November 29, 2018 - by Team Rankings
We’re back for NFL Week 13 with five picks that need to be on your radar screen if you want to win your NFL pick’em contest or confidence pool. For a quick primer on value-driven picking in football pools, see our article on NFL pick’em pool strategy.
Through last week, TeamRankings subscribers have already reported over 1,200 weekly prize wins in football pick’em pools, a win rate 160% higher than expected. And last season, 81% of subscribers won a season or weekly prize in a football pick’em contest. How? They used our Football Pick’em Pool Picks.
The five NFL Week 13 picks listed below stand out based on their win odds and pick popularity. Deciding which way you want to go on these games should be top of mind when you make your NFL Week 12 pick decisions.
Keep in mind that we are not saying you should make all of these picks. The best picks for your specific football pick’em pool depend on multiple factors, such as the number of entries in your pool; whether it uses confidence points; and whether it offers season prizes, weekly prizes, or both. Our Football Pick’em Picks product figures out the best pick strategy for you.
Note: Win odds and projected pick popularity data quoted below may change between publication time and kickoff time. If you want to see the latest numbers, our product updates multiple times per day with the latest information.
Kansas City Chiefs (at Oakland)
The Chiefs are 15.5-point favorites on the road against Oakland in Week 13. Kansas City is coming off a bye week after a Week 11 shootout loss to the Rams. At 9-2, the Chiefs have a narrow lead in the race for #1 seed in the AFC and home field advantage for the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Oakland Raiders are one of the weakest teams in football and are also tied with the 49ers and Cardinals for the worst record in the league. The Vegas-implied win odds for the Chiefs are nearly 90%, so even with over 95% of the public picking the Chiefs, other underdogs offering a more favorable risk/reward profile than Oakland.
Pittsburgh Steelers (vs LA Chargers)
The Steelers are 3.5-point favorites at home against the Chargers this week. This contest features two teams in the hunt for the #1 seed in the AFC. Pittsburgh is coming off a Week 12 loss against Denver when the Steelers turned the ball over four times. That came after a narrow Week 11 win against Jacksonville in which Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger was intercepted three times. So it’s not surprising that the public may be a bit wary of picking the Steelers against a good Chargers team. However, with the Vegas-implied win odds for the Steelers at 62% and their nationwide pick popularity around 65%, Pittsburgh looks fairly valued. If you’re looking for an upset pick in this risk range, Carolina is a better target (keep reading).
Denver Broncos (at Cincinnati)
Denver is a 4.5-point favorite on the road against Cincinnati this week. Despite identical 5-6 records, these two teams have been headed in different directions after their bye week. The Bengals have dropped three in a row after their Week 9 bye, and last week’s loss to cross-state rival Cleveland was particularly ugly, as Cincinnati spotted Cleveland a 28-0 lead. The Broncos, on the other hand, have beaten two likely playoff teams in the last two weeks, the Chargers and Steelers. The betting markets have Denver’s win odds at 67%, and with nationwide pick popularity of only 72%, you would still gain ground on a decent percentage of your pool if Denver wins.
Baltimore Ravens (at Atlanta)
The Ravens are a 1-point underdog on the road against the Falcons this week. Lamar Jackson is expected to be the Week 13 starter at quarterback for Baltimore, as the Ravens look to continue their winning streak. While the Ravens are considered a slight underdog by the betting markets, our models have them as a very slight favorite in the game. However, the majority of the public is favoring Atlanta in pick’em pools nationwide, and Baltimore (at around 43% pick popularity) has value on its side. Our power rankings rate Baltimore as considerably stronger than the the typical 6-5 team, so especially in weekly prize pools, they look like a good option.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs Carolina)
Later in the season, it can be tough to find highly underrated teams, and picking one often involves taking a significant risk. While the Buccaneers have lost seven of their last nine games, they are 3.5 point underdogs against Carolina, with Vegas-implied win odds of over 38% and nationwide pick popularity of 21%. Given that disparity, the Bucs could be an upset pick worth considering in pools with weekly prize payouts, which often reward more risk-taking when making your picks. However, the risk/reward for Tampa Bay as an upset pick this week isn’t as favorable as some other upset picks in previous weeks were, so the Panthers still look like the better pick in season prize pools, unless you’re way behind in the standings and need to take some big gambles to try to catch up.
Maybe all of them, maybe just some of them. We’re not dodging the question — the reality is that it takes a lot of math to get to the right answer.
We built our Football Pool Picks product to do all the number crunching for you, and figure out when it makes the most sense for you to go with the favorite vs. the underdog. You answer a few quick questions about your pool, and it will customize Week 13 pick recommendations to give you the biggest edge.
Here’s how it works:
The result? In our postseason survey last year, 81% of our subscribers reported winning a weekly or a season prize in a football pick’em contest, and over the long term our customers are winning pools at rates that blow away expectations.
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