Week 13 NFL Pointspread Picks

Last week: 11-5.  Season totals: 93-82-1, Pct. .531.  Best Bets: 16-20, Pct. .444.

Home team in capital letters; point spreads (opening line) in parentheses after underdog team; selections with point spreads in bold.


BUFFALO 17 (+1), N.Y. Jets 10 - If the Jets couldn't beat the Bills at home with a fully healthy first-string quarterback, then why should they beat them on the road with a banged-up (albeit listed as probable) first-string quarterback?  What's more, the retractable roof in Toronto, where this game is actually being played, is almost certain to be closed, and the Jets are 4-8 straight up indoors since 1998.


PITTSBURGH 20, Oakland 3 (+14) - This is stop number two on Bruce Gradkowski's Deja Vu All Over Again Tour: Gradkowski has started at Heinz Field before - exactly three years ago to the week (2006, Week 13); and in that game, Jon Gruden had the Buccaneers kick a field goal on the last play of the game to evade a shutout in a 20-3 Pittsburgh win.  That just might happen again - verbatim.

N.Y. GIANTS 24, Dallas 6 (+1) - It's December - and we all know what that means: Time for Tony Romo's annual meltdown!  He's 2-11 against the spread lifetime in December, and in the four of those games that were played at cold-weather venues, his passer rating is 50.6.  Almost too easy - especially with this game being in the late time slot.

WASHINGTON 23 (+9 1/2), New Orleans 22 - I can hear you laughing now - but do you recall how much you also laughed at my picking Tampa Bay outright over Green Bay four weeks ago, and Oakland outright over Cincinnati two weeks ago, both as 9 1/2-point home underdogs?  But the Saints will find having to play outdoors, on natural grass, and in cold weather, all in the same game, to be no laughing matter - they're 3-10 in such "Triple Witching Hour" games dating back to 1996.  Big balloons!

CAROLINA 14, Tampa Bay 10 (+6 1/2) - Is the chipped bone in Jake Delhomme's finger the reason for his being sidelined, or merely the excuse?  Take the points.

Philadelphia 16, ATLANTA 13 (+6) - Would you trade Matt Ryan for DeSean Jackson?  Well that's in effect what is being done here; and since the Eagles suddenly enjoy winning close games, all signs point to yet another such outcome, with the aforementioned injuries (along with those to both Michael Turner and Brian Westbrook) making "under" 44 an even safer investment than Atlanta plus six.

JACKSONVILLE 24, Houston 17 (+1) - With not much else to go on, you can always side with the team that has already beaten a division rival on the road and now faces them at home.

MIAMI 27 (+5), New England 23 - Let the Patriots prove they can actually win a game in the other team's building before giving points on them to do so.

CINCINNATI 21, Detroit 6 (+13) - A highly interesting, if hardly surprising, trend is unfolding: After going 7-0 against the spread the first two weeks of November, warm-weather and dome teams playing at northern outdoor sites went 4-2 the next two weeks, then 0-2 last week.  And besides "boasting" the NFL's longest-active road losing streak at 17 games, the Lions are 5-12 against the line in them, non-covering in each of the last six.

INDIANAPOLIS 24, Tennessee 20 (+7) - Would you believe that six of Indy's eleven wins have been by four points or less?  And the Titans can't possibly make the playoffs after starting 0-6 - can they?

CHICAGO 27, St. Louis 7 (+9) - In front of 25,000 fans at Soldier Field, 15,000 of them wearing paper bags over the heads, the Bears put an emphatic end to their losing streak.

Denver 23, KANSAS CITY 10 (+4) - With San Diego already "in the clubhouse" at 5-1 within the division, the Broncos must win all three of their remaining AFC West games, else they lose the tie-breaker; and while Jamaal Charles has been productive running the ball for the Chiefs since they relieved themselves of Larry Johnson, he matches up far less favorably against the Denver defense than Johnson would have.

San Diego 26, CLEVELAND 3 (+13) - Someone else besides Eric Mangini (and GM George Kokinis, who has already gotten the boot) needs to lose their job in connection with this year's Browns - and that is whoever "thought" to give a team coming off a four-win season and calling all but ground zero in the worst economic downturn in 70 years home, four of their last five games at home.

SEATTLE 27, San Francisco 20 (+1) - Everybody is saying that there's "something" missing in Houston, but can't specify what it is.  Not so with San Francisco, where the "something" that is missing stands out like a proverbial sore thumb - and as if to highlight that, the 49ers are 13-30 straight up on artificial turf since Steve Young retired.

Minnesota 16, ARIZONA 10 (+4) - Last Wednesday, Kurt Warner took all the snaps with the first-team offense in practice, and didn't play Sunday.  This Wednesday, he took only half the snaps with the first-team offense in practice - and if I am right about the big upset in D.C., you can double the bet on Minnesota.


GREEN BAY 31, Baltimore 13 (+3) - But even then the bet on Minnesota shouldn't even be half the size of the bet on Green Bay in this one: While Aaron Rodgers and Joe Flacco are pretty close in talent, there the offensive equivalency between these two teams ends abruptly - and the continuous ex-Browns/Ravens franchise last beat the Packers on the road in the year in which the movie Back to the Future was set: 1955 (since then: 0-6 with an average defeat margin of 18, rounded to the nearest point).