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The playoff picture became a little clearer in Week 12 as New England, Houston, Chicago, and New Orleans took another step to clinching their respective divisions. A Pittsburgh loss paired with a Ravens win keeps the AFC North interesting while the Chargers remained within striking distance of the Chiefs in the AFC West. The tightest division is the NFC East where Washington, Dallas, and Philly are all in the running. The playoff picture should become even clearer after a Week 13 that features a few key matchups. Let’s take a look at the best bets for Week 13 of the NFL schedule and see if we can improve on a 3-2 Week 12 which brings us to 19-16 on the year.
New Orleans Saints at Dallas Cowboys (+7.5)
It appears that the early money has come in on the Saints after the line at most books has moved from New Orleans -7 to New Orleans -7.5. It shouldn’t be too much of a shock to see this happen as the Saints have been on a roll with 10 straight wins and nine consecutive covers. The Saints have been piling up the points and seem reluctant to take their foot off the gas. As potent as their offense has been, we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that their defense has been playing extremely well too. They have allowed no more than 17 points in their last three games and they have held opponents to 20 points or less in seven of their last 10 games.
The Cowboys also deserve a lot of credit for getting back into the playoff picture with three straight wins and covers. Their defense has been playing very well and they have been doing enough on the offensive side of things to put up wins. However, their offense hasn’t been nearly as scary as the Saints offense and Dallas’ defense isn’t quite as good as the Saints’ defense. New Orleans might be due to having a bad game but being due is no reason to fade them. They are the better team and they look good to come away with the win and the cover on the road.
My Pick: New Orleans Saints -7.5
Los Angeles Rams at Detroit Lions (+9.5)
As with the Saints at Cowboys matchup, early money appears to have come in on the road team as the Rams have moved from being an 8.5-point favorite to being a 9.5-point to 10-point favorite. The Rams are an offensive juggernaut who have racked up points against some very good defenses. Their one glaring weakness is their own defense which has allowed opponents to score a lot of points in recent weeks. We must also consider the fact that the Rams have been awful against the spread with just one cover in their last eight outings.
The Lions are just 1-4 SU and ATS in their last five games and this has put their playoff hopes on life support. They have faced some of the league’s best defenses in recent weeks and, generally speaking, they have not risen to the occasion. They have not posted any more than 22 points in their last five games and that simply isn’t enough to beat the high-flying Rams especially when they are coming off a bye week. Todd Gurley should be able to carve up a Detroit defense that allows 4.7 yards per carry. Detroit should be able to score more than they have in recent weeks but it won’t be enough. Getting the Rams at -9.5 is a great bet.
My Pick: Rams -9.5
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks (-10)
Things have really gone south for the 49ers who have just a single win and three covers in their last nine games. Being held to a mere nine points in Tampa Bay shows just how bad they are. On the flip side, the Seahawks have been playing very well and their post-season hopes are very much alive. They are 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven games and they seem to have had the knack for timely plays on both sides of the ball. Seattle’s playoff hopes rest in their own hands and this game is pivotal. The Seahawks have won six straight home games against the Niners and they have covered in eight of their last nine home games against San Francisco. At this point, there aren’t many reasons to think that things will turn out much differently.
My Pick: Seahawks (-10) Hint: Line has moved to -9.5 at some books so you might want to wait and see if you can get that number.
Los Angeles Chargers at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5)
Sunday night’s prime-time matchup should be a good one as the Los Angeles Chargers visit the Steelers in Pittsburgh. The Chargers have been treating their backers well recently with their 5-2 ATS record over their last five games while the Steelers appear to have suddenly slipped back into their habit of playing down (or up) to the level of their opponents. After covering five straight spreads, the Steelers are 0-1-1 ATS in their last two games.
Since moving to Los Angeles, the Chargers have been one of the most profitable teams to back on the road ATS. They are 9-3-1 ATS as a road team and they are 4-1 ATS on the road this year. This is in stark contrast to the Steelers who have been a bad home team to back ATS despite having three home covers in a row heading into this one. If you like the Steelers to cover then it might be worth the risk to wait and see if the line drops to -3 where it appears to be heading at a few sportsbooks. If you like the Chargers and the points then you’ll want to get that +3.5 pretty quickly. I’ll take the points right now.
My Pick: Los Angeles Chargers +3.