Free Teaser Picks and Bets for Week 12
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope everyone enjoys their holiday, spends some quality time with family and friends, and of course – watches 10 straight hours of NFL football.
Keep in mind as we head into Thanksgiving week that lines are extra sharp because there are now two fewer games on Sunday thanks to the two extra games on Thursday. Be careful wagering on Turkey Day, too. It’s one of the most popular public betting days of the year, so if a line seems too good to be true, it probably is.
I usually avoid Thursday games in my best bets article, but it’s Thanksgiving! A Week 12 best bets piece wouldn’t be complete without at least one wager to sweat during the holiday. And as always, make sure to check out all my picks right here. Also want to give a shoutout to all you DFS players this week, I have been using FantasyData’s NFL Optimizer, and it’s been helping me create some nice lineups as of late, you might want to check that out.
Cowboys / Raiders UNDER 51 (-110)
Cowboys 7-3 vs. Raiders 5-5
What better way to start off a Thanksgiving dinner than with a contrarian bet? The betting public is all over the over in this one, and why not, right? It’s the Cowboys and Raiders. Two explosive offenses, two bad defenses. Except that’s not exactly true. Let’s take a look.
Dallas has the best offense in football – at least they did through the first two months of the year. In two of their last three games, however, it’s completely hit the skids – excluding Cooper Rush’s start of course. Dak Prescott just looks off; it’s hard to pinpoint what’s so off about him, but he’s sailing throws high, he looks a bit tentative in the pocket, and timing with his receivers just isn’t right. If you want my opinion, that calf isn’t 100%, but the Cowboys know Prescott needs to be out there if they want a shot at a high seed in the playoffs.
The Cowboys took the Falcons to the woodshed and hung 43 points on them two weeks ago, but the Falcons defense is the worst in the NFL per DVOA. The game prior, Dallas scored just 16 points against the Broncos at home, and at one point, that game was 30-0 Denver. And then last week against a Chiefs defense that isn’t good at all, the Cowboys were kept out of the endzone and lost a really winnable game that their defense surrendered just 19 points in.
On top of the recent struggles for America’s Team, their offense is really banged up. Tyron Smith should be back, but won’t be 100%. It’s no surprise that this offense has stalled without their All-Pro left tackle, and the Raiders really get after the passer with Maxx Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue – they’ve combined for 12 sacks. Amari Cooper won’t play again as he’s on the COVID list; Ezekiel Elliott is hobbled and is questionable too.
We can now all agree that Amari Cooper is an essential piece of the Cowboys offense(beyond this season), right?
— Alex Robert Friedman (@Alex_Friedman31) November 22, 2021
If Elliott plays, he won’t be 100%, and if he doesn’t – and I don’t think he will on a short week – Tony Pollard will be the only running back available who’s played meaningful snaps this year. He’s arguably been better than Elliott, but he hasn’t handled lead-back duties very much thus far. And finally, CeeDee Lamb left Sunday’s game with a head injury, and while he’s trending up, he still hasn’t been cleared to play. That’s a lot of firepower missing or hobbled from this offense.
The Raiders offense has also been a mess, and after slight MVP chatter around Derek Carr, he’s come crashing back down to earth since Henry Ruggs was released. Carr was awful last week against the Bengals, and fans were clamoring for Marcus Mariota to take snaps. Las Vegas topped 30 points four times in the first six weeks, but since the departure of Jon Gruden and Ruggs, they’ve scored 16, 14, and 13 points against the Giants, Chiefs, and Bengals. Yikes.
This Cowboys defense isn’t a pushover either. They just held the Chiefs to 19 points at Arrowhead, they’re fourth in DVOA as a unit and third against the pass which is really what the Raiders like to do – throw the ball. The under may be an unpopular pick, but it’s the right side. Don’t play it any lower than 51, though.
Vikings +3.5 (-110)
Vikings 5-5 vs. 49ers 5-5
The Vikings are scorching hot. They’ve won two in a row, four of six, and five of eight, and quite honestly could be undefeated in their last eight games. Their defense has been fine, nothing to write home about, but their offense has finally figured it out. All they had to do was get their best player involved – who would have thought?
