NFL Tipsheet: Mini previews and recommended bets for Week 13 fixtures

C.J. Anderson can propel Denver to victory
C.J. Anderson can propel Denver to victory

As we turn into the home straight of the regular season Luca Bercelli picks out a tip from all of Sunday's games

"The Broncos are freed from the shackles of Pick Six Peyton and boy are they better for it."

Recommended Bet
Back the Denver Broncos -4.5pts @ 2.111/10

Arizona Cardinals @ St Louis Rams
Sunday, 18:00

It seems as if the league has sussed out how to stop Todd Gurley and therefore nullify the Rams. The rookie's numbers have gone way down since teams have shored up the D-line and crossed their fingers that St Louis' passing game won't be up to the job. So far it hasn't been, and that's a situation unlikely to improve against a very good Cardinals' defence. I don't see Arizona having too much trouble here despite losing featured running back Chris Johnson for the season so the spread is well within reach.

Recommended Bet
Back the Arizona Cardinals -5.5pts @ 2.01/1


Atlanta Falcons @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sunday, 18:00

The Falcons are falling faster than Johnny Vegas off a diving board but they have a decent chance of arresting the slide against the improving but still not great Bucs. A decent chance, but not one I think they'll take as Tampa have turned out to be pretty resilient and should bounce back from last week's defeat to the Colts. That loss was more down to some excellent play from Indy rather than a dip in form by the Bucs (although they did give away too many silly penalties). Jameis and the Dougernaut will do for me at slight odds-on.

Recommended Bet
Back the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to win @ 1.910/11


Baltimore Ravens @ Miami Dolphins
Sunday, 18:00

At about 9pm on Sunday night 4-7 will become 5-7 for one of these two sorry sides. No one really cares since neither are realistically in the play-off race, nor are they gunning for the number one draft pick. No, this is mid table mediocrity at its finest...think West Brom v Stoke with nothing to play for. Sends a shiver down my spine too. The one bright spark among this sea of dross is Miami's rusher/receiver Jarvis Landry. He will do his best to light up this drabbest of fixtures, but more importantly Baltimore are coming off a short week and have lost Joe Flacco and Justin Forsett to injury. That tips the balance in favour of the Fins.

Recommended Bet
Back the Miami Dolphins to win @ 1.574/7


Cincinnati Bengals @ Cleveland Browns
Sunday, 18:00

The Browns have found themselves in yet another fine mess due to the fact that the most recent QB on the roster roundabout, Josh McCown, is out with a broken collar bone. Poor old Johnny Football went from being named as the starting QB to third string before even taking a snap. Yes he is firmly nailed to a seat in the doghouse after his 'let's go party' shenanigans so even after McCown's injury it's unlikely he'll be given anything but squeeze-the-water-bottle duties. That leaves Austin Davis behind centre; not a recipe for success against the 9-2 Bengals. If by some miracle John F gets the start the match takes on some interest: if he doesn't, the Bengals hose up.

Recommended Bet
Back the Cincinnati Bengals @ handicap best price


Houston Texans @ Buffalo Bills
Sunday, 18:00

The J.J. Watt show rolls into Buffalo this weekend and that's bad news for Tyrod Taylor because he'll be spending most of the afternoon trying to avoid soiling himself as the sack machine tees off on parts of his body that other defensive ends don't reach. If the Bills can't front up they've got no chance, and even if they do it'll be difficult. Brian Hoyer is a solid QB for Houston; definitely no superstar, but his teammates seem to respond to him and as long as he stays within his limits he can be effective. If the outcome of this was based on momentum, the Ten Gallon Hat Brigade would already be 7-5, but whichever way you slice it I see them taking the W.

Recommended Bet
Back the Houston Texans +3.0pts @ 2.01/1


Jacksonville Jaguars @ Tennessee Titans
Sunday, 18:00

Jacksonville have flattered to deceive on a regular basis this season but I still think they have a little bit more in their locker than record-breaking Tennessee. The record in question is the third-longest home losing streak in the history of the NFL, a streak that they can truly make historic with three more home losses. That'll take the Shi-Tans into a tie for the outright record...don't you just love losing streaks? Don't get me wrong, the Jags aren't much better and this promises to be a close contest; it certainly was when the two teams met at EverBank Field a couple of weeks ago. The Jags ran out narrow winners in a low-scoring game on that occasion. I see no reason why it shouldn't be a similar story this time round.

Recommended Bet
Back the Jacksonville Jaguars to win @ 2.35/4


New York Jets @ New York Giants
Sunday, 18:00

This promises to be tighter than a gnat's rear end with question marks on both sides of the Big Apple. The Jets rediscovered their mojo last week against the Dolphins but they were helped by the strange decision to persist all game with 6ft 4in Brandon Marshall covered one-on-one by Brent (5ft 10in in the book but he's nowhere near that) Grimes. It was a tactical fiasco of the kind that even Ian Holloway would wince at. Still, the Jets did show signs of life, and rookie receiver Devin Smith finally did something other than drop the ball. Gang Green will need everything to click and the pass rush to be effective because the Giants can blow very hot when they are on song. I have to go with the Planes and hope that the G-Men blow cold...but everything's crossed.

