2022 NFL Analysis and Picks (Week 12)
This week’s “Best Seat in the House” star is Joseph Freda, from Waltham, MA.
In previous weeks, Scott Byron (New York Giants-CLICK HERE), Bruce Kramer (Philadelphia Eagles-CLICK HERE), Noah Carbone (Miami Dolphins-CLICK HERE), Jason March (Las Vegas Raiders-CLICK HERE), Linda Kenney Baden/Dr. Michael Baden (New York Jets-CLICK HERE), Bob Jones (NFL London at Wembley Stadium-CLICK HERE), Judd Greenagel (Minnesota Vikings-CLICK HERE), and Chad Halloway (Chicago Bears-CLICK HERE) each shared their seat views. Photos were posted here in the weekly write-ups.
Note that anyone reading this can send a picture from their seats and I might use it in an upcoming report (email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send me a message via Facebook).
As for my analysis and picks, I hope you enjoy the weekly analysis and picks. They’re fun to write. It’s been a great run, so far. I have a few more comments about the release of games and my writings, which you can read below.
Here’s a recap of last week’s picks and results. I did a poor job on my capping, dropping two units (4 wins and 6 losses) for a net decline of -$360. Worse, the 4 props I recommended went 1-3, which really stung.
Tennessee Titans +1.5 (First Half) — Risking $220 to win $200 ….. WON
Carolina Panthers +13 (Game Line -110) — Risking $220 to win $200 ….. WON
PROP BET: Justin Fields OVER 72.5 yards rushing (-115) — Risking $230 to win $200 ….. WON
PROP BET: Josh Allen Interception Total OVER .5 (-130) — Risking $260 to win $200 ….. LOST
PROP BET: S. Barkley OVER 95 yards rushing (-115) — Risking $230 to win $200 ….. LOST
New York Jets +3.5 — Risking $220 to win $200 ….. LOST (holy fuck, this one hurt!)
PROP BET: Philadelphia Team Total (First-Half) OVER 13.5 points (-110) — Risking $220 to win $200 ….. LOST
Washington Commanders -3 — Risking $220 to win $200 ….. WON
TEASER: Minnesota +7.5 / LA Chargers +11.5 (-120) — Risking $240 to win $200 ….. LOST
PROP: Longest Field Goal OVER 46.5 (-115) — Risking $230 to win $200 ….. LOST
Now, it’s on to Week #12.
NFL WAGERING RECORD (2022)
Starting Bankroll: $10,000.
Current Bankroll: $15,618.
Net Gain/Loss: + $5,618.
Last Week’s Results: 4 wins – 6 losses (- $360.)
Atlanta at Washington
Line: Commanders -4.5
Analysis: The Atlanta Falcons are like week-old leftovers festering in the fridge. You’re tempted by hunger, but do you really want to take a chance at getting sick? If you’re seeking confidence, this is a nauseating team to put your trust in. So, of course — I’m going to bet on them. My recommended wager is taking Atlanta Team Total OVER 9.5 points in the first half. I know, the game hasn’t even started, and I’m already feeling ill. I wouldn’t touch Atlanta for the full game, especially given that Washington has won five of their last six games (and is 5-0-1 ATS) and continues to overachieve against slow-to-react betting market projections. But this looks like a soft number for a 1H team total. While the Falcons remain dirty betting birds, there’s also an edge gap here. Yes, Atlanta is a woeful 1-4 SU on the road this season, and clearly performs much better at home. On natural grass (Washington), they’re 0-3 SU. Moreover, I still can’t get the bad taste out of my mouth of the Falcons taking a monster-sized shit on my betting bankroll when they failed to even show up at Carolina two weeks ago (fucking Carolina!), and at Cincinnati before that. Looking at their team stats, I need a mask. But the Falcons do rank slightly above average as a first-half team, averaging 11.6 PPG1H. Washington’s defense allows an average of 10.3 PPG1H. Obviously, the tipping point here for a wager is catching a win on the key number “10,” so there’s value betting OVER 9.5 vigged at -110. Concerns about the Falcons’ horrible defense don’t matter here, since Washington scoring points could trigger a more aggressive play-calling by the Falcons. Both teams really need this game badly. Incredibly, a Falcons’ win could catapult them into first place in the awful NFC South. And for all of Atlanta’s faults, they do rank #7 in the NFL in points scored this season. Note: Rain is forecast on Sunday, but temperatures should be mild, with minimal wind.
