Week 13 of the 2019 NFL season will be headlined by a titanic clash between the two best teams in the league thus far when the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens square off in Baltimore. That game headlines a rather small card for me compared to previous weeks. I have some thoughts on the Rams and Cardinals, Vikings and Seahawks, and of course, my adopted team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Before we get to our 2019 NFL Week 13 picks, let’s recap how Week 12 went.
Week 12 saw me have my most profitable week of the year. I went 9-3 in my picks, bringing in just for seven units worth of profit. I had some positive variance go my way with the Tampa Bay and Atlanta over, as well as my Calvin Ridley props, but I’ll take it.
If you want to read all of my thoughts on last week’s picks, you can check out my Week 12 article, including a break down of the Sunday night matchup between the 49ers and Packers. For a full recap of the PFN betting crew’s performance, check out the Sheep Report. As always, I’ll review my losses before getting into our 2019 NFL Week 13 picks.
Week 12 NFL Picks Recap
Colts Money line
This wasn’t necessarily a stand-alone pick, as I had the Colts +4 for a larger wager. I like to add some of my bet to the money line for a slightly higher return if the underdog wins. It hasn’t come through too many times this year, but even when they cover but don’t win, you’re still coming out positive. If I think there is value on the spread, more often than not, the money line should have value as well. The Colts won but didn’t cover, but I don’t regret the decision to sprinkle the money line here.
Raiders/Jets over 46.5
If you told me Sam Darnold and the Jets would score over 30 points in this spot, this would have been a massive play. Alas, the Raiders couldn’t get anything going all afternoon. As a result, we missed the over by more than a touchdown. The Jets did what I expected them to do, the Raiders just inexplicably no-showed. Maybe they were looking ahead to their Week 12 match up with the Kansas City Chiefs, as Jon Gruden pulled Derek Carr in the 3rd quarter of this contest. Whatever the case may be, Oakland never had a shot, and neither did the over.
49ers/Packers over 45.5
The 49ers were my biggest play of the year, taking them on the spread for two units and an alternate spread of (-5.5) for another unit. I thought Rodgers would be able to lead a couple of touchdown drives in this game, but they lost offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga in the first quarter, which led to an abysmal night by the offensive line against the best pass rush in the league. The total closed a full three points over the number I gave out at the beginning of the week, so I can’t say I regret this pick as we were ahead of the market. Despite that, we missed a push by the hook. Such is life.
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2019 NFL Week 13 picks
San Francisco 49ers
Despite hitting on my biggest play of the year, it could’ve been an even bigger week had I had more conviction on the Ravens. Both of these teams posted primetime blowouts against popular foes (Packers and Rams.) I can’t remember the last time we had a situation like this, as it is usually lucrative to bet against the team which looked unstoppable the week before. I suppose you’re doing that no matter what side you take in this game. In a potential Super Bowl preview, I like the 49ers to headline my 2019 NFL Week 13 picks, for a multitude of reasons.
This spread opened at (-4.5) and has since been bet up to (-5.5) and (-6) at most sportsbooks. The Circa sportsbooks had a (-7) available for a matter of minutes before it was bet down to a (+6.) My initial plan was to hope Baltimore struggled against the Rams, and bet on them in this spot against San Francisco, who had just come off a blowout victory over Green Bay. As we know, that didn’t come to fruition. The exact opposite has occurred, and now I think there is value with the 49ers at this spread.
According to the net yards per play model, the 49ers (+7.5) are worth 3.5 more points than the Ravens (+4) on a neutral field. After factoring in home-field advantage, this spread should be right around a pick-em, yet were getting up to six points with the underdog!
I would call the head coaching matchup in this game even. Both coaches have their teams playing at the top of their game, so it’s hard to say either has a distinct advantage.
The trenches should be roughly even as well. Baltimore will have success on the ground but will struggle to protect Jackson in the pocket. San Francisco might struggle to have success on the ground but will be able to keep Garoppolo upright when he has to pass. That bodes well against a secondary that has improved by miles since the start of the season.
The edge at QB belongs to Lamar Jackson, and no one will argue that. While the Ravens pose such a unique offense that it’s fair to question whether anyone can successfully defend them, San Francisco might be the team best equipped to do it. They possess the best defensive line in the league and plan to dress eight-nine defensive lineman, which should keep the unit relatively fresh throughout the game.
The other aspect the 49ers own is a terrific, physical secondary. Their corners and safeties are not afraid to come up and hit you. Why does that matter? I imagine they play more nickel and dime in this game to keep more athletes on the field that can keep up with Jackson. That would typically leave them exposed in the run game, but given their physicality, I expect them to hold their own in that regard. Tarvarius Moore should play some linebacker in this game as well. He started at safety for the 49ers while Ward recovered from an offseason shoulder injury and played rather well. The 49ers can go small without giving up their physicality, which could prove to be huge in this match up.
I think the 49ers are the best equipped to slow down Lamar Jackson and the vaunted Ravens offense. You can still get six at some sportsbooks, but I also don’t hate it at (5.5). I like the money line as well, as (+220) is just too big for a top-three team in the league.
