For The Win: Week 13 - Footballguys

NFL Picks Against the Las Vegas Lines

Great week last week, with a 12-3 record (and could easily have been 13-2 had these picks matched my staff picks in the Against the Spread pool, but Oakland-Baltimore did not match). What had appeared to be a tough Week 12 turned out to a winner across the board, from the 12-3 record to 4-0 Picks of the Week to the 18.8-2 in the Weekly Plays, everything was well into the green. The net result has the season records in all categories now above 50%, and in most instances well above that mark. As always, each week is new and you must stay humble. Some big point spreads this week out there, but remember two things – just pick winners (as underdog covers are only around 18% again this year), so either expect the favorite to win (and cover) or like the underdog enough for them to win outright. Lastly, watch out for teams that have given up. With just five weeks to go, teams need something to play for, else their effort will show. Full slate the rest of the way (no byes), so plenty of games to discuss. Here we go:

Note that the lines and Over/Unders are taken from VegasInsider.com.

BYE WEEKS: Complete – no more byes.

TEAMS RETURNING FROM A BYE: Kansas City, Los Angeles Rams

(Thursday) NEW ORLEANS (-7 to -7.5) at DALLAS (Over/Under 52.5 to 53)
Two teams that played on Thanksgiving get Week 13 started, and oddly enough both teams will play on consecutive Thursdays (thus having regular rest) this week before a mini-bye before their next game. That is where the similarities end for the Saints and Cowboys, as Dallas may have won three games in a row, but the Saints have won 10 and are steamrolling the NFC. Expect more of that this week as New Orleans pushes for the top spot in the conference playoffs (and wants to stay ahead of the Rams). PICK: Saints

BALTIMORE (EVEN to +1) at ATLANTA (Over/Under 48 to 49)
The Ravens are at 6-5 and have won two in a row behind Lamar Jackson, but now comes the test on the road with a trip to Atlanta. Of all the teams to face, the Falcons are actually a good matchup for Jackson and Baltimore as Atlanta just cannot stop a run game, and that is exactly what Jackson and Gus Edwards bring with them. Baltimore will be smart to ride Jackson one more week (at least) and should come out of Georgia with another win. PICK: Ravens

DENVER (-5) at CINCINNATI (Over/Under 44)
Denver just got a huge win at home over Pittsburgh, and now they head out to face the Bengals who will be without Andy Dalton. That leaves Jeff Driskel as the starter for Cincinnati, and the Bengals are giving up big chunks of yardage for the past month or so every week. That makes Phillip Lindsay and Emmanuel Sanders both top notch options this week as Denver looks to extend their two-game winning streak after the bye and push for playoff relevance in December. PICK: Broncos

LOS ANGELES RAMS (-10) at DETROIT (Over/Under 55)
Detroit gets the benefit of resting since Thanksgiving, but the Rams actually will have had three more days off due to their late bye week. The Lions are reeling with Kerryon Johnson hurt last week and now Marvin Jones Jr going to IR. Detroit has a good defense, but asking them to hold Los Angeles under 30 is going to be a tough task. Rams 34, Lions 17. PICK: Rams

GREEN BAY (-14) vs. ARIZONA (Over/Under 44.5 to 45)
The Green Bay Packers are in a must-win situation the rest of the year, starting with Arizona at home. Sorry Cardinals, but the Packers are about to explode on you and unleash all the pent-up offense that could not reach the end zone enough against the Vikings on Sunday Night Football. Arizona has scored 17 points or fewer in 8 of 11 contests this season, and it should be 9 of 12 after this week. As long as Green Bay gets 30+ points, the point spread should not be a factor – but the weather could impact a struggle Cardinals offense as well. Green Bay 31, Arizona 10. PICK: Packers

BUFFALO (+5 to +5.5) at MIAMI (Over/Under 40 to 40.5)
Buffalo may have been a surprise winner at home last week, but the Bills showed how they can create a few big plays on both sides of the ball and control the game with rushing, including 99 yards from Josh Allen. Miami will struggle with Kenyan Drake (shoulder) ailing – he may go, but his effectiveness will be severely tested by the Buffalo defense. Either way, all the Bills need is 17-20 points to cover the spread in what should be a low scoring affair, so take the underdog in this one. PICK: Bills

