NFL Week 12 Betting Guide: Odds, Props and Picks
The Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints provided plenty to be thankful for at the start of Week 12 with outright victories over the Detroit Lions, Washington Redskins and Atlanta Falcons. Plus, each of the winners covered their respective spreads.
However, some of the surer bets Odds Shark allowed for didn't pan out.
Yes, the Bears covered their halftime spread, but the Washington-Dallas contest topped the under (40 points) and Atlanta-New Orleans game didn't make the over (61 points).
All in all, a solid start to the week after the favored teams held court bodes well going into a weekend where eight of the remaining 12 games feature spreads of seven or fewer points.
The following is a guide for those upcoming contests, including notes on spreads, over/unders and the lock of the week.
Moneyline Picks and Picks Against the Spread
Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals (-1.5, 46.5 O/U): Browns +1.5 and +110
Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers (-3, 47 O/U): Seahawks +3 and +150
Jacksonville Jaguars (-3, 37 O/U) at Buffalo Bills: Jaguars -3 and -165
Oakland Raiders at Baltimore Ravens (-11, 42.5 O/U): Ravens -10.5 and -520
San Francisco 49ers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2.5, 54 O/U): 49ers +2.5 and +120
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles (-5, 48 O/U): Giants +5 and +195
New England Patriots (-10, 46.5 O/U) at New York Jets: Patriots -10 and -435
Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Chargers (-13, 44 O/U): Chargers -13 and -700
Miami Dolphins at Indianapolis Colts (-7.5, 51 O/U): Colts -7.5 and -370
Pittsburgh Steelers (-3, 46.5 O/U) at Denver Broncos: Steelers -3 and -150
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings (-3, 47.5 O/U): Packers +3 and +145
Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans (-5, 41.5 O/U): Titans +5 and +218
For moneylines, a minus means you need to bet that amount to win $100, and a plus means a $100 bet will bring back that much profit.
Seahawks at Panthers (-3, 47 O/U)
Two factors make this a difficult game to assess.
First, the Seahawks are making the dreaded cross-country trip and playing a 1 p.m. contest on the East Coast.
The Panthers, meanwhile, have played poorly on the road over the last two weeks. Cam Newton and Co. weren't ready for the Pittsburgh Steelers during a 52-21 blowout. Carolina then stumbled against the Detroit Lions in a 20-19 loss. Sure, Newton had a wide-open receiver for a would-be game-winning two-point conversion, but the quarterback badly missed the throw.
This contest could turn into a slugfest, since it features two of the top seven rushing offenses, especially since Carolina's leading receiver, Devin Funchess, remains doubtful (back) and speedy target Torrey Smith (knee) is still questionable, per ESPN.com.
Both teams are fighting uphill battles based on extenuating circumstances. The spread falls in Carolina's favor based on the hope they'll play better at home, though.
Titans at Texans (-6, 41.5 O/U)
Bob McNair's death Friday makes this an unpredictable contest. Any time a team suffers a tragedy, one of two things can happen: Either it plays inspired football, or isn't fully prepared for the contest. How the franchise responds will fall on the individuals within the locker room.
Furthermore, the Titans expect to have quarterback Marcus Mariota (neck) back in the starting lineup, according to Titans Online's Jim Wyatt.
"To be honest with you, I couldn't really tell that anything was wrong. He looked good to me. He was a full go and he's ready to roll," offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur said of Mariota's practice performance, per ESPN.com's Turron Davenport.
The Titans won their last two contests Mariota started against the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots. This isn't the same Blaine Gabbert-led squad (though Mariota played in relief) that fell 38-10 to the Indianapolis Colts last weekend.
Prop Bets You Can Take to the Bank
Rob Gronkowski is ready to play again after he missed three of the last four contests with back and ankle injuries, or so he says.
"Yeah, I feel good," Gronkowski said Friday, per the Boston Globe's Jim McBride. "I'm ready to go. Sunday afternoon in New York it's going to be a hostile environment—it always is."
