This article was originally published Nov. 27.
With the 2019-20 NFL season underway, oddsmakers are constantly adjusting lines to account for the performance of players and teams in Weeks 1-12
Injury updates on star players such as JuJu Smith-Schuster (ribs) and Adam Thielen (hamstring) will soon change the point spreads listed by US sportsbooks like DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook for Week 13 of the NFL season.
At PlayPicks, we feel confident with the information that we have to start making our picks against the spread.
In this weekly column, we will list three of our best bets against the spread with data to support our picks. Then, we will list the following games on the NFL slate in order of our confidence in analyzing the matchup. Keep in mind that lines can often shift due to weather or other unforeseen issues. Of course, injury news plays a huge role throughout the NFL season, and the status of specific players often bears monitoring until a couple of hours before kickoff.
NFL Week 13 Best Bets
New England Patriots (-3) at Houston Texans
Are we really underestimating the Patriots with this line? New England opened as a 4.5-point favorite and is now only a FG favorite at a beatable Texans team. Former Belichick protege Bill O’Brien is 0-5 against the Patriots with a 15.2 average margin of defeat. The Pats have won eight straight over the Texans dating back to 2012 and are somehow 7-3 ATS with a rest disadvantage since the start of the 2017 season.
This is all about superior coaching, as you can count on Belichick and his staff getting their talented defense ready to lock down Houston’s predictable offense. Carlos Hyde is a one-trick power runner and Duke Johnson Jr. gives away Houston’s inclination to pass. The Texans now have two legit weapons on the outside with Will Fuller (hamstring) apparently healthy opposite DeAndre Hopkins. But Hopkins will draw shadow coverage from the best CB in the NFL (Stephon Gillmore) and Fuller is unlikely to find much room downfield against a defense that’s given up just 3 pass plays of 40-plus yards with a 4:20 TD:INT ratio (yes, you read that right).
New England’s offense has looked anemic in its last two games, but what can you really expect from that unit in a monsoon last Sunday. The Pats did take positives away from that game with rookies N’Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers playing key roles. Perhaps Phillip Dorsett (concussion) and/or Mohamed Sanu (ankle) returns for this contest to add more depth, but either way, this looks like a game for Tom Brady to get on track against a Texans team that ranks 26th in DVOA pass defense.
Pittsburgh Steelers (+2) vs Cleveland Browns
This line opened with the Steelers as a typical -3 home favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook before heavy action on the Browns gave them favorite status on the road. The public is likely overreacting to Cleveland’s Thursday night victory over the Steelers, which was far from convincing and obviously aided by playing at home on a super short week. This is an opportunity to fade the public and back the home team in a heated rematch.
The Steelers offense struggled against the lowly Bengals, but they’re moving on from Mason Rudolph and should get a more reliable performance from Devlin “Duck” Hodges. If the Steelers are able to get JuJu Smith-Schuster (ribs) and/or James Conner (shoulder) back for this divisional tilt, it will be icing on the cake. But either way, the Steelers should find more offensive production against the Myles Garrett-less Browns.
This is really about the Steelers defense matching up against the Browns offense. Pittsburgh ranks fourth in DVOA pass defense, sixth against the run, and is far stingier at home. The Steelers have held opposing QBs to a 78.4 passer rating with 30 (yes, 30) sacks over six home games this year. Pittsburgh is 4-2 ATS in those contests and 3-1 ATS in division games this season. They have the personnel necessary to contain Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, which should allow T.J. Watt and company to harass Baker Mayfield all day.
Green Bay Packers (-6.5) at New York Giants
Last week we expected the Packers to lose in San Francisco, and they exceeded those expectations in getting absolutely steamrolled by the best defense in the NFC. Now the Packers are primed to bounce back against a Giants team that ranks 27th in DVOA pass defense and has given up the most pass plays of 40-plus yards (13) this season.
While San Francisco has a league-high 44 sacks this year, the Giants have the tenth-fewest sacks (26). Give Aaron Rodgers time and he will execute. He enjoyed a comfy pocket in his last meeting with the Giants in the 2017 playoffs, as he shredded their secondary 365 yards and 4 TDs in a 38-13 win.
Since the start of last season, the Giants have a league-worst 2-10-1 record ATS in home games. Daniel Jones has absorbed 23 sacks and fumbled 11 times over his last four starts. Saquon Barkley has struggled to find traction behind an offensive line that ranks 25th in adjust line yards. Teams that can’t run against the Packers often struggle to keep pace and Jones is likely to run into trouble against a ball-hawking secondary if that’s how the game unfolds.
NFL Week 13 Picks Against The Spread
Baltimore Ravens (-6) vs San Francisco 49ers
Lamar Jackson has led the Ravens offense to TDs on eight of their last 10 drives. The Niners defense should slow that trend, but the Ravens defense could stop Jimmy Garoppolo and company in their tracks.
Seattle Seahawks (-3) vs Minnesota Vikings
Don’t bet against Russell Wilson at home in prime time. The Seahawks defense should make life tough for Kirk Cousins along with the “12th Man” at Century Link Field.
Los Angeles Chargers (-2.5) at Denver Broncos
There is just far more talent on the Chargers side of the ball and they have a full extra week of rest to plan for this division game.
Tampa Bay Bucs (+1) at Jacksonville Jaguars
This line is getting heavy action to the point that the Bucs have moved down from 4.5-point favorites. Jacksonville’s defense seems ready to quit while the Bucs finally have a decent secondary to complement their elite run defense.
Oakland Raiders (+9.5) at Kansas City Chiefs
The Raiders should “burn the tape” from their dud at the Jets in a 1 p.m. east coast game and get back to pounding the rock against a Chiefs defense that can’t stop the run at all.
New York Jets (-3.5) at Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals will go back to Andy Dalton, but unless A.J. Green and John Ross are also back, the Bengals offense should struggle to threaten the Jets down the field.
Los Angeles Rams (+3) at Arizona Cardinals
While they’ve been awful in three tough matchups, the Rams offense has performed well against poor defenses and Arizona is dead last in opponent’s drive success rate.
Philadelphia Eagles (-9) at Miami Dolphins
We should be reminded that the Eagles wailed on a much better AFC East foe (Buffalo) in a similar bounce back spot a few weeks ago.
Tennessee Titans (+2.5) at Indianapolis Colts
The Colts old-school run-heavy approach nearly facilitated a win in Houston last Thursday, but it probably won’t have as much success against a surging Titans defense.
Carolina Panthers (-9.5) vs Washington Redskins
This is the only easy game for the Panthers the rest of the way and an obvious opportunity for them to stop their losing skid.