NFL Week 13 Lookahead Picks: Bets for Seahawks vs Rams, Packers vs Bears
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images. Pictured: Aaron Rodgers.
Welcome back to The Lookahead.
While everyone else is busy betting on this weekend’s games, we continue to get out ahead of things with a pair of picks for next Sunday. It’s all about locking in that sweet closing line value (CLV) and gobbling up easy line value before this week’s results move next week’s lines.
We continue to lock in important CLV ahead of the games every week, often crossing key numbers. This week we’re grabbing two short favorites with lines that could rise past key numbers if this weekend goes as expected.
We’ve already got your Week 12 picks covered, so let’s look ahead and get some more CLV for Week 13.
That seems forever ago now, but it was just more than nine months ago. There are celebratory babies being born in Los Angeles right now who were conceived as champions but will enter a very different Rams reality.
This one has the Rams at 3-7, their season already effectively over. Cooper Kupp is out indefinitely with a high ankle sprain, and he’s really been the only effective weapon on offense. Matt Stafford will miss another game in Week 12, his second absence in less than a month, and could be out indefinitely.
Now, the once mighty defense is also faltering. Over the last five weeks, the Rams defense rates even worse than the offense, an ugly 28th in DVOA against a merely bad 23rd on offense. It’s all gone wrong for the reigning champions, who traded away everything for a Super Bowl and got their reward but are now paying the price.
Remember that 54-51 game against the Chiefs a few years ago on a wild Monday night? The teams meet again this weekend, and only one of those teams has a chance at cracking 50. The Rams are 16-point underdogs at some books, and that number is still rising. They’re the biggest underdogs in the NFL this season and will likely be blown out.
The Rams enter Week 12 0-4 against teams that are currently over .500, losing those games by an average of 16.3 points. They’ll likely add to that number this weekend with another bad loss and when they do, it’s hard to imagine them staying this short of an underdog against a Seahawks team that will be 6-5 at worst, but probably 7-4 if they take care of business at home against the Raiders.
Seattle Island! The Seahawks are good. You’ve likely heard my case by now. The Seahawks are good running and passing the ball. They’re terrific on special teams. The defense is improving and above average. The coaching has been fantastic. Geno Smith has been a revelation.
Seattle looks like a playoff team, probably because they are one — in part because they get to play the corpse of this Rams team twice down the stretch.
This line seems to expect the return of Stafford. Even if he plays, it’s hard not to like Seattle in this matchup given how bad the Rams have been against quality teams. But there’s also every reason to think Stafford might just get the bubble wrap protection with no reason to rush him back and nothing to play for this season. If he does sit out again, this line will surely rise.
The Rams entered the season among the Super Bowl favorites, while the Seahawks were expected to be one of the worst teams in the league. Life comes at you fast.
I’m grabbing Seattle -3.5 and expect this line to rise, maybe exponentially if Stafford ends up sitting this one out.
THE PICK: Bet Seahawks -3.5
I don’t have many rules in life, but here’s one of them: If you give me Aaron Rodgers in Chicago at under a field goal, I’m taking it and never looking back.
“I own you.”
Those are the words Rodgers yelled at the crowd the last time he visited Soldier Field, and it’s hard to argue otherwise at this point.
Rodgers is 23-5 lifetime against the Bears — 24-5 including that NFC Championship Game win back in early 2011. He’s 21-7 (75%) against the spread (ATS) in all regular-season matchups, including 10-3 (77%) ATS in Chicago, 12-2 (86%) ATS as a favorite of six or less, and 12-3 (80%) ATS when they have the better record.
Rodgers owns the Bears. He always has, and he probably always will.
And while it feels like the gap between these teams is closing, I’m not sure it’s closed by as much as this line would indicate.
The Bears have played pretty well over the past five weeks since the offense kicked into gear, it’s true. Chicago is up to ninth in Offensive DVOA in that stretch, and Justin Fields has been a revelation. But Fields is nursing multiple injuries and could be limited or even out of this game, depending on how Week 12 goes, and he is everything for this offense.
Besides, it’s not like the Bears are winning. They’ve lost four in a row thanks largely to a sieve of a defense that has allowed at least 27 point in all four of those defeat. Now, in Week 12, Chicago is a big underdog in New York and could lose again to the Jets.
And as great as it is for Chicago that the offense is playing better, its DVOA ranking of ninth is still one spot lower than Green Bay’s offense over the same span. The Bears defense also ranks third from last over that stretch, while the Packers are all the way up to 12th in Defensive DVOA. Even the run defense is more bad than awful lately. The Packers are playing quality football, and quality football should be enough to keep Rodgers proof of ownership alive in Chicago.
Should you play the Packers now, though?
It’s a question worth asking, since Green Bay is in Philadelphia on Sunday night. They’re big underdogs against the Eagles and could easily lose and fall to 4-8, effectively out of the playoff hunt. Rodgers is playing with a broken thumb himself, so things could go sideways. But if the Packers do hang close or beat a fading Eagles team, you know this line will rise in a hurry. It’s worth the risk.
Need a couple more Rodgers vs. Bears stats to give you a final push?
If the Packers do lose to the Eagles this week, you should know that Rodgers is 10-0 ATS against the Bears after a loss. If the Packers don’t even keep it close enough to cover, Rodgers is 13-0 ATS against the Bears after failing to cover.
In fact, Rodgers is a perfect 16-0 ATS against the Bears when Green Bay’s last game before playing Chicago is a win by 10 or anything worse, and the Packers are covering by 9.6 points per game. That stat will be in play, unless you think Green Bay goes to Philly and wins by double digits — and if you think that, you should definitely grab Packers -2.5 now.
Chicago is the ultimate get-right spot for the Packers. Aaron Rodgers owns Chicago. You’re giving me Rodgers in Chicago under a field goal? I’m taking it.
THE PICK: Bet Packers -2.5