NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions: Bills, Buccaneers, Rams, Ravens, More Spreads and Bets For Week 12
Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images. Pictured: Tom Brady
NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions
I’ll be picking five NFL sides each week of the season for DraftKings‘ Pro Football Millionaire Pick’Em contest. Note that the spreads for this contest lock on Wednesdays, so some will be stale by the time you read this and thus not readily available outside of the contest. But you can check real-time NFL odds here.
I’ll also outline the rest of my betting card for the week below (click here to skip ahead).
NFL ATS Picks For Week 12
Here were the five sides for this week’s pick’em contest entry:
- Bills -5.5: 8:20 p.m. ET on Thursday
- Buccaneers -2.5: 1 p.m. ET on Sunday
- Rams +0.5 : 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday
- Vikings +2.5: 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday
- Ravens -3.5: 8:20 p.m. ET on Sunday
1. Buffalo Bills -5.5
The Buffalo Bills have been dominant on the road where they’ve gone 15-6 during the last 21 games. For good reason, we’ve seen the market push this number up from 4.5 to 5.5 as the Saints have been decimated by injuries. The offensive line injuries are particularly troubling with both starting tackles Terron Armstead (knee) and Ryan Ramczyk (knee/shoulder) missing practice. Making matters worse, the depth of this unit will be tested as rookie tackle Landon Young is expected to undergo season-ending foot surgery just one week after making his first start against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Unfortunately for the Saints the injuries don’t stop there — Alvin Kamara continues to miss time with a knee injury and Mark Ingram is questionable for Thursday’s matchup. With Kamara hurt and a lack of weapons at receiver, there’s not much for the Bills to be afraid of in this spot. Nonetheless, the Saints will certainly have their hands full with this Bills pass rush, which is first in Football Outsiders‘ Defensive DVOA, second in EPA/play and second success rate, and fifth in ESPN’s pass rush win rate. It’s tough to imagine Trevor Siemian playing well given the problems on the offensive line.
The Bills haven’t played well on offense recently with Josh Allen throwing five of his eight interceptions in the last three games, but this represents a good bounce-back spot for a team that had everything go wrong for them last week against the Colts. The Bills aren’t likely to turn the ball over four times and have two missed field goals this week, so I expect Allen and this Bills offense to have a solid day.
The Saints defense isn’t immune to the injury bug either with DE Marcus Davenport missing practice. And that’s aside from the fact this defense struggled to deal with Jalen Hurts and the Eagles last week. Hurts completed just 13 of 24 passes for 147 yards, but he ran 18 times for 69 yards and three touchdowns. Allen presents a similar dual-threat ability, but has more weapons with Stefon Diggs and Emmanuel Sanders — who should know this Saints defense pretty well given his time in New Orleans last season.
This is likely to be a game sharps and the public are all over — while I normally don’t want to play these situations, the public typically wins these games on Thanksgiving. As my colleague Brandon Anderson pointed out, Thanksgiving favorites are 32-14 ATS since 2005, covering 70% of the time by 4.7 points.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -2.5
I typically wouldn’t back a team coming off a blow-out primetime win on Monday night, but the Indianapolis Colts are an ideal matchup for Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. The Colts are coming off a huge upset win of their own against the Bills as 7.5-point underdogs in a game in which they were the beneficiary of four Bills turnovers, including three interceptions from Josh Allen and one fumble, in addition to two missed field goals. Sometimes NFL games take on a life of their own and spiral out of control with one team never really having a chance and there’s no greater example than the Colts’ 41-15 win last week.
Unlike the Bills, the Buccaneers should be able to slow down this Colts rushing attack, including Jonathan Taylor — who rushed 32 times for 185 carries and four touchdowns while catching one through the air as well. The Buccaneers are fourth in defensive rush DVOA and EPA and fifth in rushing success rate, so I don’t expect the Colts to duplicate last week’s success in this spot especially with the return of Vita Vea.
Where the Buccaneers have their biggest advantage is in the passing game against a Colts defense that ranks just 22nd in Dropback EPA and 27th in Dropback success rate. Even more troubling is that the Colts have played the 23rd-ranked schedule of opposing offenses. Brady has played like an MVP candidate and given all the weapons around him in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, I expect him to carve this defense up. I’ll lay the points on the road with the Buccaneers as Brady should put up the type of performance that could solidify him as an MVP favorite.
