NFL Betting Odds: Week 13 Line Movements & Last-Minute News
A bad New York football team decided to bench its past-its-prime veteran quarterback this week to get a look at a younger guy with an eye toward the future - and perhaps assist in tanking to land the highest pick possible in the 2018 draft.
I fully expected to type that above sentence at some point this season, but talking about the Jets and Josh McCown. Instead, the big news in the NFL this week was the Giants sitting franchise icon Eli Manning, who most likely has played his final game with the Big Blue.
Two quick asides on that news: 1) Who would have though the Jets would have had the most QB stability of New York's three teams this season? Remember, the Bills benched Tyrod Taylor a few weeks ago, albeit briefly; 2) The fact this happened in the media capital of the world and to a guy with a royal NFL last name of Manning made it a bigger story nationally than it really should have been.
The Giants probably didn't handle this well as they basically told Manning they wanted to take the rest of the season to see what Geno Smith (why!?!) and third-round rookie Davis Webb (now that makes sense) bring to the table. But you don't go to Eli, tell him this is happening and offer to let him start games the rest of the way only to extend his amazing consecutive starts streak (that ends at 210, No. 2 all-time behind Brett Favre) but that he will be yanked at some point during the game. Kudos to Eli for saying no thanks to that. It was definitely a PR disaster for a team that has had more than a few of those the past few seasons. Manning deserved better after leading the team two a pair of Super Bowl upsets. Yeah, he's not all that good any longer, but Eli also has very little to work with offensively.
One of Bovada's specials this week is whether Manning is with the Giants in Week 1 next year. "No" is -200 and "yes" +150. He is due to cost the Giants a team-high cap hit of $22.2 million in 2018 but has no guaranteed money left. If Manning is cut after the season, the Giants would have $12.4 million in dead money on their 2018 cap while freeing up $9.8 million in space. If Manning is released after June 1, the Giants would split the dead money over two years -- $6.2 million in 2018 and 2019 -- and save $16 million in 2018 cap space. Ideally, the team simply trades him, and everyone thinks Jacksonville could happen. The Jags are run by former Giants coach Tom Coughlin, and he loves Eli. Barring some miraculous run to the Super Bowl, the Jags aren't likely to bring Blake Bortles back in 2018. I'd go no on that prop.
I have no clue why the Giants are starting former Jets bust Smith on Sunday in Oakland, which jumped from -7.5 to -9 . We know what Smith is, but let's see what Webb has. The team is expected to play him at some point but hasn't given a game plan. Maybe he gets in Sunday. Smith is given "over/under" totals of 185.5 passing yards, 0.5 TDs and one pick this week.
Here are some line moves or potential game-changing injury notes for Week 13.
Broncos at Dolphins (+1.5, 39.5): This one might be unwatchable between teams who have lost a combined 12 in a row, and it has the biggest line move for Sunday as Miami opened at -1. Plenty of ties between these clubs. Current Fins head coach Adam Gase is a former Broncos offensive coordinator. Gase was consulted by John Elway when Denver hired 2016 Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph as its head coach this past offseason. And, of course, Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler is a former Bronco. Cutler will start after missing last week's loss in New England in the concussion protocol. Miami is 4-5 in his starts and 0-2 in Matt Moore's, so I guess it's an upgrade? The Dolphins will be without running back Damien Williams, meaning Kenyan Drake will be the featured back. The Broncos are going back to QB Trevor Siemian as their starter. He relieved an injured Paxton Lynch in last week's loss in Oakland. Lynch will miss a few weeks. I love the Dolphins here, by the way, because reports are that many Broncos (including Siemian) are dealing with the flu bug.
Eagles at Seahawks (+6, 47.5): It's only the second time that Seattle has been a home dog since 2012. It was a 1-point dog a couple of weeks ago vs. Atlanta and lost 34-31 on Monday night. The Seahawks haven't been this big of a home dog since Russell Wilson was completing his graduate season at Wisconsin. Philadelphia puts its nine-game winning streak on the line and a pretty impressive points streak. The Iggles have scored at least 26 points in nine straight weeks. Bovada asks if it will happen again, with both options at -120 (I'd say yes). The Eagles have a point differential of plus-160 through 11 games, the league's fifth-largest since 2010, and have beaten their last seven opponents by an average of 21.3 points per game. If the Eagles beat the Seahawks by 20 points or more, it will be their fifth consecutive 20-point victory. That would tie an NFL record. However, I question how good they are. Philly has beaten one team currently with a winning record: Carolina in Week 6. The Panthers were the last team to lose by single digits. The Eagles lost at CenturyLink Field last season 26-15 in late November, but both teams are quite different from then.
Buccaneers at Packers (pick'em, 44.5): Bit surprised this line hasn't moved with the announcement that QB Jameis Winston will return for Tampa Bay after missing the past three games with a shoulder injury - although back on Monday, the sportsbooks probably were assuming that when setting this number. The warm-weather Bucs have an incredibly bad record all-time in games where the kickoff temperature is below 40 degrees, but they will catch a major break here with reasonably warm temperatures in the Midwest. I'm not saying people will be out in shorts and tank tops at Lambeau (well, some drunk clowns might) with a forecast high of 47, but that's unusually warm in Green Bay this time of year. Somehow, it's Tampa's first trip there since 2000. Winston won't have starting running back Doug Martin, out with a concussion, or his best two offensive linemen, Demar Dotson and Ali Marpet, as both were placed on IR this week.
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