NFL Week 12: Opening Lines And Early Betting Value

Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford

Monday, November 21, 2016 4:51 PM GMT

It's one of the biggest annual weeks on the NFL schedule this week because it's Thanksgiving on Thursday in the USA, when Americans gorge themselves on both turkey and pro football. Here are some interesting opening Week 12 NFL lines.

Minnesota Vikings At Detroit Lions (-2.5)

As usual, the Lions host the first of the Thanksgiving triple-header. For most of this century, the Lions were absolutely terrible on the holiday but something changed starting in 2013 as the Lions blew out the Packers. And since then, Detroit has crushed both Chicago and Philadelphia on Turkey Day. The home team should have the huge advantage here with the ultra-quick turnaround. This is for sole possession of first place in the NFC North with both the Lions and Vikings at 6-4 following close home wins on Sunday over Jacksonville and Arizona, respectively. But should Detroit take this game, it would essentially have a two-game lead over Minnesota because the Lions would sweep the season series. In Week 9 at Minnesota, the Lions won a game they really had no right to, 22-16 in overtime. The Vikings scored a touchdown with 23 seconds left to take a 16-13 lead. No way that's enough time for Matthew Stafford to get the Lions into field-goal range starting from his own 25, right? Wrong. The Vikings played that silly prevent defense and Stafford got the Lions to the Minnesota 40. Matt Prater boomed in a 58-yard kick to tie, and then the Lions scored a TD on their first possession of overtime thanks to two missed Vikings tackles on Detroit receiver Golden Tate. Vikings kicker Blair Walsh also had a field goal blocked and missed an extra point in the game -- he has since been released.

NFL Free Pick: Lions -2.5

Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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Cincinnati Bengals At Baltimore Ravens (-4)

You can probably stick a fork in the Bengals after Sunday's 16-12 home loss to Buffalo dropped Cincinnati to 3-6-1. This franchise has made the playoffs each of the past five years, but I don't see Coach Marvin Lewis surviving this free-fall considering his teams  have lost every single playoff game under him. I'll also be moderately surprised if Cincinnati doesn't have  a new kicker for this game after Mike Nugent missed two extra points vs. the Bills, part of an NFL-record 12 extra-point kicks missed around the NFL on Sunday. Nugent has missed three of his last seven PATs. To make matters worse, Cincinnati lost Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green, easily its best offensive player, to a likely season-ending torn hamstring. In addition, running back Gio Bernard tore his ACL and is done. The Ravens lost Sunday at Dallas and are back in a tie for first in the AFC North with Pittsburgh. Baltimore has lost five straight to Cincinnati. Will the Ravens have their best cornerback for this one? Jimmy  Smith was inactive vs. Dallas and the Ravens' defense was shredded for  417 yards of total offense and allowed Dak Prescott to complete his final 11 passes.

NFL Free Pick: Ravens -4

Best Line Offered: BookMaker

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Green Bay Packers At Philadelphia Eagles (-3)

This is the Monday night game for Week 12. The Packers are truly broken after losing a fourth straight game Sunday, 42-24 at the Redskins. The Green Bay defense has allowed at least 31 points in all four of those losses  and was gashed for 517 yard by Washington -- I'm not sure how defensive coordinator Dom Capers is still employed. He won't be after this season. To be fair, that defense is really banged up, especially in the secondary. Coach Mike McCarthy also is in some trouble, although he'd have little trouble finding work.  The Eagles lost their top two running backs, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles, to injuries in Sunday's 26-15 loss in Seattle. Philly is simply a different team on the road, where it's 1-5. At home, the Eagles are unbeaten and the defense has dominated. Rookie QB Carson Wentz has really hit a wall. Wentz went 2-for-13 with two interceptions on passes thrown more than 10 yards downfield Sunday and is one of the NFL's lowest-rated QBs since Week 5 with four TDs and six picks. But the Packers have given up 1,239 passing yards in the last four games so maybe that's just what the doctor ordered for Wentz.

NFL Free Pick: Eagles -3

Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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