Hostile may be an understatement and plays into Gronk's determination to produce against the Jets. Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News declared this week that the tight end is a "shell of himself."
Don't underestimate an athlete's need to prove himself against detractors, though. Also, Gronk's teammates quickly defended him.
"When he's out there, he works hard. He gives us everything he has when he's available," running back James White said, per McBride. "Whenever that is, he gives us a boost. He's a guy that's battled through a lot of injuries, so, it is what it is."
The Jets defense should expect the Patriots offense to feature a healthier Gronkowski and show he's the same dominant presence.
Over a Half Interception Thrown: Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston (-220)
This may be the most surefire bet ever. OK, maybe that's hyperbolic, but only marginally so. Why? The last time Winston didn't throw an interception came on Christmas Eve last year.
He's since thrown 14 picks over six appearances. His 11 interceptions in only five games this season is third-worst overall behind rookie Sam Darnold and teammate Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Winston is a turnover machine, and the fact that the 49ers rank second-to-last with only two interceptions shouldn't sway how he's viewed. The Buccaneers quarterback tends to force passes no matter the team he's playing against. His constant mistakes have less to do with the individuals who are creating the turnovers and more about an inability to see the entire field.
Spreads to Bet
Jaguars (-3) at Bills
No. 7 overall pick Josh Allen's return after a four-game absence with an elbow injury is a positive for the Jaguars—not the Bills.
"I think Allen is trash," Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey said during a summer interview with GQ's Clay Skipper. "I don't care what nobody say. He's trash. And it's going to show, too. That's a stupid draft pick to me. We play them this year, and I'm excited as hell. I hope he's their starting quarterback."
Whether the rookie has a promising future should have no bearing on this weekend's contest. What matters is if the Bills offense takes a step back with an inexperienced signal-caller after Matt Barkley played well in spot duty during last weekend's 41-10 victory over the New York Jets. Barkley threw for 232 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His veteran presence helped steady a struggling offense.
The Bills have no idea what to expect from Allen when he faces Jacksonville's talented, albeit inconsistent, defense. Despite the team's six-game losing streak that included explosive offenses such as the Kansas City Chiefs, Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers, the Jags D still ranks fourth overall.
Sure, Buffalo's defense is ranked second. But Jacksonville has more talent on offense, even with quarterback Blake Bortles leading the way.
Dolphins at Colts (-7.5)
Ryan Tannehill's impending return to the Dolphins this weekend after a shoulder injury doesn't move the needle, either. The Colts are 4-1 against the spread in the last five weeks and playing far too well.
Tannehill won't be able to counter Andrew Luck, who has been exceptional coming off last year's shoulder injury. Luck has completed 74.1 percent of his passes with a 13-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio during the Colts' current four-game winning streak. More importantly, he hasn't been sacked during that stretch. In fact, the New England Patriots, on Oct. 4, were the last team to bring down Luck.
If the Dolphins attempt to bring pressure, the Colts QB will shred them. According to Pro Football Focus, he's completed 77.8 percent of his passes against the blitz.
Indianapolis scored 29 or more points for five straight weeks, whereas the Dolphins have only done so once (in an overtime contest).
Browns at Bengals (-1.5, 46.5 O/U): Bengals -2.5 to -1.5
A spread in the Bengals' favor is dissipating as Cincinnati's injury situation worsens. As of Saturday afternoon, the Bengals downgraded wide receiver A.J. Green and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick to doubtful, according to The Athletic's Jay Morrison. ESPN's Josina Anderson also reported Green won't play.
Without Green, the Bengals pack far less punch on offense, and the Browns defense can concentrate on other options.
"He's definitely a guy that attracts a double-team, a guy that opens up a lot of their running lanes and I mean, he's definitely a difference-maker out there," Browns safety Damarious Randall said of Green, per the Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot.
