NFL Betting: How to Pick Week 13 Games

I bounced back last week, going 5-2 in my contest. I bet the Saints at -6, which ended up being the free space on the bingo card as the line jumped to Saints -17 due to the Broncos’ dire quarterback situation. I was happy with how the rest of the games turned out, including the Buccaneers sneaking out a late cover in a game they never had a chance to win.

As always, I’ll use lines from the Las Vegas SuperContest, a popular football challenge hosted by the Westgate SuperBook. The point spreads for the contest come out Wednesday evening and are locked at those numbers for the rest of the week.

I’m in a competition where I pick seven sides a week using the SuperContest’s lines, so in this weekly breakdown I will unveil my first impressions of the games and point spreads. I hope this can be a guide for people who are in similar NFL pick’ems or looking to bet games.

Note: My picks could change based on information and any news that is not factored into the contest line. I will discuss and finalize these picks on a Periscope show I host called Weekend Warriors. The show will be live for an hour on Sunday at 11 a.m. ET and can be seen on Stadium’s Periscope channel or Stadium’s Twitter. After the show, I will tweet my seven picks for the contest from my Twitter.

Here are my thoughts for Week 13.

Sides I’ll Likely Use

Lions (+3) over Bears: Matt Patricia became the third head coach to be fired in the NFL this season, as he and general manager Bob Quinn were handed the pink slip the Saturday after their Thanksgiving loss to the Texans. I imagine this is a short-term positive for Detroit based on what former players tweeted about the news and the fact that the defensive-minded Patricia could never get the most out of that unit. This line shockingly re-opened Bears -5.5 on Monday morning after Chicago was routed in Green Bay on Sunday night. It took about six hours to transform to Bears -3, and it has held steady at that number all week. I still like the Lions in this spot and think they are a team to bet on in the final five games of the regular season because the players will want to prove that Patricia was the problem instead of them.

49ers (+2.5) over Bills: The 49ers moved from +2.5 to +1 on Wednesday evening after the contest line locked. It’s an odd situation with this game being played in Arizona because of a Santa Clara County ban on contact sports that will have San Francisco call Glendale home for at least the next two games. The 49ers beat the Rams last week, improving their record to 5-6 — which is within realistic reach of the final NFC playoff spot. I like the 49ers to get the win in this game as they get healthier, and I also have my questions about the Bills’ defense.

Picks I’m Considering

Colts (-3.5) over Texans: I’m likely going to pick the Colts and fade the Titans based on the result of the game between the two teams in Week 12. The Titans won 45-26, but I think there’s an overreaction in the betting market to that 60-minute sample size. It was a really good spot for the Titans to avenge a Week 10 loss to the Colts because several of Indy’s key defenders didn’t play, including defensive lineman DeForest Buckner. The Colts are hoping to get some of those players back this week, but even if they don’t get a player like Buckner back, they don’t have to worry about a Texans player dominating like Derrick Henry did. The Colts were -2.5 on Monday evening before Houston wide receiver Will Fuller and cornerback Bradley Roby were suspended six games for PED use. While I don’t like the Colts as much now with the line at -3.5, I could only look at Indianapolis in this game.

Browns (+5.5) over Titans: I hinted at it above, but I think the Titans are getting too much credit in their betting number for their performance in Indianapolis last week. It was an incredible first-half showing to get out to a 35-14 halftime lead, but I don’t believe a two-point adjustment is warranted from the look-ahead number of Titans -3.5. I personally made the Titans a 3.5-point favorite in this game, so there’s line value on the Browns. I like the Browns to use their ground attack and have a shot at winning this game.

Eagles (+8.5) over Packers: Last week, the Packers closed as an eight-point home favorite against the Bears on Sunday night. The line in this weekend’s game says the Bears are a better team than the Eagles, which I disagree with. The Eagles’ offense has been poor but they are still right in the division race, so there is plenty to play for. The Packers’ weakness is their run defense, and this could be a game in which Miles Sanders gets going and the Eagles have success on the ground like they did when they won in Green Bay last season. If that happens, the Eagles should keep the game within the number.

