For The Win: Week 12

NFL Picks Against the Las Vegas Lines

Here I am again this year, back for more NFL picks. Just like last season, I will still be picking all of the NFL games each week, but I will try and help some of you with some confidence and rankings of the selections - which also may assist those of you with Las Vegas trips. I tend to rate games that I like (and some extras like Over/Unders) with 1-3 "Stars", which basically highlight my best bets for the week. Those games which have zero stars I don't truly like one way or the other, but will select to help those trying to get some advice for their weekly office pools or other contests that they may be participating in either this week or this season.

First off, Happy Thanksgiving!

Week 11 was not very strong, but it could have been much better with just one more touchdown in the New England – Oakland game.  Overall it felt like a “treading water” week, so hopefully Thanksgiving and the last weekend of November proves to be much kinder.  Sometimes those kinds of weeks are OK as long as you keep pushing forward, knowing that the big week is coming.  Here’s hoping it is this weekend!

Now we turn to Week 12, and it is a short week to get this article up and running, so please excuse any brevity.  I am going to rely heavily on the K.I.S.S. method once again, which will definitely be tested.  I see exactly half (8 of 16) of the game this week with the favorite favored by at least a touchdown, and three of them are pushing two touchdowns.  Can we really just take good teams and run? I sure hope so.

Here we go:

Note that the lines and Over/Unders are taken from VegasInsider.com.

Teams on a Bye Week – NONE (Byes are over!)

Teams coming off of a Bye Week – Carolina, Indianapolis, New York Jets, San Francisco

 

(Thanksgiving - Early) DETROIT (+3) vs. MINNESOTA
Let me be really clear – the Vikings are very good.  However, there are a number of reasons to like Detroit here.  They are at home.  It is the traditional Thanksgiving game, and usually the Turkey is not the only thing roasted by this time in November in Detroit – it usually includes the home team.  Detroit has playoff aspirations that are very real, and they are a home underdog on a short week.  Detroit wants to showcase that they are legitimate playoff contenders, but Minnesota will push them all game.  I think this is a close one so I am taking the home underdog, but it will be a 27-24 type contest.  If Detroit’s defense scores – and they have done it seven times this year – then I like their chances to pull out the victory.  PICK: Lions

(Thanksgiving - Afternoon) LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (EVEN) at DALLAS
Short weeks do tend to favor the home teams, but did you see Dallas against Philadelphia on Sunday Night Football?  The Eagles are good this year, but they just fell apart in the second half after a strong first half effort (they led the Eagles 9-7 at halftime, then lost 37-9).  Philip Rivers, Keenan Allen and Melvin Gordon III are the trio to watch in Dallas this week as the Chargers are a very live underdog in a tight AFC playoff race.  A win here for the Chargers moves them to 5-6 and gives them a mini-bye before December.  The schedule is favorable down the stretch, and they are getting better each week – something that cannot be said about Dallas.  PICK: Chargers

(Thanksgiving - Night) WASHINGTON (-7) vs. NEW YORK GIANTS
So much of me does not want to take Washington here.  A matchup between two bad teams that are heading nowhere fast closes out Turkey Day, but tryptophan may not be the only thing putting viewers to sleep.  The Giants scored 12 points on Sunday and won.  One touchdown (Orleans Darkwa) and that was it.  Washington nearly went to New Orleans and beat the strong Saints, forcing Drew Brees to embark on an epic comeback rally and win in overtime.  This just in – Eli Manning will never be mistaken for Drew BreesSterling Shepard and Evan Engram are the only two threats at receiver, and Washington offers two lockdown corners.  Even if Darkwa rushes for 150 yards and a touchdown, Washington should break 20 points rather easily and cover the number.  PICK: Washington

PHILADELPHIA (-13) vs. CHICAGO
This week is really going to test the K.I.S.S. method of just picking good teams.  The Eagles just tore Dallas to shreds on Sunday night, and the Bears are up next.  So what we have is the best team in the NFL that just shut out the Cowboys for 30 minutes last night (without a kicker as well) taking on a Chicago team that was shut out by the Ravens.  Really liking the Eagles this week, and shutout seems about as likely as you might ever want to predict one in the NFL.  34-0 perhaps?  Also don’t forget that Alshon Jeffery gets to take on his former team.  PICK:  Eagles

ATLANTA (-9.5) vs. TAMPA BAY  
Atlanta is good, Tampa Bay is not.  Okay, I will elaborate a little, but the Falcons are coming off of a big win in Seattle and Tampa Bay is still starting Ryan Fitzpatrick.  Even without Devonta Freeman, I like Atlanta to cover the number.  PICK: Falcons