The Pick: Atlanta Falcons Team Total-First Half OVER 9.5 (-110) — Risking $220 to win $200
Baltimore at Jacksonville
Line: Ravens -4
Analysis: First-place 7-3 Baltimore has won 4 straight games and is 4-1 SU on the road this season. They should roll into the playoffs with perhaps 11 or 12 wins, and if they stay hot might even clinch home-field advantage as the AFC’s top seed. That’s a very real possibility. The Ravens have a clear path to an easy division title since each of their next six games is versus losing teams. In fact, the Ravens get an early Christmas present since their next six games include opponents with a combined 20-41 W-L record, which is the easiest schedule in the NFL. Unfortunately, Baltimore does way too often play down to their level of competition, as evidenced by what we saw in last week’s ugly 13-3 win (non-cover) versus Carolina (the game was tied 3-3 entering the 4th quarter). Still, Jacksonville is no prize either — losers of six of their last seven games, including a dreadful 1-6 ATS mark in that same stretch. That ugly 1-6 ATS blemish will keep me off the Jaguars, a team I’d typically grab as a home underdog at this price. Baltimore’s sluggish offensive struggles mean we can’t lay the points here. The Ravens’ offense hasn’t lit up a scoreboard since Week 3. Let’s also note the Jaguars’ underrated defense is better than expected for a losing team, surrendering just 25 more YPG on average than the Ravens, and 20.5 PPG, about the same points allowed as Baltimore’s defense, giving up 19.9 PPG. Coming off the bye week won’t hurt the Jaguars either. There are way too many conflicting angles here to make a confident pick on a side. I even researched some passing and field goal props, but couldn’t come up with anything. However, what does stand out is the total, just a little high at 44. I’d have this at 42. Both teams should rely heavily on the run since the Jags are #6 in the NFL in YPG, while Baltimore’s rushing attack ranks #2. This should keep the game clock moving. These two teams also have a history of playing lower-than-average coring games, hitting the UNDER in 6 of the last 8 contests.
The Pick: Baltimore-Jacksonville UNDER 44 — Risking $220 to win $200
Chicago at NY Jets
Line: Jets -6
Analysis: This game is likely to be a contest of backup quarterbacks — one of which makes you belch out “who the fuck?” and the other makes bleat out, “oh fuck!” After a horrid performance last week at NWE, including possibly losing the confidence of his teammates in postgame comments in which he tossed everyone in a Jets uniform (except himself) under the bus, high draft pick soon-to-be former-Jets quarterback bust Zach Wilson was benched for this game. So, he’ll make $850,000 over the weekend to hold onto a clipboard for three hours, and meanwhile, how’s your job going? What’s really surprising is the 6-4 Jets, still very much in the playoff hunt (really, they are), turned to third-stringer Mark White and skipped over Joe Flacco like he’s Aunt Bea’s cold green bean casserole at the last Thanksgiving family dinner. Presumably, lead-legged Flacco is so far down the Jets’ depth chart, he’s going to be shining Wilson’s shoes while he holds the clipboard. These QB issues mean we have no clue what to expect from the already anemic Jets offense; And despite all this, they’re nearly a touchdown favorite, which all goes to show what the football betting universe thinks of Trevor Siemian. Reportedly, Bears QB Justin Fields won’t start due to a shoulder injury, which basically turns the Chicago Bears offense into the hilarious scene from This is Spinal Tap where the lead guitarist quits and the band replaces the entire setlist with jazz fusion fronted by a bass player named Derek Smalls. Oh, and the bass player this week is Siemian, whose NFL career stats read like an EKG machine at Whispering Pines. Check and see if the thing is plugged in. Siemian started four games for the Saints last season, all that misery, after being run out of Houston and Denver and told never to come back. He went 0-4 in those starts. But hey, other than that Trevor played great! It’s difficult to handicap a bonkers game like this for obvious reasons. Fields is such a huge game-changer, especially given how well he’s played in the last 5 games. The Bears are a different team without him. However, we don’t know what to expect from the Jets, either. So, the value is probably with the underdog, especially in the first half when game plans should be simple and straightforward. In a very low totaled game (38.5), points should be at a premium, so getting +3.5 in the first two frames looks like a gift, even if we’re attaching the Bears to the bet. Rain is expected (100 percent chance in the forecast, as of Friday night), which adds to points being a bonus. I really like getting the hook on the 3. There is one more intangible: We’ve seen trickery before in QB starts, and there’s a chance Fields plays. Yes, it’s a small chance, but that would certainly boost the value of this bet.
UPDATE: Fields is out.
The Pick: Chicago Bears (First Half) +3.5 — Risking $220 to win $200
Cincinnati at Tennessee
Line: Bengals -2.5
Analysis: Over the lengthy course of my sports betting life and career (my first bet was in 1970….up to the present), I put the O/U on the number of bets I’ve lost at +/- 16,462. Okay, let’s juice the OVER to -115. The most painful single loss I ever suffered was an easy and obvious pick — a whopping $39,000 cash bet kick in the balls lost on an NFL game about 15 years ago. Fast forward to early 2022. A game with these two teams (CIN at TEN) was the second-worst loss ever, emotionally speaking. I’m referring to last year’s divisional playoff game won by Cincinnati 19-16 when they beat Tennessee in this same stadium in an atrocious assfuck of an abomination. Indeed, that was the second most frustrating NFL game that I’ve ever bet on, and the excruciating way the fiasco played out still upsets me today, nearly a year later. In that horror show, I bet Titans on the moneyline for a sizable figure and then watched and screamed and busted a blood vessel in my brain as Tennessee seemingly tried to do everythingmotherfuckingthing within its power to lose that game. The coach blew it. The QB blew it. The RBs blew it. The WRs blew it. When they should have run–they passed. When they should have passed–they ran the ball. They were 1/8 on 3rd down conversions for the entire fucking game! One for eight! They sacked the Bengals quarterback a dozen times, and still fucking lost! Derrick Henry looked like he was on the take. If he got touched by a defender, he immediately fell to the ground like a soccer player doing a phantom pretend act. It was a baffling final score that made no sense to me whatsoever. I was so disgusted by the spectacle then–that now and can’t even bear to see these two teams take the same field again. Call it PTSD. My sports betting Vietnam. So, I won’t bet on this game. I won’t watch it. Way too many bitter memories. If anyone knows a therapist who works cheap, please message me.
