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NFL Picks for Week 13’s Sunday Slate

by Atlanta Business Journal

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Mike White is again a cult hero to New York Jets fans. The Jets’ third-string quarterback came off the bench last week to make his first start of the season and put up sensational numbers in leading the club to a victory over the Chicago Bears.

Here’s the thing about cult heroes, though. In the long run, they tend to be more cult than hero. Last season, White came off the bench to lead the Jets to a win over the eventual AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals. He started two more games, but Cinderella turned into a pumpkin and ultimately went back to grabbing himself some bench.

Which is why the Jets at Vikings game is atop the list of best bets among the 12 Sunday games factoring into the Week 13 NFL picks.

Week 13 NFL Picks

Vikings -3 vs. Jets

On the surface, there’s a lot of reasons to be liking the Jets in this game. Minnesota’s offensive line doesn’t deal well with top-rated pass rushes and New York is right there with the NFL’s #5 defense. The 7-4 Jets have collected 34 sacks in 11 games. They’re averaging 3.1 sacks per game, which is seventh overall in the NFL. In the past three weeks, though, the Jets are at a league-leading 4.3 sacks per game. Add to this data the fact that Vikings left tackle Christian Darrisaw (concussion) is out and it could be a field day for New York pass rushers.

From a betting standpoint, the Jets are 4-1 against the spread in their last five road games and 6-2 ATS overall in their last eight games. Then there’s White, who was 22-of-28 for 315 yards, three touchdowns and a QBR of 149.3 in last week’s 31-10 rout of the Chicago Bears.

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Last season, after lighting up the Bengals for 415 yards and three TDs, White went on the road to Indianapolis and was limited to 95 yards and one TD. The Bears are a horrendous team, and yet they whipped the New England Patriots 33-14 earlier this season. Last week, the Vikings dropped New England 33-26. By comparison, it’s been seven years since the Jets put a beating on the Patriots, and they play each other twice a year.

People keep expecting the bubble to burst for the 9-2 NFC North-leading Vikings. But it isn’t happening. QB Kirk Cousins is enjoying a Pro Bowl-type campaign and has two sensational weapons at his disposal in RB Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson, arguably the NFL’s best receiver. Take Minnesota and lay the three points.

Browns -8 vs. Texans

There’s intrigue surrounding a game involving the 1-9-1 Houston Texans. Imagine that.

Cleveland is coming to town and his just so happens to be the week that Browns QB Deshaun Watson is returning from his 11-game NFL suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. The violation stemmed from more than a dozen cases of sexual misconduct involving Watson and female massage therapists while he was the QB of the Texans.

Watson will be making his first start since Jan. 3, 2021 and the betting action is clearly leaning toward him and the Browns. The spread on his game has grown from an opening line of Cleveland -4.5 points.

Houston is 0-4-1 straight up and 2-3 ATS at home this season, while Cleveland is 1-4 SU and 2-3 ATS on the road.

Under Watson replacement Jacoby Brissett, the Browns are the #8 passing offense and #4 rushing offense in the NFL. In his last full season, Watson set career highs with 4,823 yards and 33 TDs. He completed 70.2% of his passes and posted a passer rating of 112.4. Still, after more than 700 days off, he figures to be rusty.

Luckily, Houston is dreadful defensively. The Texans rank 27th in total defense, and 23rd in scoring defense. They’re 30th in run defense DVOA. Houston is yielding 4.9 yards per carry.

Cleveland RB Nick Chubb is third in the NFL in rushing yardage (1,039), and first in rushing TDs (12) and carries of 20+ yards (11). Watson will feed him the rock all day long while leading the Browns to a victory and a cover in a triumphant return.

Chiefs vs. Bengals Over 53

This rematch of last season’s AFC Championship Game is featuring the highest total of any Week 13 game at 53 points. It’s the eighth time this season that the Chiefs are being given a total of 50+ points. They are 3-4 on the over in those games.

As for the Bengals, this is the first game in which their total is above 49 points. However, in their last three home games they’ve scored 104 points, an average of 34.66 points per game. And that number’s been going up with each passing game. Cincinnati scored 27 in a win over Miami, 35 while beating Atlanta and 42 as the Bengals topped Carolina.

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This is the fourth straight Chiefs vs Bengals game to be showing a total of 50+ points. Two of the three previous games went under. The only time they hit on the over was the lone game played at Cincinnati. Expect that latter trend to continue.

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