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November 20, 2019

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Vegas pick ’em: NFL week 12 winners against the spread

Packers celebrate

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Green Bay Packers’ Letroy Guion celebrates after an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers won 53-20.

It’s a dead heat between the Philadelphia Eagles and Talking Points for the most embarrassing performance of week 11.

Week 12: Browns at Falcons

Which side would you take in the Sun's handicapping game of the week? (Majority Poll Opinion this season: 7-5)
Browns plus-3 — 51.6%
Falcons minus-3 — 48.4%

This poll is closed, see Full Results »

Note: This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Talking Points NFL bet of the week

Talking Points college bet of the week

The Eagles drew money for their trip to Green Bay last Sunday, shrinking the betting line from minus-6 to minus-4.5. Philadelphia bettors could have ripped up their tickets by the end of the first quarter when the Eagles fell behind 17-0.

It was 39-6 early in the second half before the Packers slowed down, finishing with a 53-22 victory.

While Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers accounted for more than 370 yards, Philadelphia counterpart Mark Sanchez couldn’t repeat the heroics of his first start. Sanchez committed four giveaways, playing as poorly as his defensive teammates who gave up 7.4 yards per play.

The pick’em may have been even worse. In my worst-ever NFL week picking games in this space, I went 3-11 against the spread.

Luckily, I had built a minor cushion above the goal of anything better than 50 percent. The yearlong record now stands at 82-77-2, resulting in less of a margin for error.

Check out the week 12 picks below, separated as always into three categories with individual records. Lines are the best currently available number on the chosen side in Las Vegas.

Plays (17-22)

Cincinnati Bengals plus-2 at Houston Texans With the Bengals possessing the better offense and better defense by yards per play, it looks like the wrong team is favored. Cincinnati is also getting healthier at the right time.

San Diego Chargers minus-4.5 vs. St. Louis Rams The early line was a full touchdown before the Rams upset the Broncos and the Chargers lost their fifth straight against the spread in sliding past the Raiders. Happy to take the value with a team that was regarded among the NFL’s best before the recent slide.

Miami Dolphins plus-7.5 at Denver Broncos Beaten-up Broncos can’t completely cure themselves overnight. Underrated Dolphins still hanging strong as the NFL’s fourth-best team according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA ratings.

Leans (34-25-1)

Cleveland Browns plus-3 at Atlanta Falcons Would have likely been the play of the week if plus-3.5 was still available. Not convinced close victories over lowly Carolina and Tampa Bay to claim first-place in the lax NFC South means Atlanta’s season is turned around.

Seattle Seahawks minus-6 vs. Arizona Cardinals Three games behind the Cardinals in the NFC West and currently a game out of the playoffs, the Seahawks’ season is on the line Sunday. Doesn’t feel right to see money flowing in against them at home, where they’re 4-1 straight-up and 3-2 against the spread this season despite a reported decline in the advantage of CenturyLink Field, in this situation.

Baltimore Ravens plus-3.5 at New Orleans Saints Feels like neither oddsmakers nor the betting market have downgraded the Saints quickly enough. A team riding a two-game losing streak with the third-worst defense in the league, per Football Outsiders, no longer deserves the benefit of the doubt.

Washington Redskins plus-9.5 at San Francisco 49ers Problems covering at Levi’s Stadium forecasted in the preseason have come to fruition. The 49ers are just 1-3 against the spread in their new home, and coming off of back-to-back trips to the other side of the country.

New York Jets plus-4.5 at Buffalo Bills Snowy elements typically result in low-scoring games, making it worthwhile to look towards the underdog. The Jets also run the ball far better than the Bills, at 4.7 yards per attempt to 3.9 yards per attempt, which should help.

Chicago Bears minus-5 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers In hindsight, Bears’ blowout losses to Packers and Patriots on the road aren’t as damning as they first appeared. Buccaneers’ obliterations at the Falcons and against the Ravens at home are far more telling.

Guesses (32-30-1)

Detroit Lions plus-7 at New England Patriots New England isn’t going to rack up 250 rushing yards like last week against Detroit. The Lions’ defensive front will put the Patriots’ offensive line, supposedly fully repaired after early-season struggles, to the test.

Philadelphia Eagles minus-11 vs. Tennessee Titans Concerns of an inflated line are drowned out by the promise of a favorable situation for Philadelphia. Eagles should play sharp after last week’s flop while Titans have to prepare off of a short week following a Monday Night Football loss.

Oakland Raiders plus-7 vs. Kansas City Chiefs The Chiefs have pulled Houdini-esque escape acts in each of their last two games and gotten outgained in three straight. Hard to imagine them getting up for a game at Oakland, which remains desperate to evade a winless season.

Jacksonville Jaguars plus-14 at Indianapolis Colts Jacksonville looked refreshed out of its bye week last season, going 5-3 against the spread to close the year. Banking on a repeat in 2014 as this line seems a point or two too high.

Dallas Cowboys minus-3 at New York Giants Forced to play the number in a tightly-lined game where I have no opinion. It’s so close that the pick would switch to the Giants if plus-3.5 was the only available point spread.

Green Bay Packers minus-9 at Minnesota Vikings After winning their last two games by a combined 108-34, the Packers are the new Super Bowl favorites according to the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook at 7-to-2 odds. That’s not the profile of a team I want to line up against.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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