The Pick: I have zero interest in this game — pass.
Denver at Carolina
Line: Broncos -1.5
Analysis: I read a fascinating stat someplace that said if the Denver Broncos had scored just 18 points in each game this season, they’d be 9-1 right now. This is a Super Bowl-caliber defense and pissant PeeWee Herman League offense. What a combination. It wasn’t supposed to be like this, not with QB Russell Wilson signed as the free agent savior and Nathanial Hackett (ne Buddy Hackett) making the coaching decisions. It’s been a total shitshow in Denver. No team outside of the LA Rams has been a greater disappointment, but at least the Rams have a valid excuse of injuries. The Broncos have no excuses. What’s mystifying to me is the play and decision-making by Wilson, who has not been using his legs to buy time. For years, Wilson was one of the NFL’s best QBs at buying extra time rolling out of the pocket, and also provided a duel run threat. I can’t tell if it’s age, coming off an injury, a new offensive system, or just some change of heart. But this is an unrecognizable player from the perennial MVP candidate we’ve been watching for a decade. Rarely would it be justifiable to throw in the towel on a player of this cost and caliber, but the Broncos have reached that stage, in my view. Last week’s 16-point tally at Tennessee coming off the bye week was the final straw for an offense that’s cracked the 20-point mark in just 2/10 games this season. It doesn’t matter who they play — good team or bad — Denver’s offense is dead and buried. With the NFL’s #3 ranked defense and such a bad offense, Denver’s totals should be low. But this O/U is as low as any NFL game gets, barring really inclement weather. At 36, I don’t recall any NFL total this low in years. Denver games have gone UNDER in 9/10 this season, but most of those totals were in the 40s. Now, the markets have adjusted. Carolina has been just as much a mess, but few expected much from this team. The coaching staff was housecleaned, QB Baker Mayfield was benched after a terrible game last week in Baltimore, and now Sam Darnold (who started 9 games for the Panthers last season) is making his 2022 debut as Carolina’s third different starting quarterback in as many weeks. In a game where points should be tough to come by, I see value in taking points where we can find them. Perhaps the best bet is Carolina in the first half, getting +1.5, though that number is juiced up to -135. I love getting the win on a Denver 1-point halftime lead. Would anyone be surprised by a 7-6 or 10-9 score? The Panthers at home with a defense that’s played very well the last two games, seems like a gift getting points, particularly in a shorter time frame. Carolina is also 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games and 2-0 SU at home with the interim coaching staff. The Panthers are also 3-1 ATS as a home underdog this year. Let’s also credit the Panthers for not allowing a TD in the first half of their last two games, and they faced ATL and BAL in those games, both of which are well above average in rushing offense. Denver averages just 3.9 YPC running the ball, one of the worst figures in the NFL, which means the Broncos might be forced to throw more than they like. Give me the Cats plus the points.
The Pick: Carolina (First Half) +1.5 (-135) — Risking $270 to win $200
Houston at Miami
Line: Dolphins -14
Analysis: The Texans have reached the point of their season when they’re playing out the string, evaluating talent (or lack thereof), and trying to figure out what their identity will be going forward. Oddly, this makes them a dangerous team when not taken seriously. From the pointspread on this game — Miami is favored by two touchdowns — no one is taking Houston seriously. QB Kyle Allen has been announced as the starter in this game in place of somebody we’ll never hear from again likely bound for the Arena Football League, and since things couldn’t possibly be worst for the Texans offense, there’s only one direction to go. Yeah, down. Somehow, they’d dig deeper. After all, this is the Texans. Houston ranks #32, dead last in total offense, which has smelled worse than an old pair of Ted Cruz’s brown shoes. It’s impossible to bet wager money on Houston, unless you get drunk off betting the hardways in craps. That’s basically where Houston is at, right now. Versus any other opponent, we might be justified in taking the generous points, since there’s always some chance the Dolphins won’t take this game as seriously as the monster schedule coming ahead (Miami faces a brutal gauntlet of teams in the final six weeks). The Dolphins come in fresh and healthy here at home off a bye week, and in their three previous games the Dolphins have rolled up 105 points. Hence, it seems Miami can just name the final score here. Nonetheless, Houston’s stats and awful record aren’t helped any by having faced five straight winning teams–who are a combined 36-18. One more little-known fact: Kyle Allen’s NFL stats aren’t bad. If Miami gives a half-assed defensive effort, Houston will probably cover and exceed some offensive expectations. Normally, I’d pass on a mismatch like this, but based on some instinctive suspicions here — I’ll make a pick anyway. I see Houston exceeding 16.5 on their team total in this game. Allen has a few starts under his belt, and the change at QB should spark some effort from the offense. Let’s add that Miami, even though they’re 7-3, they’ve outscored opponents by only a tiny margin this season, 252-241. The Dolphins have held just 2/10 opponents under the 17-point mark all season long. So, I think the Texans will get some cheap points here, at least enough to exceed a very low team total of 16.5. Moreover, if Miami rolls up points (and they should), that probably sets up some relaxation by the defense, which often happens often in blowout games. We’re also paying low vig, at just -105, and fading popular opinion that Houston’s offense sucks. Yeah, Houston’s offense sucks, but sometimes the intangibles make it worthwhile to go contrarian, and here’s a good spot to do so.
