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Final NFL Week 13 Picks for Every Game: Bets for Chiefs vs Bengals, Dolphins vs 49ers, More

Final NFL Week 13 Picks for Every Game: Bets for Chiefs vs Bengals, Dolphins vs 49ers, More article feature image
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Pictured: Patrick Mahomes. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

Week 13 is here, and it’s an absolutely delectable slate that includes two huge marquee late afternoon games that could have a playoff feel to them. I’m making picks for every game, but waited on Chiefs-Bengals and Dolphins-49ers until we had more information, so it’s time to dig in.

We’ve already made decisions for every other game, so be sure to check out the full explanations there. Let’s recap those Bet, Lean and Pass decisions now that the lines have shifted, and then get to our final three decisions.

Bet

  • Lions +1 vs Jaguars
  • Titans +4.5 at Eagles (and +190 ML)
  • Steelers +1 at Falcons

Lean

  • Texans +8 vs Browns
  • Giants +2 vs Commanders (and Bet Under 40.5)
  • Broncos +9.5 at Ravens (SGP with Under 40)
  • Colts +10.5 at Cowboys (SGP with Under 44.5)
  • Saints +3.5 at Bucs (SGP with Under 40.5)

Pass

  • Seahawks -7 at Rams
  • Raiders -2 vs Chargers
  • Jets +3 at Vikings

Week 14 Lookahead Picks

  • Titans (-3.5) vs Jaguars
  • Steelers (+4) vs Ravens

NFL Week 13 Picks for Every Game: Bets for Titans vs Eagles & Jaguars vs Lions

Chiefs (-2) at Bengals

This has quickly become one of the fun new rivalries in football, with the Bengals using a pair of second-half comebacks to beat Pat Mahomes and the Chiefs last year — once in the regular season, then again in the playoffs.

The Chiefs scored 49 points in the first halves of those games, but disappeared in the second half, with just a field goal in each. That was new for Kansas City, but it’s the usual for the Bengals. Cincinnati has covered 18 of its past 20 second halves, including the playoffs. The Bengals are 9-2 ATS in the second half this season.

The question is how much we can take away from those previous two matchups. The Bengals lit up the Chiefs secondary with Joe Burrow repeatedly giving Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins chances in one-on-one coverage. Lou Anarumo’s defense also befuddled Mahomes late and forced him out of his comfort zone.

The popular narrative this week has been about Chiefs revenge, but Kansas City wants to win the war, not the battles along the way. You better believe Andy Reid and Mahomes have a plan for the Bengals — but will they unveil it in the regular season, in a relatively low-stakes game when they’re already in good position for the No. 1 seed? I’m not so sure.

It looks like Chase and Joe Mixon should play, while the Chiefs are missing a couple of their receivers. Still, these have been the best two offenses in football lately, and either one of them can score at any time. Mahomes and Burrow have also been lethal on late downs, so this could very well come down to which defense gets a few extra late stops. Cincinnati has the better defense, especially at home, but the Chiefs defense has been improving too.

The over of 52.5 looks good.  Mahomes overs with a total of 51 or above are 27-20-1 (57%), and Zac Taylor home overs are 18-10-1 (64%). It’s tough to imagine either defense being particularly successful.

The best play might actually be a futures angle.

If you like the Chiefs to win, you should probably just invest in some Mahomes MVP stock at -140 (FanDuel). The Chiefs have the easiest remaining schedule in football per Football Outsiders, even with this game. They’ll be big favorites in every remaining game and they’re a game up on the Bills and Dolphins for the No. 1 seed. Oh, and Mahomes leads the league in yards and touchdowns. If the Chiefs win this game, Mahomes will be a massive MVP favorite. He might even win it even with a loss, so that’s a safer bet than the similarly-priced moneyline.

If you like the Bengals, consider some Cincinnati futures. You might be tempted by Joe Burrow +2000 for MVP, but I prefer Bengals No. 1 seed at +4000 at Bet365. Beat Kansas City and the Bengals are one behind the Chiefs in the loss column, and they still host the Bills. Football Outsiders gives the Bengals a 3.5% shot at the top seed, which would be closer to +2750, and that likely shortens to +1000 or lower if Cincinnati gets this win.

As for the game itself, I’m ultimately going to sit this one out and just enjoy some great football. Mahomes is the best player in football, maybe ever, and he’s 14-3-1 ATS (82%) lifetime as a three-point favorite or anything worse on the spread. If you have to pick a coin flip, you may as well pick one of the best to ever flip it.