CINCINNATI (-8.5) vs. CLEVELAND
Cincinnati is not a good team, but the Browns are worse.  #HotTake.  In this “Battle of Ohio” I like taking the Bengals coming off of a win and I expect Tyler Kroft to score once again against Cleveland, who find new ways to let tight ends score.  Now I need to go see a doctor, because I am picking Cincinnati two weeks in a row.  PICK:  Bengals

TENNESSEE (-3.5) at INDIANAPOLIS
First off, a caution on this pick – if Jacoby Brissett is out, I’m all in on the Titans.  Yes, I’m hedging, but no one should make this decision before Friday (unless in an office pool, then just go with the Titans).  Now, if Brissett plays – and I hope he does – I see this as a complete shootout between these two.  The defenses are not good against the pass at all (DVOA rankings of 26th for Tennessee and 27th for the Colts) so look for fireworks in this one.  I am calling it as a 34-31 type game, which makes me want to take the Colts and the points, but I know better than that. K.I.S.S.  PICK: Titans

KANSAS CITY (-9.5) vs. BUFFALO
Just watch the public take the points. Go ahead.  Give me the home team that desperately needs a win in the perfect “get right” spot for Kareem Hunt.  Kansas City by double digits.  PICK: Chiefs 

NEW ENGLAND (-16) vs. MIAMI  
You just know that Rex Burkhead is going to score two touchdowns in this spot, right?  New England goes home and I am not buying the “we are so tired” line from Belichick. Tom Brady leads his team to 35+ points again this week as the Patriots hold yet another team under 17 (which would be seven games in a row).     PICK: Cardinals

CAROLINA (-4.5) at NEW YORK JETS
Two teams come off of a bye and walk in to MetLife Stadium…. Stop me if you have heard that one before.  Carolina gets Greg Olsen back this week, while the Jets are still the Jets.  Good teams off of a bye have been a thing all year, and I am not bucking that trend.  PICK:  Panthers 

SEATTLE (-6.5) at SAN FRANCISCO
This is far tougher than it looks – Seattle is on a short week but they are angry after a tough home loss to Atlanta.  Now they take a short trip to San Francisco to take on a well-rested 49ers team that is coming off of a bye.  San Francisco always seems to play Seattle tough, but I like Russell Wilson and Jimmy Graham to connect at least once and win by a touchdown or more.  Again, much closer than you might think, especially with Seattle’s injuries on defense.  I would NOT use Seattle in a Survivor pool this week.  PICK:  Seahawks 

DENVER (+5) at OAKLAND
This game is also not an easy call, as the Raiders are the worst pass defense in the NFL – but Denver just installed Paxton Lynch as their new starting quarterback.  Can we trust that?  The good news is this is not Lynch’s first game as a starter (no “Nate Peterson effect”), and Lynch has strong targets at wide receiver in Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders.  Oakland did not step up last week against New England and they will face challenges in the Denver secondary.  That plus five points of a head start makes me lean towards the Broncos in this one.  PICK: Broncos

NEW ORLEANS (+2.5) at LOS ANGELES RAMS
The Saints go marching (sorry) into Los Angeles to take on the Rams this week.  Who had this Week 12 matchup circled as a big game back in September?  I know you all did.  But in reality, this game means a ton in the NFC South and the NFC playoff picture, and fireworks are expected.  This is the one game to watch if you want to pick one out this week.  Look for the Saints to use both Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram II just like they have during their eight game winning streak, while the Rams will try and regroup after a frustrating loss to Minnesota last Sunday.  Adding injury to insult is the loss of Robert Woods, which will make Jared Goff’s job that much tougher this week.  I like New Orleans’ run game and defense better, and now that the Rams are without one of their top targets, a Saints win looks more than likely.  PICK:  Saints

JACKSONVILLE (-4.5) at ARIZONA
Defense travels well, and the Jaguars have a very strong defense – except they have been suspect at times against good ground games.  The question is, is Adrian Peterson still the same guy that ran 37 times for 159 yards against San Francisco, or is he the guy that has not hit 30 yards rushing the other three games in the last four?  I am leaning towards a very up and coming Jaguars team with an eye on a divisional title.  PICK:  Jaguars

PITTSBURGH (-14) vs. GREEN BAY
Based on last week, all the Steelers need to cover that big number is 15 points.  Green Bay was shut out at home by the Ravens on Sunday, which speaks to how low the Packers have sunk on offense.  While I think that they will do better this week, I don’t think it will be nearly good enough.  Steelers by 20+.  PICK:  Steelers

(Monday) BALTIMORE (-7) vs. HOUSTON
There are bad games for Monday Night Football, but this one takes the cake. Name one player you are really interested in watching in this game NOT on your fantasy roster.  Yep, me either.  Baltimore is on a one game winning streak and has two shutouts this season, while Houston still has Tom Savage as their quarterback.  Could this be an entertaining matchup? Sure, but I am not holding my breath.  Give me Justin Tucker for several field goals to cover the seven points, but don’t be afraid to turn in early on Monday.  PICK:  Ravens

BEST BETS

Once again this year I will give not only the "Best Bets" but also a rating of each one on a 1-3 "Star" scale. The more stars, the more I like that side of the game.