The Pick: Houston Team Total Full Game OVER 16.5 (-105) — Risking $210 to win $200
Tampa Bay at Cleveland
Line: Buccaneers -3.5
Analysis: Here’s a possible trap game for Tampa Bay, laying more than a FG on the road despite being a dreadful 1-6-1 ATS in their last 8 games. The Bucs are also 1-4 ATS coming off the bye week in the last five seasons. With QB Tom Brady, Tampa Bay is just 5-7 ATS as a road favorite. Hence, the Bucs look like the obvious sucker play. However, I’m not betting on Cleveland plus the points either, even though that’s a very tempting prospect. Instead, I see value in a PROP on this game, which is Browns QB Jacoby Brissett to exceed some passing numbers. First, this should be the final start by Brissett, since controversial Deshaun Watson is expected to return to the lineup in Week 13 (vs. Texans) following his suspension. That’s a perfect opponent for Watson to rekindle some confidence, especially versus his old team in Houston. That also leaves us with a stealth opportunity to take advantage of no one paying attention to Brissett, who — for all his lack of sparkle — has still produced some solid numbers. He’s 18th in QB ratings among all starters, with an impressive 65 pct. completion rate, with 11 TDs and just 5 INTs. Brissett won’t make the Hall of Fame, but he doesn’t make many mistakes, either. What Brissett is really good at is getting trash yards and stats, piling up numbers that make him look better on paper than the 3-7 record he’s produced as a Cleveland starter. What really stands out is the PROP on Brissett’s passing yards, just 207.5. That’s low for any QB, let alone one who’s played as well as Brissett this season. And if you look at his 10 starts, Brissett has gone UNDER 220 just once, and that was in Week 1, which means he’s gone OVER 207.5 passing yards in NINE straight starts. Brissett is also coming off a season-best 324-yard game against Buffalo (with 3 TDs) last week, so the Browns won’t be afraid to let him sling the ball again. Brissett’s QBR is also 100+ in 3 of his last 4 starts, so he’s played well of late. While Tampa Bay does field the NFL’s #8 ranked defense (total yardage allowed) and #5th ranked pass defense, they also will face one of the league’s best rushing teams (Browns average 150 YPG rushing and 227 YPG passing). This forces the Bucs to play the run a little more, setting up more opportunities for Brissett. I’m also leaning to Brissett’s completions OVER 18.5, since he does complete a high percentage of passes, and is likely to be playing from behind at some point based on being an underdog (teams that trail usually throws the ball more in catch-up mode). Brissett’s receivers are also healthy. In what should be his final start, Brissett also has a little added motivation to make this game count, so that intangible adds to my support for his OVER on passing props. I think he really leaves everything out on the field here, with little or nothing to lose. If you’re really aggressive, also consider Brissett OVER on passing attempts, at 29.5. If you’re super aggressive, the OVER 1.5 TD passes also pays +185. I’ll stick with just the OVERs on yards and completions, but all four bets could hit under the right circumstances (or lose, of course). Note the weather conditions, which call for rain and temperatures of 48 degrees. A little rain is fine. But do be careful about really bad visibility, which is always possible in Cleveland this time of year.
UPDATE: Winds picked up in Cleveland this morning, est. 15-20 mph with some rain. Prop numbers dropped on Brissett down to 201.5. I can see passing based on the conditions, but that’s offset somewhat by the better value on the number. I’ll stick with my picks, but be advised this is now riskier based on weather.
The Picks: PROP: J. Brissett OVER 207.5 yards passing (-115) — Risking $230 to win $200 / PROP: J. Brissett OVER 18.5 pass completions (-115) — Risking $230 to win $200
Las Vegas at Seattle
Line: Seahawks -4
Analysis: This line opened at Seattle -3.5. It went to -4 on Saturday, which is somewhat less attractive, but still potentially worth a wager. Even at -4, this number shows disrespect to Seattle, which is 6-4, both SU and ATS. What’s puzzling about the line is why anyone would be confident enough to wager on the 3-7 Raiders. Their three victories were vs. Denver (twice) and Houston, two of the worst offenses in the NFL. The late win at Denver last week arguably hurts the Raiders in terms of urgency and motivation, since that victory does take some pressure off a franchise that’s been reeling all season long and finally got a brief moment to celebrate. The bottom line is — the head coach still hasn’t proven to belong in the NFL and the Raider’s defense ranks #27th in the league. Going on the road for a second straight week, versus a rested and well-coached team doesn’t bode well for their chances of making it 2-straight wins. / As much as the Raiders have disappointed fans and backers, the Seahawks have been a surprise. They’re tied for first place and have a realistic shot to win the NFC West. I’m tossing out their Week 10 loss in London to Tampa Bay, which was a rare third-straight road game, never a good omen for any NFL team. They simply ran out of gas in that situation, but now with 2 weeks to prepare and back at home, are likely to return to their previous winning form. I’m wary of a few factors — including the Seahawks’ defense which ranks below average in most categories and could get torched by the run. The weather could also hurt both passing games since rain is forecast. I think rain slows down both teams, probably creates a better UNDER opportunity, and takes me off Seattle as a -4 favorite. So, this will be a game-time decision for me. But my lean is to Seattle minus the points up to -4 and/or UNDER 48, if rain is falling at kickoff.