Quarterback Andy Dalton hasn't managed more than 211 passing yards in either game Green missed with a toe injury.
"Yeah, the offense don't score a lot of points when A.J. isn't on the field, so obviously losing a guy like that, I mean, sucks for like I mean definitely the whole entire offense because he's one of those generational type of players," Randall added.
Titans at Texans (-5, 41.5 O/U): Texans -6 to -5
The uncertainty swirling around the Texans organization had Vegas tweaking Monday's line by a point. The shift came after Friday's injury report noted multiple injured Texans participated in practice, albeit some in a limited fashion.
Defensive end J.J. Watt, wide receiver Keke Coutee, inside linebacker Zach Cunningham, offensive lineman Zach Fulton, outside linebacker Duke Ejiofor and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins all practiced. None of them have been downgraded. So, their participation will be game-time decisions.
In addition, it's one of those situations where it's nearly impossible to predict how a team will respond to adversity. McNair was a gigantic presence in Houston and his organization.
Giants at Eagles: Over 48 points
This would have been a much different story a month ago when the Giants struggled to find an offensive rhythm. But Pat Shurmur's staff made adjustments during the New York's Week 9 bye.
As a result, quarterback Eli Manning has looked much better, Odell Beckham Jr. is more involved and Saquon Barkley is seeing increased usage in the running game.
It's not a coincidence the Giants are on a two-game winning streak, having scored at least 27 points in both of those contests.
The Eagles' side of the equation might give bettors pause, though. Philadelphia's attack hasn't performed as well by scoring only 27 points combined during the same stretch. However, Doug Pederson's squad faced much tougher defenses in the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans. The same can't be said of the Giants, since New York is ranked 25th in total defense.
Philadelphia isn't much better at 23rd overall. Plus, linebacker Jordan Hicks and cornerbacks Sidney Jones, Avonte Maddox and Jalen Mills have already been ruled out of Sunday's contest, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer's Jeff McLane.
Expect a shootout.
Jaguars at Bills: Under 37 points
The NFL may be an offense-driven league, but two of the best defenses will be on the field Sunday in Orchard Park, New York.
As mentioned earlier, the Jaguars hold an advantage at the game's most important position with Allen's expected return, but no one is claiming Bortles will be the deciding factor.
Bortles threw for only 104 yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, and the Jaguars' ultra-conservative offensive approach won't run up the score on the league's second-best pass defense, especially when Jacksonville is down to its fourth starting left tackle.
Furthermore, the Jaguars will attack Allen, who could easily be overwhelmed by the pressure Jacksonville's front four can apply.
This meeting will likely be a battle of attrition, where the least incompetent offense secures a victory.
49ers at Buccaneers (+120)
The 49ers deserve credit for playing well the last couple of weeks despite being down to third-string quarterback Nick Mullens. But the credit really goes to a coaching staff that has kept the team in games despite roster limitations.
The 49ers have won one contest and lost two by an average of 3.5 points since October's blowout loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan's offensive scheme keeps his team in games and within striking distance. So, the Niners are a safe bet to cover against a poorly coached team like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Buccaneers are near the point of crumbling. The offense moves the ball yet makes far too many mistakes. The team understands how much pressure is on quarterback Jameis Winston, who may not be the future of the franchise.
"I think Jameis is still a franchise quarterback," head coach Dirk Koetter said, per the Tampa Bay Times' Rick Stroud, "but that decision will be made by somebody else at the end of the year."
Winston already has 11 interceptions in just five games this season. If he starts forcing passes, expect the 49ers to be in a position to win.
Steelers at Broncos (-150)
The Steelers are rolling and 5-0-1 against the spread over the last six weeks. Pittsburgh has reeled off six straight victories, and the Broncos don't appear to be the team capable of slowing Antonio Brown and Co.
Even after playing three awful quarters last week, Pittsburgh still found a way to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat against the Jacksonville Jaguars. A team can never rest with the weapons Pittsburgh presents on offense.
