NFL week 12 was maybe the strangest in history. It certainly was the longest, beginning with the two (not three) games on Thanksgiving and not ending until the Ravens/Steelers matchup - which was supposed to the the third game on Turkey day - was played the following Wednesday afternoon.
This was great for us as viewers in the UK, with a 9pm kick-off. It wasn't so good for the Ravens who had a patchwork roster and hadn't practiced seriously in 10 days. It showed, but the Steelers did their bit to keep it close, dropping passes and stalling on short yardage to keep it within the 10 point spread which, I'd opined on our NFL...Only Bettor podcast, seemed like a generous one in a game where the over/under was set at 42.
Last week wasn't a great one otherwise. Cleveland and the Giants won but failed to cover (losing Daniel Jones didn't help prevent the Bengals' sneaky backdoor cover). Carolina got two TD fumble recoveries from Jeremy Chinn on consecutive plays from scrimmage, something that had never ever happened in the NFL before, to blow up the over/under between the Panthers and Vikings. The Rams/Niners missed going over by 1.5, and Robbie Gould missed a field goal on the last play of the first half.
I take no responsibility for losing on the over of Saints/Broncos, as all four Denver quarterbacks were ruled out after the column had been posted. Luckily, the Seahawks and Eagles cooperated in their Bird Derby, with Seattle covering while keeping it under 50. The Bills/Chargers kept it under 52.5, helped by Anthony Lynn's total unawareness of clock management.
On to week 13, which I hope will be more straightforward! And let me put in another plug for the podcast, because sometimes the early odds are there for the taking. Kieran O'Connor's best bet, which I endorsed, was the Raiders over the Jets who were 7.5 point home dogs. A lot of people must have been listening because today the Jets are getting 9.5, which makes it somewhat less attractive.
Rodgers and co. will have too much for Eagles
Best Bet: Green Bay -8 at 10/11 v Philadelphia
This one has seen the spread drop from 9.5, not that the point and a half makes that much difference in real scoring terms, but it's an indication that bettors doubted the Pack could cover. I don't see any reason to think the Eagles' offense is going to explode: Green Bay's D is still patchy, but they can rush the passer, with which Carson Wentz has had problems, and the Eagles' receivers won't destroy their secondary.
Philly should try to get Miles Sanders and Boston Scott going on the ground, but I'd take the two Aarons, the enigmatic Rodgers and more straightforward Jones, to do more. I'm edging toward the under (up to 48 at 10/11 from 47) and I like Robert Tonyan as an anytime touchdown scorer at 15/8. I still like my best bet from the podcast too: Seattle (-10 at 10/11) v NY Giants.
Pittsburgh can pile on points against Washington
Value Bet: Pittsburgh v Washington - Over 42 at 10/11
The early Monday Night game is another afternoon kickoff in Pittsburgh, which means another one to watch without staying up late! The Steelers are forced to play on the short week, but assuming their team isn't decimated by positive Covid tests after exposure to the Ravens, they are still going to be a challenge for WTF's QB Brandon Allen, as they can probably keep the run game in check.
They dinked and dunked the Ravens to near-death, but as I said, they need to hold onto the ball. But I don't think Washington's D, dependent on rush as they are, will be able to play as well and 42 seems awfully reachable. Right now the line is eight, and I suspect the Steelers can cover, but the over seems a better bet to me.
Titans more than capable of outplaying Browns
Outside Bet: Tennessee -5.5 at 10/11 v Cleveland
Both teams want to do the same thing but the Titans do it better - run, control the ball, hit to occasional big play. Ryan Tannehill and AJ "Bulldozer" Brown are better at it than Baker "Mayfly" Mayfield, but the key here is early scoring, cause neither team wants to have to play from behind.
In San Francisco I liked the Niners as 2.5 point home dogs, but since Wednesday the line has switched to visiting Buffalo getting a point. It's a tossup betting wise, with 10/11 on the moneyline for each team, as well as for the Bills with the point. I still like the Niners, with more of their team back, here.