As of this writing, there are five Week 12 NFL games without point spreads posted at Vegas.com. Four of them are held up pending status updates on injuries to quarterbacks: Jay Cutler, Ben Roethlisberger, Alex Smith, and Mike Vick. Even so, there are four very solid options right now.
New England Patriots at New York Jets: New England -6
The Jets, despite their tendancy to play well against the division-rival Patriots, are a mess. The Patriots have very little in the way of pass defense, but that's fine because the Jets can't throw.
And with the injury to Rob Gronkowski, the New England will have a statement to make. Look for Bill Belichick to put his foot on the gas early in this one, and not let up at all.
Patriots win by more, probably much more, than a touchdown.
Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars: Tennessee -3
Jacksonville is awful. Sure, Chad Henne came in for an injured Blaine Gabbert and threw for 354 yards and four touchdowns, but we have seen that before. The difference in performance between a quarterback the defense has prepared for and one they haven't prepared for is staggering.
We know what Chad Henne does against defenses that are ready for him. This week, we saw what he can do against a defense that was prepared for a different mediocre QB.
Tennessee, on the other hand, seems to have woken up after owner Bud Adams threatened the jobs of, well, of everyone after a 51-20 shellacking by Chicago. The defense played inspired ball and Chris Johnson ran very well on a passable defense. Jacksonville's defense is far from passable. Take the Titans.
Green Bay at New York Giants: Under 49.5
Casual bettors will pound the over in this game, figuring that a) the Packers will be out for revenge after last year's playoff embarrassment against the G-Men and that b) the Giants will be able to keep up against Green Bay's sieve-like pass defense.
The thing is, neither of these teams is nearly as good as they are perceived to be right now. I wouldn't be surprised to see that number rise a bit.
There is a contrarian point of view to gambling, one that suggests you should always be careful of things "everyone" knows will happen. Las Vegas sportsbooks do not help build palatial casinos by being wrong. Take the under, it's a smarter play.
Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs: Denver -110
Okay, this one is a lay-up. Moneyline bets are boring and unsexy, I know, but come on. Kansas City against a Peyton Manning offense! This is free money, you people. Go big on the boring pick and save the $20 bets for a lotto-ticket parlay.
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