Beating the Spread: Week 13 Picks

Okay, back to business. We hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving and got your fill of all your favorites. We’ve got games to pick and I’m hoping the tryptophan won’t impact our bettor’s hot streak. Yet another week in the books with all three writers recording a winning record. I, for some unknown reason, believed that the Falcons really were back to being a competitive team. That prevented me from notching my third perfect week of the year, but I did manage to extend my lead over both of my compadres.

Heading into the final month of the year, we’re starting to be able to talk about some milestones. As we’re picking 5 games per week for 17 weeks, that’s a total of 85 regular season picks. The first big number that we’re all trying to climb over for the annual record is 42.5 to ensure a winning record. With another great week, I could top that number this weekend (fingers crossed). The number 44.5 is more significant to this column as that ensures we would have broken even at a sportsbook given the vig. Anything ahead of that is gravy.

However, the big number for this column is 51. A record of 51-34 is equal to a 60 percent win rate, the gold standard. That’s considered a great betting record and it’s a real possibility for all three of us. I realize I just jinxed us but it’s been exciting to see this year play out and see the records improve as we learn more about the 2019 season.

The following lines were captured on Tuesday. Betting lines can vary by site and move throughout the week so check yours to make sure that you have similar information.

Week 13 betting lines:

NY Jets Cincinnati NYJ -3.5 40.5
Tennessee Indianapolis IND -2.5 43.5
Oakland Kansas City KC -10 51.5
Philadelphia Miami PHI -9 46
Green Bay NY Giants GB -6.5 45.5
Washington Carolina CAR -9 40.5
Tampa Bay Jacksonville JAX -1 48.5
San Francisco Baltimore BAL -4 46
LA Rams Arizona LAR -4 46.5
LA Chargers Denver LAC -2.5 38.5
Cleveland Pittsburgh CLE -1.5 40
New England Houston NE -3 44.5
Minnesota Seattle SEA -3 49

 

Staff Picks

Analyst Jeff Berckes Erik Smith Tom Schweitzer
Pick #1 TB +1 ARI +4 CAR -9
Pick #2 GB -6.5 TEN +2.5 PIT +1.5
Pick #3 NYJ -3.5 BAL -4 DEN +2.5
Pick #4 SEA -3 MIN-SEA under 49 PHI -9
Pick #5 ARZ-LAR over 46.5 CLE -1.5 NE -3
2019 Record 39-21 36-23-1 34-26

 

Analysis:

 

Jeff Berckes: The Jaguars haven’t been particularly competitive this year and have lost three straight divisional games by at least 20 points. The Buccaneers have been mostly competitive this season despite the struggles of Jameis Winston. Give me the Bucs to pull the small upset (TB +1). I know Green Bay just got embarrassed by the 49ers and I personally don’t think they’re as good as their record would indicate, but the Giants simply aren’t good at football this year. The Giants haven’t won a game since September and have losses on their resume to teams like the Cardinals, Lions, and Jets. This is a perfect bounceback game for Rodgers and company (GB -6.5). Oh, speaking of the Jets, they’ve won three straight games against bad teams since losing to the Dolphins. They’ve scored 34 points in each game and have Cincinnati this week and Miami at home next. Something I didn’t think I would do this year but give me to Jets to topple the hapless Bengals (NYJ -3.5). Seattle and Minnesota could be a good one on Monday night but doesn’t this just feel like a game the Vikings can’t win? Seattle’s history of getting stronger as the season moves along is only helped out by Russell Wilson playing at an MVP level. A little adversity and a tough stadium could challenge Kirk Cousins’ hot streak (SEA -3). Finally, I’m going to try this again with the Cardinals and pick the over (ARZ-LAR over 46.5). The last time I did this, they were shut down by the Saints. The Rams, despite recent evidence to the contrary, field a similarly talented defense to the Saints. What I like about this bet is that Kliff Kingsbury’s crew has consistently given up a lot of points, even to struggling offenses, but has shown the ability to score points on the likes of the 49ers. Eight of the Cardinals’ eleven games have gone over 46.5.

 

Erik Smith: I haven’t seen a single thing out of this Rams team that makes me want to trust them, let alone trust them to win by more than a field goal. They have a solid defense, but Kyler Murray usually keeps things competitive, so I like ARI +4 at home in a game that I think they can not only cover, but potentially win outright. I’ve been a Colts backer all year, and I’ve been very skeptical of the Titans. But this Colts offense just has too many injuries; no Marlon Mack, no T.Y. Hilton, no Eric Ebron spells trouble for moving the ball. This Colts offense loses all of its juice without Hilton, while the Titans have a clear formula right now; pound Derrick Henry, take shots to athletic rookie A.J. Brown, and let Ryan Tannehill make plays with his legs. TEN +2.5 is the pick. I had a lot of success early on betting against the Dolphins every week, and I am now transitioning to the strategy of betting on the Ravens every week. The 49ers are a great team, but at home, I think the Ravens are on another level right now. That was a hungry and confident Baltimore team that dismantled the Rams last week, and I’m not sure Jimmy Garoppolo can hold up to this Ravens defense. BAL -4 as I ride them one more week. Minnesota versus Seattle is a matchup of two teams that love to run the ball, so we could see a slow start and a lot of time ticking off the clock. This feels like a close game, and maybe we see a flurry of points scored at the end, but I like the under (MIN-SEA under 49). Finally, the Browns seem to be finding an identity with their two playmaking running backs complimenting their two playmaking wide receivers. The Steelers are missing JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Conner, and Ben Roethlisberger, and the offense has begun to sputter to a halt. If the Browns can prevent big plays in the passing game and can avoid committing turnovers, they should be able to pull away from the Steelers, even in Pittsburgh. CLE -1.5 wraps up my picks for the week.

 

Tom Schweitzer: I’m looking for any opportunity to bet against Washington, and I especially want to fade them the week after a win. The Panthers (-9) are a much better team and should give their best effort with their season on the line. I like the Steelers with Devlin Hodges because, as Mike Tomlin said, he doesn’t kill them. I think Pittsburgh (+1.5) exacts revenge for the helmet incident from a few weeks ago. The Chargers have no business being a road favorite with the way Phil Rivers is playing, so I’m taking the Broncos +2.5. The Eagles (-9) have a lot of issues on offense, but that shouldn’t matter against the Dolphins. Their defense has been great ever since their embarrassing loss in Dallas, so I don’t see how Miami can score enough points to stay close. Finally, the Texans are incredibly overrated right now. I think the Patriots (-3) will be able to shut down Hopkins and Fuller and will do just enough on offense to cover and win.


 

What are your favorite picks of the week? Put in your comments below to play along. We’ll be updating our records all season!

 

Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)

Jeff Berckes

In addition to writing fantasy football content for QB List, I write Bears stuff for Windy City Gridiron and co-host the podcast Bears Over Beers. Follow me on Twitter @gridironborn

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