Week 12: Saints at Rams
The turkey likely won’t taste as well to local bookmakers when they sit down for Thanksgiving dinner if a certain NFL streak keeps up.
Their days would already be spoiled by the success of favorites in standalone games. Eight such games have passed since the last time an underdog covered, a 34-21 win by the Jets over the Bills while getting three points on Thursday Night Football in Week 9.
Underdogs have salvaged a pair of pushes during the run — the Dolphins’ 27-24 loss to the Raiders on Week 9’s Sunday Night Football and the Cardinals’ 22-16 loss to the Seahawks on Week 10’s Thursday Night Football — but that’s only served as a brief respite for a stretch that’s cut into casinos’ profit margins. All indications are that the house will want to fade more favorites on this holiday Thursday.
The bulk of the action is on the Vikings, Chargers and Redskins in the annual Thanksgiving trio of games.
Read below to see where Talking Points lines up on the three games, as well as the rest of the Week 12 slate. The blog sits at 86-71-3 against the spread picking every game on the year following back-to-back 9-5 weeks. Picks are separated in three confidence categories, and lines are the best currently available in Las Vegas at the time of publication.
Buffalo Bills plus-10 at Kansas City Chiefs The early line on this game was minus-7.5, and penalizing the Bills 2.5 points for Nathan Peterman’s five-interception debut seems excessive. They’re going back to Tyrod Taylor against the Chiefs – which weren’t exactly lights-out in losing to the Giants last week, by the way — which means they should go back to being competitive.
Los Angeles Rams minus-2.5 vs. New Orleans Saints Rams’ defense, ranked fifth in the league by Football Outsiders’ DVOA, will be the toughest the Saints have seen this season. Also getting a diminished price on the home team with an overreaction to last week’s 24-7 loss at Minnesota as 1-point underdogs.
Denver Broncos plus-5 at Oakland Raiders Raiders’ offensive advantage — they’re gaining 5.5 yards per play to the Broncos’ 4.9 yards per play — doesn’t stretch as far as Broncos’ defensive edge — as Denver is giving up only 4.8 yards per play to Oakland’s 6 yards per play. Denver could also improve on offense with new coordinator Bill Musgrave stepping in for the embattled Mike McCoy.
Detroit Lions plus-3 vs. Minnesota Vikings As solid as Vikings quarterback Case Keenum has proven, he’s still not someone to trust laying points on the road against a divisional opponent battling for the playoffs. Minnesota’s injury report is also lengthy coming off its physical win over the Rams.
Dallas Cowboys plus-2.5 vs. Los Angeles Chargers Cowboys’ back-to-back blowout losses came against two teams in the Eagles and Falcons that some oddsmakers power-rate as the two best in the NFC. Don’t mind, therefore, buying low on Dallas and taking the points against a team with a habit of getting into close games.
Tennessee Titans minus-3 at Indianapolis Colts Colts give up a league-worst 7.9 yards per pass attempt. That means the Titans should be able to attack them through the air, much like they did in a 36-22 win as 7-point favorites earlier in the year.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers plus-10 at Atlanta Falcons Let’s not forget that before Falcons’ surge with wins over the Seahawks and Cowboys the last two weeks, they had gone 1-4 straight-up, 0-5 against the spread in their last five. Taking into account the season as a whole, Atlanta shouldn’t lay double digits against almost any team.
Houston Texans plus-7 at Baltimore Ravens Baltimore ranks dead-last in the NFL in gaining 4.3 yards per play. Laying a big number with an offense that inefficient would be asking for trouble.
Green Bay Packers plus-14 at Pittsburgh Steelers Packers weren’t quite as bad as the score of last week’s 23-0 loss to the Ravens indicates, as they had a yardage advantage and it wasn’t until a fifth turnover that they were out of the game. Conversely, the Steelers weren’t as dominant as it appears in a 40-17 win over the Titans where they were outgained by .5 yards per play.
Washington Redskins minus-7 vs. New York Giants Giants field one of the most anemic pass rushes in football, which makes them unlikely to slow a Redskins’ offense that has stayed productive despite a mass of injuries. Barely gaining 5 yards per play, the Giants also don’t seem well positioned to survive in a shootout.
Carolina Panthers minus-4.5 at New York Jets Don’t mind laying reasonable number with a rested team that looks to be clicking with three straight wins both straight-up and against the spread. The Jets play hard, but are limited talent-wise.
San Francisco 49ers plus-7 vs. Seattle Seahawks Extent of Seahawks’ defensive injuries have clearly taken their toll, as seen in the 34-31 loss as closing 1-point underdogs to the Falcons on Monday Night Football. The adjustment on the line has been minimal, however, as this is the same price the Seahawks would have laid against the 49ers earlier in the year.
Cincinnati Bengals minus-7.5 vs. Cleveland Browns Only a game out in the standings despite a mediocre start, the Bengals are gearing up to make a run at the playoffs. The only salvation left for the Browns will come in next year’s draft.
Chicago Bears plus-14 at Philadelphia Eagles Spread has already boosted three points, and signs point towards sports books practically begging for action on the underdog by Sunday. That’s usually an indicator that it’s wise to take the points.
Arizona Cardinals plus-5.5 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Prefer to never lay a big price with a team not accustomed to traveling thousands of miles West. The Jaguars haven’t covered in a game past Texas since 2012.
Miami Dolphins plus-17 at New England Patriots Must break one of two cardinal rules either way — Don’t lay more than two touchdowns in the NFL or don’t bet against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. Going against the latter is slightly easier given the sheer magnitude of this point spread, the biggest of the season so far.