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NFL Upset Picks for Week 13

Eric Thompson

by Eric Thompson in NFL Football

Dec 5, 2020 · 9:53 AM PST

Wide receiver of the Detroit Lions, Marvin Jones running after a catch as Chicago Bears cornerback Prince Amukamara defends.
Detroit Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones (11) runs after a catch as Chicago Bears cornerback Prince Amukamara (20) defends during the second half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
  • Free from Matt Patricia, can the Lions get a win over the Bears?
  • Last week’s picks went 1-2, losing 1.4 units. We’re at just +4.92 units on the season
  • Will the Patriots get back in the playoff race with a win over the Chargers?

We’re heading into unlucky Week 13 in the NFL, but it’s hard to be scared by such a superstition the way upset picks has been going.

Last week wasn’t quite the course correction we were looking for, but I’ll cut myself a little slack. How was I to know the Broncos would be forced to turn to a QB so green, he made Taysom Hill look like a legitimate passer? (Which he still isn’t!) Hopefully you hadn’t put any bets down before that news came out.

That’s the problem with this season: while there’s normally value in jumping on lines early in the week before they move, this year, a sudden COVID outbreak can buck all trends and put early bettors in a really rough spot. But surely one of these weeks, contact tracing will actually help one of our upsets, right?

After looking at the NFL Week 13 odds, here are the picks I like this week, even without the help of COVID.

NFL Week 13 Upset Picks

Matchup Spread Moneyline Pick Units
Detroit Lions vs Chicago Bears CHI -3 +145 Lions 1.25
New England Patriots vs Los Angeles Chargers LAC -2 +110 Patriots 1.25
New York Giants vs Seattle Seahawks SEA – 10.5 +420 Giants 0.5

Odds taken Nov. 27 from DraftKings and FanDuel

Lions Woes Go With Patricia

Detroit has lost five straight against the Bears, so maybe you don’t feel great about their chances even as they travel to Soldier Field as just three-point dogs. But then, you remember the huge news that came out Michigan this week. (And no, I’m not talking about Rudy’s fart. But, if you haven’t yet, check that out!)

The fire-your-head-coach bump has already shown out this season, with the Falcons and Texans both winning their first games after axing their ineffective guys. The two are a combined 8-5 SU under an interim head coach after starting the year 0-9.

I can’t even imagine how fired up the Lions will be now that Matt Patricia is gone. To say he wasn’t liked by his own players is an understatement.

Of course, Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky loved Patricia. His insistence on playing man defense in every crucial spot made Trubisky actually look comparable to Mahomes and Watson twice a year.

Now that he’s gone, perhaps defensive coordinator Cory Undlin can throw some different looks at Trubisky and end his reign of terror. Because outside of Trubisky’s track record, there’s not much to like about Chicago. They’re in a total freefall and Matt Nagy could soon be joining Patricia in the unemployment line.

A Lions upset here certainly won’t help his case.

Belichick Bottles Up Bolts

Justin Herbert continues to pull away in the Offensive Rookie of the Year race as he closes in on the rookie passing TD record. But for all his success moving the ball, the Chargers haven’t come away with many wins on the season. Perhaps that’s why they’re only slight favorites against an anemic Patriots passing game this Sunday?

Or perhaps it’s because Bill Belichick owns rookie passers?

The Patriots defense was great in shutting down Kyler Murray and the Cardinals offense last week, and while the deep passing attack of the Chargers will pose a very different challenge, New England has the pieces to slow it down.

Along with the reigning Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore, JC Jackson has continued to be huge playmaker for a unit that desperately needs to create turnovers.

Offensively, the Pats are going to run the ball all day, and look to have the same success the Bills did last week when they rolled up 172 yards on the ground over LA. If New England has success, we should have a close game. And you know how Anthony Lynn performs in tight situations.

Take the better coach here.

New York Lands Giant Upset

This battle of division leaders sees the Giants as 10.5-point underdogs in Seattle. That huge spread is at least partly because quarterback Daniel Jones is sidelined with an injury, but are we sure Colt McCoy is that much of a downgrade?

Outside of that, there’s little reason to think the Giants won’t be able to hang around in this one. New York hasn’t lost by more than one-score since Sept. 27, while the Seahawks have only beaten the banged up Niners by more than a TD over that stretch.

The Giants have been running the ball incredibly well with Wayne Gallman over the last six weeks and they’ll look to lean on that against a Seahawks defense that has been pretty good at halting the ground game. Of course, Seattle stinks in coverage, so play action shots will be there for McCoy.

New York will be in tough to stop Russell Wilson, but the one-time MVP frontrunner has shown the ability to have some bad outings over the last month. If New York can coax a few turnovers out of him, they could get it done here. For odds these long, it’s worth putting down a little on the Giant upset.

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