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NFL LA Chargers

Free NFL Expert Picks: Match Week 13 Preview


Electric Chargers primed for Playoff Preview

The NFL season enters week 13 following an exciting Thanksgiving round.

A mere five weeks remain until the post-season, which means every game from here on in has ramifications on playoff positions.

With plenty of storylines to play out and division titles on the line, we've handpicked the three games of the round and identified the best bet for each fixture.

 

Denver Broncos @ Cincinnati Bengals

NFL Betting Odds: Broncos $1.45 (-5.0) / Bengals $2.85 (+5.0)

The beginning of December often sees a dark horse charge into playoff contention and the signs point towards the Denver Broncos this season.

After a poor performance against the mediocre New York Jets in Week 5, most experts and fans put a line through them.

Since then however, the Broncos have had one of the hardest schedules in the league following games against Kansas City (twice), Rams, Texans, Chargers and Steelers.

They achieved a record of 3-3 during this stretch, with each game decided by less than 7 points including two last minute defeats (vs Texans and Chiefs).

If they had managed to turn those two gut-wrenching losses into victories, they'd be sitting alongside the Chargers in a playoff position, rather than languishing mid-table with a .500 record.

Denver come into this match-up looking to make it three in-a-row, with their attack starting to kick into gear. 

Undrafted and signed only during practice camp, rookie running back Phillip Lindsay has been crucial to Denver's success over the past month.

His MVP performance against Pittsburgh last week was a season highlight, where he rushed for 110 yards in the Broncos' nail-biting win.

In ominous signs to opposing sides, Denver have also started to show glimpses of the same tenacity and hunger in their pass rush defence that saw them clinch the 2015/16 Superbowl. 

Von Miller looks his old self and has been leading from the front, with 10.5 sacks this campaign. 

On the other hand, the Bengals have faded out of playoff contention.

They were dominated by the Browns last week and to compound their worries, they have lost their franchise QB Andy Dalton for the season.

The return of wide receiver AJ Green should be noted as a huge boost for their attack, but their defence is unlikely to hold Denver down.

Over the past five games, Cincinnati defence have leaked 34 points or more per game.

There is just such little confidence in this team at the moment and it's difficult to back them with any confidence. Another loss looms.

NFL Betting Statistics Key NFL Betting Statistics

  • Denver currently has the third best defence in the league
  • Denver has the third best rush attack in the league (9th overall for attack)
  • Bengals are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games on home ground and 1-5 ATS in their last six games overall

 

NFL Betting Tip Free NFL Expert Pick: Denver to cover the -5.0 line @ 1.92

Reasoning: Besides being on their home ground, very little else is going in favour of the Bengals.

Denver will be eager to start December on the front foot and make their charge towards the playoffs.

Expect an even contest for the first half, with Denver's defence proving too strong in the end to ensure they run out convincing victors. 

 

Minnesota Vikings @ New England Patriots

NFL Betting Odds: Vikings $3.00 (+5.0) / Patriots $1.41 (-5.0)

The Patriots continued their trend of rebounding strongly off a loss last week, comfortably winning and covering the line against the Jets.

Tom Brady doesn't seem to be showing any signs of slowing down with another efficient display, completing 20/31 passes for 283 yards and two scores.

Rookie running back Sony Michel continues to have a bright season and he's now rushed for over 580 yards this season, with 5 touchdowns.

Ignoring the unexpected Week 10 blowout against the Titans, New England's defence has been steady in recent weeks.

The Jets were limited to just 74 rushing yards and only 6.1 yards per passing attempt.

The number two seed in the AFC is coming to boiling point and the Pats simply can't afford a loss here, especially at home.

If the Vikings are any chance to feature in the NFC Championship game, they must learn to win on the road.

They boast an unflattering record of 2-2-1 and if they remain in their fifth seed conference position, their playoff campaign will take place in opposition team venues.

The Vikings have a horror record against the Patriots, losing their past four encounters and yet to taste victory in New England since 2000.

A Minnesota victory would certainly throw a spanner in the works for both conferences, but its hard to envision anything but a Pats win here. 

 

NFL Betting Statistics Key NFL Betting Statistics

  • Adam Thielen re-emerged last week to record his ninth 100 yard recieving game of the year, a Vikings Team record.
  • Minnesota are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games against a team with a winning record and 2-6-1 ATS in their last 9 games following a win.
  • New England are 4-1 at the moneyline in their last 5 games against a team with a winning record.
  • The away team is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings between these two teams.

 

NFL Betting Tip Free NFL Expert Pick: Over 48.5 total match points @ 1.92 

Reasoning: Despite their average form on the road this season, the Vikings possess all the pieces to head into New England and walk away with the win.

Kirk Cousins is in great form this season, throwing for 342 yards and three touchdown last week against the Packers. 

History shows us to never back against Brady and his Pats however, especially at home against Minnesota.

Expect this game to be decided late on and with two competent quarterbacks squaring off, there should be plenty of points scored.

 

Los Angeles Chargers @ Pittsburgh Steelers

NFL Betting Odds: Chargers $2.50 (+3.5) / Steelers $1.56 (-3.5)

The match of the round sees two AFC powerhouses facing off, with the result set to have major implications on the post-season.

A loss for either team would see them drop down the seeding ranks and potentially lose touch with the top playoff bracket.

The Steelers will be hoping to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time this season and will feel confident at home, having won three straight at Heinz Field.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is desperate to find some consistency, having completed 66.1% of his passes this season for 3,664 yards, 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. 

Pittsburgh have conceded an average of 22.3 points per match this season, which is a concern considering the soft draw they've had.

Pitsburgh Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger                                            Source: AAP

 

For the LA Chargers, this year feels different.

Currently in his 14th season with the franchise, quarterback Philip Rivers finally looks to have a squad capable of bringing out the best in him.

He has completed 69.5% of passes this season for 3,119 yards, 26 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, placing him in MVP contention.

The Chargers are also proving lethal on the ground, averaging 128 yards per match, lead by running back Melvin Gordon.

In more pleasing signs for coach Anthony Lynn, the Rams' defence has been water tight in recent months. They've conceded 19 points or less in six of their last seven games, a key reason why they've lost only once since October.

Expect another big game from the Chargers defensive unit, with Roethlisberger's attacking arsenal to be limited.

LA have played some of their best football on the road this season and they are more than capable of winning this game outright.

 

NFL Betting Statistics Key NFL Betting Statistics

  • Both Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers were drafted in 2004. In career match-ups, Big Ben holds a 5-2 record over Rivers. 
  • The Steelers are 3-6-1 ATS in their last 10 games when favourite by at least three points.

 

NFL Betting Tip Free NFL Expert Pick: Chargers with the +3.5 start @ $1.92

Reasoning:  The Chargers are one of the form teams of the league and facing off against a rocky Steelers outfit here, take them with the start. 

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