Here is a 5-Pack of NFL value plays for this Sunday to build your bankroll on Week 12, highlighted by the big late afternoon game between the Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos.
The winning continued for us in the NFL in Week 11 as we went 3-1-1, and we are having a fine 2014 NFL season that currently has us at a sparkling 53-40-1, 57.0%, +12.38 YTD as documented in the Sportsbook Review Forum! Hopefully we can now carry that good fortune into this coming Sunday because we are back once again as usual with our typical Friday 5-Pack of NFL picks for Week 12.
This week began on Thursday night with an upset, which has been rare on Thursdays this season, and it was a beauty as the previously winless Oakland Raiders, who were 0-10 this season and had lost 16 straight games going back to last year, shocked what had been perhaps been the hottest team in the NFL the Kansas City Chiefs 24-20. That makes Oakland just the third underdog to win outright on a Thursday this year and the game snuck ‘over’ the total of 42.
Moving right along to Sunday, we are back to being our usual contrarian selves this week as we have three sides that are all underdogs as well as two totals that are both ‘unders’. And as has become the norm for us, all of these NFL odds come from Pinnacle Sports.
Sunday, November 23rd
Minnesota Vikings +7½ (-102) over Green Bay Packers (1:00 ET): The casual football fan would consider the Packers a no-brainer pick here, as after all, they come off of scoring over 50 points in back-to-back games with the first of those outings coming against the Bears while the Vikings could only manage 13 points vs. that same Chicago defense last week, a defense that may be the worst in football. The Packers are even on a 6-1 ATS run, so what is there not to like? Well for starters, sportsbooks do not stay in business by putting out cheap lines on teams that are both very hot and very popular, and Green Bay qualifies on both of those counts. So digging a little deeper, most of the Packers success has come at home as they are just 2-3 straight up on the road, and they could very easily be 1-4 away from Lambeau Field as in one of their wins they scored in the final seconds to get by the Miami Dolphins and their stingy defense 27-24. But didn’t the Packers already crush the Vikings 42-10 earlier this season? Yes but that was back in Lambeau and with the inept Christian Ponder filling in for an injured Teddy Bridgewater for Minnesota. Furthermore, the Minnesota defensive line can actually put pressure on Aaron Rodgers here as the Vikings are third in the NFL in sacks with 30, and Minnesota can also run the ball with Jerick McKinnon and the newly added Ben Tate vs. a Green Bay team ranked 29th in the league in rushing defense. And last but not least, it would be very easy for the Packers to be looking ahead to a possible Super Bowl Preview vs. the Patriots next week.
Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Texans ‘under’ 43½ (-105) (1:00 ET): In a matchup of two playoff hopefuls, both of these teams come off of upset road wins last week, with the Texans dominating the Browns defensively in a 23-7 win at Cleveland as 3½-point underdogs while playing without Arian Foster, and the Bengals pulling an even bigger surprise beating the Saints 27-10 in New Orleans as 8½-point dogs just one week after getting embarrassed 24-3 at home by the Browns with Andy Dalton having one of the worst games for any NFL quarterback this season. Dalton did rebound to complete 16-of-20 passes for 220 yards and three touchdowns vs. the Saints, but we do not expect that same success here vs. J.J. Watt & Co. And remember that number one draft pick Jadeveon Clowney has now returned for the Texans also, and he too applied some nice pressure on Cleveland quarterback Brian Hoyer last week. Another reason why Dalton does not figure to duplicate last week’s performance as because Houston has always defended him well as the Bengals have scored 19, 10 and 13 points respectively in his three career starts vs. the Texans and those were before Clowney came on the scene. As for the Texans’ offense, they did not change their game plan one bit with Foster out last week as Alfred Blue filled in and rushed for 156 yards on 36 carries! The Bengals are ranked 28th in rushing defense so expect the Texans to stay conservative as usual.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +5½ (-104) over Chicago Bears (1:00 ET): The Buccaneers had been 1-8 prior to last week, but they went on the road and basically blew out the Redskins 27-7 in Landover while sacking Robert Griffin III six times! It has helped that rookie first round draft pick Mike Evans has emerged as he had 209 receiving yards last week marking his third straight game with over 100 yards receiving. That emergence means that opposing teams can no longer double team Vincent Jackson, and as a result quarterback Josh McCown had probably his best game of the season passing for 288 yards and two touchdowns. The Bucs now get a chance to continue their revival vs. a Bears’ team ranked dead last in the NFL in points allowed at 29.0 per game and 25th in passing defense at 256.4 yards per contest on an ugly 7.8 yards per pass attempt. Now Chicago finally looked like an NFL team again last week after allowing over 50 points in each of their previous two games as they beat the Vikings 21-13. While that was an improved effort on both sides of the ball, Chicago still nearly had a late meltdown with the game not decided until they intercepted Teddy Bridgewater with less then two minutes left with the Vikings appearing to be driving for a potential tying score. However, Minnesota lacks the wide receivers that the Bucs have right now, so look for the Chicago defense to revert back to its atrocious form of previous weeks. Also, while Tampa Bay is still 2-8, six of those eight losses have been by 10 points or less so the Bucs may not be as bad as many people think. Finally, who else would know better how to defend Cutler and the rest of the Bears’ offense than former Chicago coach Lovie Smith?
Miami Dolphins +7 (-118) over Denver Broncos (4:25 ET): The Broncos could probably breath a sigh of relief with the Chiefs getting shocked by the Raiders on Thursday as Denver was tied with Kansas City atop the AFC West entering this week at 7-3, but the Broncs cannot relax too much vs. the Dolphins and their second ranked total defense. Miami is allowing a mere 302.5 total yards per game while also ranking second in passing defense, eighth in rushing defense, fourth in scoring defense at 18.0 points per game and third in sacks with 30. Furthermore this game means a lot more to the Dolphins as they are just one of six AFC non-division leaders that currently have four losses, making for a great wild card chase the rest of the way, while the Broncos could potentially be looking ahead to their huge game at Kansas City next week where a win could just about clinch the AFC West title with Denver having already beaten the Chiefs once earlier this season. Also keep in mind that Miami has had a bit more preparation time after playing on Thursday night last week, and offensively Dolphin quarterback Ryan Tannehill is having his best NFL season. Add this all up and getting a touchdown seems like a lot in this spot.
Washington Redskins, San Francisco 49ers ‘under’ 44 (-101) (4:25 ET): The Redskins looked awful offensively in a 27-7 home loss to what had been a 1-8 Tampa Bay team with Robert Griffin III getting sacked six times despite his elusiveness. If Washington could not pass protect against the Buccaneers, what is it supposed to do against what is now once again a devastating San Francisco defensive line with Aldon Smith back? The 49ers rank fourth in the NFL in total defense despite not having Smith most of the year, so it is scary to think how good that defense will be the rest of this year. San Francisco held the Giants to 330 yards in a 16-10 win in New Jersey last week while pressuring Eli Manning into an ungodly five interceptions and the Niners allowed only 65 rushing yards on 21 carries. The flip side though was another uneven performance from what has been a disappointing offense this season with Colin Kaepernick completing only 15-of-29 passes for 193 yards. The Niners did rush for 148 yards on 37 carries though with Frank Gore leading the way with 95 of them, and look for another throwback 49ers’ performance this week as they rely in their defense and again stay conservative on offense.