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NFL Week 12: Jack and Nate’s Best Bets for Sunday

The Standings

Thru Week 11 Records




Winning %
















The Word

Your crack cohort of average handicappers has emerged from the tryptophan haze to lay down our best bets and plays for Week 12 of the NFL season.

We wanted to try something a little different this week to give you some variety. Usually Nate and I settle on a full slate of six NFL games and banter back and forth about our takes for each game. This week we are going to provide you with our three best bets for the weekend. They could be teasers, props, parlays, or garden variety games against the spread. As the season wears on, we think our loyal readership could use some locks rather than lukewarm takes on a flurry of games. 

Let’s get to it.

All odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of 11/27

Click Here to Read Jon's Column


Jack's Best Bets

Titans Quarter Play

Cincinnati Bengals @ Tennessee Titans (+1) (o/u 43)

This is a game where the wrong team seems favored. The Titans are 8-2 against the spread (first in the league). They have been improving each week. The defense does not seem to miss the injuries. Derrick Henry is a monster. The game is in Nashville. 

Baked into this line is the Titans ugly playoff loss last year, where Tennessee turned the ball over three times, including a crucial interception that set up the game-winning field goal and kicked off the Bengals Super Bowl run. Vegas might also be wary of the Titans insane red zone play. Surely the Titans cannot keep scoring a touchdown on over 70% of their trips. That ranks second in the league, behind only (you guessed it) the Bengals. 

Both sides are banged up. The Titans defense is still missing many key players and it looks like the Bengals are going to be without Joe Mixon and Ja’marr Chase. The teams are evenly matched in a lot of categories. The line has moved closer to pick ‘em and I can’t see much value in the spread or the point total. 

So here’s an exotic play for you. 

Tennessee owns the first quarter score share percentage (this measures who is leading in the first quarter), clocking in at 85%. That’s first in the league. They start fast and Tannehill is much more effective on those first twenty plays than he is later in the game. It will take the Bengals at least a quarter to figure out how to be effective without the run game. Expect the Titans to score early. You can grab them at PK in the first quarter for most books. 

Tennessee’s problems exist in the fourth quarter. They are dead last in fourth quarter points per game (1.9). The Bengals are 15th in that same category (6.6). Fade the Titans in the fourth quarter. 

You could parlay this if you wanted to, but I didn’t. I played both SU in case one fails. 2-0 in this scenario can produce a nice little payout. 

Jack’s Pick

Titans First Quarter (+0.5)

Bengals Fourth Quarter (-1)

Sexy Parlay

Denver Broncos @ Carolina Panthers (+1) (o/u 36.5)

The Broncos have the best defense in the league. The much maligned Russell Wilson project in Denver has gone so poorly that the offense is 28th in the NFL in total DVOA for offense. The stat that keeps circulating the betting blogosphere is that the Broncos would be 9-1 if they averaged 18 points per game. Instead, the team is 3-7. Whoops!

The Carolina Panthers continue the quarterback carousel this week as they’ve announced that Sam Darnold will start against the Broncos today. According to Football Outsiders, the Panthers have the 30th worst offense in terms of total DVOA. That’s two spots behind the Broncos. 

Both teams do play fairly fast, but neither can find the end zone much. 

While the Panthers don’t have an elite defense, they have been playing better as of late. Everyone was surprised to see them hold Lamar Jackson to 13 points last Sunday. If they have the secret sauce for Lamar Jackson, you better believe they can figure out Sam Darnold. 

The under is the right play here. Since 2016, games with total points at 37 or less are 14-7. Neither of these teams can score. 

I’m also going to parlay the under with the Panthers +1. This gives me some pretty good odds and the two seem mutually exclusive. If the Panthers cover, it has to be because the under hit.

Jack’s Pick

Parlay: Panthers +1/Under 36.5 (+240)

Washington In Command

Atlanta Falcons @ Washington Commanders (-3.5) (o/u 40.5)

We were all over the Falcons earlier in the year when they ripped off a 6-0 ATS to start the season. The defense looked serviceable. Cordarelle Patterson had the best DYAR for running backs. Kyle Pitts gave the offense a real weapon in the middle of the field. Marcus Mariota did enough to keep them in close games. 

Since that 6-0 start, the Falcons have regressed to the team most people thought they’d be this season. Atlanta is 28th in total DVOA for defense. The passing DVOA numbers are even worse. The secondary gets sliced up by even the most middling of quarterbacks. The Falcons don’t blitz and can’t create pressure. They’re losing games at the line of scrimmage. 

