NFL Week 13 early odds: Steelers open as big favorites over 8-3 Giants
Here's an early look at the lines for all NFL games being played in Week 13
The AFC North has been one of the worst divisions in the NFL this season, but don't tell that to oddsmakers who have made the Pittsburgh Steelers a 5.5-point favorite over the 8-3 New York Giants .
If you're wondering just how bad the AFC North has been, let me go ahead and describe it: The Steelers' division has gone a horrible 1-11-1 in 13 games against the NFC East this year, which includes a 1-2 mark by the Steelers and 3-0 mark by the Giants.
The Steelers lost to both the Dallas Cowboys (35-30) and Philadelphia Eagles (34-3) and beat the Washington Redskins back in Week 1 (38-16). That win over the Redskins is just one of two wins that the Steelers have over a team that currently has a winning record. Through 12 weeks, the Steelers are 2-5 against teams that are currently .500 or better and 4-0 against teams that currently have a losing record.
The Giants are an underdog in this game despite the fact that they're on a six-game winning streak and haven't lost since Oct. 9.
Of course, losing this game may not be a bad thing. The last time these two teams played in Pittsburgh in 2008, the losing quarterback ( Ben Roethlisberger ) went on to win the Super Bowl.
Speaking of Roethlisbeger, this game will pit him against Eli Manning in a reunion of the 2004 NFL Draft. It is kind of a big deal because Manning and Roethlisberger each have two Super Bowl rings, making them part of an exclusive club of active quarterbacks who have multiple Super Bowl rings ( Tom Brady is the only other member).
Let's get to the odds.
NFL Week 13 early odds
(All lines via VegasInsider.com, all games on Sunday unless noted)
Cowboys (10-1) at Minnesota Vikings (6-5)
- Opening line: Cowboys, -2.5 points, Thursday
- Current line: Cowboys, -3.5 points
If you're a fan of the theory that defense wins championships, then you might want to go with the Vikings in this game that will pit an NFL top-five offense (Dallas) against a top-five defense (Minnesota). A big reason the Vikings' season haven't been a complete flop is because of how they've played at home: The Vikings are 4-1 both straight up and ATS at home this year. Of course, that might not matter against the Cowboys, who are 5-0 both straight up and ATS in road games. A Cowboys win here would end a long drought: They haven't won at Minnesota since 1995, which also happens to the year of their last Super Bowl title.
Denver Broncos (7-4) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9)
- Opening line: Broncos, -5 points
- Current line: Broncos, -4.5 points
After Sunday night's excruciating loss to the Kansas City Chiefs , the Broncos' defense will likely go into this game looking for blood, which sounds like horrible news for Blake Bortles and the Jags' offense. The Jags won't really have a home-field advantage, either -- the team is 0-4 both straight up and ATS when playing in Jacksonville this season (their lone "home" win came in London). The Broncos are just 1-3 all-time in Jacksonville, with their only win coming in 2005.
Chiefs (8-3) at Atlanta Falcons (7-4)
- Opening line: Falcons, -4 points
- Current line: Falcons, -4 points
In what might be the most intriguing game of Week 13, we'll see one of the NFL's best defensive teams (Kansas City) go up against one of the NFL's best offensive teams (Atlanta). If Week 12 is any indication, that likely means an advantage for the Falcons. The Falcons just went up against the NFL's No. 1 defense (Arizona) and lit the scoreboard up to the tune of 38 points. Although the Falcons are 7-4, they've only covered the spread in one of their past four games. As for the Chiefs, they covered against Denver on Sunday, which is bad news because Kansas City hasn't covered in consecutive games all season. Also, the Chiefs haven't won in Atlanta since 1994.
Houston Texans (6-5) at Green Bay Packers (4-6)
- Opening line: Packers, -3.5 points
- Current line: Packers, -4.5 points
It's almost fitting that two of the coldest teams in football will be meeting on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field in Week 13. And yes, the tundra could be frozen as temperatures are expected to be in the mid-30s this Sunday, which probably favors Green Bay. The Texans are an ugly 1-4 straight up on the road and 0-4-1 ATS.
Eagles (5-5) at Cincinnati Bengals (3-7-1)
- Opening line: Eagles, -1 point
- Current line: Eagles, -1 point
The reason this line is so close is because the Eagles have been horrible on the road. Through 12 weeks, the Eagles are 1-5 straight up on the road and 1-5 ATS, which is tied for the worst road ATS mark in the NFL. Of course, the Bengals might be the perfect team to fix the Eagles' road woes. The Bengals are just 2-2-1 at home, and they've lost three in a row overall. The last time these two teams met in Cincinnati came in 2008 in the infamous tie game that ended with Donovan McNabb admitting he had no clue that ties were possible in the NFL.
Detroit Lions (7-4) at New Orleans Saints (5-6)
- Opening line: Saints, -4.5 points
- Current line: Saints, -5 points
You know the NFC North has fallen on hard times when the third-place team in the NFC South is a five-point favorite over the North's division leader, which is the case in this game. The Saints are averaging 35.8 points per game at home this season, which could be trouble for a Lions team that has lost some ugly games on the road (at Chicago Bears , at Texans). Overall, the Saints are 7-3-1 ATS this year, which is the third-best mark in the NFC. These two teams played in New Orleans last season, with the Lions winning 35-27.
