Free NFL Bets Week 12
We finally picked ourselves up off the mat last week and got a much-needed win, thanks to our trust in Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes. A 1-1 Week 11 brings our year-to-date record to 13-9 (59.1%).
For the second-straight week, I’ve had to change my best bet because of COVID. This week, I was on Pittsburgh -4 against Baltimore, but with the game being moved off of the Thanksgiving slate, and with so many star players for the Ravens including Lamar Jackson on the COVID list, this game has a slim chance of being played. So, with that being said, let’s take a look at the weekly trends heading into the home-stretch of the 2020 NFL season.
- This weekend’s slate of games calls for generally favorable weather, which leans towards more scoring. In indoor or clear weather games, teams are scoring an average of 51.1 points per game, and overs are 77-66 (53.8%). In games where wind, snow, or rain is a factor, teams are averaging 39.5 points per game, and overs are just 7-11 (38.9%).
- Road teams are uncharacteristically keeping pace with home teams early in games, mostly due to there being little-to-no crowd noise. Road teams are averaging 5.0 points in the first quarter, just a touch below the 5.1 points that home teams are scoring in the first period.
- In NFC vs. NFC matchups, underdogs are 38-22 (63.3%) against the spread. In AFC vs. AFC matchups, underdogs are 32-28 (53.3%) against the spread. In cross-conference games, underdogs are just 19-21-1 (47.5%).
Cool new find: Check out BettingData.com, it’s the new site from FantasyData. They have an NFL Odds comparison page and a Prop Bet tool coming soon that I’m super excited about. Worth the bookmark.
Let’s see if we can get another teaser streak going here. Our longest teaser win streak is three-in-a-row, and a win this week would give us back-to-back cashes. And, for the first time since Week 1, we’re playing a total:
Bills/Chargers Over 52
This one opened up at 50 and immediately got steamed up to 51.5, which is what I bet earlier in the week. The majority of books at the time of writing have this line set at 52; some have 52.5. Bet365 is already up to 53, so I already love that FanDuel and BetMGM are offering me a half-point to a full-point of value.
By Sunday, and probably even by Saturday late-morning, the 52’s will most likely be gone. Since 52 is a key number, I’d recommend buying a half-point to drop the total back down to 52, if your book has moved the total above that. It’ll most likely drop your odds from -110 to -125 or so, but it’s worth it. Every fraction of a point matters.
In years past, taking the over in a Bills/Chargers game would have been unheard of. The Chargers normally love to get after the passer, and the Bills usually have a stout defense. But, this year is totally different thanks to the two young and exciting quarterbacks and the complete implosion of both defensive units.
Los Angeles’ offense has been on fire since their Week 6 bye, averaging 30.0 points per game. But, they’re only 2-3 in those five games, much in part to their defense being unable to generate many stops. The Chargers are allowing 29.6 points per game in their last five, which may not sound egregious until you look at who they allowed those points to: the Jaguars, Broncos, Raiders, Dolphins, and Jets. That’s right, they just allowed 28 points to Joe Flacco and the Jets.
Since Week 3, every game the Chargers have played in has reached the 50-point mark, and all but one (Week 10 vs. Miami) has eclipsed the 52-point total that’s set for this matchup in Buffalo. Los Angeles might be getting Austin Ekeler back as well, but even if they don’t Keenan Allen has been an absolute monster since the bye week, averaging 9.4 catches and 95.8 yards while scoring in each of the last four games. He should be able to avoid Tre’Davious White as well, since he lines up in the slot 48.5% of the time and has the 12th most slot-snaps of any wideout in the league.
Buffalo has also been rolling on offense and is coming off their bye, so they’ll be well-rested and ready to go right out of the gate. Since their three-games-in-two-weeks debacle, where they were forced to play the Titans, Chiefs, and Jets all in a 12-day span, the Bills have scored 32.7 points per game, and they’ve allowed 28.3. They also threw the ball on 73.5% of their offensive snaps in their last game against Seattle, and since I’m projecting a similar type of shootout, we should see a similar game plan.
DVOA numbers, per Football Outsiders, support the over in this game as well. The Chargers and Bills are the 10th and 12th ranked offensive DVOA teams, respectively, but the 20th and 17th ranked defensive units. The Bills are 5th in points per drive, and although the Chargers are just 20th, they’re going to be forced to go score-for-score with Buffalo, and the Bills defense is just 27th in points against per drive.
Neither of these teams generates very much pressure – Buffalo is 23rd and Los Angeles is 19th – so look for these two quarterbacks to not only have all day to throw but have the time to tuck it and run, something both Josh Allen and Justin Herbert excel at.
Final note: late-November games in Western New York are usually dictated by the weather. This one shouldn’t be. Forecasts call for no rain, no snow, 50 degree temperatures, and winds around 10 MPH – basically a beautiful summer’s day in Buffalo.
Packers -2.5 / Giants PK Six-Point Teaser
As you may have noticed, the Packers are one of my favorite teams to tease. Why? Of course, because they have Aaron Rodgers, but the spreads on Green Bay games usually aren’t out-of-control – like we normally see with the Chiefs – because the Packers defense is generally below-average. So, we get the opportunity to tease the Packers down to a manageable number. I love trusting Rodgers, and I’m happy I get to do it again here.
The Bears are coming off a bye, but they also have absolutely no offense to speak of. They’re 29th in DVOA and 31st in yards per play – just 0.1 yards ahead of the Jets. Yikes. The Packers, on the other hand, are 2nd in offensive DVOA and 3rd in yards per play. The Bears defense is good, but so was the Colts defense, and Green Bay still scored 31 points in Indianapolis last week. Chicago has scored 30 points just once this season, Nick Foles is banged-up, and I just can’t see Chicago going score-for-score with Green Bay, especially facing Rodgers coming off a loss, where he’s 10-3 since 2018.
Chicago has one formidable offensive weapon, Allen Robinson, who will most likely be shadowed by Jaire Alexander. They clearly don’t trust any of their other skill position players – Robinson has nearly double the number of targets of any other Bear – and with him facing a tough matchup, I’m not sure where they turn to move the ball down the field.
The second half of this teaser is a straight-up fading of the Bengals. It was abundantly clear last week how important Joe Burrow is to this team. Cincinnati managed just 17 yards of offense once Burrow went down, which was just a few minutes into the third quarter. The Giants defense isn’t as good as Washington’s, but they’re coming off a bye and they’ve been playing really well over the last few weeks. Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham has done a great job disguising his looks, and that’s going to be a nightmare for Brandon Allen, who is making just his fourth career start. Joe Mixon also won’t play, and Gio Bernard has yet to clear the concussion protocol.
I never thought I’d see the day, but here we are. Daniel Jones has put together back-to-back turnover-less games, which is huge because his turnovers cost the Giants a few wins earlier in the season. The Bengals defense is really poor, 30th in DVOA to be exact, and coming off a bye, I expect the G-Men to have a plan ready to exploit the Bengals’ weaknesses. New York is also, incredibly, right in the thick of a divisional race. With Washington’s victory over Dallas on Thanksgiving, the Giants have the chance to take the lead in the division with a victory, coupled with a Philadelphia loss against Seattle.
Joe Judge doesn’t tolerate anything less than maximum effort and energy, and with the added motivation of a playoff spot, look for the Giants to put forth an impressive effort. I don’t expect them to run away with this one, because they’re still the Giants after all, but they shouldn’t have much of an issue grabbing a win over the Bengals.