UPDATE: It looks like rain is not as big a concern, so I’ll now go ahead with a bet on Seattle -4. No wager on the total.
The Picks: No Official Plays (but could change at game-time) UPDATE: Seattle Seahawks -4 (Full Game) (-110) — Risking $220 to win $200.
LA Chargers at Arizona
Line: Chargers -3
Analysis: The 4-7 Cardinals come into this game off a thorough humiliation, losing by four touchdowns last Monday night in Mexico City to the division-rival San Francisco 49ers. That’s probably the final breath for the Cardinals as possible playoff contenders, who have been notorious for fading late in the season and are now repeating the fade once again as losers of 3 of their last 4 games. The Cardinals’ only win in that span was with QB backups versus the Rams who now resemble an expansion team with their injury situation. It wasn’t just that Arizona lost a critical game last week, it was the crumbling confidence we see on the field and on the sidelines. There’s mounting evidence this team appears to have given up, especially the horrid Cards’ defense which is as bad a tackling unit as there is in the league. Arizona’s coaching staff also appears likely to get canned at season’s end, and who knows where Kyler Murray’s head is at the moment? On paper, the Cardinals should be a much better team, but tend to underachieve. Their problems are worsened by a short prep week, and a home crowd that likely won’t provide any tangible advantages. Consider that Arizona is just 1-5 straight up at home this season. Their 296 points-per-game allowed also ranks #31st in the NFL. So, even if the offense shows up, it’s doubtful the Cardinals can stop anybody. Wagering on the Cardinals doesn’t provide much evidence for optimism. Although there’s sometimes value in taking losing teams getting points, especially when there’s no pressure to win, I view Arizona as untouchable right now. Meanwhile, at 5-5 and still in the playoff hunt, the Los Angeles Chargers are a hard team to figure out. Explosive one week, and inexplicably disinterested the next, I can’t predict which team shows up. Fortunately, the Chargers’ offense gets a super soft defensive opponent this week, giving QB Justin Herbert the opportunity to rack up some stats, and possibly points. Chargers’ bettors should be concerned about their dismally poor rushing numbers, which are among the league’s worst. However, given they also boast the #5 passing attack, why bother running the ball when they can throw? The Chargers in the first half could be worth a serious look. The line is Chargers -1.5 points. They average 15.2 PPG1H, ranking as the NFL’s third-best in points production. Contrast this with the dismal Cardinals, who have trailed in 9 of their 11 games this season at halftime (Arizona averages just 9.2 PPG1H). There’s no compelling evidence Arizona is suddenly going to put things together this week with shorter prep time, coming off a demoralizing loss, and are likely to have the cloud of an uncertain coaching future. Moreover, the Chargers rank better than average, going 6-4 versus the spread in the first half of games this season. I like bets on the Chargers, both in the first half and for the game.
The Picks: Los Angeles Chargers -3 (Full Game) (-110) — Risking $220 to win $200 / LA Chargers (First Half) -1.5 — Risking $220 to win $200
LA Rams at Kansas City
Line: Chiefs -15.5
Analysis: Here’s one of the highest pointspreads of the season. Who would have thought a defending Super Bowl champion would ever be an underdog by more than two touchdowns? That’s how far the once-mighty Rams have fallen. Bryce Perkins (who?) was just announced as the Rams’ QB this week, getting his start in the NFL, and the poor toad gets his welcome at Kansas City, one of the toughest stadiums in the league for the visiting team. Making things even worse for the Rams, WR Cooper Kupp is out for the next month. The offensive line is a shitpile, and the Rams have no running game (averaging 76 YPG, dead last in the NFL). How are they going to fucking score? Incredibly, the Rams team total is a staggeringly low “12.5,” a number I don’t ever recall seeing before in a regular season game. Hell, the UNDER still might be worth a bet. What I see as the smarter wager, however, is the game total to fall UNDER 42 points. Kansas City leads the league in several offensive categories, but will they run up the score here? I have my doubts. The Chiefs will also face the Rams’ defense, which ranks a very respectable #10 in the league in yards allowed, something of a miracle since this unit gets no help nor time of possession assistance from the lousy offense. So, assuming the Rams’ defense has any will to fight left, they’re capable of at least slowing down the Chiefs. I can see Kansas City building an early lead, sitting on the ball, and winning easily. A shutout isn’t out of the question either, given so many unproven components on the Rams’ offense. Let’s be generous and call this one 34-6 in favor of the Chiefs.