Chargers (PK) over Patriots: This might be the biggest coaching mismatch in the NFL this season as Bill Belichick goes up against Anthony Lynn. That being said, I’m still going to make a case for LA, who maybe has the NFL’s worst current head coach. I’ve had a good feel for the Patriots recently, as I bet against them as road favorites against the Texans two weeks ago and then supported them as home underdogs against the Cardinals last week. I believe the Chargers are better than the Patriots and now that the game is a pick’em with Los Angeles at home, I’ll likely take a stand and use LA as one of my seven required contest picks.

I Need More Information

Bengals at Dolphins (-11.5): The Bengals ended up starting QB Brandon Allen last week in their first game without Joe Burrow, and they kept it close on the scoreboard by only falling 19-17 to the Giants. But one of their touchdowns was on a kick return and the other touchdown was against a prevent defense late in the fourth quarter. The current Bengals team without Burrow might be the worst in the NFL, so I can’t see a scenario where I back them the rest of the year. If the Dolphins start Ryan Fitzpatrick, I might take Miami in the contest, but I would avoid this game entirely if Tua Tagovailoa returned to the field after missing last week with a thumb injury.

Jaguars at Vikings (-10): The Jaguars continue to be competitive and Mike Glennon actually looked competent last week. However, their defensive weaknesses are glaring, and they don’t really want to win games so that they can secure a top-two pick in next spring’s NFL Draft. I don’t love the idea of laying double digits with the Vikings, but it’s something I might end up doing in the contest on Sunday morning.

Raiders (-8.5) at Jets: I expected the Raiders to play poorly last week and they did, losing 43-6 to the Falcons. On paper, this is a good spot for Las Vegas to bounce back against a team they lost to 34-3 in the same building last year. The Raiders should win this game because their opponent is incompetent, but I want no part of taking them as a large favorite.

Saints (-3) at Falcons: Two weeks ago, these teams played and I wrote about how I could make a case for either side when I thought Jameis Winston was going to start instead of Taysom Hill for the injured Drew Brees. I quickly bet the Falcons at +4 when I found out on Friday morning that Hill was going to start. The line got as low as Saints -3, but New Orleans proved me wrong by covering every number with a 24-9 win. Now it’s a rematch in Atlanta and the contest line is New Orleans -3 with the Saints as a 2.5-point favorite at some sportsbooks. I don’t want to bet on Hill as a road favorite, but last week the Falcons closed as a 3.5-point underdog against the Raiders. The Saints are a much better team than the Raiders, so the math doesn’t add up. Unless some new information greatly impacts the line in this game, I’ll likely stay away from picking a side.

Giants at Seahawks (-10): I really want to make a case for the Giants as a double-digit underdog. If QB Daniel Jones was starting, I likely would bet on them, but he has a hamstring injury which would lead to Colt McCoy starting. I think McCoy is only a slight downgrade from Jones, but I would expect the Seahawks to become a bigger favorite in this game if Jones can’t go.

Rams (-3) at Cardinals: I think there’s line value on the Cardinals in this game, but I can’t get over the fact that quarterback Kyler Murray has been rushing less since he picked up a shoulder injury against the Seahawks two weeks ago. Murray isn’t the same player without the threat of his legs, so I don’t have a pre-game opinion on this one.

Broncos at Chiefs (-14): I wouldn’t take much from the Broncos game last week where they didn’t have any active quarterbacks due to breaking COVID-19 protocols. I think the line is exactly where it should be for this Sunday night encounter.

Washington at Steelers (-7.5): In a vacuum, this line seems short and the 11-0 Steelers should be a bigger favorite. But Pittsburgh has been put in an odd situation by playing the Ravens on Wednesday afternoon in Week 12 and then having this game moved to Monday. The scheduling spot is terrible for the Steelers with a big Sunday night game coming the following week in Buffalo, but I believe that’s all factored into the contest number.

Cowboys at Ravens (-9.5): I definitely need more time to gather information on this game. The Cowboys have a huge rest advantage, but they lost right tackle Zack Martin and left tackle Cameron Erving to injuries in their Thanksgiving defeat to Washington. For the Ravens, we’ll have to see if Lamar Jackson will be off the COVID-19 list for this rare Tuesday night game that was supposed to be played yesterday.