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Columns - Magazine

The Gambling Solution: Week 13

by Jeff Baldwin
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Both Jeremy and Jeff started with a 1,000 unit bankroll as they go head to head all season long.


Jeff went 1-3 last week as he came up empty on the Steelers, Buccaneers and under Broncos/Patriots.  His only winner came on the Vikings.  Jeff finished the week minus 60 units.  Jeremy dropped his selections as he fell short on the Cardinals, Jaguars, Giants and over Buccaneers/Colts.  Jeremy finished the week down 120 units.  Jeff was able to extend his season-long lead to 130 units.  Can Jeff build on his lead during the five weeks remaining in our season-long contest?  Let's get to the picks for Week 13.


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Jeff Baldwin

Record: 30-22

Units: 1,310


Jeremy Wardwell

Record: 29-23

Units: 1,180


Jets (-2) at Giants - 35 units
The Giants came off their bye week flat last week as they fell to the Redskins 20-14.  The Jets snapped their two-game losing streak as they defeated the Dolphins at home 38-20.  The Giants squandered a golden opportunity to extend their lead in the NFC East.  They now look to get back on track as they face a solid Jets team.  QB Eli Manning played poorly last week.  He woke up in the fourth quarter as he led his team to two touchdowns, but by that time it was too late.  I expect Manning to play better here as he'll most likely catch a break as indications are that CB Darrelle Revis will sit for the second straight week recovering from a concussion.  This bodes well for the Giants’ passing game.  WR Odell Beckham will be the primary beneficiary as he'll be targeted heavily in this matchup.  Beckham comes off a nine catch 142 yard receiving day with a touchdown versus the Redskins.  The Giants will need to do a better job running the football after a dismal effort last week as they managed only 33 rushing yards.  As for the Giants defensively, they'll need to contain RB Chris Ivory.  They can't afford to allow Ivory to pick up big chunks of yards on the ground.  The Giants will also need to do a good job defending the pass as WR Brandon Marshall and WR Eric Decker have been producing on a consistent basis almost every game this season.  The Giants don't do anything easy as we expected a better performance last week coming off a bye and given the importance of the game.  It seems after a poor performance they usually respond with a much better performance with QB Eli Manning behind center.  Look for the Giants to bounce back here and get the outright win.  The Giants are 19-7 ATS in their last 26 games versus the AFC East. 
Pick: New York Giants +2

Texans (+3) at Bills - 25 units
The Houston Texans enter Week 13 as one of the hottest teams in the NFL outside of Carolina, having won their last four games. The Buffalo Bills come into this week continuing their inconsistent play losing two in a row and four of their last six. They will look to turn it around against a Texans’ defense that has given up just 35 points during the winning streak. Led by J.J. Watt, the Texans have forced 10 turnovers over that time and sacked the quarterback 12 times. Offensively, QB Brian Hoyer returned after missing Week 11 with a concussion to throw two touchdowns while managing the game and allowing his defense to dominate. He and WR DeAndre Hopkins will look to take advantage of a Bills’ secondary that has been vulnerable all year giving up 20 passing touchdowns while ranking in the bottom third in passing yards allowed. Hopkins has been nearly unstoppable as he has amassed more than 1,000 yards receiving along with nine touchdowns. On the other side of the ball, the Bills’ offense will lean on LeSean McCoy to lead the rushing attack as Karlos Williams is expected to miss this game with a shoulder injury. Houston ranks third in pass defense and QB Tyrod Taylor will struggle to repeat the 290 yard three touchdown performance he had last week. Taylor has been dealing with a shoulder injury suffered in a loss to the Patriots and while he is expected to play, it could be a factor if the Texans are able to get pressure and hit him often. This game has significant playoff implications as the Bills need a win to stay in the wild card conversation and the Texans look to maintain their place atop the AFC South. Buffalo is never an easy place to play, especially in December, but injuries to the Bills’ defense will make this a close game. I like the Texans to stay hot and Hopkins to have 100 yards receiving and at least one touchdown as they keep it within the number and have a very real shot at the outright win.
Pick: Houston Texans +3

