Betting News & Analysis

NFL Week 13 Best Bets: Back the Houston Texans to end the Denver Broncos' winning streak

2T9TP26 USA. 26th Nov, 2023. November 26, 2023: Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) celebrates his rushing touchdown with teammates during a game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Houston Texans in Houston, TX. Trask Smith/CSM/Sipa USA (Credit Image: © Trask Smith/Cal Sport Media/Sipa USA) Credit: Sipa US/Alamy Live News

• Back the Houston Texans to end the Denver Broncos' winning streak: C.J. Stroud deserves to be rated among the elite NFL signal-callers, which has huge implications for how the Texans should be treated in the market.

• A new-look Steelers offense should handle the Cardinals: The market has not fully adjusted its expectations for this Steelers offense, which is causing them to be undervalued against a bottom-feeding Cardinals team with injuries at key positions.

• Get $150 in bonus bets: New FanDuel customers who bet $5 or more receive $150 in bonus bets if their team wins, plus a profit boost token every day. Join FanDuel today!

Estimated Reading Time: 7 minutes


Week 13 of the NFL season is upon us. It’s around this time of the season every year when you realize that you have to cherish every single game, whether it's 49ers vs Eagles or Falcons vs Jets. In this article, we’ll identify a team that has been incredibly lucky over the last month or so and has a difficult matchup this week. We’ll also back an offense that is fundamentally better than it was a couple of weeks ago due to a key personnel change. Finally, we’ll identify a running back who could be in for a big day. Let’s get into it.


Denver Broncos @ Houston Texans (-3, 47.5)

This game between two 6-5 teams carries many playoff implications. Although the Broncos and Texans have the same record, how they got to this point is vastly different in terms of sustainability.

Denver has won its past five games, largely thanks to extreme turnover variance. Since Week 8, the Broncos have gained 58 expected points added from turnovers, which is by far the most in the league during that span.

Although we should credit Denver for limiting turnovers and causing opponent giveaways, this extreme differential is unsustainable. Without the drastic EPA gain from turnovers, it’s incredibly unlikely that the Broncos would be on this win streak. Over their past five games, Denver ranks right around the league average in NET success rate and 22nd in offensive success rate. If we strip away the noisy turnovers that have aided Denver recently, we see that this team should be rated as a below-average squad going forward because of subpar offensive play.

The Broncos also run into a tough matchup against a Texans team that should expose them schematically. Russell Wilson has struggled against defenses that are capable of blitzing effectively. He has the second-greatest difference between his EPA per dropback when facing the blitz compared to when facing all other coverages. Although Houston does not blitz often, they have held opponents to the sixth-lowest EPA per dropback when doing so. Look for the Texans to dial up the blitzes at a higher rate than normal, which should cause Wilson and this Broncos passing game all sorts of issues.

On the other side of the ball, C.J. Stroud and the Texans' offense have a great matchup against a zone-heavy Broncos secondary. Stroud has cooked zone coverage all season, ranking second in EPA per dropback. Denver has also been susceptible to explosive plays through the air, allowing them at a top-10 rate. Vulnerability to splash plays should spell trouble against a Texans offense that has generated explosive plays at the second-highest rate in the NFL.

Matchup aside, the market is not properly rating Stroud in this game. The rookie has been playing at an elite level and is producing one of the best true rookie quarterback seasons of all time. He has the second-highest quarterback EPA+, an adjusted EPA per dropback figure where zero is the league average for a specific season, of any true rookie since 2013.

Stroud deserves to be rated among the elite NFL signal-callers, which has huge implications for how the Texans should be treated in the market.

Best Bet: Texans -3 (to -4)

This is as much of a fade for Denver as it is a buy for Houston. Back Houston to end the Broncos' win streak by at least a small margin as their turnover luck finally evens out.


Arizona Cardinals @ Pittsburgh Steelers (-6.5, 41)

Both of these teams have undergone significant changes over the past couple of weeks. Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray returned from injury in Week 10, and the Steelers fired offensive coordinator Matt Canada before Week 12.

Since taking over at quarterback, Murray has struggled immensely with a rough 63.2 PFF grade and a bottom-10 EPA per dropback figure. This week, Murray will again be without wide receiver Michael Wilson and may be without wide receiver Marquise Brown, who has not practiced all week. He will lack the weapons he needs to move the ball against an above-average Steelers defense. Pittsburgh should also be able to pressure Murray at a high rate with a unit that ranks seventh in pass-rush win rate against a Cardinals offensive line that has allowed pressure at a top-10 rate this season.

Pittsburgh will be able to limit Murray’s ability to scramble for big gains, as they have allowed the seventh-lowest total EPA figure on scrambles. With Murray’s scrambling ability limited and key receivers injured, the Cardinals have no path to viable offense production.

The Steelers' offense looked substantially different in Week 12, which was their first game without former offensive coordinator Matt Canada calling the plays. Despite scoring only 16 points, Pittsburgh produced more than 400 yards of offense, easily their highest total of the season. With play-calling duties now in the hands of Eddie Faulkner, the Steelers primarily targeted the middle of the field, an area that they failed to attack during the first 11 weeks of the season.

Once Kenny Pickett was guided to attack that area, he found success. While we can’t expect Pickett to generate almost 10 total EPA per game, this does represent a schematic change in the Steelers' offense that should significantly increase their weekly offensive output.

The Steelers quarterback will also get to face his preferred zone coverage scheme often against a Cardinals defense that plays zone at the fifth-highest rate in the league and has allowed the highest EPA per dropback figure when doing so.

Best Bet: Steelers -6.5 (to -7)

The market has not fully adjusted its expectations for this Steelers offense, which is causing them to be undervalued against a bottom-feeding Cardinals team with injuries at key positions. Back the Steelers at a touchdown or better.


Player Prop Best Bet: Rhamondre Stevenson o64.5 Rushing Yards

Stevenson has been one of the lone bright spots for the Patriots this season, exceeding 85 yards in each of his past three games. With disastrous quarterback play from Mac Jones, New England has been forced to rely on the run game as much as any team in the NFL.

With Jones now benched and Bailey Zappe starting in Week 13, New England’s run-heavy game plan shouldn’t change, especially against the Chargers — one of three defenses to have allowed a positive EPA per rush figure over the past five weeks. The Patriots have no interest in letting Zappe air it out, as he somehow had a negative average depth of target in relief duty last week against the Giants. If anything, offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien’s game plan should emphasize running Stevenson at an even higher rate, as that has been the offense's only way of moving the ball this season.

Despite the Chargers being 5.5-point favorites, I don’t think they will be able to light up the scoreboard due to their razor-thin depth at the offensive skill positions. As a result, there is a far smaller chance that New England falls behind and a negative game script ensues that harms Stevenson’s production. Back Stevenson to clear this total behind high volume and a great matchup.

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