The Broncos, on the other hand, are tied for seventh-worst in passing defense, surrendering 7.9 yards per play. Cornerback Bradley Roby remains questionable after suffering a concussion, according to the Denver Post's Kyle Fredrickson.
"It's a passing league, you know that every week when you line up, your guys have to play with confidence and great technique, and keep playing through things, with confidence, because there is no place to hide," Broncos head coach Vance Joseph said, per ESPN.com's Jeff Legwold.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger may not play well for stretches, but the Steelers offense is always a big-play threat.
Sucker Bet: Chargers -13 over Cardinals
Big spreads are always tempting. The NFL can be unpredictable, and the cliche "any given Sunday" can lead bettors astray.
Make no mistake: The Chargers should pummel the Cardinals when the two teams meet Sunday at the StubHub Center.
One team is counted among the league's best, while the other is arguably the worst. There's no in-between with these two squads. Vegas lines are trying to lure suckers in with a massive spread just to get some action on the Cardinals when there's absolutely no reason to believe Arizona will cover, let alone win outright.
Yes, the Chargers pulled a Chargers last week by losing to the 3-6 Denver Broncos, but this fact alone makes Los Angeles far less likely to overlook the 2-8 Cardinals.
Consider this: The Chargers and their sixth-ranked offense have yet to score fewer than 20 points all season. Arizona has scored 20 or more just twice. This is a massive mismatch.
Right now, the Cardinals' primary objective is developing quarterback Josh Rosen, who has thrown seven touchdowns and eight interceptions in his last four contests. For comparison, Philip Rivers has eight touchdowns and three interceptions during the same stretch.
The Chargers did suffer a big loss this week with defensive tackle Corey Liuget's season-ending knee injury. However, the defensive line should be bolstered by Joey Bosa's improvement in his second week back from an injured foot.
"I know my foot can withstand it, and I know my body can withstand it," Bosa said after his first game action of the 2018 campaign, per ESPN.com's Eric D. Williams. "I was in pretty good condition out there, so this week will be about getting back to my technique and playing—more of the football aspect of it than the health aspect of it."
Beware the massive spread and realize the Chargers are a superior on-field product.
Lock of the Week: Browns -2.5
The Cleveland Browns already rebooted by firing head coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley, but the team hasn't given up on the season.
"I can't stress to you all enough that we have a lot of football left," general manager John Dorsey said, per the Orange and Brown Report's Fred Greetham. "We have six games to be played here in the 2018 season. ... We have to continually win. The coaches have to continually teach. The players have to continue to develop. Let’s finish strong how this season unfolds here in 2018."
A little something extra is on the line Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals since Jackson now works for the Bengals organization.
Revenge games can be difficult to determine, yet the Browns have numerous factors working in their favor.
First, Cleveland is coming off its bye with two weeks to prepare for this particular contest. Freddie Kitchens already showed new looks, like a diamond backfield and 13 personnel, by working with the team's strengths during his first two games as interim offensive coordinator. The Bengals should expect more wrinkles with the extra preparation time.
Second, the Browns are as healthy as they've been all season, with only three starters on this week's injured list and all expected to play. Center JC Tretter was the only real concern, and he returned to practice Friday, according to the Akron Beacon Journal's Nate Ulrich. The Bengals aren't as fortunate. Wide receiver A.J. Green, left tackle Cordy Glenn, cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and linebacker Nick Vigil didn't practice Friday, according to ESPN.com's Katherine Terrell.
Cincinnati already features the NFL's worst defense and surrenders 449.4 yards per game. The run defense is particularly awful, allowing 511 yards in the Bengals' previous two losses. Browns running back Nick Chubb, meanwhile, earned his second NFL Offensive Rookie of the Week award the last time Cleveland took the field; he rushed for a career-high 176 yards against the Atlanta Falcons.
This contest means far more to the Browns than it does the Bengals.