Let’s look into the betting odds for Week 13 in the NFL, where I’ve found three games that particularly interest me: Dolphins vs. Commanders, Panthers vs. Buccaneers, and Browns vs. Rams.
For your best bets, I will recommend wagering on all three underdogs. I personally like to invest three-quarters of a unit in the underdog ATS and the remaining quarter in the underdog ML.
- Commanders ML (+350)
- Panthers ML (+210)
- Browns ML (+165)
Sunday, December 3, 2023 – 01:00 PM ET at FedExField
Dolphins On The Road
Miami has won one road game by more than seven points: its opponent was a Jets team that, if it hasn’t given up on its season, barely looks competitive with its issues at quarterback and pass protection.
Is Washington remotely comparable to New York? Are the Commanders an easy opponent for Miami to handle on the road?
The Commanders are playing their first game after firing defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio and defensive backs coach Brent Vieselmeyer.
We are justified in expecting a solid and motivated effort from Washington’s defense after these firings. Look to Pittsburgh for a recent example: after the Steelers fired their offensive coordinator, they amassed 421 total yards of offense against the Bengals.
Extra Prep Time
The Commanders’ defense will also benefit from extra prep time because they last played on Thursday. After their last Thursday Night Football game, they took advantage of the extra prep time to win by eight at Atlanta.
They did the same thing last year, too: after their Thursday Night Football game, they defeated Green Bay.
Their biggest upset win also came on Monday Night Football, when they used their extra prep day to end Philadelphia’s undefeated season in Philadelphia.
Miami’s Overrated Defense
Dolphins backers might insist: ok, the Commanders defense will improve, but Miami’s defense is also an improved unit. In their last four games, the Dolphins have indeed been allowing an average of under 20 points per game.
However, their four opponents were impotent New England, the wide receiver-impoverished Chiefs in Germany, Las Vegas with its backup quarterback, and the lowly Jets with their backup quarterback.
Allowing 17 points to the Patriots, who’ve scored a combined total of thirteen points in their last two games, is especially unimpressive.
While the Dolphins have been feasting on soft offenses with deeply problematic passing attacks, Commanders quarterback Sam Howell has been reaching 300 yards even against highly ranked pass defenses. Under offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, formerly of the Chiefs, Howell has been developing tremendously.
Against a softer defense in Miami, the Commanders will improve their offensive output relative to their ten-point dud in Dallas, which is partly a product of turnovers inside Dallas territory.
Outperforming the Patriots, Washington will score in the 20s, creating something like a 24-23-type game in which the Commanders easily cover the large spread, making the moneyline worth an investment, especially at +350.
NFL Pick: Commanders +9.5 (-110) at Bet365
NFL Pick: Commanders ML (+350) at Bet365
Sunday, December 3, 2023 – 04:05 PM ET at Raymond James Stadium
Carolina On The Road
Carolina is another team that will be uniquely motivated after its head coach was fired. The Panthers must be especially confident in their outlook on Sunday because they chose to fire their coach ahead of this game – they surely wanted to fire him ahead of a game that they thought they could win, so that they could move forward without him with a win.
It might seem odd that they should feel confident on the road, but they are reliably competitive against losing teams on the road. While they lost by seven in their last road game, at Tennessee, they produced nearly the same number of total yards and won the battle of time of possession. Ten of Tennessee’s points came off two drives that totaled all of 42 yards.
The Titans’ seven-point margin of victory does not do justice to how competitive Carolina was, and I expect Sunday’s game to be radically closer if the Panthers do not win outright.
Tampa Bay’s Run Game
The Bucs, however, are rather averse to running the ball. They are an inefficient running team – their leading rusher, Rachaad White, averages only 3.6 YPC.
Instead of running with their leading rusher as much, they like to utilize him in the passing game. In this sense, they pass in order to run.
Carolina, however, allows the third-fewest receiving yards to opposing running backs.
Carolina’s Pass Defense
Tampa Bay’s offense matches up poorly against Carolina because the Panthers are vulnerable against the run and yet the Bucs don’t run the ball well, ranking second-to-last in rush offense.
The Bucs’ offensive success will hinge on quarterback Baker Mayfield, with his sore ankle that currently has him listed as ‘questionable’ for Sunday, against Carolina’s well-coached pass defense.
Whereas Mayfield has been struggling to avoid throwing interceptions and to achieve a decent passer rating, the Panthers’ defense continues to defend the pass well. Their pass defense ranks fifth.
Rookie quarterbacks give Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Todd Bowles trouble. Last year, led by rookie quarterbacks, Atlanta, San Francisco, and Pittsburgh defeated the Bucs. This year, Houston quarterback CJ Stroud had by far his best passing performance of his season against Tampa Bay.
While Tennessee’s Will Levis struggled, the Titans’ offense died on the road – Levis’ numbers against Jacksonville only look decent because he threw two passing touchdowns when his team was trailing by over three touchdowns.
Because Carolina does not share Tennessee’s road issues, its offensive outlook is strong with rookie quarterback Bryce Young.
NFL Pick: Panthers +5.5 (-110) at Bet365
NFL Pick: Panthers ML (+210) at Bet365
Sunday, December 3, 2023 – 04:25 PM ET at SoFi Stadium
The Rams look good after their drubbing of Arizona last week, although this positive impression is very superficial given Arizona’s lack of interest in winning, its experimental offensive tactics, and its backup-laden defense. This positive impression of the Rams creates betting value in the Browns this Sunday, as does Cleveland’s dud last week.
The Browns are in a great spot precisely because they lost last week. They are 3-0 in their first game following a loss, with all three wins being impressive either because of their magnitude or the quality of their opponent. In those three wins, they beat Tennessee 27-3, mighty San Francisco 19-17, and Arizona 27-0.
While the Titans and Cardinals aren’t impressive opponents, it is meaningful that those teams performed especially poorly against Cleveland.
There is an adage that ‘defense travels,’ because teams carry their good defenses with them – home fans are quiet when their team’s offense is operating, so the opposing defense won’t be bothered by the fans. Cleveland reliably limits opposing offenses to low yardage totals, regardless of where the game is located.
Overall, the Browns rank number one in total defense, allowing 26 fewer yards than the next-best defense. The Rams feast on lowly Arizona but reliably struggle against other, more difficult defenses.
In between their two wins against the Cardinals, L.A. mustered 17 points against Seattle, three against Green Bay, 20 in a blowout loss against Dallas, and 17 in Pittsburgh.
L.A. struggles on a yards-per-play basis especially against tough defenses, mustering, for example, 280 total yards against Dallas, despite often getting a lot of garbage-time minutes against the Cowboys’ defense in a game that was long decided.
The Browns have effective weapons at running back and wide receiver with which to surround whoever will start for them at quarterback, PJ Walker or fellow veteran Joe Flacco. With this help, Cleveland’s backup quarterbacks have already led the team to wins over playoff-caliber teams San Francisco and Pittsburgh.
It won’t take many points, in view of their bounce-back spot, their defensive quality in general, and L.A.’s tendency to struggle to move the ball against top defenses.
We can account for the occasional big play, such as Pittsburgh’s long touchdown run, or points off turnovers, yet Cleveland has enough weapons on offense to improve on last week’s 12-point struggle against a very hot Denver team and defense.
NFL Pick: Browns +3.5 (-110) at Bet365
NFL Pick: Browns ML (+165) at Bet365
*The line and/or odds referenced in this article might have changed since the content was published. For the latest information on line movements, visit OddsTrader’s free betting odds tool.