NFL Week 13 round-robin underdog moneyline parlay
One play away. That was the theme for the round-robin underdog moneyline parlay in Week 12, but before feeling hard done by, we have to remember that it goes both ways.
The Jaguars and Steelers won, but the Falcons failed despite a first-and-goal on the Commanders' 2-yard line, the Cardinals gave up a game-winning two-point conversion, and don't get me started on how close the Lions came to pulling off the biggest Thanksgiving Day upset in decades.
Of course, the Jags also won on a two-point conversion, and if Jeff Saturday knew how timeouts worked, we might have been on the wrong side of the one play that almost every NFL game inevitably comes down to. Isn't that the point, though? If the vast majority of NFL contests come down to that one last high-leverage play, and we're getting plus-money for what seems like a 50-50 proposition, we're making valuable bets. A 4-1 week for our picks against the spread and a 37-20-3 overall record confirms that.
How it works
We parlay five underdogs we like against the spread in 10 different three-team parlays. Using every combination of a three-team parlay is called a round robin. We'll use a total of 1.1 units to make 11 different bets: 10 three-team parlays and one five-team parlay, each for .1 units. You'll likely double your money if three teams pull off the upset. If four teams win, you're connecting on four separate parlays and will be very pleased with the return. If all five teams win, you'll be diving into a silo of gold doubloons like a young Scrooge McDuck.
Who to play
The Texans have blown up the RR MLP a few times this season, so I promise this will be their last appearance, win or lose. This is the shot that must be taken. With the return to the NFL of the Texans' former quarterback, this has to be Houston's Super Bowl and a beneficial home-field environment given Deshaun Watson's exit. Moreover, he hasn't played a regular-season NFL game since the end of the 2020 season. He saw preseason action and wasn't very good, so why would we expect him to be in midseason form?
Big picture: Houston can win this game without risking its chance of getting the first overall pick. As for the 4-7 Browns, what have they done to warrant fear? The defense is 28th in opponent passer rating and 26th in yards per rush against. Look for the last inspired performance from the Texans in a game that means more to them than it does to most of Cleveland's roster.
This game comes down to just how good the Jets might be with controlled quarterback play. Mike White seemed to stabilize the position with his quick reads, and accurate, unspectacular pass attempts. Then again, it was just the Bears. However, White gets to face nearly as porous of a defense in Minnesota, with far better throwing conditions indoors. If the Patriots can move the ball down the field with ease against the Vikings, the Jets can too. Plus, we know what New York's defense brings to the table.
The Titans as sizeable underdogs? Count me in! Mike Vrabel is 16-10 straight up as an underdog of more than a field goal, according to Action Network. The Eagles won't be able to run for the roughly 3 million yards that they did against the Packers on Sunday night, and Tennessee's pass defense has gotten better throughout the season. Offensively, you know it will be a steady diet of Derrick Henry, but the loss of CJ Gardner-Johnson makes throwing the ball at the Eagles less dangerous, and Treylon Burks has added a much-needed deep threat for Ryan Tannehill.
Tua Tagovailoa and Mike McDaniel should do a better job of converting scoring opportunities against the 49ers than the Saints did last week. It would be impossible not to. San Francisco's defense is getting a lot of credit for holding off Andy Dalton, Colt McCoy, the banged-up Chargers, and the Rams' anemic offense in the last four second halves, but the Dolphins should be a different story. Meanwhile, there has to be a little alarm in San Francisco that the Niners' only touchdown last week came on a deflected pass that could have gone awry - like that flattering 13-0 victory as a whole.
Speaking of the Saints, we could be giving more credit to a defense that's getting healthier. As much as we hope Marshon Lattimore returns Monday to do his number on Mike Evans, even if he can't go, we'll still play on New Orleans to continue its torment of Tom Brady. Plus, we've officially entered the "fade Todd Bowles as a favorite" portion of the program. His mega-conservative decision-making and lack of basic strategizing leave the Buccaneers vulnerable to almost any team in the league looking to pull off an upset.
Here's how the odds look this week:
Who are your five underdogs for a football betting lottery ticket?
Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there’s a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.