The Pick: LA Rams / Kansas City UNDER 42 (-110) — Risking $220 to win $200
New Orleans at San Francisco
Line: 49ers -9
Analysis: San Francisco is laying a big number here, especially for a team returning home off a big win on a short week (they played Monday night in Mexico City). However, the spread is probably justified given how stellar the defense is playing, combined with some sense of urgency that the 49ers must continue to win to keep pace in the NFC West with Seattle (tied for first place). San Francisco ranks at the #1 defense in the league (in yards allowed) and surrenders just 17 PPG. Those factors enough could justify a wager on the favorite. Let’s add that New Orleans struggled badly against good defenses this season, and the 49ers’ solid front four should be able to shut down the Saints running game, which does pose some danger. If New Orleans can’t run the ball, that puts the game on the shoulders of erratic Andy Dalton. He’s *still* starting at QB for some reason (and never should have been signed in the first place), the confidence presumably lingering onward since the Saints somehow think they can sneak into the playoffs in a really bad division. But they’ll likely lose this game and be exposed as the below-average team they are. Let’s also give San Francisco a boost offensively, which is looking better each week. Winners of three straight, San Francisco won’t let this one slip by in the same way they blew it earlier this season in baffling losses at Chicago and Atlanta. Here’s another impressive stat: San Francisco is doing something right at halftime — since the 49ers outscored their last three opponents 54-0 in the second half. So, I look for San Francisco to pull away later in the game and win by double digits. Let’s also note the Saints’ last three road games were all losses by 12-8-8 points, and those were to the lowly Steelers, Cardinals, and Panthers. Now, they face a far better team on the road with a great defense. I’ll lay the chalk here with San Francisco.
The Pick: San Francisco 49ers -9 (-110) — Risking $220 to win $200
[SNF] Green Bay at Philadelphia
Line: Eagles -6.5
Analysis: Are the Packers done for the season? It sure looks that way after losing by 10 points at home last week and now is mired in the uncharacteristic tailspin of a 4-7 record. It’s really tough to figure out where the Packers are at the moment, mentally speaking, let alone try to predict how much effort we can expect when they play the team with the NFL’s best record on Sunday night. Green Bay has lost six of their last seven contests with their lone win coming against the Cowboys, among the NFC’s best teams at the moment. QB Aaron Rodgers hasn’t played anywhere near his usual A-List level, hampered by a bum thumb and a depleted receiver corps, neither of which is going to change tonight in this matchup. Scoring just 18 PPG, and 12 PPG on the road, this has become a below-average offense. The defense is just as problematic, allowing 27+ in five of their last seven games. To give some balance, however, let’s note that the Pack is playing one of the NFL’s toughest schedules — since 8 of their 11 opponents have winning records, and they’re just 2-6 in those games. Under these circumstances, it’s impossible to bet Green Bay, that is, unless we’re getting more than a touchdown. In fact, this pointspread might be jaded too heavily towards the Packers–purely based on history and reputation. But recent results show that this team is nowhere near the same as the 13-win dominant franchise we’ve gotten used to in the Rodgers era. Based on this “slow to react” line movement on Packers’ games (i.e., they’re still getting too much respect), I’ll go with Philadelphia here laying less than a TD. / The Eagles haven’t played well, lately either. But they do manage to win games even on off-days, as they showed in the “false win” last week in Indianapolis. In their last three, the Eagles were tied at halftime in Houston, lost by double digits at home to Washington, and were behind most of the game to the car crash that is Indy. One expects a home primetime game versus the Packers is a great opportunity to play up to their 9-1 record. Given their last primetime home game was a loss, that likely sets up conditions for an even more focused effort. Good teams tend to bounce back after disappointments. Philadelphia is 4-1 ATS at home this season. The Eagles are also the NFL’s best first-half team, averaging 18 PPG1H, while outscoring opponents by an average of nearly 9 PPG1H. Green Bay has been a slow-starting team all season long. It’s tempting to lay -4 in the 1H with the Eagles, but I think the slightly better value is to lay the -6.5 for the full game.
