NFL Week 13 Expert Picks, Best Bets Against the Spread
Which NFL underdogs are most enticing in Week 13? We have nine home underdogs this week, so there could be several upsets on tap. Below are our experts picking the games against the spread this season, along with each of their picks against the spread and best bets for this weekend’s slate.
Cleveland Browns (-2) at Pittsburgh Steelers
This isn’t about revenge or rivalry or anything like that. It’s about the fact that the Steelers have no semblance of an offense. Devlin Hodges connected with James Washington for that one long touchdown in Cincinnati, but aside from that play he dropped back 13 times against the Bengals, resulting in 39 passing yards, two sacks, and one five-yard scramble on a third-and-7. Of course, the Browns offense has meltdown potential. Might Minkah Fitzpatrick end up with three more takeaways in this game? It’s possible, but it’s also quite unlikely. And without it, the Steelers can’t score enough points to win what is essentially a pick ’em game. —Gary Gramling
Washington Redskins at Carolina Panthers (-10)
I hate making a 10-point favorite my best bet, but I think this is going to be a Panthers blowout. I’m not going to be scared to lay the big number against the Redskins just because they barely beat the Lions and Jeff Driskel at home last week. At 5-6, the Panthers’ season is hanging in the balance. They will win the game. The question is, will they cover? As bad as Carolina’s defense has been lately, I can’t see Washington putting up many points here. Christian McCaffrey alone should be able to get the cover for the Panthers.—Jimmy Traina
Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers (+2)
This is a great spot to back the Steelers. Mike Tomlin will have his team fired up after Pittsburgh was embarrassed in Cleveland on TNF just a few weeks ago. But why am I expecting a different result this time around?
The Steelers have made a switch at quarterback, going to Devlin “Duck” Hodges over Mason Rudolph. Rudolph is averaging a paltry 6.2 yards per passing attempt this season, which is the second-worst mark among all qualified quarterbacks, only ahead of Mitch Trubisky. Tomlin when explaining his switch offered this retort: “He has not killed us.” Rudolph threw four interceptions and 5.0 YPA in the Steelers’ 21-7 loss to the Browns.
With Duck under center, I think this will give Pittsburgh’s offense new life. The Steelers have a big edge in the trenches in this game, especially going up against the Browns’ worrisome offensive line. Pittsburgh’s defense is one of the league’s best as well, and it held Cleveland to 4.3 yards per play in Week 11, which was the Browns’ lowest YPP since a Week 5 31-3 loss to San Francisco.
Give me the Steelers and the points here, as I think Pittsburgh wins outright. —Max Meyer