NFL Week 12 best bets and expert picks for the Sunday slate. Find best bets for NFL Week 12 featuring Jaguars vs. Texans, Bills vs. Eagles, Ravens vs. Chargers, Chiefs vs. Raiders, and Browns vs. Broncos.
NFL Week 12 Best Bets
We’re onto Week 12 of the NFL season, and this week’s slate is loaded with exciting matchups. In this article, you can find best bet breakdowns for some of the biggest games of the week. Check out the Lineups YouTube page for coverage of all of the NFL games this week. Let’s get to work.
Jacob Wayne’s Record: 15-15-1 (-0.5 units)
Kody Malstrom’s Record: 12-7 (+4.4 units)
Will Schwartz’s Record: 13-15 (-3.1 units)
Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans
The C.J. Stroud experience has been a fun one this season, and the rookie quarterback ranks second in both PFF passing grade (87.3) and yards per attempt (9.2) over the past month. Stroud has all but locked up the Offensive Rookie of the Year award and he’s making a real push for MVP as a rookie.
While Trevor Lawrence is a star at the position, as well, Stroud has been the better quarterback of the two this season and especially as of late. This season, Stroud ranks 7th in adjusted EPA/play among 32 qualified quarterbacks while Lawrence ranks 13th. Over the past month, Stroud ranks third and Lawrence ranks 10th.
The Jaguars have plenty of talented skill position players, but the offense has been off all year and first time play caller Press Taylor has left a lot to be desired as they rank just 16th in offensive DVOA and 21st in EPA. Meanwhile, Texans offensive coordinator Bobby Slowvik, a Kyle Shanahan disciple, has led a top ten offense by DVOA and EPA despite the offensive line suffering a ton of injuries earlier in the year.
I also believe the Texans’ defense is undervalued in the market. Significant injuries in the secondary hampered the team’s pass coverage earlier in the year, but Derek Stingley Jr., Jalen Pitre, and Tavierre Thomas are back on the field and Jimmie Ward could soon be joining them. Former 49ers’ defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans can now implement his scheme with much better health.
The Jaguars’ defense has been excellent this season, but they’re at their best against the run where they rank 2nd in DVOA. They’re still a respectable 8th against the pass, but there’s no question that number is inflated with recent games against Gardner Minshew, Derek Carr, Kenny Pickett, and Will Levis.
Ultimately, I’m thrilled to get what I perceive to be the better quarterback and better overall team as a home underdog in this game. You can use the Texans as a teaser piece if you’d prefer the safer avenue as my colleague Kody Malstrom describes below, but I like Houston to get the outright win here.
Best Bet: Texans +1.5 (play to ML)
Buffalo Bills at Philadelphia Eagles
It’s always fun to get some head to head picks in this column, and I fully disagree with Will on this Bills Eagles game this week. The Eagles sit at 9-1 following a Monday Night Football win over the Chiefs where they exacted revenge for their Super Bowl loss. Now on a short week, they must host a Bills team desperate to gain traction in what has been a difficult season.
I came away from the Eagles’ win over the Chiefs incredibly unconvinced by this team, and they were not the better side on the field. Philly was outgained by nearly 100 yards and the Chiefs would have won by a significant margin if not for two red zone turnovers and a drop by Marquez Valdes-Scantling on a would-be touchdown to end the game.
That game followed a common theme for the Eagles this season where they get outplayed and find ways to luck into wins. According to TeamRankings, Philadelphia has been the luckiest team in the NFL this season. On the opposite end of the spectrum sits the Bills, in dead last in luck rankings. The Bills have actually been a better team on the whole this season than the Eagles as they rank 5th in overall DVOA while the Eagles rank 10th.
Will broke down how he expects the Eagles’ pass rush to give Josh Allen issues on Sunday, but I disagree. The Bills’ offensive line has been outstanding, ranking 7th in pass block win rate and second in adjusted sack rate. I expect Allen to have time in the pocket to carve up the 19th-ranked pass defense by DVOA, especially with young pass catchers Dalton Kincaid and Khalil Shakir continuing to emerge.