CHICAGO (-4.5) at NEW YORK GIANTS (Over/Under 45)
The Bears are the one team that we will have to keep an eye on for taking Week 17 off as they are very likely to lock down the NFC North in a few weeks, and they realistically have no shot at a bye with the Rams and Saints both pushing for 15-1 records. Chicago is cruising now after another solid win over Detroit and at 8-3 they have a large lead and now a few extra days to rest and prepare for the Giants, who are practically dead in the water at 3-8. Chicago may rest Mitch Trubisky one more week, but as long as the Chicago defense can rein in Saquan Barkley, the Bears look to be in a great spot to get another win. A road victory will go a long way to boost Chicago, as they are likely to be at New Orleans or the Rams in January. Bears 27, Giants 13. PICK: Bears

CAROLINA (-3.5) at TAMPA BAY (Over/Under 55.5 to 56.5)
The Panthers need to win out to make their last three games relevant, as they face New Orleans twice and Atlanta at home in Week 16. Wins over Tampa Bay this week and at Cleveland next Sunday will give the Panthers a fighting shot for the postseason. Tampa Bay held their own in the prior matchup, losing 42-28 in Week 9, but that was with Ryan Fitzpatrick (the good version) under center. Jameis Winston will put up a strong fight, but look for the Panthers to go to Tampa and get a big, much-needed victory. PICK: Panthers

INDIANAPOLIS (-4) at JACKSONVILLE (Over/Under 47 to 47.5)
Indianapolis keeps on going, winning five in a row now and needing just one more win to set up a big trip to Houston in Week 14. Andrew Luck has been a machine, throwing three or more touchdowns in eight consecutive games, including a Week 10 win over these same Jaguars in Indianapolis, 29-26. That score is very deceiving as the Colts scored 29 in the first half, then cruised the rest of the game but giving up 10 meaningless points. Now the rematch is in Jacksonville, and the Jaguars are a complete mess on offense after benching Blake Bortles and also firing their offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. Yeah, that will solve everything – and do not forget Leonard Fournette will also serve a one-game suspension. This screams “Colts blowout”. PICK: Colts

HOUSTON (-6) vs. CLEVELAND (Over/Under 47.5 to 48)
The Texans started the season 0-3, including a horrific loss at home to the Giants in Week 3. Since that game, Houston has won eight in a row and show no signs of slowing down. Their schedule is very soft after hosting the Colts next week (final three games are at Jets, at Eagles, home against Jacksonville). It is possible that Houston could slide into a bye week possibility if New England or Pittsburgh (or even the Chiefs) stumble. As for the Browns, they continue to improve week after week, but a road game in Houston is asking a bit too much of them just yet. PICK: Texans

TENNESSEE (-8 to -8.5) vs. NEW YORK JETS (Over/Under 40.5)
Tennessee got a quick start in Houston on Monday, but then the Texans took over on both offense and (especially) defense to run away from the Titans, 34-17. This puts the Titans in a tough spot at 5-6 in the AFC, but their schedule is really soft the rest of the way right up to a home game against the Colts in Week 17. It is possible that Tennessee could be 9-6 with one to play, but that must start with a victory over the Jets on Sunday. New York is all but done, and Tennessee needs to win this game in a convincing manner just to reassure their own team that they still have a shot. PICK: Titans

KANSAS CITY (-14.5 to -15) at OAKLAND (Over/Under 55.5 to 56)
The Chiefs are coming off of their bye, and they get a road game in Oakland against the 2-9 Raiders. The only question here is how big of a score will the Chiefs get on Oakland and will that cover the spread. Given that Baltimore just beat Oakland 34-17, a similar score (or bigger margin) is completely reasonable. PICK: Chiefs

NEW ENGLAND (-5 to -5.5) vs. MINNESOTA (Over/Under 48 to 48.5)
This is a tough call, as both teams need a win to get better playoff positioning. The Patriots are getting healthier and sit at 8-3, which actually puts them at the second seed in the AFC after Pittsburgh’s loss in Denver last week. The Vikings got back on the winning track with a victory on Sunday Night Football at home over Green Bay, but they are 2-2 over the past four during a tough stretch of games (loss at Chicago). The Vikings have a tough trip to Seattle next week and wrap up the season against the Bears, but if Minnesota is lucky, may treat that game as a virtual bye week – and they could be playing one another the following weekend in the Wild Card round. Both teams will come out firing, and in a close matchup it would normally make sense to take the points, but the potential (likely) loss of Xavier Rhodes in the Vikings secondary after pulling his hamstring against the Packers Sunday night could be a big difference. This should be a great game to watch, but the impact of the loss of Rhodes will be tested all game by Tom Brady, and that is likely to make a big difference. PICK: Patriots

