Beating the Spread: Picks for Week 13

Dean Abramson and Joe Hanretty pick your Week 13 moneymakers.

Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire

With both Wild Card races still very much in doubt, many teams have not called it quits on the season. No team has technically been mathematically eliminated yet, however six teams can officially be crossed off from playoff contention this week (sorry Raiders, Cardinals, Giants, Jets, Jags, and 49ers, you were never truly in contention). This means that each and every game is massively important for the remaining teams that are actually fighting for a spot. It makes the games tougher to pick, but the weekend massively more entertaining for everyone else. As usual, my picks in blue Joe’s in red.

Note: All lines are provided by Westgate Sportsbook as of 12 a.m. Sunday.

Sunday, Dec. 2




Minnesota @ New England (-5.5) – [49.5]


New England at home, always. This nearly foolproof strategy continues to work this week as the Patriots hit their stride against an injured Minnesota defense. The Patriots score 35.4 points per game at home and just 21.7 on the road. Their offense is just a different beast inside Gillette Stadium and the Vikings will not be able to match it. Excluding the Chiefs game, the Patriots have only allowed over 20 points to an opponent once inside Gillette; a game in which the Colts scored a garbage time touchdown with 1 minute left to cut the deficit to 14.


Indianapolis (-4) @ Jacksonville – [47] (


The first statistic I’m going to throw out is ‘Third Down Conversion %’: Indianapolis leads the league sitting at about 51% (13.5 third downs per game). ON one hand, yes, having a ton of third downs isn’t great, but converting those at a high clip is thus extremely important. It also points to being able to make most of those down in the ‘manageable’ on second down. In Jacksonville, QB Blake Bortles was benched in favor of Cody Kessler. Cody Kessler proceeds to suffer a season-ending ACL injury in practice. Oh, the football gods are too cruel. The Colts are rolling and the Jaguars are heading in the exact opposite direction.


Denver (-5.5) @ Cincinnati – [45]


The Broncos just slowed down one of the best offenses in football last week, and since their thrashing at the hand of the Jets in Week 5, the Broncos have only allowed more than 23 points to the Chiefs. I do not think Jeff Driskel has the power to change that. The Denver defense dominates and the Bengals will struggle to score points.


Cleveland (+5.5) @ Houston – [47.5]


It’s been made very apparent that the Houston Texans are a true contender, as they continue to evolve offensively, with the addition and involvement of WR Demaryius Thomas and a seemingly improved RB Lamar Miller. The Browns have taken off with the departure of Hue Jackson and are now an offense to take seriously. Rookie QB Baker Mayfield continues to show what he can do when he keeps ‘waking up feeling dangerous’. I enjoy rooting for teams trying to escape the league’s cellar and the Browns definitely qualify. It’d be nice to see the disparity in the league continue to shrink. This game will be about stopping the big plays of Houston and protecting Mayfield from the likes of DEs JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney.


Washington @ Philadelphia (-6.5) – [45]


The Eagles should be able to take care of business against Washington on Monday. So long as Philly can continue to stifle the run, Colt McCoy will be forced to beat the defending champs. Additionally, Washington has all the bad karma in the world after the this week’s events. The Eagles take care of business on Monday night.


LA Chargers (+3.5) @ Pittsburgh – [52](


Star RB Melvin Gordon will be out for this game and the reaction is the Steelers being favored. While that may be fair, I don’t see a steep drop off with RB Austin Ekeler who is an extremely dangerous threat to defenses in his own right. Known more for his catching ability (11.1 yards per catch), Ekeler’s penchant for churning out big chunks of yards each time he touches the rock is why I have faith in the Charger’s ability to challenge the Steelers on their own turf. The Chargers have been bitten by their own mistakes early in games with pre-snap penalties, which is a bit worrisome entering this stage of the season, but if they can keep it clean on their first few possessions, I think they can grab a lead they can defend. Limiting RB James Conner will be priority #1, making for more predictable situations which are always helpful when defending two of the best receivers in football (A. Brown and J. Smith-Schuster).


The Rest:


1:00 PM ET

Baltimore @ Atlanta (-1.5) – [48.5]

Chicago (-3.5) @ NY Giants – [44.5]

Buffalo @ Miami (-3.5) – [40]

LA Rams (-10) @ Detroit – [55]

Arizona @ Green Bay (-13.5) – [43.5]

Carolina (-3) @ Tampa Bay – [53.5]

4:05 PM ET

Kansas City (-14) @ Oakland – [55]

NY Jets (+8) @ Tennessee – [40.5]

4:25 PM ET

San Francisco @ Seattle (-10) – [46]


Game Totals We Love:


Minnesota @ New England (-5.5) – [49.5]

Cleveland (+5.5) @ Houston – [47.5] (Joe)


NY Jets (+8) @ Tennessee – [40.5]

Denver (-5.5) @ Cincinnati – [45] (Lock)

Baltimore @ Atlanta (-1.5) – [48.5]

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