Oddsmakers cleaned up last weekend with underdogs once again creating chaos. The NFL Week 13 schedule features seven games with spreads of seven or more points, so there should be more opportunities for upsets and surprises.
Let’s take a look at our best NFL Week 13 upset picks, including complete ATS betting analysis.
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NFL Week 13 Upset Picks
Tampa Bay vs. Atlanta
The Buccaneers (8-3) are defending Super Bowl Champions and quarterback Tom Brady owns the Falcons historically, covering eight of his last nine games against them. Tampa Bay won and covered the first meeting between these two earlier this season, 48-25, as 13.5-point favorites. So, what would lead us to back Atlanta in this matchup?
Well, the score of the first head-to-head encounter this season is a bit misleading. Atlanta trailed just 28-25 after three quarters before Matt Ryan threw two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns that put the game out of reach. However, the Falcons still outgained the Buccaneers in that one. If they can do so again, they are likely to have a tremendous opportunity to cover. After all, the first meeting with the Falcons is the only time in four tries this season that Tampa Bay has won a game by more than seven points while also getting outgained.
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Ryan entered the 2021 season at 47-41 ATS in his career in the underdog role, including 13-6 ATS as a home underdog. Double-digit dogs are just 12-11 ATS this season, but when at home, they are a perfect 4-0 ATS. That short list includes the Jets and Jaguars who both won games outright. The list also boasts Washington, which beat this same Tampa team outright as a 10-point underdog.
For Tampa Bay, this game could be looked at as a bit of a sandwich spot. They pulled victory from the jaws of defeat last week at Indianapolis and now could get caught glancing ahead to upcoming home games against Buffalo and New Orleans. Even with Brady at the helm, it’s difficult to imagine some of these Bucs getting fully up for a road trip to Atlanta here, setting up the potential letdown.
Tampa Bay is just 1-6 ATS in its last seven games as road favorites and failed to cover both opportunities it had in the second of consecutive road games this season. The Bucs were favored by six or more in both of those, yet won one by two points and lost the other outright as double-digit favorites.
Matt Ryan to Rusell Gage for 6️⃣! @AtlantaFalcons lead 21-3. #DirtyBirds
📺: #ATLvsJAX on CBS
📱: NFL app pic.twitter.com/0vR32xJSeS
— NFL (@NFL) November 28, 2021
Revisiting the letdown angle, Tampa is just 1-4 ATS in its last five games following an ATS victory and has lost four straight ATS on the road against an opponent with a losing home record. The Bucs have also covered just one of their last five games after piling up 31 or more points in their previous outing.
Buccaneers vs. Falcons Pick
Look for Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians to dip to 9-14 ATS off a win, 5-10 ATS against divisional opponents, 13-18 ATS as favorites, and 3-9 ATS after scoring 35 or more previously in his time with the Bucs. His guys have already failed to cover any of their previous three chances this season after piling up 35 or more prior.
Our Pick: Atlanta +11
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Indianapolis vs. Houston
The Indianapolis Colts suffered yet another difficult defeat last weekend in a game they led late. Now they find themselves on the outside looking in for an AFC playoff spot. Indy must travel to Houston and get up for a game against a Texans team the Colts already mauled by a 31-3 margin earlier this season.
With a long-awaited bye week looming next for the Colts and games against New England and Arizona to follow, we have to wonder what product Indianapolis brings to the field here. After all, Jonathan Taylor has handled the ball at least 19 times in six straight games and leads all active backs in carries this season. Wouldn’t this be a logical spot to spread the wealth a bit and focus more on getting a win and keeping key guys healthy than on covering an immense road spread?
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As mentioned above, home underdogs of 10 or more are a perfect 4-0 ATS this season. Houston has contributed one of those ATS victories when it covered a 17-point spot against the Rams on this same field. In fact, Houston should be immensely comfortable in this role, as the Texans have been spotted eight or more points eight other times already in 2021. They are just 4-4 ATS in those games, but they are 3-1 ATS when those spreads sit between 10 and 17 points. The Texans have also covered both of its spreads between 10 and 20 points since Indy blew them out back in Week 6.
