Week 12 NFL Betting Picks: Game and Team Totals
Happy Week 12, everyone. I hope you all enjoyed whatever version of food, family, and football that you've experienced over the past few days. The relentlessness of the pandemic is impacting NFL locker rooms more and more each week. It's miraculous to think that the league managed to go unscathed for three weeks to start the year, but the current reality feels likely to continue from here and through the Super Bowl. Stay safe, and let's make some money.
After a 3-0 run in Week 11, the hit rate on the season here is 58% (30-21-1).
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Let's dig into this week's picks.
Los Angeles Chargers - Over 23.5 (FanDuel Sportsbook)
The Chargers have topped this mark in six of their last seven outings, the one blimp being in the slow-paced game against Miami where they barely managed 50 offensive plays. I'm confident in this play, assuming Austin Ekeler is out of the lineup, but if he's active, I'll be looking to secure a larger position on it as quickly as possible before it moves to 24.
The Chargers will likely continue to find new and unique ways to lose, but Justin Herbert appears determined to do his part to break this trend. He ranks third in EPA (expected points added) per dropback over the past five weeks and is doing so while facing one of the highest pressure rates in the league. Buffalo is just 23rd in pressure rate, and also 27th in points per drive allowed, created a runway for Herbert and this Los Angeles offense.
The Bills will have success on offense here as well, forcing the Chargers to keep pace throughout. I like the game total over a bit less with John Brown out for Buffalo and Ekeler not assured in, but it's very much in play as well. At the time of this writing, 23.5 is available at DraftKings and Pointsbet, as well as FanDuel.
Kansas City Chiefs - Over 29.5
Earlier this season, the Buccaneers' defense was performing at an unsustainably efficient rate. They led the league in EPA per play over the first seven weeks of the season and did so by a fairly significant rate. Over the past five weeks though, they rank just 12th in defensive EPA, 13th in EPA per dropback. Here come the Chiefs.
The Chiefs have the best offense in the league, and it's not particularly close right now. They've topped 30 points in four straight outings, exceeding 33 points in five of their last six. Over the past month, Kansas City has increased its neutral-situation passing rate on first and second down, wisely remembering that having the ball in the hands of the world's best quarterback is a +ev proposition. Sammy Watkins returns this week, an upgrade from the Hardman and Robinson's of the world, and Tampa Bay's CB Jamal Dean is set to miss this matchup due to a concussion.
A few sportsbooks have this posted at 30, but I prefer the hook on DraftKings if you can get it.
Cleveland Browns @ Jacksonville Jaguars - Under 49.5
I know. This is an under. I've mostly sworn off unders, but this game is too high, and it's on the right side of the number for a play on the over.
The Jaguars have decided that they've seen enough of Jake Luton and that they're ready to usher in the Mike Glennon era. Glennon and his career 5.39 net-yards per attempt, a mark that would rank 31st in the league on the season, is making his first start since 2017. He's also getting the Jaguars B-team, with receivers D.J. Chark and Chris Conley set to miss this one, along with starting guard Andrew Norwell.
The Browns and their run-run-run-punt offense are not a high tide that raises all ships. They're quite the opposite. They're built for a run-first clock-killing style of football, and they should have little trouble executing that game plan this week. This game needs six to seven touchdowns to even threaten the over.
Green Bay Packers - Over 26.5
With Chicago's DT Akiem Hicks set to miss this one with a hamstring injury, the Bears will be undermanned against Green Bay's upper-echelon offense. The season-long metrics for the Bears' defense are strong, but their surprising lack of pressure on opposing quarterbacks is starting to take a toll on the over-performing secondary. Over the past five weeks, the Bears are just 19th in EPA per dropback allowed, and Hicks' absence will allow the Packers to sustain drives on the ground.
Before sputtering out in the second half, the Packers topped this number last week against a superior defense in the first 30 minutes of action. I love the Packers in this spot, and I think they cruise to 30 points this week.