Mariota’s advanced metrics all place him in the middle of the pack. The problem with Mariota is that, if things are going well, Arthur Smith can hide his deficiencies, run the ball, and limit the amount of mistakes Mariota can make. But when the defense is struggling like they have been, the Falcons offense is forced to press the ball, which usually ends poorly for Mariota. 

Oh yeah, and Kyle Pitts is out. 

The Commanders have been trending in the opposite direction. Taylor Heinicke is 5th in DVOA among quarterbacks with 10-164 passes. They don’t necessarily run the ball effectively, so look for Heinicke to throw a lot of dink and dunks against this shaky Atlanta secondary. 

The Commanders defense should fare well against a Falcons offense without Ptts. The Falcons are going to try to run the ball. Good luck. The Commanders have the second best defensive rushing DVOA in the NFL, behind only the Titans. 

This is a matchup nightmare for the Falcons on the road. Lay the 3.5. You won’t be disappointed.

Jack’s Pick

Washington -2.5

Nate's Best Bets

Crazy QB Matchups

Chicago Bears @ New York Jets (-7) (o/u 38.5)

Let’s get weird and ugly for this play. There are a lot of unknowns in this game, but that’s just the nature of today’s NFL.

Zach Wilson is benched and Mike White will get the start in his place for the Jets, this much we can be fairly certain of. For Chicago, Fields is questionable and likely a gametime decision, although this line movement suggests that sportsbooks aren’t expecting him to play.

Betting against the Bears in this spot isn’t a play I’m making because I love the Jets, but instead has more to do with how bad I think Chicago’s roster is. The Bears were in the midst of a rebuild before the offense caught fire with Justin Fields. Make no mistake, this team is utterly devoid of playmakers without him.

The Jets defense is elite, and if Fields can’t play, I’m not optimistic about Trevor Siemian or Nathan Peterman being able to score points. 

Mike White is a little bit more of a known commodity for the Jets, and the reality is that he’s facing a very, very bad Bears defense.

Everything points towards a weird game that the Jets should win easily.

Nate’s Pick

Jets -7

We love Seattle

Las Vegas Raiders @ Seattle Seahawks (-4, o/u 47.5)

Around here at Godzilla Wins, we’ve been preaching for weeks (perhaps months) about the Seahawks. 

They have been darlings for the advanced metrics crowd and for good reason. Despite a slight cooling off in the offensive efficiency after a red hot start, the Seahawks are still playing at a high level. Per Football Outsiders, they are a top-10 team on offense, special teams and overall. Their only weakness has been defense where they rank 17th, but that number has been improving recently after a dreadful start.

The Raiders are just a bad team. They have the worst defensive efficiency according to Football Outsiders and trot out a defense that ranks firmly in the middle of the league at 15th. 

I have no reason to think the Raiders are capable of beating this Seattle team. The Raiders have managed to beat the Broncos twice and the Texans this season. That’s it.

Seattle would be a massive step up, made even more difficult by the fact that McDaniels is frighteningly outmatched by Pete Carroll in the coaching department.

The Seahawks are my ride-or-die team. We ride.

Nate’s Pick

Seahawks -4

Resurgent Ravens

Baltimore Ravens @ Jacksonville Jaguars (+3.5, o/u 43.5)

The Ravens look like a team that is really rounding into form as the season goes on. They got hit with the injury bug early and struggled to start the season, but this team is rolling now and the addition of Roquan Smith to the defense made an instant impact for that unit.

This line still feels a little bit like a trap to me, and the more I think about it the more uneasy it makes me simply because I don’t understand why Baltimore isn’t favored by more.

Some of it can be explained by the fact that Baltimore has blown some leads this season. And that does give me pause. But these teams are just miles apart in terms of ability. Baltimore is a top-5 team on offense, special teams and overall. The only weak spot is a defense ranked 11th that is ascending the rankings rapidly.

Maybe some of this line is explained because Jacksonville is at home and coming off a bye. But Pederson is horrible off of byes going 1-4 against the spread in his career. And do we really think that home field is worth anything in Jacksonville?

I think Baltimore shuts down the Jags. This total feels a smidge too high. So let’s have two bets for this game. 

Nate’s Pick

Ravens -3.5

Under 43.5 total points

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