NFL Picks & Predictions: Browns vs. Jaguars, Buccaneers vs. Chiefs, More Week 12 Bets
James Gilbert/Getty Images. Pictured: Tom Brady
- Each week, Sean Koerner compares NFL odds to his Power Ratings -- if there's a notable difference between, he'll make a bet.
- He's been highlighting the biggest of those edges throughout the season and has three for Week 12.
- Find out why he likes the Patriots and Buccaneers to cover as underdogs and the Browns-Jaguars total to go under.
NFL Picks & Predictions
One way I find betting edges is by comparing the odds to my NFL Power Ratings — if there’s a notable difference between, I’ll make a bet. (By the way, you can access mine and my colleague’s NFL ratings in our PRO Projections.)
Patriots +2 vs. Cardinals
Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | More Game Info
Kyler Murray will be at less than 100% while playing through an injury to his throwing shoulder, and I’m projecting the Patriots as 1-point favorites as a result.
They’ll benefit from the return of Stephon Gilmore, who can shadow DeAndre Hopkins, while the Cardinals will be without Larry Fitzgerald — and while Fitz isn’t worth anything to the spread (anymore), his absence due to COVID-19 means that they won’t have his veteran leadership on the field.
They’ve also had injuries pile up along their defensive line and will be outmatched by the Pats’ offensive line, so the Patriots should be able to operate a run-heavy attack with Damien Harris, Sony Michel and Cam Newton. Helping matters is the fact that Newton has been playing much better of late — from Weeks 9-11, he ranks third among QBs in expected points added (27.3).
I like the idea of getting Bill Belichick as a home dog and would play this down to a pick’em.
Browns-Jaguars Under 49.5
Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | More Game Info
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.
I have this total projected closer to 46 and would bet it down to 47.
Bucs +3.5 vs. Chiefs
Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET | More Game Info
Tom Brady has flopped in back-to-back primetime games, causing the market to overreact to the two-game sample size.
My colleague Chris Raybon has pointed out that Brady has had a strict 8:30 p.m. bedtime this season, which could be one of many reasons he’s played so poorly in both primetime spots. But the Bucs’ 46-point outburst against the Panthers in Week 10, which was sandwiched between those two primetime matchups, was one of the best offensive games we have seen from any team this season.
One reason we should see Brady bounce back here is that he’s expected to get Ali Marpet back, which will be a massive boost to the quarterback’s protection.
If there’s any defense that can slow down Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, it’s the Bucs. They currently rank first in Football Outsiders’ DVOA vs. the pass and second vs. the run.
Given how talented the Bucs are on both sides of the ball, I still have them ranked as a top-five team in my power ratings. And while the Chiefs are the unquestioned No. 1 team in football, a key number like 3.5 is too good to pass up.
The Chiefs are getting 55% of the tickets and 81% of the money, but I’ll be rooting alongside books for the Bucs to cover here.