After a thrilling college football championship weekend, we move on to week 13 of the 2022 NFL season, highlighted by the return of Deshaun Watson and several intriguing matchups across Sunday afternoon. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs travel to Cincinnati to take on a fellow championship contender in Joe Burrow and the Bengals. Let’s continue our NFL odds series with a prediction on the best bets of Week 13!
All NFL odds courtesy of FanDuel.
Steelers – Falcons
Steelers -1 (-105)
Kenny Pickett has been showing signs of progress of late, and I expect this to continue. Pickett has done a much better job protecting the football recently, and that is arguably the most important job of a quarterback, taking care of the ball. The Steelers’ young offense has also done a much better job of moving the ball between the 20s and just has to continue improving in the red zone. One way to make this improvement is to utilize George Pickens and Pat Freiermuth more, two big, physical targets with a big catch radius and the ability to consistently come down with contested catches.
Atlanta is also ranked 25th in scoring defense, allowing opponents to put up an average of 24.4 points per game. On paper, the Steelers’ defense is only slightly better, surrendering 23.7 points per game, but this is an entirely different defense when TJ Watt is active, as he will be this week.
Expect Pittsburgh to win this game at least by a field goal, likely by more.
Browns – Texans
Watson Under 237.5 passing yards (-113)
Deshaun Watson has not played a regular season football game since January 2021. The Browns also have a pretty solid rushing attack and are playing a Texans team that, to put it mildly, is not very good.
There are multiple reasons I am bearish on Watson’s performance this week. First, he will likely take some time to shake off the rust, which will negatively impact his overall numbers. Second, the Browns will likely opt to ease him back into the swing of things while relying on the team’s rushing attack to carry the day, which will allow Watson to slowly reacclimate himself to the speed of the NFL game at his own pace, without being forced to do too much and making avoidable mistakes.
The Browns will also likely have a significant lead at halftime, which means that there will be less pressure on Watson to put the team on his shoulders and lead them to victory. A big lead at halftime will allow the Browns to run out the clock in the second half, maybe mixing in a few pass plays here and there for Watson to regain his form. I’m anticipating Watson to throw for anywhere between 170-220 passing yards in this game, with one or maybe two touchdowns as well. I think the running game will easily eclipse 200 total yards, with another 2+ touchdowns on the ground.
Commanders – Giants
Giants moneyline (+108)
I rate this game as a true coin toss if it was being played at a neutral field. However, the Giants have home-field advantage, so I think they should actually be a (very slight) favorite here. Overall, this might not be the most reliable play listed here, but even at slightly plus odds, it is definitely the best value. I’ll take value bets all day, so I’m rolling with the Giants’ moneyline and the slight plus money in this matchup.
Chiefs – Bengals
Chiefs moneyline (-132), Over 52.5 (-110)
The Kansas City Chiefs travel to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals in a game that should not be as close as the books are currently projecting it to be. Both teams have middle-of-the-road defenses and elite offenses. That being said, there is a difference between Kansas City‘s top-ranking offense and Cincinnati’s fifth-ranked offense.
The Chiefs are averaging close to five points per game more than the Bengals, and while Joe Burrow is a great player he’s not quite yet on the same level as Patrick Mahomes.
The Chiefs should win this game, but that’s not my only pick for this matchup. Two elite offenses, led by two superstar quarterbacks, going up against each other in a matchup where both teams have average defenses? Sign me up for the over on this one. Mahomes and Burrow should both show out, but Mahomes will put together the final drive that his team needs to close out the game and walk away with the win.
Final score: Chiefs 35, Bengals 28.