Last week, I had to take some time off to decompress, spend time with family and focus on my (actual) job (I was one of the poor souls who had to work the Friday after Thanksgiving). And it’s a good thing I did….
While I kept track of my picks last week, gambling would have absolutely killed my wallet, as many of the favorites covered in spots where I did not expect them to. For example, I did not see all of the Falcons, Cowboys, and Bears covering on Thanksgiving Day, as I would have been on the other side of those games.
I’m hoping that this week we see some regression to the mean for large favorites (they’ve crushing sports books lately). Underdogs are still covering at a 55% clip overall, while home dawgs are covering at a slightly higher rate (57%).
Week 13 Picks
As always, my picks will be listed from most to least confident. However, I must note that I won’t be finalizing most of the picks on my end until Sunday morning (unless I really feel good about the number I’m seeing, which does happen from time to time). For reference, I will have the team I’m picking in bold font next to the point spread.
Season Record: 53-34-2
Season Point Differential: +162.5
Last Week: 4-5 (Week 11)
- Cleveland Browns at Houston Texans (-5.5)
The Browns are getting a little too much respect here, following a beat-down of the now hapless Cincinnati Bengals. While the Texans failed me two weeks ago (at Washington as 2.5-point favorites), they are still in the middle of an eight-game winning streak. The Browns, while competitive and freed from the shackles of Hue Jackson, are not up-to-par with one of the four best teams in the conference. Houston, at less than six points, is a bargain. I would feel good about this spread at 6.5 and even 7 should it reach that point.
- Minnesota Vikings at New England Patriots (-4)
This number opened at 6 and even 7 in some books, and a lot of both professional and public action has come in on the Vikings. When this number hit 4, I felt that I had to jump on the Patriots. I realize that I’m on the opposite side of the pros here, but the Patriots are seeing a lower number than what we’re accustomed to seeing.
The Patriots aren’t quite the juggernaut of years past, but this number should be higher.
- Los Angeles Chargers (+3.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers
That half-point hook is dangerous, especially in a game like this. This number should be 3, and I’m shocked I was able to nab this number before the weekend. Pittsburgh’s public backing is strong, and there’s a half-point of value sitting there in a game that could easily go the other way.
- Baltimore Ravens at Atlanta Falcons (+1)
The Falcons have been assholes the past few weeks, failing to cover at Cleveland, at home against Dallas, and once again on Thanksgiving as 13-point dawgs at New Orleans. Atlanta’s obvious flaws (red zone offense, in particular) were severely exposed in those games. That said, I don’t believe that the Ravens should be favored on the road against a team like Atlanta, even though they are obviously falling off the rails. I like Atlanta to rebound in this spot.
- Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins (-5)
I’m still shocked about how low this line is as of Thursday. The Dolphins played a competitive game against the red-hot Colts last weekend and are better than Buffalo on a neutral field. Given Miami’s home-field advantage, this line should be at least 6. There’s some value here, and I like betting against the Buffalo Bills with a short(ish) number.
- Arizona Cardinals (+14) at Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders (+15)
I grouped these games together for obvious reasons, as the thinking behind these two bets is the same: Underdogs of 14 points or more cover at a near 60% clip (or have since I started gambling). You simply have to cover your nose and bet these games.
- New Orleans Saints at Dallas Cowboys (+7.5)
Since betting on them to cover as home dawgs against the Los Angeles Rams four weeks ago, the Saints have crushed everyone in their path (Bengals, Eagles, Falcons). Despite all of this, the Cowboys, and their three-game winning streak, are undervalued as the home team. I believe this line should be closer to 6, and that hook is enough to show this game has plenty of value to bet on a team that I have hated so far this season.
Gun-to-my-head season record: 42-43-2
Indianapolis Colts (-4) a Jacksonville Jaguars
Chicago Bears (-4.5) at New York Giants
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3.5)
Denver Broncos (-4.5) at Cincinnati Bengals
Los Angeles Rams at Detroit Lions (+10)
New York Jets (+7.5) at Tennessee Titans
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks (-10)
Washington Redskins (+6) at Philadelphia Eagles