Last Sunday wasn't a great day for my prognostication, but Monday Night Football helped a bit. Sure, Baltimore failed to cover by half a point, but that half point also meant the over got covered, and all four of the specials (Hopkins over 5.5 catches, Miller under 19.5 carries, Fedorowicz over 23.5 yards receiving and Watson over 22.5 yards ditto) I suggested paid off.
So the weekend was kind of like being the Ravens, and winning ugly. This week's just as hard, but in a different way: we have five games matching teams with winning records, including the very difficult to analyse Detroit at Baltimore, where the Lions +3 would tempt me if it had another half point attached.
Of course the big story of the week is the benching of Eli Manning after 210 consecutive starts for the Giants. On the one hand, he's thrown one TD pass in the last two weeks, a heave caught by Roger Smith lying flat on his back. Last week the offense managed a field goal. On the other hand, they have named Geno Smith as their QB and the last time any team thought seriously Geno have them a better chance of winning, he was still at west Virginia.
Now maybe Ben McAdoo is a miracle worker and he has created a new efficient Geno to run the kind of short passing offense he likes, but we haven't seen many signs of miracle working from him yet, and if the Giants wanted a miracle they might hire some being who could create an offensive line out of Jersey marshes mud. If you believe in McAdoo, and think this move will inspire the team the Giants are 3/1 on the moneyline in Oakland. If you're relatively sane, you might want to leave that one alone.
Week 13 Recommended Bets
Best Bet: Back Under 43.5pts in Houston at Tennessee at EVS (Betfair Sportsbook)
I can't see the Titans offense exploding: they don't have wideouts who make lots of plays, and though they can run the ball, the Texans' offense is good at stopping the run. You have to contain DeAndre Hopkins if you are Tennessee, but despite his big day Monday night at Baltimore (7 catches for 125 yards) the Texans could still manage only 16 points. The Texans are getting 6.5 points, which is a lot for a game you think will go under 43.5 so that might be an additional flutter.
Value Bet: Back Los Angeles -14 vs Cleveland at EVS (Betfair Sportsbook)
Two touchdowns is a big spread, but you can see the Chargers getting a score or two once they've pulled ahead, as seems inevitable. The odds make it a more attractive proposition. San Diego can rush the passer, putting pressure on DeShone Kizer, and they can cover, meaning turnovers are possible.
The Browns were supposed to be a good run-stuffing team, but they didn't do that last week at Cincinnati, a game I thought they could win; the Chargers' Melvin Gordon could be just as successful as Joe Mixon was last week, and make life easy for Phillip Rivers.
If you don't like that the Eagles (-5.5 at EVS) at Seattle is a risky proposition given the strength of the Seakhawks D, under strength as it is, but if you like the Eagles to win this one by a TD, there's a chance for good odds.
Outside Bet: Back Indianapolis +10 at Jacksonville at 5/6 (Betfair Sportsbook)
The Jags don't really have the offense to put teams away, and the Colts have a knack of sticking with teams; in fact they have blown more fourth quarter leads than anyone in the league.
If you don't like that, I've got another road dog I like. San Francisco +3 at Chicago @ 21/20; nobody knows just how well Jimmy Garoppolo will play Sunday, nor how much of a difference it will make to the Niners. But he has to be able to generate at least as much offense as CJ Beathard, probably more.
The real key here is whether the Niners' defense can generate some turnovers from a turnover-friendly Mitch Turbisky, and whether they can hold the Bears' run game, particularly Jordan Howard, in check. The more I think about this game, the more I like the Niners, and 8/5 on the moneyline might be a better bet if you agree with me that they will win. And Jimmy G and Da Bears sounds like the title of a Christmas Panto, so it's a seasonal pick too.