We went a mediocre 4-3 on the week last time around, but an above .500 win percentage is good any time in betting. Our cumulative record on the year is now 39-35-2, but the weekly "lock" sits at a comically bad 3-8. There's a surprise in store for week 12, as I will be providing eight bets rather than the typical seven. I feel really good about this week, and I think there are plenty of favorable lines to take. I love the favorites in a lot of the matchups, and that will be reflected below. This could very well be the first undefeated week of the season. However, the fact that I feel so confident is not necessarily a good thing considering how the year has gone thus far. We'll see what happens this time.
Arizona Cardinals -2.0 at New England Patriots
There are several matchups this week where I think the underdog isn't given nearly enough points, and this is one of them (this will be a recurring theme for this week's picks). The Patriots have played five teams this season with quarterback I consider to be mobile: Seattle, Kansas City, Buffalo, Baltimore, and Houston. The lone team they beat out of that group was the Ravens a couple weeks ago, and Lamar Jackson has been struggling recently. With that said, I think Kyler Murray will have a field day against New England's defense, and their offense won't have enough firepower to keep up. Arizona has lost two of their last three in close games against the surging Dolphins and the high-powered Seahawks, but even on the road this week, I think the Cardinals win by a touchdown or more as New England's playoff hopes continue to collapse.
Las Vegas Raiders -3.0 at Atlanta Falcons
The Raiders are another team that I don't are big enough favorites. They just lost a close one to the best team in the league, but before that, Vegas handled the Broncos, Chargers, and Browns with relative ease. Keep in mind that Denver, who Las Vegas recently beat by 25, defeated Atlanta by seven three weeks ago. The Raiders are one of the most underrated teams in the NFL right now, mainly because they are overshadowed by the division leading Chiefs. Derek Carr has thrown for almost 2,500 yards with 19 touchdowns and only three picks this season, and they've really been a totally different team offensively since a healthy Henry Ruggs entered the lineup. I like this to be a high scoring game that Las Vegas comfortably wins by double digits.
Los Angeles Chargers at Buffalo Bills Over 53.0
Both of these teams have young, high-powered offenses that like to throw the ball, with suspect defenses. The Chargers have only played one game since week 4 that didn't go over 53 points, and Buffalo's last two games have allowed for a total of 140 points. Each quarterback has already thrown for over 20 touchdowns on the season, and each team also has a dominant receiver in Keenan Allen and Stefon Diggs who consistently put up plenty of catches, yards, and touchdowns. Both squads will score close to, if not more than, 30 points each, and I think the winner will get to 35 plus. The only things that could prevent the over from hitting are red zone turnovers, but both teams have done relatively well at protecting the football most of the season.
Miami Dolphins -7.0 at New York Jets
The Dolphins lost last week in a game where Tua Tagovailoa was benched for poor performance. Regardless, Miami has been one of the biggest surprise teams this season, and it's expected for a rookie quarterback to struggle from time to time. Tua will maintain his starter role this week against the Jets, and it's a perfect time for Brian Flores to restore confidence in his young signal caller. The last time these teams met, Miami dominated in a 24-0 win, and I don't expect this game to be much closer. The Dolphins have been great at creating turnovers, which is something the Jets have struggled with historically. Tua won't need to have a perfect game for his team to win big, so I'm very confident in Miami to cover the seven points with ease.
Los Angeles Rams -6.5 at San Francisco 49ers
The Rams lost to the 49ers several weeks ago on a Sunday night, but these teams have gone in completely different directions since then. Los Angeles has gone 3-1 since that game and are coming off impressive wins against the Seahawks and Buccaneers. Meanwhile, San Francisco has gone 1-3 and have suffered three straight double digit losses to playoff contenders. Considering the Rams are another playoff contender who needs every win they can get if they want to secure a division title, I expect Sean McVay's squad to dominate the slumping Niners who are missing about half their team with injuries. San Francisco might remain in the single digits, and L.A. will walk away with a big victory to boost their confidence as much as their standing in the competitive NFC West.
Seattle Seahawks -5.5 at Philadelphia Eagles
Speaking of the competitive NFC West, the Seahawks at -5.5 against the Eagles feels like free money. We're talking about one of the leaders in the best division in football going up against a team (granted, the first place team) in possibly the worst division of all time. Russell Wilson has never lost to the Eagles in his career, and that will continue this season. Carson Wentz has thrown as many interceptions as touchdowns this year and Philly is coming off back to back losses to the Giants and Browns. Seattle has lost three of their last five after starting 5-0, but they just got a big win against the Cardinals to right the ship, which I think will carry over to their game on Monday night. The Seahawks win with a score of around 34-20 and our bet cashes comfortably.
Pittsburgh Steelers -5.0 vs. Baltimore Ravens
This game has already been pushed back twice, but we're simply delaying the inevitable at this point, especially with Lamar Jackson out with COVID. Pittsburgh is the lone undefeated team on the year and have won their last two by a combined score of 63-13. The Ravens have struggled recently, dropping three of their last five, and they'll likely be without Jackson and running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins. That said, Baltimore will have almost no run game and will be limited even further by the hard-nosed Steeler run defense. Against a backup quarterback, I expect Pittsburgh to force at least a couple turnovers and stifle anything the Ravens attempt. The Steelers probably won't score very many points, but they'll only need about 20 to safely cover the five points, which is almost a guarantee.
"Lock" of the Week: Kansas City Chiefs -3.5 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This spread is way too small for two teams with similar defenses but very different quarterback play. Skill player wise, the offenses are pretty akin to each other. But the main and most predominant difference in these teams is at QB. Patrick Mahomes only has 80 more passing yards and two touchdowns than Tom Brady on the season, but he has seven fewer interceptions and is way more dependable. Brady has looked really good at times this season, but he has several throws per game that just look awful. With Mahomes, on the other hand, you always know that you're going to get an elite performance, and a Kansas City win is almost a certainty if the Chiefs get the ball last. However, I don't think this one will come down to the last possession because I expect the Chiefs to run away with it in the second half. I'll be shocked if these two teams finish within ten points of each other. Kansas City wins, and so do we along with them.
Written by Nick Swatson