The Pick: Philadelphia Eagles -6.5 (-110) — Risking $220 to win $200
[MNF] Pittsburgh at Indianapolis
Line: Colts -2.5
Analysis: Since taking over following Week 9, Jeff Saturday and his Colts have covered easily in the first two games as head coach. Can the Colts do it again hosting a Monday night game? Moreover, can they transition from an underdog with nothing expected of them and now lay points and cover as a favorite? I think this is a stretch, so that’s the reason why I’m taking Pittsburgh plus the points. But to be safe, I’m also teasing the underdog since a low-scoring game is expected. So, getting the added teaser points gives the bet even more weight. / Let’s start with the Colts, who remain one of the worst offenses in the league. Credit Indy for two gutsy games in a row. However, I’m still a doubter that QB Matt Ryan has any long-term future with the Colts. Keep in mind that the immobile oyster-legged Ryan did play well against the Raiders and Eagles in recent weeks, but the Colts continue allowing the most sacks in the NFL. Now, they face a defense that’s certainly capable of applying pressure, thanks to last year’s Defensive Player of the Year, T.J. Watt being back in the lineup. The Steelers also force an above-average number of interceptions (12). Pittsburgh is good enough on the D-side of the ball to keep them close in most games, and Indy’s weak offense won’t pose nearly the same threats the Steelers have seen in most of their games this season. Let’s note Pittsburgh’s brutally tough schedule, one of the NFL’s toughest, to date. Steelers’ opponents are a combined 60-42 this season–including Cincinnatti (twice), New England, NY Jets, Buffalo, Tampa Bay, Miami, Philadelphia, and New Orleans. Aside from New Orleans, the Colts might be the softest team on their schedule. Both teams have played several close games lately: Each of Indy’s past four games were one-possession contests. For the full season, 8 of their 11 games were decided by one score, including two in overtime. Win or lose, Indy games tend to be close. The Steelers have similar results, as 3 of their past 5 games have been one-possession contests, in addition to 6 of their 10 games overall. Pittsburgh’s lackluster offense and inexperienced QB with Kenny Pickett is a concern, but this will be his seventh NFL start, and he’s thrown an above-average number of passes, with mixed results. The Steelers have a slightly better YPC average than the Colts when running the ball, and in their last three games Steelers ran ball for 154 YPG (well above average), so that’s another factor in support of the Steelers. I’ll make two wagers, both on Pittsburgh. I’m taking the Steelers +1.5 in the first half. I’m also teasing on the Wong strategy, from +2.5 up to +8.5 (combined with Baltimore -1.5 next Sunday vs. Denver).
The Picks: Pittsburgh Steelers (First Half) +1.5 (-125) — Risking $250 to win $200 / TEASER: Pittsburgh +8.5 / Baltimore -1.5 (-120) — Risking $240 to win $200
Note: This is the final update for this week’s games.
Buffalo at Detroit
Line: Bills -9.5
Analysis: This is a far more interesting matchup than we expected only a month ago. Popular public pick Buffalo (7-3) gets to play in Detroit (4-6) for a second consecutive week after beating shit-brown Cleveland on this same field just four days ago in a Week 11 game that had to be moved due to weather. Familiarity with the layout here should help the Bills, who already bring the #2 ranked offense in the NFL into the equation. Based on the numbers, they should feast on the Thanksgiving turkey that’s the Lions’ #32 defense (ranked dead last in the league). Detroits’ defense is so bad that they’re surrendering an average of 25 YPG more than the #31 ranked team (Houston). Accordingly, Buffalo has no excuses not to crack into the 30s, one reason their team total is ridiculously high — at 31.5. / For those considering betting on Detroit plus the generous number of points, let’s agree this is a very tasty temptation. Like a turkey stuffed with cocaine. The Lions have won three straight games, the first time that’s happened since 2017 which sounds like fucking 1783 in butterfly years. Detroit beat Green Bay, Chicago, and NY Giants now play a legitimate game with home rooting interest (usually by Thanksgiving the Lions are long gone and out of the playoffs and buried in last place). / I presume Lions fans will show up, but who knows if Buffalo fans don’t flood the space, spike the Ford Field punchbowl and fuck up the party. I honestly don’t know the dynamics here. Home field is hard to measure in this game, though see my comment about travel at the end of this analysis. / What makes me stroke the Lions is — Detroit has played very well versus winning teams this season, losing close one-score games to 9-1 Philadelphia, 8-2 Minnesota, 6-4 Seattle, and 7-3 Miami. All four of those games were decided by 4 points or less. Now, Detroit comes in playing with even more confidence. Lions’ backers can also point to perhaps their best defensive effort of the season last week against the Giants, certainly another reason for optimism, holding RB Barkley to a miserable day — just 22 yards on 15 carries. But let’s also be realistic — the Bills bring far more weapons to the fight. That’s why they’re laying -9.5 points. / Under head coach Dan Campbell, the Lions are only 7-20 SU (they suck!) but are a league-best 17-9-1 ATS (we love them!). Campbell is also 8-2-1 ATS as a home underdog over 1.5 seasons. Seems this comes down to either a bet on the Lions plus the points or a pass. Anyone betting Buffalo is a chump. A sucker. / For me, the tipping point on taking Detroit +9.5 is legit concern about QB Josh Allen and his arm, who still might not be at 100 percent. Allen wrench threw a season-low number of attempts last week, and has passed for 220+ yards just once in his last four games, along with six interceptions. Let’s also note that even though Buffalo beat Cleveland by 8 points last Sunday, the Browns actually outgained Buffalo in total yardage 396-357. / We add up all these factors — a short prep week, the home underdog playing with confidence, proven trend results, strong percentages on dogs covering this season (58 percent covers for all dogs +3.5 points or higher), injury concerns with QB Allen, and generous points and this all equals a justifiable bet on Detroit plus 9.5. / A final intangible is Buffalo’s decision to travel back to Buffalo after last Sunday’s game. Even though the travel distance isn’t great, that’s still two trips in four days, which could cut into practice and preparation.