SEATTLE (-9.5 to -10) vs. SAN FRANCISCO (Over/Under 46 to 46.5)
Seattle returns home to take on the 49ers after the Seahawks rallied to beat Carolina in a key matchup last Sunday. Seattle has two tough games left, but they get both the Vikings and Chiefs at home with two games left against the 49ers and the season finale at home against the Cardinals. Seattle has a reasonable shot at 9-7 or better, as long as they beat the teams they are expected to beat. The 49ers are reeling with just two wins and now (again) shaky quarterback play. Seattle is not the home juggernaut they used to be, but they should be able to take care of San Francisco by double digits. PICK: Seahawks

PITTSBURGH (-3.5) vs. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (Over/Under 51.5 to 52)
Pittsburgh suffered a tough loss in Denver last week, and ironically they get a team that dropped a game to that same Broncos team just two weeks ago. The Steelers are much better at home and also in prime time, so look for Ben Roethlisberger to outduel Philip Rivers, who will also be without his primary back in Melvin Gordon III (MCL sprain). The loss of Gordon is a huge deal and will be a major contributing factor to the Chargers losing their second in a row. PICK: Steelers

(Monday) PHILADELPHIA (-6.5 to -7) vs. WASHINGTON (Over/Under 44 to 44.5)
Does anyone really want to win the NFC East? The winner will be a #7 seed posing as a #4, winning a division but hosting Minnesota, Carolina or Seattle. That screams “one-and-done”, and the real winner will be the teams not facing that embarrassment. The Eagles have a ton of pride with less than 10 months since their first Super Bowl victory, and they would certainly like to get into the playoffs only to save a little face after a very tough season. Philadelphia is tough at home, and they get a Washington team starting Colt McCoy, which only helps the Eagles to hide their big issues in their secondary. Look for Philadelphia to make a solid showing and win by 7-14 points. PICK: Eagles

PICK(S) OF THE WEEK: New Orleans, Denver, Buffalo, Chicago, Indianapolis

THIS WEEK'S PLAYS

The intent of this column is to give out not only the Plays for the Week in the NFL but also a rating of each one on a 1-3 Unit scale. The more units, the bigger the emphasis on that side of the game. (More units = More $$$).

The games are a bit more interesting as we turn the calendar to December and Week 13. Some big spreads but a few in the "Wong Teaser" sweet spots. Plenty of fun to be had this week.

