NFL Week 12 Picks: Matchups Guide, Advice and Early Score Predictions

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistNovember 20, 2018

Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (10) warms up before an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

Week 12 in the NFL is shaping up to be the wild west in terms of betting action. 

The spreads for the 15 games scheduled from Thursday to Monday are all over the place, as six teams are favored by more than one score with four of the six being double-digit favorites. 

The three-game Thanksgiving Day slate is a perfect encapsulation of what Week 12 looks like on paper, as three of the hottest teams in the NFL are favored and could win by large margins. 

While the perception surrounding the substantial favorites is positive, there's always the possibility of a surprising result or a backdoor cover throwing off the entire betting week. 


Week 12 Schedule and Odds

Thursday, November 22

Chicago (-4) at Detroit (12:30 p.m., CBS) 

Washington at Dallas (-7.5) (4:30 p.m., Fox) 

Atlanta at New Orleans (-13.5) (8:20 p.m., NBC) 


Sunday, November 25

Jacksonville (-3) at Buffalo (1 p.m., CBS) 

Cleveland at Cincinnati (-3) (1 p.m., CBS) 

New England (-9.5) at New York Jets (1 p.m., CBS) 

Oakland at Baltimore (-10.5) (1 p.m., CBS) 

New York Giants at Philadelphia (-6) (1 p.m., Fox) 

San Francisco at Tampa Bay (-3.5) (1 p.m., Fox) 

Seattle at Carolina (-3.5) (1 p.m., Fox) 

Arizona at Los Angeles Chargers (-12) (4:05 p.m., Fox) 

Miami at Indianapolis (-10) (4:25 p.m., CBS) 

Pittsburgh (-3) at Denver (4:25 p.m., CBS) 

Green Bay at Minnesota (-3.5) (8:20 p.m., NBC) 


Monday, November 26

Tennessee at Houston (-6) (8:15 p.m., ESPN) 

All Times ET. Odds obtained from OddsShark.


Betting Advice

Take The Thanksgiving Favorites

Chicago, Dallas and New Orleans are on a roll at the moment, and even though they will be playing on a short week, they're worth taking as favorites Thursday. 

The Bears open the Thanksgiving Day slate in Detroit as the smallest favorite of the three at four points, a total they should easily eclipse, especially if their defense limits Matthew Stafford's production similarly to how it stopped Kirk Cousins Sunday night. 

The Cowboys reversed their season fortunes with wins over Philadelphia and Atlanta, and they have an opportunity to win the NFC East now that Washington quarterback Alex Smith is out for the season. 

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 18:  Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys rushes for a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on November 18, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Dallas is favored by 7.5 points over the Redskins because of its recent string of results and Colt McCoy being thrown into Washington's starting quarterback role. 

Similar to Chicago, Dallas has an offense that is finding its rhythm at the right time and a defense that has been excellent all season. 

Then there's the New Orleans Saints, who many will pick to cover as a 13.5-point favorite because of their trouncing of Philadelphia Sunday. 

Atlanta enters Thursday more desperate than it thought it would be at this juncture of the regular season following defeats to Cleveland and Dallas. 

Although the Falcons could make a case to enter the playoffs with a shocking win over New Orleans, games against Baltimore, Green Bay and Carolina in December will prevent them from making a run anyway. 

The spread in favor of New Orleans could surge to more than two scores given the confidence in a team that has won by 78 points in the last two weeks. 


Keep An Eye On Giants As Top Underdog To Bet

It's understandable if you don't want to touch the NFC East clash between the New York Giants and Philadelphia because of how poor both teams have looked. 

However, if you do throw a wager at a team in Sunday's game at Lincoln Financial Field, it should be the Giants. 

The Giants are still far from perfect, but they have won their last two games over San Francisco and Tampa Bay, making it clear that they're more concerned with finishing the season strong than earning the best possible draft pick.

Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

In Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram, the Giants possess a receiving trio that can exploit the gaps in Philadelphia's depleted secondary. 

The Eagles look like a lost cause, as nothing has gone their way over the last two weeks, and it's stunning to see them as a six-point favorite against a division rival that is one game beneath them in the standings. 

Since the Super Bowl champion hasn't looked great in any facet of the game, it's worth sprinkling some money on the Giants. 


Score Predictions

Chicago 37, Detroit 16

Mitchell Trubisky impressed under the national spotlight Sunday night, but he didn't put up terrific numbers against the Vikings. 

On Thanksgiving, the second-year quarterback out of North Carolina will fit the billing of a star QB, as he torches the Detroit defense for a 300-yard performance. 

Two weeks ago at Soldier Field, Trubisky tossed for 355 yards  and three touchdowns, as Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller both eclipsed the 100-yard receiving mark. 

Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

The key difference for the Bears offense between Week 11 and Thursday will be the production of Jordan Howard, who should come close to his first 100-yard game of the season. 

He has received a high volume of touches out of the backfield, but he hasn't had a massive statistical game yet. 

As for the Lions, they will be up for the game because they treat Thanksgiving like the Super Bowl at Ford Field, but their offense won't be able to do much against Khalil Mack and Co. 

In the 34-22 loss in Week 11, the Lions scored the majority of their points in garbage time, and that will be the case again Thursday, as Stafford records most of his passing yards in the second half. 


Carolina 27, Seattle 23

An argument can be made that Seattle's trip to Carolina is the most important game Sunday because of where both teams stand in the NFC wild-card race. 

The Panthers and Seahawks are already resigned to losing their respective divisions to the Saints and Los Angeles Rams, which means their full focus has been on the wild-card positions for quite some time. 

Carolina is sitting in a comfortable position in fifth, but a loss at the hands of the Seahawks would shake up the complexion of the wild-card hunt. 

Paul Sancya/Associated Press

Ron Rivera's team needs to find a way to bounce back from defeats to Pittsburgh and Detroit, but separation will be hard to come by against a Seahawks defense that ranks eighth in points per game

Carolina must involve its receivers more in the passing game, as the Seahawks will focus in on Christian McCaffrey, who has been the Panthers' top receiver in two of the last three games. 

If Cam Newton is able to spread the ball around to the likes of Devin Funchess and D.J. Moore, the Panthers should have a successful day. 

The biggest challenge facing the Seahawks is getting the running game going against Carolina's eighth-best rushing defense that holds opponents to 98.5 yards per contest. 

The running back combination of Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny and Mike Davis benefited from strong offensive line play in recent weeks, but that will end Sunday, as Carolina's defense proves to be the difference-maker. 


Other Score Predictions

Dallas 37, Washington 20

New Orleans 49, Atlanta 20

Buffalo 13, Jacksonville 10

Cincinnati 26, Cleveland 23 

New England 31, New York Jets 7

Baltimore 41, Oakland 16

New York Giants 21, Philadelphia 16

Tampa Bay 16, San Francisco 13

Los Angeles Chargers 37, Arizona 6

Denver 21, Pittsburgh 17

Indianapolis 31, Miami 13

Minnesota 24, Green Bay 21

Houston 30, Tennessee 17


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from ESPN.com


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