Justin Jefferson has had a really up-and-down year, but by no fault of his. He just wasn’t being used properly or targeted enough. The Vikings have a really rare combination of skill on the outside with Jefferson and Adam Thielen to couple with one of the best running backs in the league in Dalvin Cook. It’s any offensive coordinator’s dream, and the pieces are finally coming together in Minnesota. Jefferson is legitimately the key to the Vikings winning. Don’t believe me? Here’s his yardage outputs in Vikings losses: 71, 65, 84, 21, 69. Here’s his yardage outputs in Vikings wins: 118, 124, 80, 143, 169. I rest my case.
Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson are an elite duo pic.twitter.com/orqCx6G7Wz
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) November 23, 2021
Jefferson has been on a year lately, too. In each of Minnesota’s last two games, both wins, Jefferson has at least 10 targets, eight catches, and 140 yards. Now he’ll get a 49ers defense which is strong up front, but weak in the secondary. They have the 10th ranked defense per DVOA, but are just 22nd against the pass. Dalvin Cook doesn’t get bottled up by many teams – he ripped off 140 yards against a solid Panthers defense and 110 against the Ravens to name a few – so this is a real opportunity for Minnesota to get him involved early and work off the play-action against the 49ers bad secondary.
On the San Francisco side, they’re also hot, but they haven’t played the quality of teams the Vikings have during their hot streak. Minnesota has beaten the Chargers and Packers in back-to-back weeks. The 49ers beat the Rams, yes, but their other wins this year are against Detroit, early-season Philadelphia, Chicago, and Jacksonville. Three of the worst teams in the league, and a rookie head coach in his second-ever game. I think the 49ers are severely overrated but are a really public darling playing on their home field.
I think the Vikings can win this game outright, but I’ll take the points to be safe. I would only lay a full unit on this one if you get the half-point hook, and probably would scale down to a half-unit if the best line you can find is +3.
Two-Team Teaser Of The Week:
Miami Dolphins +8.5 / Indianapolis Colts +9 (-125)
I actually bet this one earlier in the week at +8.5 for both teams at -120, but since the Colts have almost exclusively moved up to +3, you may have to lay the extra five cents at -125. Like the Cowboys / Raiders under, this teaser may not be the most popular with the readers because of the teams we’re fading.
The Dolphins are red-hot, but it’s too little, too late in South Beach. It’s unfortunate, too, because the Dolphins were a fringe playoff team to many before the year, and with how the Bills have struggled, they could have been right in the thick of the divisional race. Miami has won three straight, and while they haven’t exactly beaten the best teams in the NFL, they’ve gotten back to their roots and relied on their strongest asset – the defense. Miami has allowed just 12.0 points per game during their three-game win streak, and now they’ll get a Carolina offense that is incorporating a familiar yet brand new quarterback in Cam Newton. He’s going to have a better grasp on the playbook than he did the last two weeks, but he still won’t be at 100%. I actually have the Panthers favored by just a half-point in this matchup, not the +2.5 they’re currently posted at, so teasing the Dolphins up gives us great value.
The Colts are also red-hot and have an absolute ton to play for – the playoffs. The Buccaneers bounced back against the Giants, sort of. That win was more about how bad New York is than how good Tampa Bay is. But that was Tom Brady and company’s first win in a month. There’s something just off with this team, and I suspect it’s the absence of Antonio Brown and the clear indication that Rob Gronkowski isn’t 100%. The Colts have been running on everyone, and while the Bucs excel at stopping the run, Frank Reich is smart enough to know how to use this to his advantage – play action. The Colts weren’t one of my best bets because of how good the Buccaneers are at stopping the run, but Indianapolis is hot enough to keep this one within a touchdown on their home field.
Mike is an avid sports bettor and fantasy football player, and has been writing since 2013. He previously worked for NBC Sports Philadelphia and Alliance Football Focus, and currently contributes to BettingPros as a featured writer. Mike is a resident of New Jersey, a graduate of Rider University, and currently works as a research analyst. When he isn’t searching for his next wager or watching the New Jersey Devils, Mike enjoys spending time with his wife, his dog and his two cats.