It’s true that the Bills’ defense has been on the decline since some key injuries to All Pro caliber players, but Sean McDermott has begun to found ways to piece things together. Buffalo still ranks 5th in defensive line yards on the season, putting them in a solid position to combat Philly’s heavy rushing attack.
The Eagles moved into the top spot on the Super Bowl odds board this week, and I can’t get behind that given their issues on defense and inconsistency from two first-year coordinators. There’s a real argument to be made that the Bills are the better team in this game, and I’ll happily go to war with Josh Allen catching a full field goal on the spread.
Best Bet: Bills +3.5 (play to +3)
Baltimore Ravens at Los Angeles Chargers
The Baltimore Ravens have continued to prove that they are one of the most potent teams in football, coming off a 34 point performance against the Cincinnati Bengals. While they got the benefit of Joe Burrow going down with an injury, the Ravens still capitalized on their uptick of possessions by moving the ball down the field with ease.
The issue is that it came at a cost as the Ravens witnessed their star tight end Mark Andrews go down with an injury as well. A potential big blow to their offense, yet potentially not feeling those effects right away as their first game without him is against the lowly Chargers defense.
The Chargers defense has been an issue all season long for them, failing to limit any opposing down field success by ranking 31st in Def Success Rate. That means opposing offenses are constantly cutting the distance to gain in half, as well as converting on short third downs and moving the sticks into scoring position.
The new look Ravens offense is built to dominate in that area, ranking first in Rush Success Rate and 10th in Pass Success Rate. More intriguing yet, we may see more Lamar rush attempts as he will no longer have Andrews as his safety blanket. This puts stress on opposing linebackers, potentially creating more gaps in coverage as they scramble.
As for how the Chargers will do their part, expect a heavy dose of the pass as Justin Herbert has been rounding back into elite form as of late after stumbling earlier this year. Hardly to any fault of his own as he suffered an off throwing hand injury while taking on some of the best pressure generating defenses in that span.
While the Ravens defense will pose as another tough test, they may be without star cornerback Marlon Humphrey who is currently listed as questionable. This is also one of their tougher assignments as well, taking on a Chargers pass attack who ranks fifth in Pass DVOA, fourth in Pass EPA, and eighth in Pass Success Rate.
The Chargers offensive line has also done a masterful job at protecting Herbert as of late, ranking eighth in Adjusted Sack Rate and being more than capable of slowing down an elite Ravens front. With Herbert being in a position to find success through the air while the Ravens offense runs wild, take the over at no higher than 48.5.
Best Bet: Over 47.5
Week 12 Wong Teaser
Not only do we have a Turkey Day teaser as noted in our NFL Thursday Best Bets, but we are also wagering on a Wong Teaser for the Sunday slate. Two teams stuck out right away as Wong Teaser targets and those teams are the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs.
The Texans early season success has been spectacular as they capture the hearts of the nation, now getting a chance to prove they are for real. They are in a prime position to do so as they can apply pressure to the Jags pass defense. While great in coverage, the Jags front four has actually struggled to get to the quarterback by ranking 25th in Adjusted Sack Rate.
That leaves CJ Stroud with a clean pocket, as well as giving his speedy group of pass catchers extra time to create separation in the open field. Scarier yet, Devin Singletary has breathed life into the Texans back field, giving the pass attack an actual compliment as he forces the Jags to stack the box.
As for the defense, expect Trevor Lawrence to continue to struggle as the Texans front four excels at generating pressure with just their front four. That allows them to keep their linebackers in coverage, daring Lawrence to throw into tight passing windows. That leads to turnover worthy plays, potentially flipping the field in the Texans favor.
As for the Chiefs, it’s never wise to back them as a two score favorite as they have a history to play down to their competition. Especially with the offense struggling with consistency, leaving the backdoor wide open for the Raiders to exploit.
To negate this, the Chiefs serve as a favorable Wong Teaser piece as you can bring them down to -2. That limits the chance of a back door, essentially just needing Mahomes and company to take care of business. They are in a good position to do so as the Raiders defense generates minimal pressure and will give Mahomes a clean pocket to work with.
