I wouldn’t call last week a rebound week but at least I didn’t get curb-stomped. I really like my Thanksgiving Picks, so hopefully they give me a jump on a good week. Here are your NFL betting lines and previews for each matchup during Week 12.
Whatever your rooting interest may be, there are some terrific games on tap this week, including some unexpectedly compelling ones, like Tampa v. Indianapolis.
Who would have thought THAT would be a big deal this late in the year?
One thing I do want to lament, however, is that the New England/Denver game, which is still absolutely the game of the week, won’t feature Manning vs. Brady one last time. Peyton Manning may retire at the end of this year, in fact he probably will. And that means that unless they meet in the playoffs, we’ll never get to see these two consummate superstars face off ever again. It’s one of the all time great rivalries in sports, and the best NFL rivalry since Namath vs. Unitas.
Let’s hope we get a chance to see them one more time sometime in the future.
Last Week’s Picks: 7-7-1 Best: 2-3
Season Totals: 81-88-6 Best: 20-23-1
New Orleans (+3) @Houston (Westgate Superbook)
I haven’t believed in Houston all season, but the Saints have been so awful on defense it’s hard to think that they can stop the Texans offense, especially DeAndre Hopkins, who is an elite wide receiver. I am very much on the fence either way, but I’m leaning toward New Orleans, who has had two weeks off to adjust, including getting rid of their defensive coordinator. Is that enough? I’m guessing yes, although this is not a game I’m inclined to wager on.
Houston Texans 28 New Orleans Saints 27
New Orleans Saints @Houston o/u 47.5 (Westgate Superbook NFL Betting Lines, Week 12)
One of the big myths about Houston is that their defense is a top unit. This is because JJ Watt is an elite player and playmaker so the Texans will routinely have a defensive highlight as the play of the week. In reality, however, Watt is just one guy, and as a whole, the Texans are only average on this side of the ball, and are only a big time stop unit against crappy offenses. New Orleans’ offense is better than that, while the problems with New Orleans defense are well documented. I’m inclined to like over 50 for any game the Saints are involved in.
Houston Texans 28 New Orleans Saints 27
Tampa (+3.5) @Indianapolis (Wynn Las Vegas)
No one’s been more delighted with the Bucs’ recent success than me, but I think they will come up short this week. This line is right about where it should be. This is a field game, give or take a point, and it’s far too close for me to want to bet on it. In fact, it’s a shame Andrew Luck isn’t playing in this game, because Winston vs. Luck could turn out to be a rivalry that we wind up talking about some years from now . Instead, this the next gen QB vs. old school Matt Hasselbeck. I like the Colts to win, but by a small margin.
Indianapolis Colts 24 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 21
Oakland (-2) @Tennessee (MGM Mirage)
Oakland shouldn’t be giving points here. I’ve loved the way the Raiders have played this season, but they are struggling right now, and there is absolutely no guarantee they will have these issues sorted out when they go on the road to take on the Titans. As for the Titans, they’ve shown they’re good enough to beat a vulnerable opponent. Given these uncertainties, I’d stay away from this game. If Oakland were in top form, they’d be the pick, but they’re not, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Tennessee wins this one outright.
Oakland Raiders 22 Tennessee Titans 21
Buffalo (+6) @Kansas City (MGM Mirage)
Tyrod Taylor’s status is uncertain for this game, but the line suggests he isn’t playing. And if he doesn’t play, the Bills are dead ducks. They have no chance against a hot Chiefs team if they have E.J. Manuel at quarterback. As it is, I’m leaning toward the Chiefs’ side anyway. They’re one of the hottest teams in the NFL, and if they win this game, they can see the finish line of a playoff berth directly ahead of them.
Kansas City Chiefs 27 Buffalo Bills 20
Miami @NY Jets o/u 42.5 (Westgate Superbook)
With the injuries the Jets are dealing with and their slumping offense, and Miami’s all-the-time non explosive offense, I just don’t see how the over/under here is more than 40. Granted, it’s not much more, which is why this isn’t in Best Picks, but 42.5 is decent enough value for me to like the under.