* ONE UNIT PLAYS *

  • BALTIMORE (+1) at ATLANTA
  • DENVER (-5) at CINCINNATI
  • BUFFALO (+5.5) at MIAMI
  • CHICAGO (-4.5) at NEW YORK GIANTS
  • CAROLINA (-3.5) at TAMPA BAY
  • BUFFALO “FOR THE WIN” (+200) at MIAMI
  • 6-POINT TEASER: (Thursday) NEW ORLEANS (-1) at DALLAS (Over 46.5)
  • 2 TEAM, 6-POINT TEASER:
    • (Monday) PHILADELPHIA (-0.5) vs. WASHINGTON
    • NEW ENGLAND (+1) vs. MINNESOTA
  • 2-TEAM, 6-POINT TEASER:
    • SEATTLE (-3.5) vs. SAN FRANCISCO
    • BUFFALO (+11.5) at MIAMI
  • 5-TEAM, 6-POINT TEASER (4.1-1 ODDS):
    • TENNESSEE (-2) vs. NEW YORK JETS
    • (Thursday) NEW ORLEANS (-1) at DALLAS
    • INDIANAPOLIS (+2) at JACKSONVILLE
    • DENVER (+1) at CINCINNATI
    • CHICAGO (+1.5) at NEW YORK GIANTS
  • 6-TEAM, 6-POINT TEASER (6.1-1 ODDS):
    • TENNESSEE (-2) vs. NEW YORK JETS
    • (Thursday) NEW ORLEANS (-1) at DALLAS
    • INDIANAPOLIS (+2) at JACKSONVILLE
    • DENVER (+1) at CINCINNATI
    • CHICAGO (+1.5) at NEW YORK GIANTS
    • (Thursday) NEW ORLEANS at DALLAS (Over 46.5)
  • 7-TEAM, 6-POINT TEASER (8.9-1 ODDS):
    • TENNESSEE (-2) vs. NEW YORK JETS
    • (Thursday) NEW ORLEANS (-1) at DALLAS
    • INDIANAPOLIS (+2) at JACKSONVILLE
    • DENVER (+1) at CINCINNATI
    • CHICAGO (+1.5) at NEW YORK GIANTS
    • (Thursday) NEW ORLEANS at DALLAS (Over 46.5)
    • (Monday) PHILADELPHIA (-0.5) vs. WASHINGTON
  • 8-TEAM, 6-POINT TEASER (12.75-1 ODDS):
    • TENNESSEE (-2) vs. NEW YORK JETS
    • (Thursday) NEW ORLEANS (-1) at DALLAS
    • INDIANAPOLIS (+2) at JACKSONVILLE
    • DENVER (+1) at CINCINNATI
    • CHICAGO (+1.5) at NEW YORK GIANTS
    • (Thursday) NEW ORLEANS at DALLAS (Over 46.5)
    • (Monday) PHILADELPHIA (-0.5) vs. WASHINGTON
    • SEATTLE (-3.5) vs. SAN FRANCISCO
  • 9-TEAM, 6-POINT TEASER (18.25-1 ODDS):
    • TENNESSEE (-2) vs. NEW YORK JETS
    • (Thursday) NEW ORLEANS (-1) at DALLAS
    • INDIANAPOLIS (+2) at JACKSONVILLE
    • DENVER (+1) at CINCINNATI
    • CHICAGO (+1.5) at NEW YORK GIANTS
    • (Thursday) NEW ORLEANS at DALLAS (Over 46.5)
    • (Monday) PHILADELPHIA (-0.5) vs. WASHINGTON
    • SEATTLE (-3.5) vs. SAN FRANCISCO
    • NEW ENGLAND (+1) vs. MINNESOTA
  • 10-TEAM, 6-POINT TEASER (18.25-1 ODDS):
    • TENNESSEE (-2) vs. NEW YORK JETS
    • (Thursday) NEW ORLEANS (-1) at DALLAS
    • INDIANAPOLIS (+2) at JACKSONVILLE
    • DENVER (+1) at CINCINNATI
    • CHICAGO (+1.5) at NEW YORK GIANTS
    • (Thursday) NEW ORLEANS at DALLAS (Over 46.5)
    • (Monday) PHILADELPHIA (-0.5) vs. WASHINGTON
    • SEATTLE (-3.5) vs. SAN FRANCISCO
    • NEW ENGLAND (+1) vs. MINNESOTA
    • BUFFALO (+11.5) at MIAMI

** TWO UNIT PLAYS **

  • (Thursday) NEW ORLEANS (-7) at DALLAS
  • 4-TEAM, 6-POINT TEASER (2.65-1 ODDS):
    • TENNESSEE (-2) vs. NEW YORK JETS
    • (Thursday) NEW ORLEANS (-1) at DALLAS
    • INDIANAPOLIS (+2) at JACKSONVILLE
    • DENVER (+1) at CINCINNATI

*** THREE UNIT PLAYS ***

  • INDIANAPOLIS (-4) at JACKSONVILLE
  • 3-TEAM, 6-POINT TEASER (9-5 ODDS):
    • TENNESSEE (-2) vs. NEW YORK JETS
    • (Thursday) NEW ORLEANS (-1) at DALLAS
    • INDIANAPOLIS (+2) at JACKSONVILLE

RESULTS

Last Week

  • OVERALL: 12-3 (80%)
  • PICK(S) OF WEEK: 4-0 (100%)
  • WEEKLY TOP PLAYS: 18.8-2 (90.4%)

Season

  • OVERALL: 87-82-7 (51.5%)
  • PICK(S) OF WEEK: 39-29-3 (57.4%)
  • WEEKLY TOP PLAYS: 309.8-108-2 (74.2%)

Good luck this weekend!

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