Week 13 Football Pick’em Contest Strategy & Advice (2022)

Week 13 of the 2022 NFL season heads to December with the value picks coming in heavily this week, as injury news emerges.

You probably wouldn't have guessed Seattle would be favored by 8 at the Rams in August (Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire)

Week 13 in NFL pick’em contests moves us into December and closer to the stretch run, as we have six weeks remaining in the 2022 NFL regular season.

In these columns, we explore strategies to maximize your edge in NFL and college football pick’em contests. We also provide some of the rationale behind picks potentially recommended by our premium product.

We plan to periodically update to this post through Sunday of Week 13, so check back for updates. Here’s what’s available now:

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Tuesday 11/29

NFL Week 13 Early Value Picks

Here are some value picks we are seeing early on for Week 13. There are lots of values showing up this week, so the best ones could shift as the week goes on.

Seattle Seahawks  (at Los Angeles Rams)

Spread: -8.0
Win Odds: 80%
Pick Popularity: 79%

It’s pretty rare to get a value favorite in NFL pools with a spread over a touchdown, but that’s what we have this week. The defending Super Bowl champion Rams are a shell of themselves, and they will likely be without QB Matthew Stafford, WR Cooper Kupp, DT Aaron Donald, and more. Four teams favored by five points or fewer are more popular than the Seahawks right now.

Jacksonville Jaguars (at Detroit Lions)

Spread: -1.0
Win Odds: 53%
Pick Popularity: 22%

The Jaguars are actually the slight road favorite in this matchup, but the public is heavily on the Lions in this game, impressed by their recent form. But Jacksonville has a positive point differential on the year and is coming off its own big win over Baltimore.

San Francisco 49ers (vs. Miami Dolphins)

Spread: -4.0
Win Odds: 66%
Pick Popularity: 63%

San Francisco is a value favorite going against the Dolphins. The 49ers’ defense has been playing really well of late, and the offense is loaded with weapons. The two other favorites with a similar spread as San Francisco (Buffalo and Tampa Bay) are both being picked nearly 90% of the time, showing just how much value there is on sticking with the 49ers.

Cincinnati Bengals (vs. Kansas City Chiefs)

Spread: +2.0
Win Odds: 46%
Pick Popularity: 22%

In a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship Game (and where Cincinnati beat Kansas City twice last year), the public is heavily on the Chiefs despite the close line.

Pittsburgh Steelers (at Atlanta Falcons)

Spread: PK
Win Odds: 50%
Pick Popularity: 30%

The Steelers have won two of three games since their bye and are better now with DE T.J. Watt back, while the Falcons have lost three of their last four games. Still, the public is treating this one like Atlanta is a stronger favorite, while the spread has moved to a pick’em early in the week.

Tuesday 11/29

Week 12 Results Summary

Week 12 got off to a slow start in some spread pools on Thanksgiving, but ended up being a positive week all around.

Game-Winner Pools

In game-winner pools, the public averaged 10.4 wins out of 16 games in Week 12. The heavy favorites generally prevailed, though there were some key upsets in closer contests.

Overall, our season-long “Max Profit” picks finished ahead of the public at 11.0 wins.

Weekly picks finished even better, at 12.0 wins, with Jacksonville’s win over Baltimore being a high-leverage upset, and Cincinnati and Carolina winning toss-up games where the public was more heavily on the other side.

Spread Pools

The public finished near .500 in Week 11 in spread pools, averaging 8.1 wins in 16 games.

Our pick recommendations in season-long pools finished solidly ahead, at 9.9 wins on average. Our picks fell behind early, as most were on Buffalo, Dallas, and New England against the spread, but roared back on Sunday and Monday. Weekly picks, which also tend to account for public pick popularity more to differentiate, did nearly as well at 9.5 wins. Carolina, Jacksonville, Cleveland, the Jets, Kansas City, San Francisco, and Pittsburgh were all positive results for most entries.

Overall Season Summary

Last week, we summarized the season-long results.

Game-winner season-long max-profit picks are now more than six wins ahead of the public average through 12 weeks, and they have outperformed the public in eight of the 12 weeks. Spread-pool picks have done even better, as both the season-long and weekly picks have outperformed the public by around 17 wins in pools that pick every game.

Our picks are designed so that the weekly pick sets take a little more risk and play against the public more, so we should see more variance in the weekly performance.


Important Notes About Picks We Highlight

Keep in mind three things about picks we highlight in this article:

  1. Optimal pick’em contest strategy balances risk and potential reward.
    Maximizing your odds to win a pick’em pool generally requires exploiting the best opportunities to differentiate your picks from your opponents’s picks. Ideally, you want to fade the public while taking on minimal additional pick risk to do so. For example, taking a betting market favorite being picked by less than 50% of your opponents is usually a great opportunity.
  2. Not all of the picks we highlight are suitable for all pools.
    Don’t be surprised if our Football Pick’em Picks product doesn’t recommend several of the picks we mention in this post for your pool specifically—especially the upset picks. The best pick strategy for you depends on a number of factors such as your pool’s size, rules, and prize structure (a concept that’s covered in part by our article on season vs. weekly prize strategy).
  3. Picks we highlight may no longer look compelling by game day.
    We analyze and write about picks using data (e.g. win odds and pick popularity) current at the time we publish this article, but that data can change before kickoff. For example, key player being ruled out or a shift in public sentiment about a team can erase the differentiation value that a pick initially offered.

We’ll provide periodic updates in this post if major data changes occur for picks we’ve mentioned, so make sure to check back. However, there’s a much better way to stay on top of changing data trends throughout a week, which all sharp players need to do.

Our Football Pick’em Picks product automatically imports the latest win odds and pick popularity data multiple times per day. You can see the latest information in the Data Grid.

After you generate customized picks for your pool, you can also update those pick recommendations whenever you want via the My Pool Picks screen. The updated picks will incorporate the most recent data we have.


About Our Pick’em Pool Advice

What makes pick recommendations from our Football Pick’em Picks product different from other sites is that it isn’t generic.

In any given week, the best picks for your football pool depend on a number of variables. Your pool’s size, rules, and prize structure all influence strategy, as do factors like your current place in the standings and how many weeks are left.

So many different scenarios exist that it’s impossible to give pick advice that makes sense for every one. An underrated 6-point underdog could be a great pick in a big weekly prize pool and a terrible pick for a small season-long pool where you’re currently in the money.

Technology to the rescue

As far as we know, we’re the only site that has built algorithms to evaluate all these strategy factors and provide you with customized pick recommendations every week.

The result? Every year, an average of 71% of our subscribers win a prize (season-long or weekly) in a football pick’em contest.

If you want to see all the Week 1 picks we recommend for your football pick’em contest, use our Football Pick’em Picks product.

Why we write this column

At the same time, we know our subscribers like to understand the rationale behind picks our product may recommend, especially when those picks go against the grain. So over the years, we’ve started to write more about the “whys” behind our approach.

This column can also help educate our readers with pick’em pool strategy. We highlight tactics proven to result in more pick’em pool wins over the long term and point out common pitfalls to avoid.

We hope you enjoy reading, and we encourage you to check out more of our football pick’em strategy articles.

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