  • **Thanksgiving Special** 3-TEAM, 7-POINT TEASER (1.27-1 ODDS):
    • (Thanksgiving - Early) DETROIT (+10) vs. MINNESOTA
    • (Thanksgiving - Afternoon) LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (+7) at DALLAS  
    • (Thanksgiving - Night) WASHINGTON (EVEN) vs. NEW YORK GIANTS  
  • CINCINNATI (-8.5) vs. CLEVELAND  
  • NEW ENGLAND (-16) vs. MIAMI   
  • SEATTLE (-6.5) at SAN FRANCISCO   
  • NEW ORLEANS (+2.5) at LOS ANGELES RAMS
  • JACKSONVILLE (-4.5) at ARIZONA  
  • (Thanksgiving - Early) DETROIT “FOR THE WIN” (+135) vs. MINNESOTA
  • DENVER “FOR THE WIN” (+195) at OAKLAND
  • 6-TEAM, 6-POINT TEASER (6.1-1 ODDS):
    • SEATTLE (-0.5) at SAN FRANCISCO   
    • CINCINNATI (-2.5) vs. CLEVELAND  
    • JACKSONVILLE (+1.5) at ARIZONA  
    • NEW ORLEANS (+8.5) at LOS ANGELES RAMS
    • NEW ENGLAND (-10) vs. MIAMI   
    • CAROLINA (+1.5) at NEW YORK JETS  
  • 7-TEAM, 6-POINT TEASER (8.9-1 ODDS):
    • SEATTLE (-0.5) at SAN FRANCISCO   
    • CINCINNATI (-2.5) vs. CLEVELAND  
    • JACKSONVILLE (+1.5) at ARIZONA  
    • NEW ORLEANS (+8.5) at LOS ANGELES RAMS
    • NEW ENGLAND (-10) vs. MIAMI   
    • CAROLINA (+1.5) at NEW YORK JETS  
    • DENVER (+11) at OAKLAND
  • 8-TEAM, 6-POINT TEASER (12.75-1 ODDS):
    • SEATTLE (-0.5) at SAN FRANCISCO   
    • CINCINNATI (-2.5) vs. CLEVELAND  
    • JACKSONVILLE (+1.5) at ARIZONA  
    • NEW ORLEANS (+8.5) at LOS ANGELES RAMS
    • NEW ENGLAND (-10) vs. MIAMI   
    • CAROLINA (+1.5) at NEW YORK JETS  
    • DENVER (+11) at OAKLAND
    • (Monday) BALTIMORE (-1) vs. HOUSTON

** TWO STAR GAMES **

  • 4-TEAM, 6-POINT TEASER (2.65-1 ODDS):
    • SEATTLE (-0.5) at SAN FRANCISCO   
    • CINCINNATI (-2.5) vs. CLEVELAND  
    • JACKSONVILLE (+1.5) at ARIZONA  
    • NEW ORLEANS (+8.5) at LOS ANGELES RAMS 
  • 5-TEAM, 6-POINT TEASER (4.10-1 ODDS):
    • SEATTLE (-0.5) at SAN FRANCISCO   
    • CINCINNATI (-2.5) vs. CLEVELAND  
    • JACKSONVILLE (+1.5) at ARIZONA  
    • NEW ORLEANS (+8.5) at LOS ANGELES RAMS
    • NEW ENGLAND (-10) vs. MIAMI   

*** THREE STAR GAMES *** 

  • 3-TEAM, 6-POINT TEASER (1.65-1 ODDS):
    • SEATTLE (-0.5) at SAN FRANCISCO   
    • CINCINNATI (-2.5) vs. CLEVELAND  
    • JACKSONVILLE (+1.5) at ARIZONA

PICK(S) OF THE WEEK:  Cincinnati, New England, Carolina, Seattle, Denver, Jacksonville

RESULTS

Last Week

  • OVERALL: 6-7-1 (46.2%)
  • BEST BETS (STARS): 15.2-14 (52.1%)
  • PICK OF WEEK: 4-3 (57.1%)

Season

  • OVERALL: 82-72-6 (53.2%)
  • BEST BETS (STARS): 165.77-167-3 (49.8%)
  • PICK OF WEEK: 48-32-2 (60.0%)

Good luck this weekend!

Questions, suggestions, and comments are always welcome to pasquino@footballguys.com  


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