NFL Picks Week #12 (2022 regular season)
NFL PICKS (WEEK #12)
BY PROFESSOR MJ
Written Wednesday November 23rd, 2022 at 11 am Eastern Time (spreads/odds may have changed)
This post will present my top NFL picks for Week 12. My name is Professor MJ, university statistics teacher for 15 years.
We had a sharp contrast last week between my picks on sides and totals, versus my betting tips on player proposition bets. In the first case, the wagers on spreads and totals, we observed a poor performance, as evidenced by the 1-4-1 record. However, the prop bets yielded a very good 5-1 record. That means that, overall, we finished Week 11 in the NFL with a 6-5-1 record.
If you combine all NFL bets through the first 11 weeks of the regular season, my betting recommendations have produced a bit of profit via a 67-62-2 record. But the most important part is we have had a lot of fun during the process, I hope you are enjoying my weekly football article, guys!
Without further ado, let’s rock and roll and reveal my betting tips for Week 12 in the NFL. I’ve got 3 strong plays coming up for you. Thanks for being here, my sports betting friends!
PICK #1: NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS +3 AT MINNESOTA VIKINGS
I placed my bet Tuesday at 7 pm on New England +3 points at -115 odds, or 1.87 in decimal, with bwin, which has the same lines as BetMGM, Borgota and Party Poker sportsbooks.
Damien Harris missed one game, but came back very strong last week. He looked very explosive in his 8 carries for 65 yards. He and Rhamondre Stevenson form a great duo in the backfield.
Mac Jones has not been lighting up the scoreboard, but his play has improved lately. Despite facing a couple of above-average defenses in his past two games, the Jets and the Colts, Jones didn’t turn the ball over once, while completing 43 of his 57 passes, a 75% completion rate. Now facing a Vikings defense that is a bit softer than New York and Indy, I believe this offense will be able to move the ball.
Meanwhile, based on the EPA metric (also called “Expected Points Added”), the Patriots have the #1-ranked defense in the entire league. They have allowed just three points in each of their past two matches. Granted, they were facing weak offenses, but that is still pretty impressive. Also note that the Vikings will be without their starting left tackle, Christian Darrisaw.
New England has been at home for three straight weeks, so they have not had to travel very much. That is a good point in their favor for sure.
Is is interesting to note that both teams have posted a 4-1 record against the spread (or “ATS”) in their past five Thursday games. The Pats present a 3-0-1 record ATS against teams with a winning record, and the same 3-0-1 record ATS on the road.
Despite their 8-1 record prior to last week, everyone was talking about how Minnesota was not that great of a team. Then, they got hammered 40-3 at home against Dallas. That has certainly shaken their confidence, and it won’t help that they are now facing the best defensive unit in the NFL. Give me the Patriots and the 3 points, please.
PICK #2: JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS +4 VS BALTIMORE RAVENS
When the road team is favored by four points, they must be significantly stronger than the home squad. If you look at Baltimore’s 7-3 record compared to Jacksonville’s 3-7 record, that seems to be the case.
But if you dig deeper, the difference between the two teams is not as big as you might think. First, did you know that Jacksonville has a positive point differential despite their bad record? Indeed, they have scored 216 points while allowing just 205. Their biggest loss was a 10-point defeat last week in Kansas City, a very tough task to handle. Other than that, all of their losses occurred by an eight-point margin or less.
Now, let’s go back to the famous EPA statistics that I believe are very reliable because they indicate how well offenses and defenses do on every single play, compared to expectations. The Ravens offense is ranked 9th in the league according to this metric, versus spot #11 for Jacksonville. Not a big difference.
Defensively speaking, Baltimore holds the #17 spot versus 18 for the Jags. So, if you were to look at these numbers only, you would certainly jump on the Jaguars as four-point underdogs at home this weekend, right?