Seahawks at Vikings (Pick) - 35 units
The Seahawks were in a high-scoring contest last week against the Steelers as a late touchdown catch by WR Doug Baldwin sealed the win.  The Vikings rebounded nicely after their home loss to the Packers as they went on the road to Atlanta and defeated the Falcons 20-10.  The Vikings currently sit alone atop the NFC North standings at 8-3.  The Seahawks now travel to Minnesota looking for their third straight win as they continue their quest for a berth in the playoffs.  I think this is a great matchup for the Seahawks as their strength in stopping the run feeds right into the Vikings’ strength.  The Seahawks are ranked fifth in the league against the run as they only give up 92.9 yards/game on the ground.  They can't afford any slip-ups in this matchup as they face RB Adrian Peterson and the number one ranked rushing team in the league that averages 146.4 yards/game.  If the Vikings can't find success running the football, they'll be forced to throw the football which is something they don't do well.  They are ranked close to last in the league in the passing yards per game at 187.  The Seahawks’ secondary can shut down any attempt the Vikings may take in moving the ball through the air.  Offensively, QB Russell Wilson has been playing much better of late as he comes off a five touchdown performance against the Steelers.  Wilson will have his work cut out for him against a Vikings team that plays well against the pass.  Look for the Seahawks’ offense to attack the Vikings on the ground with RB Thomas Rawls.  I can also see Wilson picking up key first downs with his scrambling ability.  In the end, I think this matchup fits nicely for the Seahawks as they'll put together a solid all-around performance and get the road win.  The Seahawks are 8-1 ATS in their last nine games in December.  Expect that trend to continue on Sunday.
Pick: Seattle Seahawks (Pick)
Panthers (-7) at Saints - 35 units

After rolling over the Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day to remain undefeated, the Carolina Panthers travel to New Orleans to take on the 4-7 Saints who already have an eye towards the 2016 season. The Saints have lost three in a row after their 24-6 loss to the Texans in a game in which they gained less than 275 yards. QB Drew Brees has struggled recently and could be without one of his primary targets as WR Willie Snead missed practice with a calf injury and is questionable for Sunday's game. His absence will allow top Carolina CB Josh Norman to focus on WR Brandin Cooks. Any limitation of the Saints offense against the Panthers will make an already difficult task more so. Carolina is giving up less than 19 points per game and has held their last three opponents to 16 or less. When they are on offense, the Panthers, clearly led by Cam Newton, have developed other options to keep opposing defenses on their toes. RB Jonathan Stewart is averaging 75 yards per game and takes some of the pressure off Newton. While they lead the league in rushing attempts, Newton can go to the air to his reliable TE Greg Olsen along with rookie WR Devin Funchess who has seen his targets increase the last four games and will continue to be more involved moving forward. New Orleans is giving up more than 30 points per game and despite changing defensive coordinators will still struggle to contain Newton and the Panthers’ offense. Carolina is 9-2 ATS this season while the Saints are 4-6-1. Playing at home won't be enough to help the Saints in this one. Look for Carolina to keep rolling using their superior defense and quarterback.  
Pick: Carolina Panthers -7

Falcons at Buccaneers (-2) - 30 units
The Falcons dropped their fourth straight game as they fell to the Vikings 20-10.  After a 6-1 start, this team currently stands at 6-5 looking to make a push for a Wild Card.  The Buccaneers fell to the Colts 25-12 as they were unable to extend their winning streak to three games.  The Falcons haven't played well over the last month, but I think this is a matchup that lines up in their favor.  QB Matt Ryan will need to get WR Julio Jones involved early and often as he'll be able to take advantage of a Buccaneers’ secondary that is susceptible to the pass.  The return of RB Devonta Freeman will give this offense a nice boost as Freeman will find room to run on this Tampa defense.  The loss of Freeman has had a big impact on this offense in all facets.  As for the Falcons defensively, they'll need to contain RB Doug Martin.  Martin has been running the ball well of late so the Falcons can't afford to allow this to continue.  The Falcons’ secondary will also have their hands full with wide receivers Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans.  When these two teams met earlier in the year the Buccaneers came away with a three point victory at Atlanta.  The Falcons will be looking for revenge here as they face a critical game.  The Falcons need to end this losing skid if they have any hopes of making a playoff run.  Even though the Falcons haven't looked like the team that started off this season, I think they come up with a big effort here as Freeman will give this team a big boost on the offensive side of the ball.  Look for the Falcons to pull away in the second half and get the outright win in Tampa.
Pick: Atlanta Falcons +2