49ers (1-10) at Bears (2-9)
- Opening line: Bears, -3 points
- Current line: Bears, -2.5 points
This game is basically a bettor's worst nightmare with two of the worst teams in the NFL going at it. The 49ers have been slightly worse than the Bears ATS this year with San Francisco going 2-8-1 and the Bears going 4-7. The losing team in this game will have the inside track to a top-3 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. In terms of total yards, the 49ers have the NFL's worst defense and third-worst offense, which pretty much always makes it a risk to gamble on them. With Jay Cutler likely out, you'll be betting on Matt Barkley if you take the Bears. If Barkley does go, it would be his second career start. These two teams met in Chicago last season with the 49ers winning 26-20 in overtime.
Los Angeles Rams (4-7) at New England Patriots (9-2)
- Opening line: Patriots, -13.5 points
- Current line: Patriots, -13.5 points
After getting beat down in New Orleans on Sunday, the Rams will travel to New England this week, where things might actually get worse. Since 2013, the Patriots 11-4 against NFC teams, including 5-2 at home. The Patriots have also been one of the best teams ATS in 2016, going 8-3, which is tied for the second-best mark in the NFL this season. The Rams haven't won a regular-season game against the Patriots since 2001. Of course, don't bet this game until you know the status of Rob Gronkowkski. With no Gronk, Tom Brady could struggle against a stingy Rams defense.
Miami Dolphins (7-4) at Baltimore Ravens (6-5)
- Opening line: Ravens, -3.5 points
- Current line: Ravens, -3.5 points
Although the Ravens are 6-5, that record is a little deceiving because they've been piling up wins against a bad AFC North and struggling outside of the division. Through 12 weeks, the Ravens are 4-0 in AFC North play and just 2-5 against everyone else. The Dolphins are the hottest team in the AFC with a six-game winning streak that includes a 5-1 mark ATS. These two teams played last year in Miami with the Dolphins winning 15-13.
Buffalo Bills (6-5) at Oakland Raiders (9-2)
- Opening line: Raiders, -3.5 points
- Current line: Raiders, -3.5 points
The Raiders have been almost unbeatable against AFC teams this year, going 6-1 straight up and 5-2 ATS. The good news for the Raiders is that the one thing they're really bad at -- their pass defense is ranked 28th in the NFL -- is something the Bills probably won't be able to take advantage of: Buffalo ranks dead last in the NFL in passing. If the Raiders have struggled in one gambling aspect at home, it's covering as a favorite. The Raiders are just 1-3 ATS in home games where they're the favorite. Also worth noting: The Bills haven't won in Oakland since 1966.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-5) at San Diego Chargers (5-6)
- Opening line: Chargers, -5.5 points
- Current line: Chargers, -3.5 points
If you take the Bucs in this game, you're getting 3.5 points to bet on one of the hottest teams in football. Not only has Tampa won three in a row, but it has also been dominant on the road, going 4-1 both straight up and ATS. That being said, the Bucs' bad passing defense might have a hard time keeping up with a Chargers offense that ranks fifth in the NFL in passing yards per game. The Chargers are 7-4 ATS this season, which is tied for the second-best mark in the AFC. The Bucs haven't won in San Diego since 1996 and have gone 5-10 straight up against AFC teams since 2013.
Redskins (6-4-1) at Arizona Cardinals (4-6-1)
- Opening line: Cardinals, -2.5 points
- Current line: Cardinals, -2.5 points
All four of the Redskins' losses this season have come against teams that currently have a winning record. The only two times the Redskins faced a team with a losing record (Green Bay, Cleveland), they won handily and scored 42 and 31 points in those games. Before you bet this game, make sure to find out if Jordan Reed is playing. The Redskins star tight end, and third-leading receiver, sprained his AC joint in Washington's Thanksgiving loss to the Cowboys. Speaking of the Cowboys, the Redskins are 8-3 ATS in all games this year, which is second only to Dallas.
Giants (8-3) at Steelers (6-5)
- Opening line: Steelers, -6 points
- Current line: Steelers, -5.5 points
Beating a big spread hasn't been a problem for the Steelers lately. In the their past two games, the Steelers were eight-point favorites over both the Indianapolis Colts and Cleveland Browns , and covered handily in both games. Of course, the Giants are slightly tougher competition than the Colts and Browns. Eli Manning's team is on a six-game winning streak that includes a 5-1 mark ATS.
Carolina Panthers (4-7) at Seattle Seahawks (7-3-1)
- Opening line: Seahawks, -6.5 points
- Current line: Seahawks, -6.5 points
Getting the Seahawks after a loss can only be described as bad luck for the Panthers because Seattle almost always rebounds well. During Russell Wilson 's career, the Seahawks are 14-6 ATS after a loss. They're also 5-0 straight up after their past five regular-season losses. Also, beating the Seahawks at home isn't very easy, either. Since Wilson was drafted in 2012, the Seahawks are 32-5 straight up at home. Before you bet this game, make sure to keep an eye on the status of Carolina defensive stars Luke Kuechly and Mario Addison , who both missed Sunday's game against Oakland.
Colts (5-6) at New York Jets (3-8)
- Opening line: Colts, -2.5 points, Monday
- Current line: Pick 'em
Don't even think about betting this game and until you know for sure if Andrew Luck is available. The Colts quarterback missed Indy's Week 12 game on Thanksgiving, and although he's expected to return this week, the Colts haven't made it official. If Luck does play, then feel free to keep in mind that the Colts are 21-7 ATS after a loss since 2012, when they drafted Luck.
Byes: Browns, Tennessee Titans
'I want to score a lot of touchdowns. I want to see a lot of celebrations,' Harbaugh said
The 2015 first-round pick has 33 career receptions
Sherman reportedly thought about playing for the Cowboys or Patriots
One of the league's best wideouts had just four catches for 28 yards against Green Bay
The Browns selected Kizer in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft
Talk about a great Christmas present