3. Los Angeles Rams +0.5
The Los Angeles Rams are coming off back-to-back blowout losses against the Tennessee Titans and San Francisco 49ers, so you can expect most of the public to fade them against the 8-3 Green Bay Packers. Green Bay, meanwhile, is looking to bounce back after a 34-31 loss to the Minnesota Vikings in Week 11. Personally, I’m not buying it as the Packers are dealing with injuries that should have a significant impact in this matchup.
The Packers lost left tackle Elgton Jenkins with a torn ACL on Sunday, which is troubling considering his versatility allows him to play every position on the offensive line. In addition, left tackle David Bakhtiari still hasn’t returned to the lineup and with center Josh Myers on IR after knee surgery, the Packers could be without three starters on the offensive line against Aaron Donald, Von Miller and a Rams defense that is second in ESPN’s pass rush win rate. Factor in that Aaron Rodgers is dealing with a toe injury and the Packers are missing Aaron Jones (knee), Allen Lazard (shoulder) and Robert Tonyan and you have an offense that could struggle to play up to its standard.
The Packers are also banged up on the other side of the ball with Za’Darius Smith (back), Jaire Alexander (shoulder) and Rashan Gary (elbow) and it feels like we’re going to see this defense regress to its actual level after over performing prior to Sunday’s loss to the Vikings . Despite how well the Packers performed with these injuries, they’re still just 28th in Defensive Success Rate. I’ll back Matthew Stafford and this Rams offense to capitalize on this banged-up defense.
4. Minnesota Vikings +3.5
The Vikings are still the only team this season to hold a seven-point lead in every single game this season. With Kirk Cousins ranking ninth in EPA + CPOE and surrounded by weapons in Justin Jefferson, Adam Theilen and Dalvin Cook, this is an offense that can score with the best offenses in the league.
This week they’ll be matched up against a 49ers pass defense that is just 20th in Football Outsiders‘ DVOA and 21st in EPA/play. This 49ers defense can be passed on and while we didn’t see it against the Jaguars and Rams the last two weeks, we’re going to see this Vikings offense find some success in this matchup. This is a still a 49ers team that allowed Colt McCoy to throw for 249 yards on 22 of 26 pass attempts and James Conner to rush for 96 yards and two touchdowns in a game where the 49ers pulled a complete no show against a Cardinals team with no Kyler Murray or DeAndre Hopkins.
Kyle Shanahan has particularly struggled in the role as a favorite as the 49ers are just 10-22-1 ATS (31%) during his five-year tenure. Nonetheless, I’m not buying what we saw from the 49ers these past two weeks. I believe the Vikings are the better team and with my model making this game -1, I’ll back the Vikings for the third consecutive week and fourth time in the last five weeks.
5. Baltimore Ravens -3.5
The Baltimore Ravens have dominated the Cleveland Browns in recent memory. They’ve won five out of their last six matchups and it appears they’re on track to win another based on recent play between these two teams. The Browns offense is a shell of its former self. Not including their game against the Cincinnati Bengals in which they were the beneficiary of three turnovers — including a pick-six — the Browns have averaged just 12.2 points per game. Over the past two weeks the Browns are just 22nd in EPA/play and 23rd in success rate (40.5%) and they could only muster 13 points against a Lions defense that is 28th in Defensive DVOA.
A big part of that are the injuries to Baker Mayfield, who is playing with a torn labrum, fractured bone in his left shoulder and bone bruises in his left foot and right knee. Mayfield completed just 15 of 29 passes for 176 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions against the Lions last week. He is just 22nd in EPA + CPOE and 24th in Success Rate for the season, but over the past two weeks he’s 44th and 34th in these respective categories. Although this Ravens defense has struggled all season, the Browns are essentially playing with one arm tied behind their back with Mayfield in the lineup. With Lamar Jackson returning, I expect the Ravens to win this game as they look to take control of the AFC North.
More NFL Picks For Week 12
Note: I’ll be updating this section throughout the week with more picks.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Indianapolis Colts Over 52.5
The Colts have been an over team all year, leading the league at 7-4 to the over. On defense they’re just 22nd in Dropback EPA and 27th in Dropback success rate despite playing the 23rd-ranked schedule of opposing offenses. Tom Brady and this Buccaneers offense are first in EPA/play, second in Success Rate and top five in Dropback EPA and Success Rate.
It’s tough to imagine this Colts team slowing down the Buccaneers as they gave up 30 to the Jets just two weeks ago. The Colts could likely find themselves in a negative game script needing to chase points or needing to pass the ball more as they’re unlikely to be able to run against the best run defense in the league over the last three years. I’m expecting a shootout and I believe this number will continue to go up with my model making this game 54. I’ll take the over.