Now, I am aware that numbers don’t tell the whole story, though. In this case, we have one more incentive: Jacksonville is coming off its bye week, which is a huge bonus in terms of rest and game planning. Did you know that the last 12 times Jacksonville came off their bye week, they posted a great 8-3-1 record ATS?
Here is another interesting trend to note: the Ravens are 0-4-1 ATS in their past five trips to Jacksonville. They have not enjoyed much success on that field. Baltimore also holds a 1-6 record ATS after allowing less than 14 points the previous week, which is the case here since they gave up just three points to Carolina.
Ravens fans are also worried about the status of left tackle Ronnie Stanley. He hurt the same ankle that he broke in 2020, and he may not be ready to go for Sunday’s game. We’ll get more clarity as the week goes by.
So, in summary, I firmly believe that taking the Jaguars +4 points at home against the Ravens is a strong betting play.
PICK #3: CINCINNATI BENGALS STRAIGHT UP AT TENNESSEE TITANS
The last pick that I like enough to bet is the Bengals straight up on the road in Tennessee. I am taking the Bengals even though I have some indicators to back the Titans. For example, Mike Vrabel’s squad benefits from three extra days of rest after playing last Thursday. Moreover, the Titans will be looking to avenge a 19-16 playoff loss last year, a game in which Ryan Tannehill threw three interceptions, while Derrick Henry was limited to 62 rushing yards over 20 carries. I have to admit that this concerns me, and it’s why I believe my first two plays are stronger.
Still, I decided to invest some money on the Bengals. Their offense has scored an average of 31 points over their past five games, after averaging just 22 in the first five matchups.
Also, the betting action is leading me to believe that Cincy is the smart play. So far, 37% of spread bets have gone on the Bengals, but 83% of the total money was placed on them. That means that big and sharp gamblers are invested heavily on the Bengals.
We also have some encouraging trends:
- The Bengals have beaten the spread the last four times they visited Tennessee;
- Cincinnati holds a 10-1 record ATS the last 11 times they faced teams with a winning record;
- The Bengals are 10-2 ATS coming off a straight up win.
The Titans defense has stiffened lately, so that is a source of concern. However, their weak point is their PASS defense, which happens to be Cincinnati’s strength on offense. This game could also mark the return of star wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, but that is not certain yet.
I’ll go with the Bengals to take the game in Tennessee this weekend.
So those were my top 3 picks for Week 12 in the NFL. Why not discuss the remaining games, while also making a prediction, just for fun? But be warned that I don’t like those picks enough to place an actual bet myself. I’ll do it for entertainment purposes only.
- I’ll take the Lions as 10-point underdogs at home against Buffalo. Detroit’s offense moves the ball well, especially when Amon-Ra St. Brown is in the lineup. Meanwhile, Buffalo’s defense has looked softer in the past two weeks, and they could be looking ahead to key matchups against divisional rivals in the upcoming three weeks: the Pats, the Jets and the Dolphins.
- At first glance, I really liked the Giants 9.5-point underdogs. But after analyzing this game more carefully, not only will I not bet New York, but I have a lean on the Cowboys -9.5 points. Did you see the Giants’ injury list? It is ridiculous. Four of their five offensive linemen are listed as questionable, and even some of the backups are banged up. And their secondary is decimated as well. Starting cornerback Adoree’ Jackson has already been ruled out, while Fabian Moreau has a 50/50 shot of suiting up. The team also lost rookie wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson for the rest of the season; he looked fantastic last week with 9 grabs for 100 yards. Giants are 1-4 ATS in their past five trips to Dallas.
- Again, at first I liked Cleveland when I saw the lines, but I am now leaning towards the Bucs -3.5 points. Road favorites coming off their bye week have done incredibly well in recent years. Fading a home team after two straight road losses has also been a lucrative betting strategy lately. Rachaad White will have a larger role in this offense, which is great news because he appears to have a lot more juice than Leonard Fournette. Tom Brady has not had the chance to play with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Julio Jones at the same time this year. The offense looked a lot sharper against Seattle in their last game.
