NFL Best Bets Week 12
Last week was a good week for my picks against the spread. I went 10-4, but two of those losses were part of our Best Bets. We’re still winning 71% of the games in this column, so it’s been a profitable year. I’m hoping to be up enough by the end of the season to buy my own social media network. If my math is right, another $43.9 billion should do it. Keep your fingers crossed!
I’m deviating from my norm and picking two home favorites to cover. It’s been a season of underdogs, but I think Vegas is undervaluing these two teams this week. You can see my picks for every game for free at Gridiron Experts.
Atlanta Falcons +4.5 at Washington Commanders
Atlanta travels to D.C. to take on the surging Commanders in a game with significant playoff implications. This game features two of the run-heaviest teams in the league, which favors Washington and their excellent run defense. However, the Falcons are 4th in the league in runs of 15 yards or more, so they’re capable of breaking through with some big plays. Atlanta will need Marcus Mariota to connect on some deep ball passes. According to FantasyData.com, he’s 7th in passes over 20 yards in the air, but only ahead of Zach Wilson in completion percentage of those attempts. On the defensive side of the ball for Atlanta, as bad as they’ve been, they actually match up quite well against Washington’s offense, which has been pretty inefficient, as well. The Commanders opened as three point favorites. Interestingly, as the line has moved a point and a half in their favor, the over/under has dropped by two points. I think that spread is too high for such a low game total, so I’m locking in the Falcons here.
Seattle Seahawks -3.5 vs Las Vegas Raiders
I feel like this spread would be about right on a neutral field, but Seattle should be at least a point higher at home. Their offense is 4th in pass DVOA and going against a Raiders defense ranked 32nd. Geno Smith has been one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the NFL this year and he should have a relatively easy time getting the ball to DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. The Seahawks have a strong enough run game to force the Raiders to respect it instead of selling out for the pass. As for the Raiders offense, they’re only averaging 18.7 points per game on the road. Their team rushing yards, a strength earlier this season, is among the worst in the league over the last three games. They’re always a threat with the deep ball because of Davante Adams, but Seattle’s secondary has done a good job at keeping wide receivers in check, and with Darren Waller out, the Raiders are without one of their best offensive weapons. I don’t think the Raiders will be able to keep this one close.
San Francisco 49ers -9 vs New Orleans Saints
I think there’s a case to be made that the 49ers are the best team in the NFL. I know the consensus has the Bills, Chiefs and Eagles as the top three teams, and I’m not taking anything away from them, but I think San Fran at least deserves to be in the discussion. This week they’re hosting New Orleans. In a year where underdogs are winning over 56% against the spread, the Saints are still 2-5 ATS as underdogs. New Orleans isn’t a terrible team, but they’re a below average one. The problem for them is the 49ers might be a great team. They’re coming off three straight wins and Jimmy Garoppolo suddenly looks like an elite quarterback. Elijah Mitchell and Christian McCaffrey form the best running back duo in the league and the defense is giving up the fewest yards per game of any team. I usually shy away from home favorites of a touchdown or more, but I think San Francisco is peaking at the right time while the Saints are barely treading water. I’m betting the 49ers will put New Orleans away easily.
Doug Burrell finished 2022 as Fantasy Nerd’s Most Accurate Expert in NFL Picks and Tallysight’s #1 ranked expert Against the Spread Expert out of 200+ experts. He is a veteran, a runner and an avid fantasy sports enthusiast since 1999. You can reach him on Twitter @dougwburrell.
Doug is a veteran, an avid runner, and works as a copywriter. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and three dogs. You can reach him on Twitter @dougwburrell.