The Pick: Chiefs -2 (Pass) | Previously: Wait for more info and a deeper dive

Dolphins at 49ers (-4.5)

This is the other marquee afternoon game, and unfortunately, this one looks like it may be marred by injuries.

The offensive lines in particular are in rough shape. It looks like the Dolphins will be missing both bookends with tackles Terron Armstead and Austin Jackson hurt. That’s really bad news against a ferocious defensive front featuring Nick Bosa and the returning Arik Armstead. But San Francisco may be without Trent Williams. He’s the best lineman in football, and the 49ers attack is much worse without him.

San Francisco’s offensive weapons could be a bit limited too. Deebo Samuel is questionable and looks like he might be more of a decoy than anything if he does play. Elijah Mitchell is out. It looks like Christian McCaffrey is a go, but it remains to be seen how much workload he’ll get. And don’t forget, Jimmy Garoppolo also appeared to tweak his knee last week.

A healthy version of this matchup could be a second Chiefs-Bengals game, with two brilliant, loaded offenses capable of scoring on any play. The 49ers defense is better than either defense in the other game, but San Francisco has been very vulnerable against the deep pass, and Miami’s pass defense has struggled all year. If healthy, both offenses would have lit up the scoreboard. Football nerds like myself will watch and re-watch the All-22 to see how Kyle Shanahan and protege Mike McDaniel attack each other offensively.

The Dolphins have scored at least 30 points in four straight games. Tua Tagovailoa is a perfect 8-0 running this offense when he plays at least half the snaps, and Miami has scored at least 20 points in every one of those games. That makes the Dolphins team total over 20.5 very tempting. But those missing tackles are terrifying, and the 49ers have only allowed two opponents to hit 20 all season, both when the defense was missing half its starters.

If you like the Dolphins, you should probably parlay it with an over. Miami’s not going to win a defensive battle. If the Dolphins cover or win, it’s going to be because the weapons are just that good and the team found a way to score. Shanahan is 9-16-1 ATS (36%) as a home favorite, and this spread has inched its way up as the week has gone on.

I can’t shake a nagging gut instinct that at least one of these offenses will lay an egg. These coaches know each other’s tendencies so well, which means they also know exactly what to do to try to stop each other, and those offensive line injuries could stymie either or both attacks. It won’t feel good holding an under 46 ticket in a game with these two offenses, but 49ers games have gone under that seven times. Even if one team hangs a big number, we could still go under if the opponent no shows offensively.

I can’t make up my mind enough to invest much in this game. Some games are just for enjoying great football and learning from what you see on the field. Either one of these teams is capable of a deep playoff run, and either of them could still fizzle and exit the postseason early or miss altogether. We’ll learn a lot about both teams in this one.

The Pick: Dolphins +4.5 (Pass) and Lean Under 46 | Previously: Wait for McCaffrey and Armstead news

Packers (-4) at Bears

I wrote about this game at length in last week’s Lookahead, backing Packers -2.5 on the basis of Aaron Rodgers owning the Chicago Bears.

That hasn’t changed in the past week and maybe never will, but the game situation has changed. Rodgers left last weekend hurt and looks good to go, but you never really know in a game with nothing but pride on the line for either team. Justin Fields also looks likely to go after being a question mark last weekend. Most importantly, my Lookahead read was right — this line rose past the key number and killed a lot of the value on the Packers.

If Fields is a scratch and Rodgers starts, I’d play Green Bay at almost any number against Nathan Peterman.

Even against Fields, this has to be Packers or pass if Rodgers plays. He’s 24-5 against the Bears and 21-7 ATS (75%) in the regular season. That includes 10-3 ATS (77%) in Chicago, 12-2 ATS (86%) as a favorite of six or less and 12-3 ATS (80%) when the Packers have the better record.

Rodgers is also a perfect 16-0 ATS (100%) against the Bears when Green Bay’s last game before playing Chicago is a win by 10 or anything worse. The Bears have been Rodgers’ get-right spot for his entire career, and Chicago missing three starters in the secondary should only make things easier.

I lean Packers, but will wait until kickoff to make a call since we still need to see if both quarterbacks are good to go. If Rodgers is healthy enough to play, history tells us there are few better bets in football than backing Rodgers against the Bears. Watch the app for a final decision.

The Pick: Lean Packers -4 | Previously: Wait for news on both QBs

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