Week 13 NFL Pick'em and Survivor Pool Picks
This is shaping up to be the oddest week of football in the modern era, but we knew it was too quiet for the first 12 weeks of a pandemic-plagued season. With no Thursday Night game, we have a little extra time to ponder our picks this week.
With the help of TeamRankings' customizable tools and data, I’ll go over the best value picks for Week 13, along with the top suggestions for survivor pools. With this info, you should be able to make smart decisions in order to get back on track or keep you going for the final push of the 2020 season.
Week 12 Recap
After two flawless weeks, the perfect streak is over, as my picks went 3-1 last week. The Packers, Giants and Texans all came out on top, while the Cowboys took a beating on Thanksgiving to take my season-long record to 38-12 in this column.
Pick'em Pool Breakdown
Before I get into the picks, note I’m not suggesting you should make all of the picks listed below. The best Week 13 picks for your NFL pool depend on strategy factors such as your pool’s size, rules and prize structure, plus situational factors like your current place in the standings and number of weeks remaining.
As usual, these picks are sorted according to where they sit on the risk/reward spectrum. I try to provide some of the best opportunities to differentiate your Week 13 picks from your pool opponents, by taking on only a modest amount of risk, or no additional risk at all.
Seattle Seahawks vs. New York Giants
This contest is lopsided when it comes to scoring, as the Giants have posted the third-fewest points in the league, while Seattle has put up the third-highest total through 12 weeks of football. Oh, and New York is probably without their quarterback, as Daniel Jones sustained a hamstring injury last week.
Both Vegas and TeamRankings models have Seattle’s odds of winning at over 75%, and the Seahawks are projected to win by 7.5 points at home—where they have yet to lose in 2020. The public is also taking them 97% of the time, so you’ll win or lose with most of your pool.
Miami Dolphins vs. Cincinnati Bengals
As I’ve said a few times this season in this column, sometimes you don’t have to get cute in your picks and just take the big favorite. With an 11.5-point spread, the Dolphins are the second-highest favored team in Week 13—which may be a tad high—but Miami still gets the win.
Miami's defense has been stellar against the pass this season and should give Brandon Allen plenty of issues in this one. Their win odds are currently at 83%, with 94% of bettors also on board.
Sensibly Priced Favorite
Tennessee Titans vs. Cleveland Browns
This matchup features the best running games in football right now, and they should both be on full display during Sunday's tilt. Tennessee does have the edge when it comes to quarterback play, which should be the difference-maker in this contest.
The Titans are 5.5-point favorites at home, with a 72% chance to win by the TeamRankings model. Public bettors are also behind Tennessee here, but at only 89%, compared to some of the other favorites with similar odds like Baltimore (95%) and Pittsburgh (97%).
Los Angeles Rams @ Arizona Cardinals
The Rams are road favorites by a field goal in this game, with 55% win odds via TeamRankings.
It’s tough to figure out exactly what we have in this Arizona team, as they’ve gone 1-3 since their Week 8 bye—their only win was courtesy of a game-winning Hail Mary against Buffalo in Week 10. Despite his insistence that his shoulder is fine, Kyler Murray may not be 100% and he’ll get one Aaron Donald to contend with this weekend.
I think this will be a good game, but the Rams should come out on top. The public apparently disagrees as they are backing the underdog Cardinals here at 62%, with only 38% on the Rams, so sticking with the betting favorite (both Vegas & TR) provides some value and a differentiator for your pools.
Survivor Picks for Week 13
Win Odds: Top 5 Week 13 Picks
Stating the obvious here, but higher is better when it comes to win odds. Everything else being equal, you want to pick the team with the best likelihood of making it through.
Here are the five safest teams this week, according to the TeamRankings Data Grid model (chances to win in parentheses):
- Kansas City Chiefs vs. Broncos (86%, 14-point favorites)
- Miami Dolphins vs. Bengals (82%, 11.5-point favorites)
- Minnesota Vikings vs. Jaguars (79%, 9.5-point favorites)
- Seattle Seahawks vs. Giants (78%, 7.5-point favorites)
- Las Vegas Raiders @ Jets (77%, 7.5-point favorites)
Diversifying your survivor picks from the crowd is an advantageous strategy, as the pool winnings can increase significantly if your pick hits and another popular pick loses.
Here are the five most popular survivor picks for Week 13 (referencing Data Grid mentioned earlier):
- Las Vegas Raiders @ Jets (31%)
- Minnesota Vikings vs. Jaguars (29%)
- Seattle Seahawks vs. Giants (15%
- Miami Dolphins vs. Bengals (9%)
- Kansas City Chiefs vs. Broncos (6%)
The last piece of the survivor pool puzzle is future value. If you fire off a powerful team in Week 13, you won’t be able to use them later.
According to TeamRankings, here are the top five teams in future value entering this week for a 100-entry standard rules pool:
- Baltimore Ravens (3.6)
- Kansas City Chiefs (3.0)
- Pittsburgh Steelers (2.3)
- New Orleans Saints (2.2)
- Green Bay Packers (2.0)
Note: The numbers in parentheses are a proprietary rating of future value found in the TeamRankings Data Grid, which is also impacted by factors such as pool size.