, all of these NFL odds come from Pinnacle Sports.
Sunday, December 6th
Houston Texans, Buffalo Bills ‘over’ 41½ (-108) (1:00 ET): It may seem strange to back an ‘over’ in a game between two teams that rely heavily on defense, but we are doing it right here. Yes, we understand that the Texans have allowed a total of 35 points in the last four games with all four of those contests resulting in straight up and ATS wins and the New York Jets scoring the only two touchdowns Houston allowed over the four games. Furthermore the Texans held those four opponents to just 59.3 rushing yards per game. With that being said, the Bills may do a better job offensively than the last four Texans’ opponents even if LeSean McCoy and the other running backs hit the Houston brick wall, because the Bills have a mobile quarterback in Tyrod Taylor and a big play wide receiver in Sammy Watkins. As long as Watkins is healthy, and he is as of now for a change, Buffalo will always be capable of scoring a touchdown on any given play, and with this being a bigger game for the Bills than it is for Houston in terms of the playoff race, do not be surprised if you see some new offensive wrinkles for Buffalo. Meanwhile the Texans have their own home run hitter in DeAndre Hopkins and quarterback Brian Hoyer has quietly been very solid since separating himself from the since-released Ryan Mallet in what was a competition for the starting job. And the Buffalo defense is actually underachieving, especially while ranking just 23rd in the NFL in passing defense at 254.1 yards per game.
Baltimore Ravens +3½ (-104) over Miami Dolphins (1:00 ET): Our only side play of the week is on a Baltimore team coming off of a dramatic Monday Night Football win over the Browns in Cleveland, winning the game by returning a blocked field goal for a touchdown on the final play when a made field goal would have meant a Ravens loss and a basic miss would have meant overtime. But even prior to that drama, the underdog Ravens played well despite losing starting quarterback Joe Flacco and starting running back Justin Forsett to season-ending injuries the previous week after also losing then leading receiver Steve Smith, Sr. for the season earlier in the year. Javorius Allen has performed well all year when given his opportunity rushing for 304 yards on 4.0 yards per carry, first while spelling Forsett several times per game and then after stepping in as the starter last week. Meanwhile, Matt Schaub filled in ably for Flacco despite his two interceptions, completing 20-of-34 passes for 232 yards and two touchdowns vs. the Browns, while Kamar Aiken has continued his resurgence at wide receiver since Smith went down. Thus the Ravens continue to fight hard despite their 4-7 record as six of the seven losses have been by six points or less and the seventh was by only eight points at Arizona. The same cannot be said about the favored Dolphins here, who are an identical 4-7 but have had games where they appeared to be just going through the motions waiting for the season to end, such as falling behind the Jets 35-7 last week before a couple of cosmetic scores resulted in the 38-20 final.
Arizona Cardinals, St. Louis Rams ‘under’ 43 (-105) (1:00 ET): This is a revenge spot for the 9-2 Cardinals with one of their two losses coming to the Rams back home in Phoenix for their only home loss of the year. St. Louis has since fallen off the map though as it has lost four straight games with Nick Foles losing his starting quarterback job to Case Keenum along the way. However, Keenum suffered a concussion vs. the Cincinnati Bengals last week, so Foles entered the game and promptly threw three interceptions without a touchdown pass! Foles is now forced to start this week with Keenum not yet cleared, so expect heavy doses of prized rookie running back Todd Gurley in an attempt to not expose Foles again. Gurley looked every bit like a future superstar while rushing for at least 128 yards in each of his first four starts, but he has now gone four straight games without reaching 100 yards including a season-low 19 rushing yards last week with defenses knowing he is the St. Louis offense. Do not look for an uptick in the St. Louis scoring output this week either as Foles is simply not good enough to keep defenses honest. The Cardinals may not live up to their NFL-leading 32.3-point scoring average here either though as they are banged up at both wide receiver and running back, and it showed in a lackluster 19-13 win over the lowly 49ers last week. Besides, St. Louis does play very good defense allowing only 20.9 points and 341.0 total yards per game.
Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ‘over’ 46 (-107) (1:00 ET): There was once a time this season when the Falcons were 5-0, while the Buccaneers were once 1-3. Now, the winner of this game will take sole possession of second place of the NFC South as the Falcons have lost five of their last six games to fall to 6-5 and the Buccaneers have improved to 5-6 and would own the tiebreaker with a win here as it would complete a season sweep following a 23-20 upset win at Atlanta in overtime on November 1st! While we are not sure who will win this rematch in Tampa, we do expect each team to score its fair share of points. The Falcons get running back Devonta Freeman back for this game as he has cleared his concussion protocol after missing the 20-10 home loss to Minnesota last week, and the offense looked so much better and had balance when he was healthy as he has rushed for 764 yards on 4.6 yards per carry with nine rushing touchdowns this year while also adding 225 receiving yards and two touchdown receptions. But while the Falcons figure to perk up offensively with Freeman back, the Buccaneers have already perked up offensively while averaging 397.3 total yards the last three games, thanks to a rejuvenated running back in Doug Martin being second in the NFL with his 1038 rushing yards, which has taken pressure off of Jameis Winston while allowing the rookie quarterback to improve every game.
Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots ‘over’ 49 (-105) (4:25 ET): The Patriots are coming off of their first loss of the season. The Patriots and Tom Brady in particular do not like losing and usually bounce back in emphatic fashion. The Philadelphia defense has allowed exactly 45 points in each of the last two games. Get the picture? With that being said, we have no interest in giving double-digits in the NFL, but we do see these team going ‘over’ this total with the Patriots possibly approaching it themselves. We get that New England is banged up, but it looks like wide receiver Danny Amendola should be back for this game and while Scott Chandler is no Rob Gronkowski, he is a good receiving tight end with plenty of NFL experience. Besides, the Philadelphia defense could make even a mediocre offense look good the way it is playing right now, never mind being forced to face Brady when he is in an ornery mood. The Eagles do get some good news too in that the offense is getting healthier with quarterback Sam Bradford, tight end Zach Ertz and wide receiver Nelson Agholor all expected to be back this week and there is even a chance that offensive tackle Jason Peters could make his return too from his leg injury. No, all that is probably not enough to pull an upset but it should lead to Philadelphia also contributing to this ‘over’.