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There is a free $5K Sportsbook Pool for NFL Week 13. You have to pick each of the games on Sunday against the spread, and the higher you finish on the leaderboard, the more money you earn.
Let’s take a look at all the contests slated for Sunday, including my five personal favorites.
New York Giants @ Miami Dolphins (-2.5)
The Pick: Dolphins -2.5
We’re getting a ton of spread value in this contest. The Dolphins are up to -6.0 on DraftKings Sportsbook, but we can still get them laying less than a field goal.
The big reason for the line move is that the Giants will be without starting quarterback Daniel Jones. He’s dealing with a neck injury, and there’s no guarantee that he’s able to suit up again this season. Jones is far from a world-beater, but he’s a clear upgrade over backup Mike Glennon. For his career, Glennon has averaged just 6.1 adjusted yards per attempt and he posted a mark of 5.04 in his lone appearance for the Giants this season.
Even if Jones was active, I still think this line is disrespectful for the Giants. The Dolphins’ defense has been fantastic recently, which has propelled the team to four straight victories. They’ve allowed 17 points or fewer in each of their past four contests, and they’ve allowed 10 or less in three of them. The thought of backing that unit against a backup quarterback is tantalizing.
Philadelphia Eagles (-6.5) @ New York Jets
The Pick: Jets +6.5
This line makes very little sense to me. I know the Jets aren’t good, but what have the Eagles done to deserve being favored by nearly a touchdown? They have won three of their past five games, but those wins have come against the Lions, Giants and Saints with Trevor Siemian at QB.
They laid a huge egg last week vs. the Giants, finishing with just seven points and 264 yards of total offense. Jalen Hurts has never been favored by more than 3.5 points as an NFL quarterback, and he’s just 2-3 as a favorite in general.
This spread just feels way too large, so I’m taking a stand with the Jets.
Los Angeles Chargers @ Cincinnati Bengals (-1.5)
The Pick: Bengals -1.5
These teams feel similar on the surface. Both of these teams are led by young quarterbacks with superstar potential. The Chargers also rank 18th in Football Outsiders DVOA, while the Bengals rank 20th.
However, there is one area that significantly favors the Bengals: point differential. The Bengals have outscored their opponents by +83 points this season, while the Chargers have been outscored by -20. That gives the Bengals a Pythagorean Win Expectation of 7.5-3.5, while the Chargers are just 5.0-6.0.
The Bengals also have a clear edge on the defensive side of the ball. The Bengals rank sixth in points per game allowed, while the Chargers rank 29th. The gap isn’t nearly as wide when looking at DVOA, but the Bengals are definitely better defensively.
Finally, Joe Burrow has the edge against Justin Herbert as far as against the spread records go. Burrow has jumped out to a 12-9 ATS record to start his career, while Herbert is just 13-13.
The Bengals are up to -3.0 on DraftKings Sportsbook, but we can get them at -1.5 in this pool. That’s appealing.
Baltimore Ravens (-2.5) @ Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pick: Ravens -2.5
The Ravens and Steelers used to be one of the best rivalries in the NFL, but both of these teams have been disappointing. It’s hard to say that about the Ravens, who would be the No. 1 seed in the AFC if the playoffs started today, but most of their wins have been pretty unimpressive.
Overall, the Ravens have a Pythagorean Win Expectation of just 6.1-4.9, and they rank just 13th in DVOA.
That said, the Steelers have been far more disappointing. Their offense has been an abomination this season, with Ben Roethlisberger looking like a shell of his former self. Najee Harris has been fine as a rookie, but he hasn’t turned around the running game the way that the team hoped.
They’ve also regressed defensively, dropped to just 27th in defensive DVOA.
In other words, this is the perfect bounce-back spot for the Ravens, and I expect them to take advantage.
San Francisco 49ers (-0.5) @ Seattle Seahawks
The Pick: 49ers -0.5
My how the mighty have fallen. The Seahawks entered the season with big expectations, but they’ve fallen to just 3-8 and have been all but eliminated from playoff contention. It hasn’t been all due to poor play – they lost Russell Wilson for three games and Chris Carson for seven – but they haven’t looked great even when healthy.
Now, they’re up to 3.5-point home underdogs vs. the 49ers, and it’s hard to get excited about backing them.
Wilson does fit a bunch of strong trends in this spot. He’s been outstanding as a home underdog throughout his career, and he’s also outstanding coming off a loss. However, Wilson just doesn’t look like the same player at the moment.
Meanwhile, the 49ers’ offense has been rolling recently. Losing Deebo Samuel hurts, but they should still be able to pound the ball against the Seahawks’ soft defense. They haven’t been quite as bad against the run as they have against the pass, but they still rank just 22nd in defensive DVOA.
The 49ers are just slim 0.5-point favorites in this pool, and I think that’s an excellent number.
Here’s who I’m targeting for the rest of the Sunday games. Remember, we’re looking to beat the competition and climb up the leaderboard, so I’ll be looking to gain leverage on the field and fade the public in situations where I don’t see a huge edge on the spread.
Indianapolis Colts (-7.5) @ Houston Texans
Pick: Colts -7.5
Minnesota Vikings (-7.5) @ Detroit Lions
Pick: Lions +7.5
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-9.5) @ Atlanta Falcons
Pick: Buccaneers -9.5
Arizona Cardinals (-7.5) @ Chicago Bears
Pick: Bears +7.5
Pick: Football Team +1.5
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Los Angeles Rams (-12.5)
Pick: Jaguars +12.5
Denver Broncos @ Kansas City Chiefs (-9.5)
Pick: Chiefs -9.5
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