Miami Dolphins 20 New York Jets 16
San Diego (+3.5) @Jacksonville (Wynn Las Vegas)
The line on this game in most sports books is 4. That’s telling me something. It’s telling me that despite public perception of the Chargers as a “good” team and Jacksonville as a very bad one, the Jaguars are not only getting full home field credit, they’re even rated a point better than San Diego if the teams played on a neutral field. How bad must San Diego be rated to be getting that kind of dis against the Jags? That’s persuasive enough for me – I’ll take Jacksonville here. The Chargers are in deep doo-doo.
Jacksonville Jaguars 24 San Diego Chargers 20
Arizona (-10) @San Francisco (Westgate Superbook)
This is a game where you have to throw out the history, even the recent history. The 49ers are one of the worst teams in the NFL, while the Cardinals are one of the best. There’s a reason you have to give 10 on the road to take Arizona here. I’m squeamish about doing that in a divisional rivalry, but I certainly wouldn’t try the flipside.
Arizona Cardinals 28 San Francisco 49ers 14
Pittsburgh (+3.5) @Seattle (Westgate Superbook)
Don’t believe the hype about the New England/Denver game being the best game of the week. This one will be just as good. The Steelers high powered offense vs. Seattle’s tough but beleaguered defense. The Steelers are coming off a bye; both teams really need the game; what do you do? Well, the short answer is watch the game and enjoy it. The longer answer is that the Steelers have only been average on the road, losing to Kansas City and New England, and beating the mediocre Rams and atrocious Chargers. Seattle’ home field mystique may be gone, but they’re still a damn good home team.
Seattle Seahawks 27 Pittsburgh Steelers 21
New England (-3) @Denver (Westgate Superbook)
It seems quite impossible for the Patriots to keep winning no matter how many injuries they sustain, but I’m done picking them to ever lose again. Instead, I’ll simply suggest that, just like last week. they won’t cover this particular spread.
New England Patriots 24 Denver Broncos 23
Baltimore (+2.5) @Cleveland (Wynn Las Vegas)
Do I need to point out that it is both teams’ interest to lose this game? If the Ravens hadn’t given up before, they surely have now that Joe Flacco is gone for the year. This nightmare season can be over soon and they can focus on how high of a draft pick they may get. By contrast, there are guys (like Browns QB Josh McCown) who are playing for next year’s NFL job.
Cleveland Browns 27 Baltimore Ravens 22
Minnesota (+2.5) @Atlanta (MGM Mirage)
The Falcons are lost right now. They are showing none of the late game sizzle they had earlier in the year and which helped them get off to a 6-0 start. Instead, they’ve dropped four straight, and despite their usual home field advantage, I’m confident enough in their lack of confidence that I’m willing to go against them until they show me otherwise. That’s doubly true against a quality opponent like Minnesota, that will be looking to redeem themselves after dropping a big one last week against Green Bay.
Minnesota Vikings 24 Atlanta Falcons 23
St. Louis (+9) @Cincinnati (Westgate Suoerbook)
I’m shocked to see the Bengals giving so many points when they are struggling mightily on offense. I’m sure they can manage to beat the Rams in their own building, but the Bengals aren’t great at stopping the run so St. Louis will be able to rely on Todd Gurley most of the day. Cincinnati will pull this one out – they’re clearly the better team, but they don’t have blowout potential against an opponent with a staunch defense and good running game. Getting 9 seems crazy.
Cincinnati Bengals 23 St. Louis Rams 17
NY Giants (-2.5) @Washington (Pinnacle)
The RacialSlurs have been good at home this year, going 4-1, but I think that’s more a function of their schedule happening to give them tougher opponents on the road than anything else. The reality here is that Washington’s defense is porous, and the Giants’ offense has carried the team all year. The Giants need this game, moreover, as they will want to keep the pressure on Dallas, more or less sending the message that they aren’t planning on getting caught from behind. Giants win going away. Give the 2.5.
New York Giants 34 Washington RacialSlurs 17
Miami (+3.5) @NY Jets (Westgate Superbook)
Why are the Jets giving 3.5 in this game? Home field is typically worth 3, and the Jets are reeling, having lost 4 of their last five. Add in that Miami is 6-1 in their last 7 visits to New York, and you have to believe this line is way off. Need more convincing? The Jets are crippled by injuries to key players. I will be flat out shocked if the Jets win this game. Even if they do, Miami is a notoriously good pick as a road dog, so the half a point might actually save you if the Jets find some late magic and pull the game out.
Miami Dolphins 20 New York Jets 16