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NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions: Steelers, Patriots, Chargers To Cover Their Spreads; 2 Ways To Bet Raiders-WFT

NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions: Steelers, Patriots, Chargers To Cover Their Spreads; 2 Ways To Bet Raiders-WFT article feature image
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Emilee Chinn/Getty Images. Pictured: Steelers WR Diontae Johnson, TE Pat Freiermuth

NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions

I’ll be picking five NFL sides each week of the season for DraftKings‘ Pro Football Millionaire Pick’Em contest. Note that the spreads for this contest lock on Wednesdays, so some will be stale by the time you read this and thus not readily available outside of the contest. But you can check real-time NFL odds here.

I’ll also outline the rest of my betting card for the week below (click here to skip ahead).


NFL ATS Picks For Week 13

Here were the five sides for this week’s pick’em contest entry:

  1. Dolphins -2.5: 1 p.m. ET
  2. Chargers +3.5: 1 p.m. ET
  3. Football Team +2.5: 4:05 p.m. ET
  4. Steelers +3.5 : 4:25 p.m. ET
  5. Patriots +2.5: Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET

1. Dolphins -2.5 vs. Giants

This line has since moved from Dolphins -2.5 to -6.5 after it was announced that Daniel Jones will miss the game after suffering a neck strain last wee, but we get it at 2.5 for the contest.

That means we’ll see Mike Glennon as the Giants’ starting quarterback, a man who is 6-21 straight-up in his career as a starter, including six straight losses and 12 of his last 13. The last time Glennon won a regular-season game as a starter was 2017, when he and the Bears beat the Steelers as +264 underdogs.

This won’t be Glennon’s first appearance of the season — he filled in for Jones during the Giants’ Week 5 loss to the Cowboys. He went 16-for-25 for 196 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, which isn’t particularly encouraging.

Although Glennon is 13-14 against the spread (ATS), his teams have been underdogs of 6.5 or more points in each of the last 10 games. And in a league where the team that wins the game often covers the spread, there’s an edge to be had backing the Dolphins under a field goal.

Miami has won four straight thanks to the play of Tua Tagovailoa, who ranks second in the Expected Points Added (EPA) per play + Completion Percentage Over Expected (CPOE) composite over the past four weeks. Although he’s still at just 5.2 Air Yards, this offense has improved recently, putting up  22, 24 and 33 against the Ravens, Jets and Panthers.

Tagovailoa should be able to find some success against a Giants defense that’s 26th in Dropback EPA. Both run defenses are below-average, but neither has the rushing attack to capitalize.

I’ll back the home team with the better and healthier quarterback at this point.

2. Chargers +3.5 at Bengals

This is a great spot to buy low on the Chargers and sell high on the Bengals, who are coming off a 41-16 win over the Steelers.

The lookahead line on this game was Bengals -1.5. Now, after beating the Steelers — whose number the Bengals had all season — we’ve seen this line adjust to +3.5. I’m not buying it.

The Bengals are 16th in Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA despite playing the 27th-ranked schedule of opposing offenses. This is a team that gave up 34 points to the Jets and 41 points to the Browns before blowout wins over the Raiders and Steelers. We see how recency bias has influenced this number.

Both of the Jets and Browns have struggled offensively for much of the season, so it’s more than reasonable to expect that the Chargers will find some success offensively. Justin Hebert struggled against the Broncos, whose blitz-heavy attack is not something the Bengals will employ, making this a favorable matchup.

This is simply too many points, so I’ll back the Chargers to bounce back.

3. WFT +2.5 at Raiders

What a difference one week makes?

The Raiders defeated a banged-up Cowboys team on Thanksgiving, a game that saw Dallas flagged 14 times for 166 yards, including four pass interference penalties that set Las Vegas up to score.

The Raiders entered that game struggling, though, losing three straight games to the Giants, Chiefs and Bengals. In those three, they scored 16, 14 and 13 points.

Washington, meanwhile, has won three straight and found its offensive footing with wins over the Buccaneers, Panthers and Seahawks.

Over the past last four weeks, Taylor Heinicke is first in EPA + CPOE/composite with Washington’s offense ranking seventh in EPA/play and sixth in Success Rate. With weapons like Terry McLaurin and Logan Thomas, the Football Team should find some success through the air against a Raiders defense that’s just 27th in Dropback EPA and has given up 23, 41, 32 and 33 to the Giants, Chiefs, Bengals and Cowboys over the past four weeks.