Bengals (-9.5) at Browns - 40 units
The Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns renew acquaintances in an AFC North matchup at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Browns are coming off a brutal loss on Monday Night when the Ravens returned a blocked field goal for the game-winning touchdown as time expired. Adding injury to insult, the team also lost starting quarterback Josh McCown for the year to a broken collarbone. He will be replaced by Austin Davis who hasn't started a game since Week 9 last year. Davis will have his hands full against the Bengals’ defense that is giving up less than 18 points per game.  Cincinnati has one of the best pass rushes in the league and will pressure Davis all day as he plays behind an offensive line that has given up the most sacks (39) in the league. He won't get much help from his running game. The Browns are averaging 3.4 yards per carry and rank last in rushing yards. Meanwhile, the Bengals are coming off a 31-7 thumping of the Rams. In that game, QB Andy Dalton threw three touchdown passes, two to WR A.J. Green, and the rushing attack had 140 yards. I'm looking for Dalton and the Bengals’ offense to have another big game in this one. The Browns are giving up more than 400 total yards per game and rank dead last in rushing yards allowed. When these teams met in Week 9, the Bengals won 31-10 and rushed for 152 yards while Dalton connected with TE Tyler Eifert for three touchdowns. Eifert is questionable for this one having yet to practice this week due to a pinched nerve in his neck he suffered last week. Even without Eifert, the Bengals have enough talent on both sides of the ball to win this game. They are 9-1 ATS while Cleveland is 2-8. I like Cincinnati to win this game comfortably and cover the 9.5.
Pick: Cincinnati Bengals -9.5

Panthers at Saints (Total: 49 points) - 20 units
The Panthers continued their tremendous season as they dominated the Cowboys on Thanksgiving 33-14 as they moved to 11-0 on the season.  The Saints dropped their third straight game as they fell to the Texans in Houston 24-6.  They now return home to take on the undefeated Panthers.  QB Cam Newton should have no problem moving the football on a very vulnerable Saints’ defense.  He'll continue to spread the football around like he has all season.  Expect his favorite target TE Greg Olsen to see a lot of balls thrown his way as he'll get into the end zone at least once on Sunday.  When Newton isn't throwing the football, he'll be handing it off to RB Jonathan Stewart.  Stewart has been productive on the ground and there's a strong chance he scores this weekend.  The Saints put up a lackluster performance on the road in Houston.  I expect them to play better as they always do in their stadium.  They'll have to be firing on all cylinders if they hope to keep this game close with the Panthers.  QB Drew Brees missed their matchup earlier this season so he'll be looking to put an end to the Panthers’ perfect season.  I expect Brees to play well here as I think this game is closer than people think.  The Saints need to establish a running game with RB Mark Ingram which will free up some passing lanes for Brees.  I think this game has all the making of a shootout with both teams making big plays in the passing game.  Look for this game to go over the posted total as this game will have plenty of big plays on the offensive side of the ball.
Pick: Over 49
Eagles at Patriots (Total: 49.5 points) - 20 units
The New England Patriots host the Philadelphia Eagles one week after suffering their first loss of the season to the Denver Broncos. The Eagles are coming off a 45-14 beat down at the hands of the Lions on Thanksgiving. The Patriots are one of the best offenses in the league when fully healthy but they are currently dealing with injuries to several key players. TE Rob Gronkowski and WR Julian Edelman will miss this game. WR Danny Amendola is expected to play but just how effective he is remains to be seen after straining his knee a couple weeks ago. New England will be able to move the ball as the Eagles don't possess a particularly strong defense. They are giving up 25 points and nearly 400 yards per game. Even against that unit, I don't expect the Patriots to reach their season average of 32 points with the players currently available. Philly has scored less than 20 points in each of their last three games against defenses less talented than the Patriots who are expecting DE Jamie Collins to return after he missed the last three weeks with an illness. New England is allowing 19 points per game and will put heavy pressure on whoever starts at quarterback for the Eagles. Sam Bradford has cleared the concussion protocol and has been practicing all week but a final decision may not come until this weekend.  The Patriots’ defense will keep the Eagles’ receivers in check and force them to rely on the running game to keep the Patriots' offense off the field as much as possible. Regardless of who starts at quarterback for Philly, I don't see them putting up enough points to push this game over the posted total of 49.5.
Pick: Under 49.5

Editor's note: Both Jeremy and Jeff started with 1,000 units as they go head to head all season long.

You can follow Jeff on Twitter @JeffBaldwin4 and Jeremy @jdwardwell5.

Jeff Baldwin
Jeff Baldwin has written Rotoworld's 'Gambling Solution' on Season Pass since 2011. He can be found on Twitter @JeffBaldwin4.