NFL Pick: 49ers +6 (-115) 1U
49ers ML +220 0.25U
I tweeted out Arizona +4 before the Sunday games kicked off in an attempt to get ahead of the spread. It would have worked out, as the spread re-opened at Los Angeles (-3). The net yards per play model disagrees with me, as the value lies with the Rams after factoring in the home-field advantage.
The Rams have the advantage at head coach and in the trenches, as Aaron Donald could have a massive game here. The Cardinals, however, have the advantage at QB. Kyler Murray has proven to be a perfect fit for Kingsbury’s scheme, which should come as no surprise considering he has run a similar offense since high school. His mobility has also helped an offensive line that has ranked 26th in Football Outsiders adjusted sack rate.
I’ll say this regarding Kingsbury: he is 7-3-1 against the spread in his rookie year, including 2-1 against the 49ers and Ravens (3-0 if you got the right number on Arizona their second game against the 49ers).
I do expect the Rams, Robert Woods, in particular, to have success on offense in this spot, but I don’t think they’ll be able to contain Murray and the Arizona offense. Chandler Jones should have success pressuring Goff to stall some Los Angeles drives. I’m not as confident in the pick as I was earlier in the week, but I do like betting on the Cardinals getting a field goal at home. There’s a chance Los Angeles has just mailed it in for the year.
NFL Pick: ARZ +3 (-110) 0.8U
ARZ ML +140 0.2U
I hate betting against Russell Wilson, but I don’t agree with this spread at all. According to net yards per play, this game should be a PICK, but Seattle is laying the full three, signifying the sportsbooks believe these teams to be equal. While the Seahawks have the ultimate equalizer in Wilson, Minnesota is the better team here.
You can call the head coaching matchup a wash. Pete Carroll will get praise from most casual fans due to the name value, but Mike Zimmer has been fantastic in his career against the spread. He covers over 60% of the time, including 6-5 this year. Seattle likes to play a grind it out, physical game, which is right up to Minnesota’s alley.
Minnesota has a decided edge in the trenches, as the upgrades they made over the offseason have paid dividends. I expect Dalvin Cook to exploit the running lanes the offensive line will be able to open, while the line should give Cousins enough time to pass when he has to drop back. That will be especially true of Jadeveon Clowney were to miss a second consecutive game. Seattle wouldn’t have beat the 49ers a few Monday nights ago without him, so having him available is imperative. Wilson is good enough to exploit any matchup, but the Minnesota front should be able to apply plenty of pressure in this spot.
No one will deny the Seahawks have the edge at QB, but Kirk Cousins has played great this year as well. His numbers are incredibly close to Wilson’s. He just has the “sucks in primetime” narrative going against him. I’m sure you’ve heard that brought up considering this is the Monday Night game. The Vikings already knocked off one NFC foe (Dallas Cowboys) on the road, why can’t they do it again here?
Last but not least, Seattle’s record in one-score games is staggering. They’re 8-1 in one-score games, a figure that isn’t sustainable. What would this spread be if they had dropped, say just two of those? I doubt they would be laying a full three at home to a superior opponent.
I’m on the Vikings here, but only on the spread. I don’t hate the money line sprinkle and would even suggest it. I just don’t want to put American dollars on Wilson to lose, as the man is capable of anything.
NFL Pick: MIN +3 (115) 1U
Buccaneers at Jaguars
While I wouldn’t want to touch this spread with a ten-foot pole, I do like the over here. Since Foles came back, the Jaguars have passed on 58% of early downs in the first half, the 5th highest rate in the league. I laid out those parameters because the past two games have ended in blowouts. However, the game was still in doubt at the half, with scores of 10-7 and 7-3. Their overall passing numbers are skewed in those samples, but when the game was still close, the Jaguars have wanted to be a pass-first team.
It isn’t like they’ll have much of a choice in this matchup. As is well documented at this point in the season, Tampa Bay owns an elite run defense and atrocious secondary. It will behoove Jacksonville to attack this defense through the air if they want to get off of their losing streak.
As far as Tampa Bay, we know the script with them already. The difference here, however, is if they should have success when they attempt to run the ball, as Jacksonville ranked just 30th in rushing success rate according to Sharp Football Stats. They haven’t been playing well against the pass either, ranking 32nd in passing success rate on defense since Week 9. This Tampa offense should have the whole playbook open to them for once.
I hate that we aren’t getting the best of the number, as I have out a 48, and it is now a universal 47.5. That is probably due to the weather, and if you see gusts exceeding 30 MPH, I wouldn’t blame you for staying away. Even so, I can see both of these offenses enjoying success as long as the wind isn’t out of control, so I still like the over despite market resistance.
NFL Pick: TB/JAC O 48 (-110) 1U
That’s it for your 2019 NFL Week 13 game picks. Good luck, and let’s hope we can turn a profit this week. Be sure to follow the PFN All-Access Twitter account (@PFN365AA) for live updates, Ben Rolfe’s totals article, Chris Smith’s article, Jason Sarney’s player props article, and listen to the Against the Spread podcast with Jason Sarney and Ryan Gosling for more NFL picks!
James Aguirre is a writer for PFN covering NFL betting and Fantasy Football. You can follow him on Twitter @PFN_James.