Recommended Bet
Back the New York Jets to win @ 1.834/5


San Francisco 49ers @ Chicago Bears
Sunday, 18:00

The Bears stunned Green Bay last Thursday and an equally surprising win was almost manufactured by the Niners v the Cards at the weekend. I put the former down to excellent play from the Sulky One and the latter down to sloppy play from Arizona. What that adds up to is a win here for Chicago. Their defence has come alive and completed an incredible series of plays inside the ten yard line to keep out Rodgers and co as time ran out at Lambeau. Any D that can shut down Aaron Rodgers with the game on the line will fancy their chances against the Blaine man. With plenty of possession, Jay Cutler can continue the mainly error-free season that he is enjoying (for once). I like the Bears here although the handicap makes it a decidedly low-stakes play.

Recommended bet
Back the Chicago Bears -7.5 @ 2.01/1


Seattle Seahawks @ Minnesota Vikings
Sunday, 18:00

This is game of the week in my opinion, and one that I'm really looking forward to as it will tell us a lot about the post season. A win for Minnesota in Seattle's back yard marks them down as serious Super Bowl contenders, but a W for the Seahawks pops them back into the Super Bowl argument (despite losing Jimmy Graham for the season). It's an incredibly tough one to call so from a punting point of view I'll be giving it a wider berth than a chugger on Oxford Street. There are similarities here - two great defences and two shabby passing attacks. At running back the Vikes have the legendary Adrian Peterson and the Seahawks have the largely unknown but rapidly emerging Thomas Rawls. That's where the battle will be won or lost. I'm siding with the Vikings...just, but with a tickle on the draw.

Recommended bets
Back the Minnesota Vikings to win @ 2.01/1

Back Tie After Normal Time (Sportsbook) @ 16.015/1


Denver Broncos @ San Diego Chargers
Sunday, 21:05

The Broncos are freed from the shackles of Pick Six Peyton and boy are they better for it. Their rock solid defence keeps on rolling and as long as Manning senior is kept away from first team duties, I can see Denver making it to the Super Bowl. The Chargers should offer little in the way of resistance despite their surprise win against Jacksonville last week. They've got zip to play for and should be getting at least double what they are on the handicap. Santa might be about to stuff your socks, but this early Christmas present from Brock will bolster your bank balance..

Recommended Bet
Back the Denver Broncos -4.5pts @ 2.111/10


Kansas City Chiefs @ Oakland Raiders
Sunday, 21:05

I'm pretty hot on the Chiefs and who wouldn't be as they seek their sixth win in a row. They have been playing some of the best stuff in the league but injuries continue to hammer them, never more so than last week when they lost several starters to injury, and had others battling through the pain barrier just to make up the numbers. Crucial players such as Eric Fisher, Mitch Morse and Justin Houston are all questionable for this tussle, thus complicating any betting plans. I'm banking on the fact that Kansas usually find a way to slot in second-stringers and keep on winning. The Raiders are no mugs however, so the skinny handicap is just about right. Another small stakes play but 1.774/5 is fair for the outright win so we'll have a slice.

Recommended Bet
Back the Kansas City Chiefs to win @ 1.774/5

Carolina Panthers @ New Orleans Saints
Sunday, 21:25

Drew Brees will have one word on his mind after this encounter and that word is 'ouch'. Carolina's defence has been making life hellish for quarterbacks and with Brees struggling for time in the pocket against average D-lines, he'll be on his bike when he's not on his butt for most of this one. The Panthers could easily win every game from now until the big show, with their remaining weak schedule and lights-out play. It'll be a minor miracle if the Saints derail Superman-Cam's juggernaut and as we all know, unless you're Jurgen Klopp, miracles don't happen. This is money for old rope.

Recommended Bet
Back the Carolina Panthers -7.0pts @ 2.111/10

Philadelphia Eagles @ New England Patriots
Sunday, 21:25

The Eagles weren't funny, then they were funny, now they're just a train wreck. If you like that sort of thing you may want to tune in to this massacre (but keep the kids behind the sofa). The Sanchize will be handing the ball off quicker than you can say 'Cheerio Chip' because if he doesn't he'll either be a/ dialing up an INT, b/ enacting Butt Fumble II (return of the collywobbles), or c/ sprinting in slow motion for minus two yards. Whether it's a, b or c he's in for a good pounding and our Mark doesn't like getting hit, it messes with his alice band. If the birds had a 20 point start I still wouldn't back them, so get ready Philly fans...it's time to boo yourself hoarse.

Recommended Bet
Back the New England Patriots -9.5pts @ 1.910/11

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