Most Surprising Opening Lines That Look Odd for Week 12

Kevin Stott

Monday, November 20, 2017 3:40 PM UTC

Monday, Nov. 20, 2017 3:40 PM UTC

Let’s look at spreads for some NFL Week 12 matchups where the number might look a bit off, analyze why these numbers are where they are and then offer up picks on games where it seems there may be perceived edges against weak opponents.

Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions (Pick'em)

This Week 12 Thanksgiving Day early game sees the Everson Griffen and the Vikings heading to Ford Field in Detroit to play Matthew Stafford and the Lions on Thursday (FOX, 12:30 pm ET) from The Motor City in a huge NFC North date for the hosts. The Opening Point Spread looks a bit odd with the Vikings (+1650 to win Super Bowl, Heritage) —currently in 1st place in the NFC North with an 8-2 Record — playing such elite Defense (18.3 ppg, Tied #5) and having played much more consistently than the Lions (40/1 to win Super Bowl, Heritage). But Minnesota was going with their 3rd-string QB (Case Keenum) as its starter in Week 11 on Sunday against the Rams in Minneapolis (they rolled) with Sam Bradford (Knee) in the Injured Reserve List and Teddy Bridgewater (Knee) less than 100% and keen playing so well in Week 10. So with NFC Wild Card berth-chasing Detroit (6-4 SU) — the team very familiar with playing on Turkey Day — needing the Win so much more than Detroit and this QB shuffle in The Land Of 10,000 Lakes, the Lions and Vikings have been made dead-even.

When these two met in Week 4, Detroit pulled off the 14-7 upset, upsetting the hosts as 3-point Road Underdogs in a game which went well Under the Total (43½). Since that setback, the Vikings (9/1 NFC, Heritage) reeled off 5 straight SU Wins (4-1 ATS), while Ameer Abdullah and the Lions (20/1 to win NFC, Bovada) L3 straight SU and ATS after that date before W2 SU and ATS heading into their Week 12 NFC North meeting with the Bears in Chicago. The series Trends here show that in the early Thanksgiving Day game, Favorites have gone 11-1 ATS the L12 after the Lions upset the Vikings, 16-13 as small 1½-point Favorites at Home at Ford Field (42½) and the SU/ATS Wins improved. The record of Road Thanksgiving teams who have won SU and ATS in their previous games fell to 10-6 ATS with the result and it’s worth noting that the Under is a very strong 7-1 the L8 meetings. The Under (44½, Heritage) seems like a wisest look here, with the early start, Vikings RB Dalvin Cook out, the little amount of Rest for both teams having to play on Thanksgiving (3 Days) and the stingy Vikings D.


Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals (-9)

AJ Green and the Bengals haven’t been favored by this many points since last Regular Season when they played the Browns at Home in Cincinnati (-11) -- the Bengals won 31-17, covering ATS -- and with as weak as Cincinnati has played this season (4-6 SU, 2-4 Road), one would expect a smaller number here, probably in the 5 to 6 range. But we all know how bad the Browns (0-10 SU) have been ATS the L3 years (11-29-1 ATS) and as more Sharps and Public bettors look to fade Cleveland (2-8 ATS) from jump, look for oddsmakers to build another point or two into their spreads, knowing there may be an imbalance of Browns money and that this still winless team may be perceived as being content on losing out in order to get that always over-hyped #1 pick in the NFL Draft. In Week 11, Cleveland lost to Jacksonville, 19-7 (JAX -7, 37) while Cincinnati upset host Denver, 20-17 (DEN -2½, 38).

When these two met earlier this season in the River City, the Bengals won 31-7, easily covering ATS as 3½-point Home Favorites (41½) and a look at the Trends in this AFC North series we see that Cincinnati has gone a profitable 6-0 ATS the L5 meetings and 3-1 ATS the L4 games played at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland. So, all of these factors together have made that number for the Bengals possibly look a little bit high, but 2017 and recent history shows Cleveland still can’t be trusted and hanging an 8 will scare away many Underdog-prone Sharps whose gag reflex goes off anytime they see a number bigger than 5. The only numbers sports bettors should really be scared of are the one’s they control. Heading into Week 12, the Bengals (-9, #30) and Browns (-13, #31) were two of the worst three teams in Turnover Margin in the NFL (Broncos -13, #32), big reasons why these two are a combined 7-13 ATS.


Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs (-9½)

As well as slumping Kansas City (6-4 SU/ATS) has started and the way the Bills have played of late, one would think this line for this Week 12 AFC inter-divisional game from Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City on Sunday (CBS, 1 pm ET) would be closer to 12, but even with the Bills (5-5) in the potential midst of a starting QB change (Nathan Peterman from Tyrod Taylor), we see what seems like a smallish number for a Good team at Home playing a struggling team playing on the Road (Bills 1-4). Mad after losing at New York GiantsFC in OT, 12-9 on Sunday, we can expect 5th-year Head Coach Andy Reid (43-35 ATS), QB Alex Smith and the Chiefs (+1350 to win Super Bowl, Heritage) to come out aggressive here at Home with the Kansas City D stifling whomever the Bills end up having behind Center.

One reason this number may look odd also is because the linemakers are aware of how well the Bills Defense had been playing with Buffalo -- who were thrashed by the Chargers in La La Land on Sunday, 54-24 -- being the #1 team in the NFL in Takeaway/Giveaway (TO Margin) at +11 while the Chiefs ranked #2 (+9) into Week 12 play. The Trends in this series show the Chiefs are 3-0 ATS the L3 meetings, with Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and the Chiefs beating the Bills, 30-22 in at Arrowhead Stadium back in 2015, covering ATS as moderate 4½-point Home Favorites (40½). Buffalo (200/1 to win Super Bowl, 5Dimes).

 Jacksonville Jaguars (-5) at Arizona Cardinals

Jacksonville favored in Arizona? In 2017? And by more than a FG? What gives? An over-reaction to Arizona’s QB (Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton) and RB (David Johnson) woes and Jacksonville’s evolution? One thing is for certain, the visiting Jaguars (7-3 SU) will be motivated, have the best Scoring Defense in the NFL this season (14.9 ppg) and Jacksonville is fighting vigorously with Tennessee (6-4 SU) in the AFC South. In Week 11 play on Sunday, the jaguars (41/1 to win AFC, Heritage) defeated the Browns in Cleveland, 19-7, covering ATS as TD chalks.

With those injuries to Cardinals QBs Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton, 3rd-stringer Blaine Gabbert was called into duty in Week 11 for the Gridiron Redbirds, and the Missouri product did an admirable job (24-34, 257 Passing yards, 3 TDs) in a tough 31-21 Loss to the Texans who rallied for a 14-0 4th Quarter in victory. Solid lean to the Under here (38, BookMaker) as Blake Bortles (15-11 ATS on Road, 4-1 ATS on Road in 2017) and the Jaguars (NFL-low 141 Points allowed) will be traveling 2,047 miles west and from the ET to the MT, losing 2 Body Clock Hours. Jacksonville has improved, but beating Larry Fitzgerald and the Cardinals in The Valley of the Sun is another thing.

These two haven’t played since 2013 when the Cardinals (500/1 to win Super Bowl, 5Dimes) defeated the Jaguars in Jacksonville, 27-14, covering ATS as 10-point Road Favorites. The prevailing thought here is that Site and Pride should weigh heavy here and that, though much improved, the Jaguars may be in for a fight in the Sonoran Desert at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, making this game turn into a chess match with a Loss probably ending any Cardinals (4-6 SU) Postseason hopes.

Free NFL Picks: Bengals -9, Chiefs -9.5Best Lines Offered: BetOnline


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