Updated: Dec 13, 2022
We are back for another week of Austin’s locks. We are coming off a 2-4 week, but we are going to bounce back. We are going to break down a divisional matchup in the AFC North, Brady’s homecoming to San Francisco, the SNF football bout between Miami and Los Angeles plus a lot more.
Before we get to the picks, a quick reminder: All picks are presented by the Betfred Sportsbook, where you can bet $50 on any game this weekend and get $250 in free bets. Take advantage of the offer in the Betfred Sportsbook.
We only have five more weeks left in the NFL season, so let’s end the year on a good note.
Baltimore at Pittsburgh
Spread: Pittsburgh -1.5
We've got one of the best division rivalries in the NFL. The Steelers have found their groove going 3-1 over their last four games. Kenny Pickett is starting to come into his own. While the Ravens needed a 97 yard drive in the final minutes to escape Denver.
Looking ahead to this week, Tyler Huntley has moved into the role of a starting quarterback. The Ravens offense has averaged just five yards per play over their last three games. This offense needs a jolt.
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh’s offense has been playing better but they still rank 30th in the NFL in yards per play and are 21st in overall offensive DVOA. I like the Ravens defense in this spot. Kenny Pickett is not at the level where he can exploit a Ravens defense that has allowed the most 20+ yard passes in the NFL.
Pittsburgh’s defense is pretty average ranking 15th in defensive DVOA. I trust Huntley to keep the Ravens offense on schedule. I get the better team as an underdog. So I’ll take Baltimore to this spot.
The pick: Ravens +1.5
New York Jets at Buffalo
Spread: Buffalo (-10)
Josh Allen looks to avenge an earlier season loss to the Jets. That game was Allen’s worst game in the last few seasons, as he threw for just 205 yards and had two interceptions. The Bills are first in the AFC East while the Jets hold the last wildcard spots. New York is 1-1 since inserting Mike White into the starting lineup. The Jets rank fifth in defensive DVOA while Buffalo ranks fifth.
While White has been an improvement at quarterback, I still don’t see this New York offense being explosive in Buffalo. Buffalo is great at generating pressure and will force Mike White into mistakes. The Jets have been a good story, but this is a tough task.
I think Buffalo dominates early so we will take the Bills in the first half to avoid the back door cover. Take the Bills in the first half.
The pick: Bills first half -6
Philadelphia at New York Giants
Spread: Philadelphia (-7)
After a dominating home win against Tennessee, the Eagles moved to the best team in my power rating by a wide margin. They outgained Tennessee by more than 200 yards and had 26 first downs to just 11 for the road team. Jalen Hurts was 29 of 39 for 380 yards and three touchdowns passing in the victory with A.J. Brown was the recipient of two of those TDs.
Looking ahead to this week, I have noticed something about Philly: The Eagles are 1-4 ATS on the road but they are 5-1 at home. They really feed off the Philly crowd.
New York isn’t as good as their record suggests. But they will find success running the ball on the Eagles defense that surrenders 4.6 yards per carry.
The Giants have gone three straight games without win. But I like them in this lone spot here. On paper it looks like a nightmare matchup for New York. The Giants are surrendering 5.1 yards per carry. Now they have to be the best running team in the NFL. The one thing the Giants do extremely well, they get you off the field on third down and they don’t let teams score touchdowns in the red zone. New York ranks fifth in the NFL in third down conversion percentage and 6th in red zone touchdown percentage. With the home crowd behind them, I like New York to make timely stops.
This is going to be a back and forth game. I like New York to cover here. I can see the Eagles sneaking out of Meadowlands with a 23-20 win.
But that’s still a Giants cover.
The pick: Giants (+7)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Francisco 49ers
Spread: San Francisco (-3.5)
Let me be square for a second, Tom Brady is an underdog against Brock Purdy??
Now to be clear, Purdy filled in serviceably against Miami after Jimmy Garoppolo went out. And there is a lot of talent surrounding Purdy. We know the 49ers have the better overall roster. Christian McCaffery had 146 yards from scrimmage last week. There is a lot of talent surrounding Purdy.
But, the Bucs defense is a huge step up from Miami. Tampa Bay ranks eighth overall in DVOA. The run defense is coming back into form. They are going to make Purdy beat them.
Offensively, Tampa has admittedly been a complete mess. There is no justification to hype them up against San Francisco’s defense that ranks second overall in DVOA. But this Tom Brady we are talking about here. He’s going to find a way to get it done in a must win contest. I like Tampa to at least keep it close.
The pick: Tampa Bay (+3.5)
Kansas City at Denver
Spread: Kansas City (-9.5)
The first meeting between Russell Wilson and Patrick Mahomes with the two as AFC West rivals, isn’t the same matchup TV executives anticipated when they put together the schedule in the preseason. As a matter of fact, the game was flexed out of the Sunday Night Football slot.
On paper, this looks to be an easy Kansas City win. When the public is down on the game, I like to go the opposite. Approximately, 60 percent of the overall tickets are on the under here.
So let’s zag and take over.
Denver has a great defense. They get pressure on the quarterback. They rank second in the NFL in scoring defense. They are the unit that has kept Denver in games. But Mahomes has torched this defense in the past and KC and Denver have gone over three of the past four meetings.
And finally, this is the right game for Russell Wilson. Nathaniel Hackett has to pull out all the stops here. Kansas City ranked 26th in pass DAVAO and we finally see the game Russ cooks.
Taking a Denver over seems scary. I think we see a ton of points at Mile High on Sunday.
The pick: Over 44
Miami Dolphins at Los Angeles Chargers
Spread: Miami (-3)
The Chargers are underdogs at home once again. Everyone is picking Miami here. Every analyst, every sharp one has Miami. They are holding their CLV Miami -1 ticket.
They think it’s an automatic bet, wrong.
The Chargers and Dolphins are both coming off losses. Miami stayed on the West Coast practicing at the UCLA practice facilities this week. Miami should find success against the run game. The Chargers run defense had one of their better performances playing against this same scheme in San Francisco. Already seeing this zone run scheme is going to help the Chargers defense.
Meanwhile, Mike Williams is back for Los Angeles and Miami ranks 23rd in pass DVOA. There is going to be tons of scoring here. This is a must win game for the Bolts. We are going to see the Chargers best performance here. Justin Herbert is going to show why he is an elite quarterback.
Give me the Bolts as home underdogs.
The pick: Chargers +3
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