- I often get burned when I take a huge home favorite. See Baltimore last week against Carolina. Such “obvious” plays end up as a losing proposition too often for my taste, so I’ll stay away this week. But if you forced me to bet, I would still be tempted to take Miami -13 points against Houston. The Texans have lots of holes through their entire roster, while the Dolphins are a perfect 7-0 when Tua finishes the game.
- I would tend to go with the Jets -4.5 against Chicago, but it’s hard to get excited about an offense that generated just six first downs and 103 yards last week. It is clear that Zach Wilson is holding this team back. They have good running backs, good wide receivers, and a fantastic defense. But the QB is just plain bad. Still, against such an awful Bears defense, I think New York will be able to do enough damage to win this game by 5 points or more.
- I usually pick more underdogs than favorites, but I’m going yet with another favorite here: the Commanders -4 against the Falcons. Atlanta is the most run-heavy team in the league, but the bad news for them is Washington’s run defense is awesome. Also, one of the rare weapons on offense for the Falcons, tight end Kyle Pitts, is out.
- Nobody feels good about betting on Sam Darnold, but I’m still going with Carolina +2.5 points against Denver. 57% of spread bets have gone on the Panthers, while 74% of the total money is on them. Seems to me like sharp bettors like Carolina. Denver has a great defense, but they are more susceptible defending the run, which turns out to be Carolina’s strength.
- The Raiders defense stinks, but I believe their offense will do enough to keep the game close in Seattle. For this reason, my lean goes to Las Vegas +3.5 points. The Seahawks are coming off their bye week, though, so it makes them more dangerous. Meanwhile, the Raiders will be on the road for the 4th time in five weeks. However, Vegas passes the ball well, while Seattle ranks 24th in terms of defensive EPA against the pass.
- I mentioned earlier how I prefer to avoid falling in love with obvious big home favorites. We have another such occurrence with the Chiefs established as 14.5-point favorites at home against the Rams. Kansas City’s offense has looked great, while your eyes are probably bleeding every time you watch L.A. on offense. Matthew Stafford is likely out, which would throw Bryce Perkins back into action. He does have some rushing upside. The Chiefs are 2-5-1 ATS at home against teams with a losing record, and 0-6-1 ATS following a win. I would go with the Rams +14.5, but there is no way I am putting some real money on this one!
- I would tend to take the Chargers -4.5 in Arizona. They are 10-4-1 ATS on the road against teams with a losing record lately. And L.A. is also 5-1 ATS coming off a loss. Meanwhile, the QB situation in Arizona is unclear. And they have beaten the spread just twice in their last 11 home games. And they played last Monday, so they lose one day of rest. Give me the more motivated Chargers in this meeting.
- The 49ers looked great against the Cards in Mexico last week, but they will playing on a short week against a tougher opponent. I think the Saints will hang around enough to cover the 9.5-point spread. Andy Dalton rebounded nicely with a good performance against a difficult Rams defense.
- Earlier this year, the Eagles looked like an unstoppable train. Then, they had an unconvincing win over the Texans, they lost at home against Washington, and then barely got by the Colts in a 17-16 victory last week. For this reason, I would prefer to side with the Packers +7 points on Sunday Night Football. Maybe Philly is feeling the effects of losing tight end Dallas Goedert, a key part in this offense both as a blocker and a receiver. Green Bay gets three additional days of rest after playing last Thursday. The Packers are 6-2 ATS in their past eight meetings with the Eagles. I am warming up to this pick, to be honest with you.
- In the Monday Night game, I am really torn. In the end, I’ll go with Indy -2.5, but I am not touching this game. Putting Matt Ryan back on the field and switching to a new head coach seems to have rejuvenated the Colts, who beat the Raiders before coming very close from upsetting the Eagles.
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(Sports Betting Expert / University Professor / PhD in statistics)