NFL Odds & Picks For Week 12: Our Best Bets For Sunday
Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images. Pictured: Cooper Kupp (left) and Jared Goff.
It’s been a wild week in the NFL.
The Ravens-Steelers matchup scheduled for Thanksgiving night has been postponed twice in the wake of a COVID-19 outbreak in Baltimore. The 49ers can no longer practice or host games at their facilities in Santa Clara following a new ban issued by the county. The Broncos are promoting practice squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton to start at quarterback after Jeff Driskel tested positive for COVID-19 and the other three were deemed high-risk contacts and thus ineligible to play.
Oh, and the Lions fired head coach Matt Patricia.
Welcome to 2020.
That said, there’s still plenty of football to bet on this Sunday, and our staff is here to walk you through their top picks. Find out how they’re betting three spreads and two totals below.
NFL Odds & Picks
Titans +3 at Colts
Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | More Game Info
Raheem Palmer: Special teams have been the Titans’ Achilles heel all season long, but even the 17-yard punt and blocked punt on back-to-back possessions that turned a 4-point lead into a 10-point deficit in their Week 10 loss to the Colts is a complete aberration.
Now it’s time for payback!
After 11 weeks of beating up inferior competition and lucking into a win against the Titans, the Colts finally won a game against a good team with their overtime victory against the Packers. However, the Colts didn’t come out of it healthy. They’ll be without two of their best pass rushers in Denico Autry and DeForest Buckner, who were placed on the COVID-19 reserve list. They’ll also be missing the services of linebacker Bobby Okereke, who suffered an ankle injury last week.
Nevertheless, we should expect a unit that ranks fifth in defensive efficiency, fifth against the run and sixth against the pass to take a step back. Although the Colts metrics say they’re a top 10 unit, they’ve played one of the easiest schedules of opposing offenses and have faced only two quarterbacks who are in the top 14 of ESPN’s Total QBR metric this season: Ryan Tannehill and Aaron Rodgers.
The Titans are third in offensive efficiency and should be able to capitalize on the Colts defensive injuries. If the Titans can build a lead, they’ll have a significant advantage as Philip Rivers also comes into this game banged up after suffering a toe injury last week.
I like the Titans to bounce back. I bet them at +3.5 and would play this down to +3. I also recommend adding the Titans to 6-point teasers along with the Browns.
Dolphins -6.5 at Jets
Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | More Game Info
BJ Cunningham: The reason that the Dolphins are in a position to potentially make the playoffs is because of their offense. Thanks to Ryan Fitzpatrick and Tua Tagovailoa, the Dolphins rank ninth in passing success per Sharp Football Stats.
Tua hasn’t been very efficient — he’s throwing the ball for only 6.2 yards per attempt — but he’s now doubtful, which means Fitzpatrick is expected to start. Regardless, the Jets defense has been terrible against the pass this season: They rank 31st in defensive passing success, 25th in explosive passing allowed and are allowing 8.0 yards per attempt.
To say that things are bad for the Jets offensive would be an understatement.
The Jets are dead last in yards per play at 4.6, which is the exact same average they had last season. The main issue has been at quarterback. Joe Flacco has actually been better than Sam Darnold this season, averaging more yards per attempt with a higher passer rating.
Darnold hasn’t played since the Jets’ Week 8 loss to the Chiefs, but in his six starts this season, he was terrible: He threw for 5.5 yards per attempt, just three touchdowns and six interceptions. That has led to the Jets having the lowest-ranked offense in terms of passing success.
The Dolphins’ secondary has been the strength of their defense, allowing only 6.9 yards per pass attempt. They should be able to dominate this game, since the Jets are dead last in passing success and have no real weapons on offense.
I have the Dolphins projected as -11.58 favorites on the road, so there’s plenty of value on them at -6.5.
Brandon Anderson: Always take advantage of recency bias.
One week ago, the Dolphins were flying high. They had won five straight games and looked like the hottest team in the league, while the Jets were getting blown out by everyone. Then the Jets flew west and lost to the Chargers by only six points, while the Dolphins were surprise losers to the Broncos. Suddenly, we have an opportunity to bet against the Jets as only a one touchdown underdog. In this economy!!
First of all, you certainly should not take any positive away from the Jets hanging close against the Chargers. LA led that game 24-6 at halftime and dominated throughout, but it’s the Chargers, so they’re legally obligated to make things interesting.
The Jets have trailed by double digits in all but two games this season. Heck, they’ve lost by double digits seven times already. Through 10 games — all losses, in case you forgot — the Jets have scored 149 points and allowed 302. They’re literally being doubled, losing by more than 15 points per game. They are terrible!! It’s important not to forget this.
The Dolphins also have the No. 1 special teams in the NFL and should have a huge advantage there.
If this game were one week ago, the Dolphins would have been double-digit favorites, and you would’ve taken them over the Jets without thinking twice. Don’t let one stumble in Denver throw you off the scent. If you’re nervous about the cover, this is perfect teaser option. But the Dolphins should win and cover easily.
And while you’re here, don’t stop at just this game. Miami is still +400 to win the AFC East, and I wrote about why you need to play their division odds, too. Grab them before they blow the Jets out and those odds slip away from you.
Browns-Jaguars Under 49.5
Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | More Game Info
Sean Koerner: Everything about this matchup screams “under.”
The Browns’ goal will be to take the early lead and operate a conservative run-heavy offense — they run the ball at the highest rate in the league when they have the lead (52%) and are more willing to trade in time off the clock vs. trying to run up the score.
The Browns will be without their two best defensive players in Myles Garrett and Denzel Ward, but it’s unlikely that the Jaguars offense will be able to take advantage. They’ll be starting Mike Glennon and will be without their top-two wide receivers in D.J. Chark and Chris Conley, so their offensive game plan will involve feeding the ball to impressive rookie running back James Robinson.
