2016 NFL Week 12 Bettor’s Guide (Audio Embedded)
Last week was weird; particularly with the spreads. Missed a couple of them by the hook, then had a couple other pushes. Overall, we did fine picking winners’ money lines, but that is to be expected from us.
Week 12: Detroit and points, Dallas and points, Pittsburgh and points (2-1)
San Diego Chargers vs. Houston Texans
My Call: SD -2
Over/Under: Under 46
The Chargers are coming off a much-needed bye, as the Texans return from Mexico after a Monday night game vs. Oakland. While the Texans showed a bit more on offense than they had of late, those instances have been few and far between this season. The Bolts are a desperate team, sitting at 4-6, but they are in the thick of it in terms of wild card hopes. We just do not think the Texans can score enough to win this game, even though their defense should be able to slow San Diego somewhat with their rather stifling defense. Philip Rivers usually does not follow up ghastly games with another, which bears reminder.
San Diego 27
Tennessee Titans vs. Chicago Bears
My Call: TEN -6
Over/Under: Over 41.5
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Buffalo Bills
New Era Field
Orchard Park, New York
My Call: BUF -7.5
Over/Under: Over 45
It is difficult to trust the Bills with this many points, because they have tendencies that lend to them “playing down” to competition. Rex Ryan already said that he views the Jaguars as the best 2-8 team he’s seen. You can be cynical and suggest that he’s building in an alibi should the Bills lose, but beyond that, the Bills could stifle Bortles for three quarters, and then back off defensively before he begins stat padding against a soft base, which could lead to a backdoor cover. Be careful if you are thinking of the spread, for the aforementioned reason.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Baltimore Ravens
M&T Bank Stadium
My Call: BAL -3.5
Over/Under: Under 40.5
The Bengals will obviously be without the services of AJ Green and Gio Bernard. That may be enough to stall their chances, even though the Ravens will be without Jimmy Smith on the outside as well. Brandon LaFell and Tyler Boyd simply aren’t enough, as Tyler Eifert can be neutralized by CJ Mosley and Zach Orr. The Ravens yield the fewest rushing yards of anyone in the NFL, so Jeremy Hill will have to find another way to do damage. As long as the Ravens do not have mounds of turnovers and three-and-outs on offense, the Bengals just do not have enough bullets in the chamber.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Atlanta Falcons
My Call: ARZ +5
Over/Under: Over 51
Something is up with Carson Palmer, but it isn’t quite clear. Nevertheless, the Falcons will be without their best defensive back in Desmond Trufant, for this game. The Cards defense has been disappointing at times, and lockdown at others. They may be getting Tyrann Mathieu back for this game, which can only help. The Cards have a lot of things to be looking out for, Devonta Freeman on the ground, Tevin Coleman on the ground, both out of the backfield in the passing game, and the elephant in the room, Julio Jones. This could be one of those “whoever has the ball last wins” types of games. We trust the Falcons to go get points at home in a “must” situation more than the Cards.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Miami Dolphins
Hard Rock Stadium
Miami Gardens, Florida
My Call: SF +7
Over/Under: Under 45
The 49ers are bad, but the Dolphins showed in LA last week that they are not good enough to be trusted with a touchdown, either. SF will keep it close.
San Francisco 13
Los Angeles Rams vs. New Orleans Saints
New Orleans, Louisiana
My Call: NO -7
Over/Under: Over 45.5
We’d give the Rams half of a chance at home, but it’s going to be tough for Jared Goff to go tit for tat with Drew Brees on his home turf, where the Saints are exponentially better than when on the road.
Los Angeles 17
New Orleans 34
New York Football Giants vs. Cleveland Browns
My Call: NYG -7
Over/Under: Over 44
The Browns are bad at everything, but mostly because they have talent deficiencies at key positions. The areas where they do have talent, however, should not be overlooked (WR, LB, TE). The Giants should be able to get whatever they want for most of the game, but as is known about the Giants, they often do not take whatever they want when it is given to them, preferring to keep the opposition in the game. The Browns could do this, so the +7 is tenuous for the Browns. The Giants defense is rolling now, which should quell those concerns somewhat.
NY Giants 31
Seattle Seahawks vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Raymond James Stadium
My Call: TB +6
Over/Under: Over 46
This is an interesting game for a few reasons. Earl Thomas is out for Seattle, which changes some of the things Seattle does with coverages. They play a lot of Cover 1, which is a man look, which is a single high safety look (with Thomas being the last line of defense on the back end) and some Cover 3, both with Thomas reading the quarterback in “center field” while flanked by two defensive backs, culminating in what is colloquially referred to as a “deep thirds” (the three defensive backs in coverage each cover one-third of the field across the back end). Jameis Winston can make any and every throw on the field, and he has Mike Evans. Expect to see more man coverages from Seattle in this game, which means a good amount of Richard Sherman against Evans. Winston has other weapons, including Adam Humphries, which is the slot receiver that can often rack up yardage underneath the Seahawks’ defense. Winston’s newfound connection with Cecil Shorts has been palpable, along with the Cameron Brate. Russell Wilson will be under siege from the Bucs’ front seven, but the Bucs’ secondary is vulnerable. This could turn into a shootout. We even like the Bucs outside chance at winning, but we won’t go that far. We’ll just take them to cover.
Tampa Bay 23
Carolina Panthers vs. Oakland Raiders
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
My Call: OAK -3
Over/Under: Over 49
We do not trust the Panthers on the road without Luke Kuechly against this high octane offense. The end.
New England Patriots vs. New York Jets
East Rutherford, New Jersey
My Call: NE -7.5
Over/Under: Over 46
The Jets simply do not have enough on either side of the ball to cover this spread.
New England 34
NY Jets 13
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos
Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium
SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
My Call: KC +3.5
Over/Under: Over 39
We like the Chiefs defense. They will keep this game close, for one. They may even score a touchdown on that side of the ball with Marcus Peters back. Justin Houston should have his legs under him even more so after getting a warm up game against Tampa last week. Trevor Siemian has been mostly careful with the ball, but something is just… off with the Broncos’ offense. It appears disjointed and is inconsistent in scoring points. The Chiefs usually play Denver tough, and we have a feeling they will pull this one out on the road.
Kansas City 22
Green Bay Packers vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Lincoln Financial Field
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
My Call: GB +3.5
Over/Under: Over 47.5
The Eagles secondary is putrid, and it is one that Aaron Rodgers can exploit. However, the Packers secondary is even worse due to attrition. This might be another shootout, so just hide your eyes and take a pick either way. Or not.
Green Bay 29