Beating the Spread: Week 12 Picks

The hot streak continued! After an excellent 4-1 week for Tom and yours truly, we still lost ground to Erik, who put up a perfect week. A combined record of 13-2 for the week is making hay while the sun shines, no doubt about it. Week 12 is the last bye week of the season so we’ll soon return to a full slate of games to choose from.

Fortunes can change quickly in the NFL but at this point, we know the good teams, the bad teams, and the completely volatile teams that play up or down to their competition. I find myself avoiding those volatile teams as much as possible. A good example of that is Jacksonville at Tennessee. I have no idea what Titans team is going to come out on Sunday as they are perfectly capable of blowing out the Jaguars or laying an egg. I’m much more interested in betting on a game like the Packers – 49ers where we have a good sense of what these two teams are at this point. I can build a hypothetical game script in my mind for how this one will play out.

Then again, a team like the Falcons looked terrible in the first half of the year and turn it on coming out of the bye. The NFL requires us to constantly ask ourselves what we know. What we at the QB List know is that we’re all significantly over .500 with six weeks left in the regular season. The race to the finish is going to be a fun one.

The following lines were captured on Tuesday. Betting lines can vary by site and move throughout the week so check yours to make sure that you have similar information.

Week 12 betting lines:

Tampa Bay Atlanta ATL -4.5 51.5
Denver Buffalo BUF -4 37
NY Giants Chicago CHI -6 40.5
Pittsburgh Cincinnati PIT -6.5 39
Miami Cleveland CLE -10.5 44
Carolina New Orleans NO -9.5 47
Oakland NY Jets OAK -3 45.5
Detroit Washington DET -3.5 42
Jacksonville Tennessee TEN -3 41.5
Dallas New England NE -6.5 46
Green Bay San Francisco SF -3 46
Seattle Philadelphia PHI -1.5 49
Baltimore LA Rams BAL -3 46.5

Staff Picks

Analyst Jeff Berckes Erik Smith Tom Schweitzer
Pick #1 SF -3 GB +3 NYG +6
Pick #2 ATL -4.5 SEA +1.5 CLE -10.5
Pick #3 BAL -3 BAL -3 DET -3.5
Pick #4 SEA +1.5 OAK -3 SF -3
Pick #5 CHI-NYG U40.5 DAL-NE U46 LAR +3
2019 Record 35-20 33-21-1 31-24

 

Analysis:

 

Jeff Berckes: Let’s start with the game of the week as the Packers travel out west to take on the 49ers. This game was flexed into the Sunday Night slot and I’m excited to see just how these teams look as it’s a potential NFC playoff game. I’ve really enjoyed watching Kyle Shanahan’s offense this year and despite a number of injuries, the 49ers have continued to be productive. This will also be the best defense that Aaron Rodgers and this Packers offense will have faced all year as the 49ers are in a heated battle with the Patriots for the best defense in the league. I’m going to take the 49ers in a statement win (SF -3). I mentioned it in the preamble, but this resurgent Falcons team fascinates me. Matt Ryan came out of the bye week ready to go and the defense has suddenly figured out how to stop people. Yet another divisional game on tap and they get the struggling Jameis Winston who is giving it away with regularity. Give me the home team to continue to roll here (ATL -4.5). For road team, I’m going to keep rolling with Lamar Jackson and this Ravens team. They’re going to make me a lot of money, both real and virtual, this year and I don’t see any reason to doubt them going into the Coliseum and playing a middling Rams squad. The Ravens are the hottest thing going right now, ride the wave (BAL -3). My road dog of the week is the Seattle Seahawks traveling to Philadelphia. I like Philly but I’m sick of waiting for them. The Seahawks are locked in a tough battle for the NFC West and need to keep pace with the 49ers for a chance at the division and bye and they are playing like a team that can make a deep playoff run. I’d happily take the money line here so getting a point and a half for MVP candidate Russell Wilson is fine by me (SEA +1.5). Finally, I erred last week with the Bears, saying they would cover the 7 point line against the Rams. They probably should have given how that game unfolded, but they didn’t. I left the easy money, the under, on the table and Erik Smith swooped in and took it. I’ll go back to taking the under in a Bears game as that’s been a pretty safe bet in 2019 (CHI-NYG under 40.5).

 

Erik Smith: The 49ers are banged up for the second straight week, and Green Bay is fully rested coming off of the bye. The Packers’ strong running game should have some success against a 49ers’ run defense that has fallen off lately. With Davante Adams 100%, Aaron Rodgers finally has his true number one target back, so I’ll take GB+3. With the Eagles struggling and the Seahawks coming off a bye, Russell Wilson looks to be in a good spot to pull off a road win. He’s one of the best players in the league right now, and I trust him even in a tough environment to come out with a win. SEA +1.5 is my pick. Let’s not get complicated here; the Ravens are on fire and the Rams have become a totally different team as of late. I don’t think anyone can slow down Baltimore right now, and the Rams can’t keep up in a shootout anymore, even with the potential return of Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods. BAL -3 is one of my favorite picks of the week. While I’m not totally sold on the Raiders’ long term outlook, they are certainly coming together as a team this year. They have the ability to come from behind as well as grind out the clock, and their defense has generated a good deal of pressure lately. I’m afraid of a backdoor cover, but OAK -3 is a bet on the team with more to play for. This time of the year in New England the weather gets cold and windy, and the Patriots dust off their between the tackles option on the ground. The Cowboys don’t need much of an excuse to play conservatively on offense, and a poor weather game against one of the league’s best passing defenses should force them toward the run. This feels like a 17-13 type game, so give me DAL-NE under 46.

 

Tom Schweitzer: I’m going to continue to lay off totals in hopes that I can keep my (and the group’s) hot streak going. I’ll start with the Giants +6. I don’t see how the Bears can be a 6 point favorite given the lack of life they’ve shown on offense. Matt Nagy’s decision to bench Trubisky after last Sunday’s game was all but decided was cowardly and self-serving. I don’t expect Trubisky to rebound from this and I wouldn’t be surprised if Nagy lost the rest of the locker room as well. The Browns (-10.5) are another team that probably shouldn’t be a big favorite, but I’m going to take them against a bad Miami team. The addition of Kareem Hunt to the Browns offense has added an extra threat in the passing game, something Browns desperately needed, and I think Baker Mayfield is due for a big game. I wouldn’t bet Detroit -3.5, but I think the line could drop a bit now that Matt Stafford has been ruled out. Forget where they were drafted, Jeff Driskel is a better QB than Dwayne Haskins right now and you should feel safe laying points with him on the road.  I don’t think the Packers match up very well with the 49ers (-3). San Francisco can get to the QB with 4 guys, something that’s always bothered Aaron Rodgers, and they have a run game that can keep Rodgers on the sideline. I especially like the 49ers if George Kittle is able to play because I don’t think the Packers have anyone who can cover him. I may be getting a little too cute with this last pick, but I think there’s some major value in the Rams +3 (now +3.5) at home. The Ravens’ win against the Patriots was very impressive. Their wins against the terrible Bengals and overrated Texans were not. After 3 weeks of Lamar Jackson highlight videos and Michael Vick comparisons, I wonder if Baltimore might have a letdown, playing on the road against a desperate Rams squad.

 


 

What are your favorite picks of the week? Put in your comments below to play along. We’ll be updating our records all season!

 

Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)

Jeff Berckes

In addition to writing fantasy football content for QB List, I write Bears stuff for Windy City Gridiron and co-host the podcast Bears Over Beers. Follow me on Twitter @gridironborn

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