While both teams should be able to move the ball on the ground, it sets up for a slower-paced, clock-eating contest that does not warrant a total this high.
Chargers-Bills Over 51.5
Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | More Game Info
Mike Randle: Injuries to both teams have tempered expectations between these two explosive offenses.
Over the past three games, the Bills have averaged 32.7 points and the Chargers 27.1. Whether home or on the road, games involving Los Angeles have continued to be high-scoring affairs.
Here are the scores from Chargers games since Week 4:
- at Tampa: 38-31 (L)
- at New Orleans: 30-27 (L)
- vs. Jacksonville: 39-29 (W)
- at Denver: 31-30 (L)
- vs. Las Vegas: 31-26 (L)
- at Miami: 29-21 (L)
- vs. Jets: 34-28 (W)
Buffalo will be without two key offensive players in wide receiver John Brown (ankle) and offensive tackle Cody Ford (knee), but have more than enough weapons to crest the 30-point plateau against an L.A. defense that ranks just 23rd in adjusted sack rate (per Football Outsiders).
Josh Allen presents a matchup up problem for any defense, but will be especially problematic for the Chargers, who have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing signal-callers. They don’t generate turnovers, having allowed quarterbacks 20 passing touchdowns with five interceptions. Allen has greatly improved on his inaccuracy, posting a 75.2% true completion percentage per PlayerProfiler.
Stefon Diggs is having a career-best season, ranking second among all wideouts in targets, receptions and receiving yards. With Brown out, slot man extraordinaire Cole Beasley and rookie Gabriel Davis should also flourish.
Los Angeles will be short-handed on defense, playing without pass rushers Melvin Ingram (knee) and Uchenna Nwosu (shoulder), as well as top cornerback Casey Hayward (groin). Coming off their bye with the dual-threat Allen under center, the Bills will have no issues scoring.
Meanwhile, the Chargers offense has taken off since rookie Justin Herbert replaced Tyrod Taylor in Week 2. Los Angeles has averaged more than 27 points per game with Herbert, and he’s guided top wideout Keenan Allen to the league’s top spot in targets and receptions. Deep threat Mike Williams has seen three fantasy WR19 or better performances since Week 5, and tight end Hunter Henry has been the overall TE3 and TE6 the past two weeks.
Buffalo’s defense has been a notch below its usual league-best standards, entering Sunday ranked just 17th in defensive efficiency. Their 25th overall run defense should be exploited by a Los Angeles ground attack that should welcome the return of running back Austin Ekeler, who was activated off IR on Saturday. Regardless, the Chargers have been able to create solid running back performances from Troymaine Pope, Kalen Ballage and Joshua Kelley this season.
A sunny and 50-degree day in Buffalo only adds to this potential shootout. Despite the injuries to both teams, I’m taking the over 51.5 total in a game that features the third-highest over/under on the Week 12 slate. I would take this line up to 52.5.
Raheem Palmer: The Chargers may be 20th in defensive efficiency, but over the past seven games you won’t find 12 teams that have given up these scoring numbers: 28, 29, 31, 31, 29, 30 and 38.
If you haven’t done the math, the Chargers are giving up 30.85 points per game over that stretch.
Fortunately, Herbert has been sensational, throwing for 299 yards per game and ranking seventh in touchdowns with 22 despite not playing in the first game of the season. It’s no surprise that the Chargers are averaging 27.11 points per game since Herbert took over and are 10th in offensive efficiency.
Although Herbert is having a great rookie season, the change in offensive philosophy for Los Angeles has played a big part in the offensive output. Since the Week 7 bye, the Chargers are passing on 57.4% of their offensive snaps compared to the 45.4% they did previously.
The Bills can also score with the best of them as well. Despite their offensive output being skewed by unfavorable circumstances such as postponements, heavy winds and rain from weeks five through eight in games against the Titans, Chiefs, Jets and Patriots, the Bills are still averaging 27.2 points per game and are fifth in total success rate. Explosive plays have come in bunches for this offense as 11% of their plays have gone for 20 or more yards — fifth among NFL teams.
With Allen’s ability to throw it deep and scramble when plays break down, Buffalo is converting 50% of its third downs, the third-best in the NFL.
The Bills defense isn’t what it was in years past as they’re just 17th in defensive efficiency and 31st in defensive success rate. Even with the offensive suppression that has taken place in Weeks 5-8, the Bills are 8-2 to the over this season.
49ers +6.5 at Rams
Kickoff: 4:05 p.m. ET | More Odds
Chris Raybon: The 49ers will get back some key pieces in left tackle Trent Williams, cornerback Richard Sherman and running back Raheem Mostert, which should help them continue to give the Rams problems: Sean McVay’s squad is 0-3 straight-up in its last three against San Francisco.
After squeaking out a 3-point victory over the Bucs last Monday, the Rams have now won two straight since their surprising loss to the Dolphins, making it a good time to sell high: McVay is just 8-16 ATS coming off a multi-game winning streak, according to our Bets Labs data.
On the flip side, it’s also a great buy-low spot on the 49ers, who have lost three straight. Kyle Shanahan will always prepare his team well, which is a big reason for San Francisco’s 13-9 ATS record as a road underdog.
And more generally, three-loss streaks are usually a result of a confluence of factors including outlying bad luck, injuries, etc., which will cause teams in this position to go underrated in the market when they’re already projected as the less likely team to win. According to our Bet Labs data, favorites on three-game straight-up losing streaks are just 82-99-5 (45.3%) ATS since 2003 while underdogs in this spot are 171-126-9 (57.6%) ATS over that same span.
I would bet this down to +6.