Another exciting NFL Sunday is here, bringing with it a lot of games with tremendous importance for playoff positioning. After the Thanksgiving holiday, we're back to a normal schedule, as there will be 12 games on Sunday.
Our VSiN experts -- Adam Burke, Dave Tuley, Will Hill, Wes Reynolds and Matt Youmans, along with Ben Brown of Pro Football Focus -- combine to give their opinions on every Sunday game in Week 13.
Note: Lines are from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Thursday night.
Here are our Week 13 best bets:
Minnesota Vikings (-7, 47) at Detroit Lions
Tuley: The Vikings are coming off a tough loss to the 49ers that dropped them to 5-6 and cost them what could be a key head-to-head tiebreaker in the NFC wild-card chase, but most people still think they’ll be a playoff team with a soft closing schedule that starts with the Lions. However, don’t forget that they beat the Lions only 19-17 in Week 5 and needed a 54-yard Greg Joseph field goal as time expired. The Lions have been competitive like that all season.
Even though they’re still winless at 0-10-1, they’re 7-4 ATS, which is the fifth-best betting record in the league behind only the Packers (10-2), Cowboys (8-3), Cardinals (8-3) and Patriots (8-4). Besides, I certainly wouldn’t trust the Vikings laying a TD as they’re 0-1 ATS when laying a TD of more, which was the earlier non-cover vs. these Lions. And no matter how many great stats Kirk Cousins puts up with 23 TD passes to just three INTs, he doesn’t come through in the clutch, and I’m expecting this will be another game that comes down to a late field goal.
Pick: Lions + 7
Burke: Given the history of the Vikings, this may not be the smartest bet in the world. They tend to play a ton of close games that come down to the last possession or some sort of last-minute field goal. However, that perception may be what is keeping this line against the Lions a little bit lower than it should be.
The Vikings are better in just about every way and the one obvious strength with their defense should be enough to win this game by margin. Minnesota’s third-down defense hasn’t been as dominant as past years, but is still a unit that ranks in the top 10. Detroit ranks 31st in third-down conversion rate on offense, just one-tenth of a percent higher than the Seahawks.
Getting off the field on third down and winning the turnover battle are two ways to win games by margin. The Vikings have the second-fewest turnovers in the NFL with eight. Detroit only has 14, so the Lions have taken decent care of the ball, but not to the degree that the Vikes have.
Detroit ranks 27th in yards per play, a number helped by garbage-time offense from early in the season. Minnesota has a top-10 offense in YPP, along with a top-10 unit by DVOA, a metric from Football Outsiders that a lot of bettors use when breaking down games. Minnesota’s pass offense ranks second by that metric. Detroit has a bottom-five pass defense by DVOA.
Minnesota should have a lot of chances to put some distance in this game and I think they do.
Pick: Vikings -7