The Pick: Detroit Lions +9.5 (-110) — Risking $220 to win $200
NY Giants at Dallas
Line: Cowboys -9
Analysis: The 7-3 Cowboys played one of their best games in years last week, demolishing the shipwrecked Vikings by 37 points in what (incredibly) was the storied franchise’s most lopsided road win ever in 63 seasons. Dallas’ offense now appears to be clicking on all cylinders, scoring a whopping 117 points in their last three games. Typically, when any team receives overwhelmingly positive attention, that’s an ideal situation to fade. The handicapping corollary is — popular betting favorites fawned over by ESPN must lay extra points due to gullible public perceptions, creating value on the underdog. Multiply this by 2X, since the opposite perception now applies to the NY Giants, coming off their worst game of the season last week in a humiliating home loss to Detroit. The Giants weren’t even in that game most of the way. It was a goddamned pathetic display for a team trying to gain respect and prove they’re a legitimate playoff contender (which the Giants aren’t). / The Giants’ achilles heel is their dismal passing game, which ranks #28th in the league. I’ve been president of the “Daniel Jones is Shit Club” since day one. He’s not a leader. He doesn’t lift his teammates. He’s often confused. My opinion: Jones is not an NFL-calibre starting QB. Fortunately for the well-coached G-Men, they’ve had superstar RB S. Barkley to carry the heavy load, and also credit an overachieving defense that’s played pretty well in most games. But as we saw in the Lions’ upset last week, once Barkley is neutered, the whole team becomes a filthy mutt. / My prediction is that Dallas — with a far better defense than the Giants have seen in most games — will swarm on Barkley like nasty wasps once again and force crosseyed QB Jones into throwing the ball. That’s a game plan the Cowboys will dream of, since it’s unlikely the one-dimensional Giants have enough weapons to keep up with Dallas. / Trends also favor the Cowboys. Dallas is 4-1 SU at home and 3-0 ATS as a home favorite this season. The Cowboys are also 12-3-1 ATS in their last 16 NFC East home games. Dallas also plays well coming off wins. The Cowboys are 10-5 ATS in their last 15 games coming off a victory. Oh, and Dallas has won 10/11 vs. the Giants. / On any other day, I would NOT lay this many points. But I see a possible ass-kicking here by the Cowboys on Thanksgiving at home. When they score, I don’t think Dallas lets up and takes it easy. I expect the Cowboys to roll up the score and head into December (when they’ve usually faded like stale turkey leftovers after thanksgiving) on a roll. I’ll even go so far as to put up a prediction. Final Score: Dallas 37, NY Giants 16
The Pick: Dallas Cowboys -9 (-115) — Risking $230 to win $200
New England at Minnesota
Line: Vikings -2.5
Analysis: I’m staring at my computer screen right now, with three betting windows open, and saying out loud: WHAT THE FUCK? I don’t get it. When I saw the opening line was Minnesota -3 on Sunday night, I thought to myself — Nolan, bet this game early because the line is moving to Vikings -3.5 Since I’m such an old dog with no new tricks, I’m usually right about predicting line movements, but man oh lord, I really blew this one. Big time. And now, I’m going to take advantage of my ignorance with a huge half-point move. Thank you! I didn’t get it at -3 (too busy watching World Cup games). I waited. Now, it’s -2.5 and I feel like it’s Christmas on Thanksgiving. / Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Yes, I’m betting on the Vikings. The 37-point home loss a few days ago should ignite a much better effort this week. My take is Minnesota mailed in the last game once they fell behind by a couple of scores and saved themselves for this matchup just four days later. Back-to-back home games will also help. The Vikings will certainly win the NFC Central barring a complete collapse, so the loss to Dallas by 3 points or 37 all measures the same “L” in the standings. / Meanwhile, New England was taken down to the final seconds at home in a game they would have lost if the Jets’ passing offense wasn’t so inept. A fluke punt return gave them the win, in a lackluster effort, though let’s credit the Pats’ defense. New England failed to score an offensive touchdown in that game and coming off a huge emotional victory versus their rival, they now go on the road on a short week, with no apparent corrections made to the offensive scheme. In the Patriots’ last two games, they’ve had ten 3-and-outs on 24 drives. That’s a horrid figure, especially against the Colts and Jets back-to-back. Mac Jones’ offense racked up a pitiful 209 yards in the Colts game and then 297 last week, both subpar numbers. They also faced either 1st of 2nd-year QBs in each of their last four games. / One concern is — Minnesota plays notoriously close games, one reason this line is less than a FG. But Minnesota at 8-2 does seem overdue for a showcase came, and this could be it given all the factors. We should also credit the Vikings for playing three winning teams in a row (Washington-Buffalo-Dallas) so New England could be a step down in class, even though the Patriots can be proud of their 6-4 record. I’m jumping on the bargain price with the Vikings laying a small number.
The Pick: Minnesota Vikings -2.5 (-120) — Risking $240 to win $200
This year, I plan to really get into Thanksgiving. In fact, my entire Thursday will be spent eating, drinking, and watching football.