NFL Week 13 Special Props Odds and Betting Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 11/27/2013
I did not do NFL rushing or receiving 2013 leaders stories this summer -- I incorporated individual leaders props into team previews -- but my Doc's colleague Dave Schwab did. Let's revisit what he had, because Bovada has released its updated props on the leaders in each category as part of the sites NFL Week 13 specials.
The favorite back when Dave wrote in July was no surprise in Minnesota's Adrian Peterson, who was coming off the second-best single-season yardage total in league history. When I previewed the Vikings overall, I didn't like Peterson on this prop because I was concerned that the Vikings were going to be so bad at quarterback that teams would stack the box to stop Peterson. That is pretty much what has happened as the Vikes have used the less-than-imposing trio of Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel and Josh Freeman. Dave didn't like Peterson much, either, writing: "The Vikings do love to run the ball, but seeing how he has already been taking a beating in the NFL for seven years it could be extremely hard to maintain that health two years in a row while carrying the ball an average 22 times a game."
Peterson has played in every game and has rushed for 997 yards on 226 carries (20.5 carries per game). He is just 12 yards behind league-leader LeSean McCoy of the Eagles. However, Peterson is the +175 Bovada favorite, with McCoy at +190. Washington's Alfred Morris is third in yards with 970 and third on the prop at +350. While the Vikings and Redskins have nothing to play for, the Eagles are battling for the NFC East title. McCoy has topped 80 yards just once in his past five games, while Peterson has two games with at least 140 yards in his past five.
In a twist, the Vikings and Eagles play Week 15 in Minneapolis. I like the Philly schedule better for McCoy to win this title. While Peterson should take the lead after this week by torching the Bears with McCoy facing a good Arizona team, after that the Eagles finish vs. Detroit, at Minnesota, vs. Chicago and at Dallas. Only the Lions are any good at stopping the rush. Take McCoy.
On the receiving prop, Calvin Johnson was the big favorite in the summer and is so far ahead that he's almost surely going to win. Dave liked Megatron, and so did I on my Lions preview. I thought Johnson would stay under 1,700 yards but win the title with 1,550 or so. He has 1,198, which projects to 1,740. There's just no one like him.
Because Johnson is so far ahead in yards, Bovada instead is doing the NFL leader in TD catches, with Johnson a 3/2 favorite. Johnson is tied for the lead with New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham (7/4) with 11. Right behind are Denver's Demaryius Thomas (5/1) and Julius Thomas, who isn't an option on the prop, with 10. There are too many options on Denver to bet on one guy. The Saints, meanwhile, face four excellent defenses the next four weeks: at Seahawks, Panthers twice, and at Rams. Thus, I think Drew Brees struggles a bit. The Lions have three of their final five at home and another game in a dome (at Minnesota). So I like Johnson in that pass-happy offense even though he's nursing an injury.
If you follow these stories you know I love the negative ones, and Bovada offers up which team will get the No. 1 pick in the loaded 2014 draft. Here are the teams, their odds and remaining schedules.
Jacksonville (even): at Cleveland, vs. Houston, vs. Buffalo, vs. Tennessee, at Indianapolis.
Minnesota (+200): vs. Chicago, at Baltimore, vs. Philadelphia, at Cincinnati, vs. Detroit.
Atlanta (+300): at Buffalo, at Green Bay, vs. Washington, at San Francisco, vs. Carolina.
Houston (+500): vs. New England, at Jacksonville, at Indianapolis, vs. Denver, at Tennessee.
All three of those teams have two wins, but the Vikings are on eight losses because of last week's tie. Right now Houston would pick No. 1, followed by the Jags, Falcons and Vikings. If two teams tie with the same worst record, the first tiebreaker would be head-to-head. That could be important for the Jags and Texans as Houston already lost to Jacksonville. The next tiebreaker is strength of schedule where the team with the worst strength of schedule percentage wins the tiebreaker and gets a better pick.
I think the Jaguars could win two games on their schedule. Ditto the Vikings. Atlanta can win against the Redskins, while Houston could win at Jacksonville. However, Houston's strength of schedule is the worst of all these teams, so it could still pick No. 1 by beating only Jacksonville assuming the other three teams win at least once more. I think that's exactly what happens.
Finally, will the sixth playoff seed in the AFC have nine or more wins: “no” -400 and “yes” at +250. Currently there are six teams at 5-6 for the No. 6 seed. Can one of those mediocre squads win four of its final five games? I think the Steelers can if they win Thanksgiving night at Baltimore as they finish with three of four at home. However, I think the Ravens win that game. They finish: vs. Minnesota, at Detroit, vs. New England, at Cincinnati. Hmm. Perhaps the Patriots and Bengals are locked into playoff spots by then. I'd roll the dice on either the Steelers or Ravens here. No one else will win four of five.
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