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Speaking of that loss, Indy only outgained the Texans by 25 yards in that one and Houston was playing without Tyrod Taylor under center. We like the Texans’ ability to compete far better with Taylor than the rookie Davis Mills, who played in the first head-to-head meeting. Taylor has a higher QBR than Mills and protects the football better, which is critical against the ball-hawking Colts defense.
.@TyrodTaylor dials up the deep ball to @BrandinCooks!
40-yard Texans TD.
📺: #NYJvsHOU on CBS
📱: NFL app pic.twitter.com/qarP1QfaL4
— NFL (@NFL) November 28, 2021
Taylor also has the ability to make plays with his legs, something that has given Indy trouble at points this season.
Houston will be bolstered by its current six-game cover streak following a SU loss as a favorite, as well as its run of six covers in its last eight after an ATS defeat. The Texans have won four of their last five ATS as a home underdog. They have covered four of their last five against division foes, too, with the previous Indy loss being the only blemish, which sets up a solid revenge spot here.
On the other sideline, the Colts are just 2-5 ATS in their last seven games against the AFC South. Indianapolis has also limped to a 2-5 ATS record in its last seven games as favorites. In fact, Frank Reich’s guys had covered just one of their last seven games as favorites of more than seven points entering this season.
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Colts vs. Texans Pick
Speaking of Reich, he entered this season just 10-13 ATS when facing a revenge-minded opponent, including a brutal 1-8 ATS record when that foe has a losing record. Quarterback Carson Wentz entered the season at just 13-20 ATS in his career on the road, as well as 11-20 ATS off a SU loss. With both guys consistently performing poorly in these roles, it truly makes it feel like this is a spot where Houston can keep this one close enough to snag a cover on its own field.
Our Pick: Houston +10
Denver vs. Kansas City
If Denver wanted to pick a time to finally show up against Kansas City, this would be the time to do it. While Kansas City has won four straight to take charge of the AFC West and get back into the good graces of the betting public, Denver has quietly won three of its last four and sit just a game behind the Chiefs for the division lead. In fact, a victory here would not only end a run of 11 straight head-to-head wins by Kansas City, but it would also jump Denver ahead of the Chiefs by virtue of the head-to-head tiebreaker.
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However, it’s abundantly clear that the Broncos don’t need to win this game in order for Denver to cover this generous spread, which has reached double digits at a few online sportsbooks. With this game getting flexed into the Sunday Night Football spot, we do expect the Broncos to show well. After all, they are 9-4 ATS as underdogs on Sunday Night Football and have covered 13 of 20 in that primetime spot against an opponent entering off a SU win.
While Patrick Mahomes has been relegated to a borderline game manager recently, at least compared to the guy we had seen the last few seasons, the playing field has been leveled a bit for Denver’s Teddy Bridgewater. He has covered over 90 percent of his career games as a road underdog. Denver head coach Vic Fangio entered 2021 with a 9-1 ATS record after a division game and leads a team that has lost just seven of its last 25 ATS on the road against a team that averages over 4.3 rushing yards per carry.
We're hungry. We're resilient.
And we're not going away. pic.twitter.com/R2uMHgZAFi
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) November 30, 2021
Kansas City does have the benefit of entering off a bye. We all know Andy Reid’s incredible win percentage after a week off, but winning and covering this huge number are two different animals. The Chiefs are just 6-15 ATS in their last 21 games as favorites, including 1-5 ATS in their last six as home favorites. In fact, Kansas City has dropped five straight ATS as favorites in the second of back-to-back home games.
And, despite its current win streak, KC is just 4-13 ATS in its last 17 games following a SU victory and only 1-5 ATS in its last six after an ATS win. The Chiefs have also only covered two of their last 12 at home and one of their last five against the AFC West.
Broncos vs. Chiefs Pick
The Broncos are 5-1 ATS in their last six during that chunk of season when playing with revenge. With the road team having covered six of the last seven in this head-to-head and 12 of 15 in that role dating back to 2013, we expect a lot of fight from Denver here in primetime in a season-defining game.
Our Pick: Denver +10
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