Betting News & Analysis

NFL Week 13 Betting: Darius Butler's favorite bets of the week

Orchard Park, New York, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) drops back to pass against the Buffalo Bills during the second half at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

After my forgettable 0-3 showing in Week 12, I bounced back with a victory on my lone Dallas-CowboysNew Orleans Saints bet Thursday evening, bringing my overall betting record to 18-19 in 2021.

Hopefully, I can carry the momentum from Thursday into the weekend, starting with Sunday's matchup between the Arizona Cardinals and Chicago Bears.


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Every week, I look at who has the edge in these five categories: quarterback, defense, offensive talent, play in the trenches and coaching.

Let’s get to my favorite bets of NFL Week 13.

Arizona Cardinals (-7.5) over Chicago Bears 

Kyler Murray has been listed as a limited participant in practice all week, but I expect him to play and pick up where he left off pre-injury.

In Weeks 1-8 when Murray was healthy, he ranked second in passing grade (89.5), first in big-time throw percentage (9.0%) and first in yards per attempt while recording the second-lowest turnover worthy play percentage among QBs (min. 10 dropbacks).

Arizona‘s defense has playmakers on every level. Looking at Chicago’s available weapons, I don't it will make enough plays to keep up with the Cardinals offense, which still ranks 10th in team-offense grade (77.5) despite Murray's absence for the last month.

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Miami Dolphins (-6.5) over New York Giants 

Daniel Jones will miss this game with a neck injury, which is terrible news for the Giants offense. Jones’ ability to make plays with his legs will be severely missed, as his replacement — Mike Glennon — lacks the athleticism to be a true scramble threat, as he's barely eclipsed 100 rushing yards over his entire career.

Tua Tagovailoa is playing the best football of his career right now, as his overall grade currently sits at a career-high 73.5. Coming into this matchup, he has led the Dolphins to a four-game winning streak. Dating back to Week 6, Tagovaioa ranks eighth in passing grade (75.5) and second in completion percentage (72.9%).

Tua Tagovailoa’s passing grades and production in 2021 | By week
Week Passing Grade Passing Yards Passing TDs INT Completion %
1 54.5 204 1 1 0.6071
2 52.2 27 0 0 0.4
6 81 354 2 1 0.7083
7 83.5 299 4 2 0.8049
8 50.4 226 0 1 0.5581
10 54.5 173 0 0 0.5556
11 79 324 2 1 0.7838
12 62.4 233 1 0 0.8485

I think the Dolphins offense, which currently ranks 25th in team-offense grade (68.7), will continue to build confidence and play well against the Giants defense, which ranks 26th in team-defense grade (56.4).

The Giants will be on the wrong end of a lopsided matchup when their offense takes the field on Sunday. This Dolphins defense has been giving up 11.5 points per game across their winning streak and currently ranks sixth in team-defense grade (71.0). Freddie Kitchens will be calling the Giants offense's plays on Sunday, and I have to fade that combination 10 times out of 10.

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Dog of the day: Pittsburgh Steelers (+4.5) vs. Baltimore Ravens

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Lamar Jackson hasn’t been himself for the last few weeks, but the Ravens have still found ways to win ugly games. This will be an ugly game. It always is.

There has been a lot of outside noise about the “Steelers culture” and Ben Roethlisberger‘s retirement talk; however, I think Pittsburgh finds a way to rally the troops and at least cover the point spread at home.

I think 4.5 points either way would be a bad play in this rivalry so give me the home team with the points.


Darius Butler is a former NFL free safety. He was drafted by the New England Patriots in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft. He has also played for the Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts.

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