Breaking Vegas With Garrett Thornton – Week Thirteen

The theme of this week… Give me the road team and the points!!

The general rule of thumb in betting the NFL is that home field advantage is worth 3 points. I still try to keep that in mind when I am looking at the games to bet but I do not think it is gospel in any way.

All of these teams are filled with professionals, guys that are paid handsomely to play the game of football. Each and every week, half of the league plays on the road. I know that sounds incredibly trivial but it often forgotten. These guys know how to handle playing on the road. Very few locker rooms and stadiums are unfamiliar to these teams and player.

With all of that said, I think that home field advantage can be vastly overrated.

Don’t get me wrong, there are teams that have a clear home field advantage; Green Bay, New England, Seattle.

But I would make the argument that weather is a much bigger factor in games than where it is played.

This week as we head into Week 13, most teams have established themselves as either a contender for the playoffs or a contender for a Top-10 pick, and that divide is getting wider and wider. We know who these teams are and generally what to expect from them each week.

This week I pick 5 different road underdogs. What do you think?

Detroit Lions +5.5 @ New Orleans Saints

This is one that I am keeping my eye on this weekend. This looks to be one of the most fun and competitive games of the weekend. Two above average offenses, two below average defenses.

This one will be close. The Lions have been down at some point in the fourth quarter in all 11 games this season and have a found to win 7 of those. That is an incredible feat and one that needs to go one Matthew Stafford’s resume as he looks to ink one of the biggest deals in NFL history this offseason.

Expect a lot of points to be scored. Vegas has the over/under set at 53.5. Take the over in the dome down south!

Saints 31 – Lions 28

New York Giants +6 @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Like the Lions-Saints matchup, two very good quarterbacks that are going to score a lot of points.

This year at home, Ben Roethlisberger has been incredible. He has thrown at least 3 touchdowns in all 4 home games he has played this season.

He will face a touch defense in the Giants but they are not unbeatable. What has made them appear unbeatable the last few weeks is the fact that they have played Josh McCown, Jay Cutler, and Andy Dalton. Pedestrian, pedestrian, slightly above pedestrian. This week they play Ben Roethlisberger, future hall-of-famer.

Giants will keep it close, hoping to keep pace with the Cowboys at the top of the division, but the Steelers need this game more than the Giants do. Pittsburgh wins at home.

Steelers 35 – Giants 33

Washington Redskins +2.5 @ Arizona Cardinals

At the beginning of the column I said that now that we are in Week 13 we basically know who all of these teams are. Well, I am still not sure exactly who the Arizona Cardinals are.

The Cardinals have all of the pieces to be an incredible team. They have a smart coach, accomplished quarterback, a plethora of offensive weapons, defensive playmakers at every position, on and on and on. The problem is, this team came into the season believing in themselves a bit too much and they have been hampered by injuries.

At some point, maybe not even this season, it is going to click for the Cardinals. They are going to be deadly and start scoring a lot of points on people. I just don’t think it is this week.

The Redskins are currently in the second NFC Wild Card spot. The problem is, they play in the toughest division in football, the NFC East. Every game is important to them if they want to make the Playoffs. Kirk Cousins is bound to throw for 400+ again in the desert.

Redskins 24 – Cardinals 21

Carolina Panthers +7 @ Seattle Seahawks

When the schedule came out in the summer, this was one of those games that football fans across the country circled on their calendars. Unfortunately it has lost A LOT of its luster.

The Panthers have looked really average. After taking the NFC by storm last year and made it to the Super Bowl, only to get demoralized by the Broncos. The Panthers sit at 4-7 and are incredibly average in almost every offensive category.

The Seahawks, on the other hand, sit at 7-3-1 and have shown flashes of brilliance. But with those flashes of brilliance have come absolutely terrible performances. The Seahawks have had 3 games without an offensive touchdown. That includes last week’s stinker where they fell to the Bucs by a final score of 14-5. Yep, 5 points scored by an NFL team that has a “franchise quarterback”.

I understand that each team has been hampered by injuries and this week each team is getting back key players but it won’t add much to the watchability factor of this one. The only intrigue is the recent rivalry between these two.

Seahawks 17 – Panthers 14

Upset Special of the Week:

San Francisco 49ers +1.5 @ Chicago Bears

I do not believe that I have had the Bears of Niners featured in any of my Breaking Vegas columns so far this year, not as the winning team at least.

When these two teams meet, neither one deserves a win. Both of these teams have had terrible seasons and are just looking to the Draft.

But, because I have to pick a winner, I am picking the 49ers that have seemed to find some kind of quarterbacking ability from the former University of Nevada product.

49ers 27 – Bears 14

  Wins Losses Push Percentage
Week One 1 3 1 30%
Week Two 1 4 0 20%
Week Three 2 3 0 40%
Week Four 2 3 0 40%
Week Five 3 2 0 60%
Week Six 2 2 1 50%
Week Seven 3 2 0 60%
Week Eight 2 3 0 40%
Week Nine 3 1 1 70%
Week Ten 3 2 0 60%
Week Eleven 3 2 0 60%
Week Twelve 2 2 1 50%
OVERALL 27 29 4 48%

*All betting lines provided by Bovada.LV on the Thursday preceding particular NFL week.

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About Garrett Thornton 64 Articles
Garrett has been a Senior Writer for Oregon Sports News for 4 years. In that time Garrett has primarily covered the Portland Trail Blazers. He has also started his series "Breaking Vegas with Garrett Thornton", picking NFL games against the spread. Along with his coverage of the Blazers and NFL, Garrett covers Oregon Ducks football.