The Raiders aren’t too much better against the run, either, so Antonio Gibson should have a big day.

While Washington’s defense hasn’t been great this season and it’s without both Chase Young and Montez Sweat, the Raiders will be without tight end Darren Waller, who is dealing with back and knee injuries. Already reeling from the loss of Henry Ruggs, DeSean Jackson also popped up on the injury report.

Given the shootout potential, I’ll back the team that is healthier and playing better offensively. Look for Washington to win its fourth straight game.

4. Steelers +3.5 vs. Ravens

The Ravens are perhaps the most fraudulent 8-3 team we’ve seen in recent memory.

Despite being first in the AFC, Baltimore has a +23 point differential — seventh in the conference behind the Patriots, Bills, Bengals, Colts, Broncos and Chiefs. Baltimore has a Pythagorean Expectation of just 6.1 wins.

The Ravens have been floating on thin ice as one of the luckiest teams in the NFL this season, needing comeback wins to defeat the Chiefs, Lions, Colts, Vikings and Bears. This offense has completely fallen off a cliff with just 10, 16 and 16 points against the Dolphins, Bears and Browns over the last three weeks.

While the game against Chicago was without Lamar Jackson, Baltimore has been plagued by slow starts the entire season, averaging just 10.3 first-half points per game — 20th among NFL teams.

The Ravens have also struggled defensively this season, ranking 20th in Dropback EPA and dead-last in explosive pass play rate. That means you can expect Ben Roethlisberger get the ball to Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool for some big plays in this one.

Given the Ravens’ struggles, it feels as if the market is overvaluing them in this spot laying points on the road.

The Steelers are coming off a 41-16 loss to the Bengals, and this feels like prime bounce-back spot for Mike Tomlin, who has a 42-21-2 (67%) ATS record as an underdog (per our Action Labs data). As home underdogs, the Steelers are 12-3-2 (80%) ATS, so the trends back this up as being a solid spot.

5. Patriots +2.5 at Bills

The Patriots are the NFL’s hottest team, winning six straight games by an average of 24.6 points. New England is now in first place in the AFC East ahead of this showdown with the Bills.

While most people will see this as a step up in class for the Patriots, the Bills are just 3-4 when facing teams other than the Dolphins, Jets and Texans. Buffalo’s last win came against Trevor Siemian, who never really gave the Saints a chance on Thanksgiving.

Although many will see the Bills as the superior team, they’re the ones who will be stepping up in class this week against Mac Jones and the Patriots. Based on how the Bills have fared against better competition, aside from a win over the Chiefs, this feels like a good spot to back the Pats.

New England has forced a whopping 17 turnovers during its six-win streak, and it’s tough to imagine a scenario in which the Patriots don’t force any here. Josh Allen has been turning the ball over at will recently, with seven interceptions over his last four games.

While the Jets and Saints weren’t able to capitalize on those, the Jaguars and Colts were. I think we can expect the Patriots to do so, as well.

The Patriots are second in defensive DVOA behind the Bills, but the Achilles heel is the Pats’ run defense, which gave up 270 yards on the ground to a Titans team that was without Derrick Henry.  Unfortunately for the Bills, they aren’t very good at running the ball. Allen will have to beat a tough Patriots defense that ranks top-five in dropback EPA/play and Dropback Success Rate.

Given the weather forecast, I think Allen will struggle without a true running game to back him.

The Bills have one of the league’s best defense by every metric, but they’ll take a major hit without their No. 1 cornerback Tre’Davious White, who is out for the season with a torn ACL. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, White allowed a 50.8% completion percentage and 58.9% passer rating to opposing quarterbacks, and he didn’t allow a touchdown.

Given White’s absence and the step up in competition for the Bills, the Patriots are well on their way to putting their stamp on the AFC East, just one year removed from the departure of Tom Brady.

Although the +2.5 in the contest isn’t ideal, I’ll back New England since I believe it’ll get the win here.


More NFL Picks For Week 13

Raiders vs. Washington Under 49

I spoke about the Raiders’ offensive struggles offensively above, and now they’ll be without Waller. Washington’s defense has improved recently, and this offense managed just  17 points last Monday night against a struggling Seahawks defense.

This total is too high. I’ll play the under here.

Two-Team, 6-Point Teaser Combinations

You can mix-and-match the following:

  • Minnesota Vikings -7 down to -1
  • New England Patriots +3 up to +9
  • Los Angeles Chargers +3 up to +9
  • Miami Dolphins -6 down to PK

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