On the other side of the ball, the Chiefs defensive weakness has stemmed from their lack of run stopping abilities. That was until they put up a respectable performance against the Eagles in a loss, holding their ground game for a majority of the contest. Should they do the same to Josh Jacobs, as well as maintain their elite marks in coverage, then this should be a comfortable win for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Best Bet: Texans +7.5 / Chiefs -2 Wong Teaser
Buffalo Bills vs Philadelphia Eagles
This number is down from 3.5 on some books, giving us some solid push protection on the very key number of 3. After a huge win over the Chiefs at Arrowhead in an iconic Super Bowl rematch, this could be interpreted as buying high on a 9-1 Eagles team, and betting on them in a big home game is rarely a bad play.
This is the kind of matchup where Buffalo’s Josh Allen has so frequently struggled; the Eagles defensive line can pressure well enough to push him into some classic Allen mistakes without sacrificing men in coverage to bring the heat, as they rank 13th in the NFL in pressure rate but just 25th in blitzing.
Philly has some edges on the other side of the football as well, to say the least. Injuries in the Buffalo secondary have left them ill-equipped to square off with a loaded Eagles receiving group, with AJ Brown playing some of his best-ever football, and DeVonta Smith quietly heating up as well.
Up front, the Bills could have some defensive issues as well. The absence of Matt Milano is absolutely crushing against a team like the Eagles, who are fifth in the league in rushing offense DVOA and EPA due to both the resurgence of D’Andre Swift and the dual-threat ability of Hurts. Buffalo is 18th in the NFL in ground defense EPA and 14th when it comes to DVOA, so it’s really hard to imagine how they’ll stop the Eagles from establishing the run at home like they will surely want to.
Situationally, while this may not be the best spot in which to grab the Eagles, it’s definitely a great opportunity to bet on the Bills. Their defense looked totally fixed last week as they gave up just six points- to the New York Jets.
The showing from New York was so brutal that Zach Wilson finally got benched, so it’s hard to give the Bills too much credit. The Jets offense can make almost any defense look good, and that’s exactly what they did, as the Buffalo offense also looked crisp against a defense that has played well, but has clearly become discouraged after so many great performances with zero offensive support.
The Bills are hanging on by a thread, with the injuries on defense, the controversial firing of offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey, and discord brewing with top wideout Stefon Diggs. Meanwhile, the Eagles are off to their second 9-1 start in as many years, and are coming back home on the heels of a tremendous, encouraging revenge win. The difference between the positions of these two franchises is tremendous, and this one should be a fairly competitive but ultimately comfortable win for Philly.
Best Bet: Eagles -3
Cleveland Browns vs Denver Broncos
Instead of playing the modest spread of -1.5, we’ll sacrifice a tiny bit of value and just hit the Broncos’ moneyline to protect ourselves against a very narrow win. This Broncos team has finally become the squad I had imagined they would be before the season, as Russell Wilson’s improved play has continued under Sean Payton. The defense has also taken steps up in recent weeks, even if the incredibly poor early results are still dragging down their season-long metrics.
Yes, there have been some slightly lucky outcomes of late, but it’s equally true that the early portion of the season contained some unsustainably bad luck for Denver. They’re on a four-game winning streak, their first since 2016 and it has them tied with Philly for the league’s longest active one.
The Browns aren’t far behind, with a three-game winning run, although they did recently lose Deshaun Watson for the season just as the quarterback was showing signs of turning around his play amidst a massive 33-31 win over the Ravens. Now, Dorian Thompson-Robinson is at the helm, and while he helped the team pick up an important rivalry win over the Steelers to move to 7-3 on the year, he hasn’t impressed just yet; he’s thrown four picks and is still looking for his first NFL touchdown.
It’s going to be hard for the Browns to play the physical brand of football at which they excel on both sides of the ball, as the low-oxygen environment of Denver is always a challenge for road teams used to playing closer to sea level. This is going to be a fascinating and very hard-fought matchup with two great coaches squaring off, but the quarterbacking gap paired with a uniquely powerful home field advantage make the Broncos the clear pick on the moneyline in this one.
Best Bet: Broncos ML (-125)