NFL Best Bets Week 13

by Ahaan Rungta · Betting & Props

This is NFL Best Bets Week 13! Here, we provide our NFL best bets each week.

Each week’s article features picks on either the moneyline, spread, game total, or team total. For each bet, we will provide a wager size recommendation (note: 1 unit = 1% of your gambling bankroll). It is important to keep the exposure disciplined and stick to the recommendations. Remember, it is always worth line-shopping at the time you place your bet so that you can get the best value available online.

In Week 12, we split our action. On Thanksgiving Day, the Commanders stayed competitive for a while as we asked them to cover the spread as 12.5-point underdogs. However, they eventually were smoked late by the red-hot Cowboys. We made back some ground on Sunday. It proved to be a sweat, but the bet was sharp as the under in the Jaguars-Texans divisional nailbiter cashed.

We are now 11-9 on the season and have won five of our last six article bets. Let’s keep it rolling and stay in the winning column with these two Week 13 bets on the books.

1 unit: Saints +4.5 (-110, FanDuel)

Although this week’s Lions vs. Saints is a battle of two first-place squads, the two teams are far from equivalent. Detroit holds a commanding lead of the NFC North with their 8-3 record. New Orleans is barely clinging onto the NFC South with a 5-6 record and haven’t won a game since Week 9. In Week 9, they took care of Tyson Bagent‘s Chicago Bears by one possession. The Lions are coming off an embarrassing upset loss on Thanksgiving Day and thus have the rest advantage.

The Saints have injury designations on their top three wide receivers (Michael Thomas is out, and Chris Olave and Rashid Shaheed are questionable). Additionally, they have three defensive starters who didn’t practice on Wednesday (Cameron Jordan, Pete Werner, and Marcus Maye). It makes sense they are receiving over 80-percent of the public action in Week 13. However, we will pivot and take the sharp side instead as all this information is already priced into the market.

The Saints’ defense is the primary reason they are able to compete in ballgames. Despite not applying pressure to the quarterback all season long, their pass defense still ranks No. 11 in dropback EPA per play allowed. Their run defense ranks No. 6 in rush EPA per play allowed. Their secondary ranks No. 7 in PFF coverage grade. That’s bad news for the regressing quarterback Jared Goff who only ranks middle-of-the-pack in adjusted EPA per play and completion percentage over expectation since coming off his Week 9 Bye. Goff has only faced one defense ranked in the top-9 in PFF coverage grade this season (the Ravens). In that game, Detroit did not score a touchdown until garbage time and lost 38-6.

Derek Carr Struggles

On the other hand, Derek Carr has struggled this season, but Detroit’s defense is far from the elite unit they made us believe they were early in the season/ Detroit ranks No. 28 in pass rush win rate, No. 30 in run stop win rate, No. 26 in PFF coverage grade, No. 27 in dropback EPA per play allowed, and No. 17 in rush EPA per play allowed. Carr does rank No. 9 in adjusted EPA per play since Week 8, so there are signs of encouragement he can produce even with a depleted pass-catching room in Week 13. The Lions rank No. 12 in the NFL in man coverage rate but No. 21 in zone coverage rate. That’s good news for Carr who has been significantly better against man coverage this season (No. 7 in passer rating).

To cap it all off, this game stands out with a staggering historical trend. Since 1989, in regular season games past Week 4, home underdogs who are 20%-or-worse against the spread are 72-27-1 against the spread when facing a team with a winning record. Bite the bullet with the battered Saints. This is too many points.

1 unit: Commanders +9.5 (-110, FanDuel)

I know. You may be hesitant after the debacle last week. However, in this business, you have to have a short-term memory. Gambling is not about one-game sample sizes and rather taking the correct side of the market in each individual week.

In the case of this home dog, Washington is the significantly healthier squad. Miami has injury designations on backfield duo Raheem Mostert and Devon Achane, their most valuable player Tyreek Hill, starting tight end Durham Smythe, fullback Alec Ingold, and four offensive linemen that include Terron Armstead, Robert Jones, Connor Williams, and Robert Hunt. The Dolphins already only rank No. 23 in pass block win rate on the season.

Depleted Offensive Line

A depleted offensive line in Week 13 would create more quick designs for the Dolphins offense. This would let the Commanders off their hook with their biggest weakness: the secondary. The Commanders defense actually ranks No. 5 in PFF tackling grade. Therefore, unless Tagovailoa gets time to get the playmakers the ball downfield, Washington may get a few extra stops to keep themselves in the game.

On the other side of the field, don’t let the Cowboys’ second-half masterclass on Thanksgiving Day fool you. Washington’s offense is not bad. Miami can pressure the quarterback, but Sam Howell ranks No. 4 in pressured completion percentage, No. 12 in true completion percentage, No. 13 in accuracy rating, and No. 18 in adjusted EPA per play. Although the Dolphins defense is hot, they are still not overwhelming over the sample of the full season.

The Dolphins rank No. 22 in run stop win rate and No. 26 in rush EPA per play allowed. This means the Commanders’ grind-on-the-ground offensive attack could slow the pace of the game and further help the cause to keep the game close. Miami’s defense is also dealing with injuries to starters as Jaelan Phillips is done for the season, and Bradley Chubb and Jevon Holland are questionable.

This game also follows an alarming historical NFL trend. Since 1989, underdogs who are coming off a loss by at least 30 points in their previous game as an underdog are 148-92-8 against the spread. This is good for a 61.7-percent win rate and +17.2% ROI. Take the points and let’s sweat the Commanders once again.