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December 14, 2018

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

Ingram celebrates


New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (22) celebrates his touchdown with fans after jumping into the stands in the first half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018.

Week 12: Packers at Vikings

Which side would you take in Packers at Vikings? (Poll consensus year to date: 9-2)
Packers plus-3.5 — 53.0%
Vikings minus-3.5 — 47.0%

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.

The Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs combined for 105 points, the second most in NFL history, in a Monday Night Football game for the ages — and yet neither team had the most impressive performance of Week 11.

That belonged to the team both of them are chasing at the top of betting boards to win the Super Bowl — the New Orleans Saints. New Orleans made history of its own, administering the most lopsided beat down ever to a defending Super Bowl champion.

The Saints whooped the Eagles 48-7 as 7-point favorites a day before the Rams escaped the Chiefs with a 54-51 win as 3-point favorites. It was a ninth straight win, and eighth straight cover, for the team sitting at 2-to-1 to win the Super Bowl at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.

If a bettor had started with $100 and rolled over the winnings while betting on the Saints on the moneyline each week during its streak, he or she would now be up to $10,220.

No, it’s not the most original example. Yes, the Saints deserve that classic illustration on the betting perspective of their run.

They’ve been that remarkable.

Check below for picks on every Week 12 game, listed in rough order of confidence and separated into three categories. Lines are the best currently available on the chosen side in Las Vegas. The record for the year stands at 85-66-9 after a 6-5-1 showing in Week 11.

Plays (17-17-1)

Carolina Panthers minus-3 vs. Seattle Seahawks Lay the extra juice at minus-120 — currently available at CG Technology sports books and Treasure Island — to back the better team at the key number of a field goal. Carolina has been more efficient on both sides of the ball on the year — gaining 5.9 yards per play to Seattle’s 5.5 and giving up only 5.7 yards per play to Seattle’s 5.9.

Detroit Lions plus-3.5 vs. Chicago Bears This isn’t just one of the toughest scheduling spots this season; it might be one of the toughest scheduling spots in NFL history. The Bears must go on the road to play their third game in 11 days off of a Sunday Night Football performance. Any decent team should at least be able to keep the game close under those circumstances, and the Lions are certainly at least a decent team.

Denver Broncos plus-3.5 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Even after last week’s upset victory over the Chargers, the Broncos remain undervalued and better than their 4-6 straight-up records indicates. Going to keep backing them, especially at Broncos Stadium at Mile High where they have one of the NFL’s best home-field advantages, until the market catches up.

Tennessee Titans plus-6 at Houston Texans Don’t mind gambling that Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota recovers from a stinger in time to play on Monday Night Football. In that case, this price is a bargain. But even if he doesn’t, the Titans have treaded water at times behind Blaine Gabbert — including in a 20-17 win over the overrated Texans in week 2.

Leans (28-16-3)

Miami Dolphins plus-9.5 at Indianapolis Colts Ryan Tannehill returns at quarterback this week for the Dolphins, and represents a major upgrade over Brock Osweiler. This line may have been too high even with Osweiler, as the Colts look like a sell-high team. They’ve been impressive during a four-game win streak, but their opponents during the run have been far from daunting.

Philadelphia Eagles minus-5.5 vs. New York Giants Expect the Giants to be a popular underdog play this week, but don’t buy into the hype. Two wins by a total of seven points against the dregs of the league, the Buccaneers and the 49ers, doesn’t mean they’re suddenly competitive. They lost to the Eagles by 21 points the first time this season, and still have a point differential nearly two times worse even after Philadelphia’s blowout loss to New Orleans.

Green Bay Packers plus-3.5 at Minnesota Vikings The Packers have now outgained three of the last four teams they’ve lost to on a per-play basis. It’s setting up the rare scenario where Aaron Rodgers might be undervalued by the betting market.

Guesses (40-33-5)

Washington Redskins plus-7.5 at Dallas Cowboys Not sure Colt McCoy is a three-point downgrade from Alex Smith, who’s out for the rest of the season with an ankle injury, as this line implies. The lookahead line last week before Smith went down was only Dallas minus-4.5.

Atlanta Falcons plus-13 at New Orleans Saints Feels like bettors are in a no-win situation in regard to the Saints. They’re playing way too well to fade, but backing them requires an extra tax that’s increasing every week and will eventually become too much. Twelve of the last 13 meetings between these rivals have been decided by 10 points or less.

Los Angeles Chargers minus-12 vs. Arizona Cardinals Line was Los Angeles minus-13 last week, and the Chargers’ 23-22 loss to Denver was far more forgivable than Arizona’s 23-21 defeat to Oakland. It’s not much value — especially at unessential numbers like 12 and 13 — but there’s no reason the line should have moved a point.

Baltimore Ravens minus-10.5 vs. Oakland Raiders Oakland picked up an unlikely victory last week by playing a team that is just as destitute and poorly coached. The Raiders seem likely to fall back now that they’re taking on a more respectable opponent currently fighting for a playoff spot.

Jacksonville Jaguars minus-3 at Buffalo Bills Jaguars showed signs of life in leading the Steelers for the majority of last week’s game before slipping to a 20-16 loss as 4-point underdogs. In fairness, so did the Bills before their bye week but it’s easier to write off 41 points behind Matt Barkley throwing for 9.3 yards per attempt as a mirage.

San Francisco 49ers plus-3.5 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Statistically speaking, the Buccaneers should probably be the pick here but they’re so cloaked in failure and expert at finding ways to lose that laying a treacherous line of minus-3.5 is ill-advised at best. The 49ers have a major advantage on the sideline, as their coach Kyle Shanahan will have his (albeit less-skilled) team in better positions to succeed than the Buccaneers’ Dirk Koetter.

New England Patriots minus-9.5 at New York Jets Line is certainly inflated by a point or two, but not enough to dissuade from siding with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady off both a bye week and a loss. There are also rumblings of discord when it comes to the Jets, with some claiming they’ve quit on the season.

Cincinnati Bengals minus-3 vs. Cleveland Browns Pure numbers pick, as the teams look even so Cincinnati is preferable at only a field goal. If an extra half-point showed up, Cleveland would be a wiser choice. It’s a testament to the importance of the 3-point spread in betting on the NFL.

Case Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at

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