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NFL Week 13 Picks Straight Up – Predicted Upsets and Underdogs Showing Value

Eric Thompson

by Eric Thompson in NFL Football

Updated Dec 4, 2021 · 6:16 AM PST

Taylor Heinicke throwing football
Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke (4) warms up prior to the start of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
  • Can the Chargers top Cincinnati in a clash of young QBs?
  • Will the Washington Football team stay on a roll against the favored Raiders?
  • Last week’s picks went 0-2, costing us 3 units and dragging our season total down to +8.09 (14-18 record)

It’s unlucky Week 13 which might actually be a good thing for us, since our fortunes can’t be much worse than losing all our bets last week. In fact, we’re on a 3-8 run over our last four columns, so a shift in luck would be a welcome sight.

Looking at the NFL’s Week 13 odds, there’s plenty to ponder in a season where no teams appear to be great. And while the topsy-turvy nature of 2021 makes it feel like you could give any picks out and justify it with a shrug emoji, I’ve been told that won’t cut it. So here’s some justification for this week’s picks.

NFL Week 13 Upset Picks

Matchup Spread Moneyline Pick Units
Los Angeles Chargers vs Cincinnati Bengals CIN -3 +145 Chargers 1.5
Washington Football Team vs Las Vegas Raiders LV -1.5 +110 Football Team 1.5

Odds as of December 3rd at DraftKings and FanDuel

Bolts Beat Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals are field goal favorites over Los Angeles in another pivotal AFC clash that sees two quarterbacks from the 2020 draft class square off for the first time.

The Bolts beat the Bengals last year in the only game Tyrod Taylor started for LA. Since then, it’s been the Justin Herbert show for the Chargers. He’s followed up his Rookie of the Year campaign by getting the Chargers in playoff position heading down the final stretch, and a win over first overall pick Joe Burrow will go a long way in helping that cause.

Though the narrative around this Chargers team lately has been “what is wrong with this offense?” most metrics still favor how Herbert and the Bolts are performing.

DVOA doesn’t love the Bengals nearly as much, despite their 7-4 record. Cincinnati ranks 21st in Offensive DVOA , partly because they’ve played an easy schedule up to this point, but also just because of the erratic nature of this team. After all, the last time we all bought into the Bengals, they decimated every survivor pool by falling to Mike White’s Jets.

It’s certainly frightening to back this Chargers’ leaky run defense against Joe Mixon. The Bengals running back has amassed over 100 yards from scrimmage in his last three games, including bulldozing the Steelers for 165 yards on the ground.

But we’ve seen the Chargers pull out games in Philly, Kansas City and against the Browns where their opponents were able to run for over 150 yards. Cincinnati’s defense has built up some clout by preying on the NFL’s worst offenses, but don’t trust them to hold up here.

The Chargers have not lost back-to-back weeks this season. Look for Herbert and company to bounce back from last week’s disappointment in Denver with a strong showing here.

Washington Win in Sin City

As it currently stands, the 6-5 Las Vegas Raiders would be the first team out of the AFC playoffs, while the 5-6 Washington Football Team would get the last seed in the NFC. Who will bolster their chances on Sunday where the Raiders are favored by 1.5 at home?

The Football Team haven’t appeared in our upset picks all season, on either side of the ledger. But with the way the team has responded after Chase Young went down with a torn ACL, suddenly the Fighting Heinickes look like an enticing team to back.

On this three-game win-streak, the Football Team have held a near two-to-one edge in time of possession. Antonio Gibson is running the ball well, Heinicke is making big plays in the play action game and on third down and this offensive line is mauling opponents.

The Raiders’ offense showed out well on Thanksgiving, with Desean Jackson playing the role of deep threat that Derek Carr has missed over the last few weeks. But once again, the Raiders had to score in the 30s to pull out the win, because their defense continues to struggle. If Maxx Crosby or Yannick Ngakoue don’t get to the QB, the other team is probably scoring.

Homefield advantage has all but disappeared in the NFL and even new excited new audiences like Vegas aren’t immune: the Raiders are just 2-4 ATS at Allegiant Stadium this year.

Take the Football Team to keep it rolling.

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