Our Experts’ Favorite Week 12 NFL Picks
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Josh Allen (17)
- Our experts reveal their favorite Week 12 NFL picks, featuring spread and over/under bets.
Are the Eagles being undervalued as 1-point home favorites against the Seahawks? Are the Saints in danger of another divisional upset?
Our experts reveal their favorite picks for this Sunday, featuring spread and over/under bets for the following games:
- Raiders at Jets: 1 p.m. ET
- Panthers at Saints: 1 p.m. ET
- Seahawks at Eagles: 1 p.m. ET
- Buccaneers at Falcons: 1 p.m. ET
- Broncos at Bills: 1 p.m. ET
Now let’s dig into their bets!
Chad Millman: Jets +3 vs. Raiders
This is a good time to use the Pythagorean wins theory. If you’re not familiar, this is an old concept originally created by baseball analytics pioneer Bill James.
The theory was relatively simple: Using the number of runs a team scored and the number of runs it allowed, you could deduce how many wins a team should have. The delta between that number and their actual wins is an indicator of whether or not they exceeded expectations.
Also lucky for me, our genius Bet Labs tool — which is a collection of millions of data points from the past 20 years distilled into betting systems (subscribe!), — has a Pythag wins data set. This is what it looks like when you fade teams with winning records but negative point differentials (in Millman terms, teams that the public perceives as being good but I know better).
When I spin the wheel, I get this as an answer for Week 12: The Raiders on the road as three-point favorites against the Jets. The math adds up in multiple ways. The Raiders have scored 225 points and allowed 250 (eee gad).
Do I worry that I’ll be betting on a bad team? I sure do. Am I worried that my hard-earned money will be in the hands of Sam Darnold? You betcha!
But am I going to do it? With confidence, not just because my instincts say so, but because the numbers do, too.
Sean Zerillo: Panthers-Saints Under 47
The Saints and Panthers have yet to play this season — their second meeting will occur in Week 17 in Carolina — but both teams have put 10 games worth of their offense on film, and they’re extremely familiar with one another thanks to their biannual meetings.
For trend bettors, this game represents another spot to play a late-season under in a matchup between divisional opponents:
After exploding onto the scene with four consecutive wins in September and October, Kyle Allen has recorded three touchdowns against nine interceptions in his past four games, while averaging just 6.3 yards per pass attempt.
The Panthers offense ranks fourth in offensive pace, but I would look for them to slow it down and keep the ball on the ground, this week, after Allen’s 93 inefficient passing attempts over two consecutive losses.
Coming into Week 10, the Panthers offense ranked fifth in Football Outsiders’ rushing DVOA, but 25th in passing.
Furthermore, the Saints will look to control the game on the ground against the Panthers’ 32nd ranked rushing defense, with Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray, and avoid Carolina’s strong passing defense (third in DVOA).
The Saints rank 29th in offensive pace, and Kamara now appears fully healthy, recording more than 20 touches on Sunday for the first time in six weeks.
Matthew Freedman: Seahawks +1 at Eagles
As Gandalf tells Radagast, “It’s undoubtedly a trap.” Still, I’m betting on the 8-2 road underdog Seahawks coming off their bye week.
I just have no respect for the 5-5 Eagles. They are screwed at wide receiver. DeSean Jackson (abdomen, IR) is out for the year. Alshon Jeffery (ankle) didn’t practice or play last week. Nelson Agholor and Jordan Matthews — who are both best in the slot — have been forced to play on the perimeter because the Eagles are using two tight ends in their base set.
All-Pro right tackle Lane Johnson (concussion) exited Week 11 and is uncertain to play this week. Quarterback Carson Wentz has a below-average 7.0 adjusted yards per attempt (AY/A).
I get that the Eagles are probably better than 5-5 record. They have a good coaching staff, and they’re at home. And the Seahawks — a west coast team traveling east — don’t have the benefit of their legendary home-field advantage.
But the Seahawks do have a quarterback in Russell Wilson who is playing almost as well as anyone in the league. He’s No. 2 with a 9.5 AY/A.
On top of that, their situation at wide receiver is improving. Tyler Lockett (leg) is expected to be healthy coming off the bye. Josh Gordon should be more acclimated to the offense. And D.K. Metcalf is another week further into his NFL career.
Mike Randle: Falcons -3.5 vs. Buccaneers
I am a believer in the Falcons’ resurgence. They always had talent on offense, but after a complete overhaul of the team’s defensive coaching responsibilities, Atlanta is rolling.
After their bye week, the Falcons announced that linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich and former wide receivers coach Raheem Morris would share the defensive coordinators duties. Since that change, Atlanta has seen a dramatic improvement on defense.
NFL’s best 3rd down defenses past 2 weeks:
1. Falcons – 19.2%
2. Chiefs – 22.2%
3. Patriots – 23.1%
4. Steelers – 23.3%
5. Raiders – 26.1%
— Aaron Freeman (@falcfans) November 18, 2019
Over those past two games, the Falcons have accumulated 11 sacks and four interceptions, which has more than doubled each of those statistics for the season.
This is coming at a bad time for the turnover-prone Jameis Winston, who now has 21 turnovers (18 interceptions, three fumbles) in just 10 games.
The Buccaneers’ pass defense is also a terrible match against Atlanta. The Buccaneers allow the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.
The Falcons’ end of season rally will not get them to the playoffs, but they certainly can enjoy playing the role of spoiler. With consecutive road wins at New Orleans and Carolina, I expect Atlanta to roll a Buccaneers team with a poor pass defense and turnover machine at quarterback.
Stuckey: Broncos +4
The Broncos are 3-7 and out of playoff contention while Bills are 7-3 and currently sitting fifth in the AFC as of Thursday evening. But let’s not go crazy about this Buffalo team, which has benefited from one of the easiest schedules in the NFL.
Look no further than the Bills’ hysterically-low strength of victory of .214! That means the teams they’ve beat have a combined win percentage of 21.4%.
Two of their wins have come against the Dolphins and four of their other five came against the Jets, Giants, Bengals and Redskins. The Bills’ only good win came in Tennessee when Marcus Mariota was still under center for the Titans. The Bills also benefited from four missed field goals in that seven-point victory.
The Bills are just an average AFC team. So are the Broncos.
Despite the record discrepancy, these two teams are essentially even in my book. Not only have the Broncos played the much tougher schedule, they’ve lost three to four games they easily could’ve won. Don’t be fooled by the records here — take the four points with the road dog.