NFL Picks Week 12: Predicting Biggest Locks Against the Spread

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistNovember 21, 2013

NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 10:  Quarterback Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints celebrates against the Dallas Cowboys during a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 10, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Betting against the spread is never easy, but Week 12 of the NFL season features a few games that can almost be considered sure things.

The weekend's lines appear to overrate a few teams that should struggle, which gives fans an opportunity to take advantage of spreads that are too high or too low. Even in an unpredictable league like the NFL, these games become virtual locks.

Bettors who are able to pick any matchup should take a heavy look at these Week 12 battles.

Note: All spread info courtesy of Vegas Insider as of Nov. 21. 

New Orleans Saints (-9.5) over Atlanta Falcons

The location of the game certainly provides reason to be cautious. The Saints have generally struggled on the road this season, going 2-2 with an unconvincing win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

However, the disappointing Falcons dropped to 2-8 on Sunday and appear to be close to giving up on the season. They have lost the last four games by double digits and recently allowed 41 points to Bobby Rainey and the Buccaneers.

Defensively, Atlanta simply cannot get players in the right spots and the unit has struggled to stop anyone this year against either the run or pass.

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If Tampa Bay can score 41, you can imagine Drew Brees and company having a field day just four days later. There certainly is not going to be much improvement in this time.

Considering the Saints also have the No. 3 pass defense in the league to shut down the only thing the Falcons do well, New Orleans should be able to leave with a blowout victory on Thursday.

Jacksonville Jaguars (+10) over Houston Texans

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 10:  Maurice Jones-Drew #32 of the Jacksonville Jaguars runs the ball against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on November 10, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee.  The Jaguars defeated the Titans 29-27.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Imag
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Houston has lost eight games in a row and are somehow favored by double digits this week. While this is an indictment on the Jaguars, they are not that bad.

Jacksonville has gotten off to good starts in each of the past two games and clearly still have a decent amount of talent on offense. If Cecil Shorts, Mike Brown and others can make a few plays, they will be able to get another early lead on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Texans suddenly cannot stop the run after allowing 150 rushing yards to Rashad Jennings. This should allow Maurice Jones-Drew to help the Jaguars control the football for much of the game.

Of course, the biggest problem in Houston is at quarterback. Case Keenum looked decent in his first few outings, but he was replaced by veteran Matt Schaub after the team fell behind the Raiders last week.

With this level of doubt under center, the Texans should not be favored this much against anyone. Even if they win, you cannot trust them to cover a big spread, which makes the Jaguars a smart pick this week.

Baltimore Ravens (-3.5) over New York Jets

BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 10:  Quarterback Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens throws a pass against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium on November 10, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

These two have been among the most inconsistent teams in football, with the Jets literally alternating wins and losses all season long. This pattern makes them due for a win, something that looks possible against an opponent that is also hard to trust.

So what makes this a lock for the Ravens? The fact that this game will be played in Baltimore.

The Ravens have looked much better at home this season, winning three of four games so far. The only loss was a two-point defeat to the Green Bay Packers back when Aaron Rodgers was healthy.

Quarterback Joe Flacco has made the biggest difference, posting an 88.2 quarterback rating at home but a 68.8 mark on the road. He simply feels more comfortable in familiar surroundings, and it has helped the team win games.

Meanwhile, the Jets have been terrible on the road while posting a 1-4 record. The only win came on a last-second field goal against the Falcons, which looks a lot less impressive nowadays.

The defense has allowed a respectable 20.6 points per game at home this year, but an average of 33 points per game on the road. The Ravens should take advantage of this and earn a much-needed victory.

Full NFL Week 12 Picks Against the Spread
AwayHomeSpreadPick (ATS)
New Orleans SaintsAtlanta FalconsNO -9Saints
Tampa Bay BuccaneersDetroit LionsDET -9Lions
Jacksonville JaguarsHouston TexansHOU -10Jaguars
Minnesota VikingsGreen Bay PackersGB -4.5Packers
San Diego ChargersKansas City ChiefsKC -5Chiefs
Carolina PanthersMiami DolphinsCAR -4.5Panthers
Pittsburgh SteelersCleveland BrownsCLE -2Steelers
Chicago BearsSt. Louis RamsSTL -1Rams
New York JetsBaltimore RavensBAL -3.5Ravens
Tennessee TitansOakland RaidersTEN -1Raiders
Indianapolis ColtsArizona CardinalsARI -2.5Cardinals
Dallas CowboysNew York GiantsNYG -2.5Giants
Denver BroncosNew England PatriotsDEN -2.5Patriots
San Francisco 49ersWashington RedskinsSF -649ers
Spread info via Vegas Insider

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