With the 2019-20 NFL season underway, oddsmakers are constantly adjusting lines to account for the performance of players and teams in Weeks 1-10.
Injury updates on star players such as George Kittle (knee), JuJu Smith-Schuster (ribs), and Tyler Lockett (leg) will soon change the point spreads listed by US sportsbooks like DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook for Week 11 of the NFL season.
At PlayPicks, we feel confident with the information that we have to start making our picks against the spread.
In this weekly column, we will list three of our best bets against the spread with data to support our picks. Then, we will list the following games on the NFL slate in order of our confidence in analyzing the matchup. Keep in mind that lines can often shift due to weather or other unforeseen issues. Of course, injury news plays a huge role throughout the NFL season, and the status of specific players often bears monitoring until a couple of hours before kickoff.
NFL Week 12 Best Bets
Dallas Cowboys (+6.5) at New England Patriots
Betting against the Patriots at Gillette Stadium has become a foolhardy proposition, with New England sporting the best record ATS (29-11-2) at home since 2015. Yet many of those covers came against overmatched tomato cans from the weak AFC East, not super talented and super motivated squads like Dallas. Many of those wins also came when the Patriots had a dangerous offensive arsenal around Tom Brady, but this Sunday they’ll have Julian Edelman, James White, and….not much else. Mohamed Sanu (ankle) is out and Phillip Dorsett (concussion) could get cleared, but he’s not a good bet to find separation against excellent CB Byron Jones.
While Brady has all the clout, Dak Prescott is posting far better numbers at the helm of a far more effective offense. Dallas ranks second in drive success rate and points per drive (2.71). New England ranks 18th in drive success rate and 16th in points per drive (2.04), with the Patriots defense and special teams handling the bulk of the scoring against the second-easiest schedule in the NFL this season.
Prescott leads the NFL in QBR (77.8) per Football Outsiders’ system and has a much healthier complement of receivers than Brady in Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Randall Cobb. The Cowboys should also set up the pass with Ezekiel Elliott leading a strong running game against a Pats defense that’s coughed up a whopping 162.5 rushing YPG over their last four meetings with run-heavy teams (Bills, Redskins, Browns, and Ravens).
Seattle Seahawks (+1.5) at Philadelphia Eagles
This line opened at Seattle (+3) but with approximately 80% of the handle coming in on the Seahawks, it’s moved down closer to a Pick ‘Em game. The Seahawks are simply a better team than the Eagles and will be far healthier as they come out of their bye week. Ever the competitor, Russell Wilson will be further fueled by slipping behind Lamar Jackson in a tight race for MVP. He should find success against an improving Eagles secondary that is still below average and will likely struggle to contain speedy WR Tyler Lockett (leg) if he can return. Philly has also allowed an above-average 212 rushing yards to QBs despite facing only a few mobile passers. Wilson’s mobility should allow Seattle to avoid the strength of the Eagles defense, which lies on the interior defensive line.
The bigger factor is Seattle’s defensive improvement and Philadelphia’s woeful offense. The Eagles rank 17th in DVOA pass offense and are 17th in points per drive (2.04). Philly averages only 3.8 YPC at home and Seattle’s run defense has stepped up while allowing 85 rushing YPG at a 3.6 YPC average over its last three games. With Jadeveon Clowney leading the charge, the Seahawks pass rush has been even fiercer with 12 sacks on the road. That pressure has forced QBs into a 5:7 TD:INT ratio with a 77.2 passer rating over five games against solid opponents.
Since the Eagles will still be without DeSean Jackson (abdomen) and have two hobbled WRs in Alshon Jeffery (ankle) and Nelson Agholor (knee), their only two passing options are TEs Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. But those big bodies may be asked to stay in and block against Clowney and company. It’s not a scenario that bodes well for Philly’s offense, and you know Wilson and the top-rated Seahawks pass offense will produce.
San Francisco 49ers (-3) vs Green Bay Packers
News that Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) and George Kittle (knee) are expected to return for this Sunday night should move the line further in San Francisco’s favor, but the Niners are a very enticing prospect at -3 on DraftKings Sportsbook. They may have stumbled in two matchups against the Cardinals (and of course lost a thriller to Seattle), but those are divisional games that can be far more predictable. Facing a rather predictable, pass-first Packers offense at home is a much better spot for this defense.
Aaron Rodgers has thrived with a 65.2% completion rate and 97.6 passer rating on the road this season, but is only averaging 6.87 yards per attempt while taking 15 sacks over those four games. He’s generally enjoyed a comfortable pocket with the third-lowest pressure rate in the NFL, but the Niners fearsome front can obviously change that. San Francisco ranks first in adjusted sack rate (11.8%) and has 22 sacks while holding QBs to a 64.8 passer rating at home this season.
On the other side of the ball, Green Bay is down to 28th in DVOA rush defense and could struggle to contain the Niners pass offense with Kittle and Sanders back. The reality is, Jimmy Garoppolo only has to manage the game to earn a comfortable win in primetime, since the 49ers defense should make life very tough on Rodgers.
NFL Week 12 Picks Against The Spread
New York Giants (+6) at Chicago Bears
In order to cover a 6-point spread the Bears would likely have to score at least 17 points. We’re not buying that from a pathetic offense that could become less dangerous if Mitch Trubisky (hip) sits.
Baltimore Ravens (-3.5) at Los Angeles Rams
The Rams can play shutdown pass defense now that they have Jalen Ramsey. Great, reply the Ravens, we’ll just run it down your throat.
Detroit Lions (-3.5) at Washington Redskins
Washington is the worst team in the league and Detroit is still solid with Jeff Driskel making plays and Bo Scarborough potentially giving them a new element as a power runner.
New Orleans Saints (-9.5) vs Carolina Panthers
Kyle Allen meekly took 7 sacks in a blowout loss at San Francisco a few weeks ago. The Saints defense is not quite as talented, but has the same type of potential when backed by a ravenous Superdome crowd.
Atlanta Falcons (-4.5) vs Tampa Bay Bucs
Too much momentum for the Falcons to pick against them at home. If their new defensive play callers can force Jameis Winston into more mistakes, it’ll be all over for the Bucs.
Tennessee Titans (-3) vs Jacksonville Jaguars
If the Jags couldn’t stop the Colts backup RBs in Week 11, how do you think they’ll far against big Derrick Henry? Tennessee avenges an early-season embarrassment with Ryan Tannehill now under center.
Cleveland Browns (-10.5) vs Miami Dolphins
The Browns have so many weapons on offense and are finally clicking, while the Dolphins are down to their fourth or fifth string running back.
Denver Broncos (+4) at Buffalo Bills
These teams are mirror images in some ways with conservative defensive schemes and below-average offenses. Josh Allen is a wild card that could turn the game with a costly mistake and the Broncos rush offense should churn out yards against the Bills
Pittsburgh Steelers (-6.5) at Cincinnati Bengals
Even with backup skill players surrounding Mason Rudolph, the Steelers should do enough to beat Ryan Finley and the tanking Bengals. Pittsburgh’s defense should swarm on the road with support from a fan base that travels well.