NFL Week 12 best bets: Spread, moneyline, total, and teaser
Bettors are people too, and like most people, we like to play the blame game. We'll willfully ignore a miracle cover on a punt return touchdown at the death in New England (our handicap was good, and the Patriots should have won by a touchdown anyway!). We'll be annoyed that the Browns mega-backdoor pushed the Bills at -8 (reminding us to always line shop), the Colts couldn't close out our upset of the week, and a series of unfortunate events lifted the Chiefs and Chargers over 52.5 points. The commiserating is what keeps us sane.
As it's happened all season, the only superior numbers available were on our push of Bills -8, but even with that graded as a refund, we still managed to come out of Week 11 on top in this section.
Best bets ATS
Always give me a professional team in its next game after being embarrassed. The Vikings get a chance to bounce back from Sunday's fiasco with the Cowboys versus a team whose six wins came against five quarterbacks who aren't expected to start the next game for their team and Jared Goff.
Mac Jones has been a disappointment this season. Overall, there's little reason to believe the Patriots' stagnant offense is going to find life four days after they needed a punt return to score their only touchdown over the Jets - especially since we may be getting the key number of three because of Kirk Cousins' struggles in night games.
Two signal-caller situations passing in the night. Based on standard power ratings, this line should be around a field goal, but with the assumption that the Bears will sit Justin Fields, who knows where their rating should fall to? Meanwhile, the reverse is true if the Jets can get even basic-level professional quarterback play. This line could go higher, so we'll grab it to -6 while we can.
No one's been lower on the Rams than I have - I've faded them repeatedly this season, and they've never shown up in this space. Until now. We're buying them at hopefully their lowest, thinking Bryce Perkins' legs provide a drive-extending element that Matthew Stafford doesn't but without the expectations.
Perkins has 140 preseason pass attempts under his belt, but he also had 40 rushing attempts in the preseason, showing that Sean McVay has an idea of how to use him with preparation. After a big win over the Chargers, the Chiefs have an AFC Championship Game rematch next week with the Bengals - setting up the dreaded sandwich spot - and they'll be content with a 10 to 14-point win.
Moneyline upset of the week
Our defined parameter for this section is underdogs paying at least +150.
The Ravens' red-zone touchdown conversion percentage has dropped to 20th in the league after converting less than 43% of their trips into TDs over a three-game stretch. Neither Lamar Jackson nor Mark Andrews is 100% healthy, and without top-level talent in its receiving corps and explosive tailbacks, Baltimore is defendable.
The Jaguars are in a good position to play to the top of their range coming off their bye since every week of development under Doug Pederson seems to help Trevor Lawrence. Before the week off, the Jags' red-zone conversion percentage increased by a 60% rate in their last three games. With almost equal yards-per-play metrics, this matchup is closer to a toss-up than we think.
Best total bet
Bengals / Titans over 42 points (-115)
The strongest aspect of the Titans' defense is its work against the run. Joe Mixon is potentially out for the Bengals, and Samaje Perine would replace his snaps - the latter being the better receiver of the two. Speaking of receivers, Cincinnati's hopeful that Ja'Marr Chase returns - at which point, why wouldn't the club just let Joe Burrow go to work? Aaron Rodgers' hand injury led to his inaccuracy against Tennessee last week, leaving some points off the scoreboard.
Meanwhile, the Titans' offense is its healthiest this season, and that should breed confidence for Ryan Tannehill, especially with the return of first-round pick Treylon Burks. A close game with at least an average amount of possessions should lead to more points than the market expects.
Best 6-point teaser
Panthers +8.5 / Eagles -1
The Panthers' defense is legit and can keep Russell Wilson confused. With Sam Darnold the latest to start under center, it's hard to imagine Carolina could be less efficient on offense than it has been with Baker Mayfield and PJ Walker - even though the Panthers have covered frequently and won numerous games outright.
The Packers have shown they can be competitive, but a road win over the Eagles is asking a lot. The point spread is fairly priced at -7, but Philadelphia has had a week to tighten up its defensive line rotation with its new additions, and offensively, this is the best matchup for its run game in three weeks.
Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there’s a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.