David Kaplan’s Weekly Football Picks: Upsets In Houston & Jacksonville?

David Kaplan

Friday, November 30, 2018 2:08 PM UTC

Friday, Nov. 30, 2018 2:08 PM UTC

Chicago sports radio & TV legend David Kaplan has joined Sportsbook Review and was 2-3 on his football picks last week. Here are Uncle Kappy's Fab Five for NFL Week 13.

Kaplan season record: 33-29-1

We are now starting to look at playoff positioning in the NFL, and as hard as it is to believe we are at the conference championship game stage in college football. That means some teams are going to pull out all the stops to win while many others might prefer a loss to improve their draft position. There are some really intriguing wagering opportunities in the NFL, including teams that may have struggled mightily but are getting a bigger than expected amount of points. With that plan in mind, here we go.

Baltimore Ravens at Atlanta Falcons (-125 Money Line)

I told you early in the season that one of the most important things I look at when I handicap an NFL game is the quality of each team's offensive and defensive lines. Another, obviously, is the matchup at quarterback. In this game I give Atlanta a major edge there with Matt Ryan at this point well ahead of Baltimore rookie signal-caller Lamar Jackson. Add in these numbers: Matt Ryan is 11-3-1 ATS as a home underdog, which the Falcons opened as and still are at a few of SBR's top-rated sportsbooks. He is also 5-0 straight up and ATS vs. .600 or less competition. The Ravens are 2-9 ATS in their last 11 NFC battles. Play this game on the money line. The Falcons should win by 6-10 points.

Carolina Panthers (-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Panthers were rolling, and now they are struggling with their playoff hopes in danger of being vanquished. However, I have a stat to calm all of the Carolina backers’ frayed nerves. Cam Newton is 7-0 straight up and 6-1 ATS during the second half of the season against losing opponents who are coming off of a win. Add in that the Bucs are 0-5 ATS in the last five matchups in this series, and I am all in on the Panthers winning and winning comfortably. Also, did you know that Newton has NEVER lost in his NFL career in December when his team was coming off of a loss. Panthers win by 10 or more.

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Week 13 ATS Plays#NFL #BettingTipshttps://t.co/rDnyygcRnP

— SBR Sports Picks (@SBRSportsPicks) November 27, 2018
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Chicago Bears (-4) at New York Giants

Some of the sharps in Las Vegas will be on the Giants because history says that backup quarterbacks in their second consecutive start don't fare as well as they may have in their first start of the season. While I understand that Chase Daniel is a backup for a reason, I also think his understanding of Matt Nagy's system is better than most other backups have in whatever system they play in. Also, not many of those teams have a defense as dominant as the Bears. Add in the sense of urgency the Bears feel as they play for a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs, and I do not see the Giants pulling the upset here. Lay the points as the Bears win their sixth straight game and get ready to host the LA Rams next Sunday night in one of the biggest games Bears fans have seen in a long time. Bears cover this number.

Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars (+4)

All of the numbers favor the Colts who arrive in Jacksonville on a five-game win streak. However, with the Jags having made a change at quarterback by benching Blake Bortles and starting Cody Kessler as well as firing their offensive coordinator, I think the Jaguars will come out energized. Add in that the spread on this exact matchup was Jacksonville -10 just a year ago and I will take the value on the Jaguars. Yes, they are not playing well, but they also have had their pride wounded. When my friend @BeatTheBookz (who by the way is a great follow on Twitter) told me that Jacksonville is his play of the year that clinched it for me. Take the points. The play is Jacksonville.

Cleveland Browns (+5.5) at Houston Texans

Yes, I am well aware that the Texans are smoking hot and that they have won eight straight games. I also know that the Browns are playing much better football since they made a coaching change. I also know that quarterback Baker Mayfield has been a much better player since the Browns changed not only their head coach but their offensive coordinator. Mayfield has put up the best passer rating in the NFL since the coaching change. I am taking the points and playing the Browns. They can win this game outright. Yes, I just said that. Take the points. The play is Cleveland.

Kaplan hosts a daily radio show in Chicago on ESPN 1000 (WMVP-AM) from 9 a.m. to noon local time and a daily TV show on NBC Sports Chicago at 6 p.m. He hosts Cubs pregame and postgame shows on the same network. He’s a college basketball TV analyst for the Atlantic 10, the Missouri Valley Conference and the Horizon League. And he wrote a book on the Cubs’ rebuild & championship.

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