NFL betting, week 13: Time to start thinking under the box…

Saturday, 05 December 2020 08:40 EST

Better late than never: NFLbets is finally starting to put together something of a run here, finally working our way up from red. For week 13’s Sunday games, the key stat is all about the over/under: Since 2015 in games from week 13 on, the under is 209-181-9 (a .535 winning percentage), making for an average weekly record of 8½-7-½. This 1¾-win advantage may be chalked up to any number of factors from weather to injuries to coasting after clinching a playoff spot or through elimination.

No matter: NFLbets is willing to accept this as general trend and thus will likely be playing the under more heavily through the season’s remainder. And the clever NFL bettor will start repeating the mantra of the talking head in the postseason: “Defense wins championships … defense wins championships…” Week 13 is when that impetus begins.

Cleveland Browns +6 at Tennessee Titans, over/under 53 points

Cleveland is 8-3 SU, but with very few quality wins, as evidenced by their 4-4 ATS record in those SU wins. Well more freakish, however, is the average points scored by the Browns in their three SU/ATS losses: Just 6.66 per game. So figure that, with the Titans average-at-best running defense (and the worst NFL defense on 3rd down) going against the league’s best 1-2 punch out of the backfield in Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb, you can take the Browns +6 at Tennessee – and if they’ve scored 6 or less in the first half, simply hedge with in-game live betting on the Titans.

And speaking of running games, this game’s outcome may be difficult to predict, but one can easily guess that Tennessee’s one-punch man Derrick Henry will have a productive afternoon. The Browns’ stats against the run look good, but the DVOA rankings place them 27th in run defense – and Henry’s been crushing better defense than Cleveland’s throughout 2020 and should have no problems. Take over 100½ in the “Derrick Henry rushing yards” player prop.

Finally, there’s the over/under. For an offense quarterbacked by the prototypical game manager, Ryan Tannehill, the Titans have put up an unexpectedly high number of points this season. The over in Titans games is 8-2-1 and, since we’re reckoning on lots of running game from both teams, we’re covering the regression to the mean here: Take the under on an O/U of 53 points.

Washington FT +7 at Pittsburgh Steelers, over/under 43½ points

Usually in these short-week situations – particularly in cases of a team which has had a long-running head coach/QB combination – NFLbets likes the consider career marks on a short week. Wednesday’s game was quite the anomaly in American pro football history, so we turned to the similar four-day rest period of playing on a Thursday. Sadly, Tomlin ‘n’ Roethlisberger’s career numbers aren’t extremely revealing at 7-7-1 ATS; the under is 9-6. In these games, the Steelers are a nice 6-1 SU/5-2 ATS

But if the Steelers have history on their side, this incarnation of the Washington Football Team is starting to feel that there’s no time like the present. The Team is on a good 3-2 SU/ATS run in which both SU/ATS losses were by 3 points. True enough, Washington has yet to face a passing attack like the Steelers’ (the FT defense has faced the second-least pass attempts this season of all teams; Roethlisberger threw 51 times last week), but the reverse is also true (despite the low number of dropbacks against them, the FT D is third in QB sacks).NFLbets is figuring on Tomlin to play a conservative and straightforward game, even for a team that wins purely pragmatically most weeks – though we’ll admit our recommendation to take the Washington Football Team +7 at Pittsburgh is a bit of a stretch, but with defenses like these, we’re confident enough to take the under on an O/U of 43½ points.

–  written by Os Davis