clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NFL picks against the spread, Week 12: Giants, Bills and a good day for road teams

Four of our five best bets this week are road teams. Are we crazy? Not necessarily.

The battle for the NFC East moves to Washington this week. Nobody really cares because the NFC East is a woeful Superfund cleanup site and you'll need a Hazmat suit to get within 100 yards of FedEx Field on Sunday. Unless maybe you're the betting type and you want to lay a few greenbacks on this one. Profiting on other people's misery is typically frowned up, but when that misery involves Dan Snyder and his NFL team, we have a moral duty to profit from it.

The Giants opened at 1.5-point favorites. That was before Washington put Chris Culliver on injured reserve this week and promoted Dashaun Phillips to the active roster from the practice squad. Bashaud Breeland was sick this week, missing practice on Friday, so he's listed as questionable. It might not matter.

Washington already had one of the weakest secondaries in the NFL; Football Outsiders ranks them 26th with a 19.8 percent DVOA. They were giving up an average of 61 yards per game to opposing No. 1 receivers before the injuries. Multiply that by a factor of Odell Beckham Jr and you can pretty much count on an easy 130 yards and a touchdown for the second-year stud.


Get all kinds of NFL stories, rumors, game coverage, and inane comments from the NFL media in your inbox every day.

Not to be overlooked is the fact that Big Blue's defense is tied for the second in the league with 14 interceptions. The Giants have a +12 turnover ratio, which could be a problem for Kirk Cousins and Washington's -5 turnover ratio.

The Giants are 5-0 against the spread in their last five against Washington; they're 6-1 straight up coming out of a bye week. Washington is 4-8 against the spread in their last 12 home games. The lines for this one is now sitting at Giants -3, and the over/under is at 47 points. Bet on the Giants to beat the spread, and bet on the over ... for Washington's secondary.

CARDINALS (-10) at 49ers

The week's biggest spread belongs to the Cardinals, expected to thoroughly stomp the reeling 49ers. Normally, a double-digit home underdog is an enticement for your money. It's hard to lose by that much at home in the NFL, but there's no low that's low enough for the 49ers this season.

Arizona beat the 49ers by 40 points in Week 3. Bruce Arians has had two months to get even more pissed off about some perceived slight the rest of the NFL has slapped him with, so a 30-point win seems entirely reasonable because you KNOW Arians isn't taking his foot off the gas just because the 49ers are terrible.

BUCCANEERS at Colts (-3)

I know that everyone's pretty excited about Matt Hasselbeck getting the starting job for the Colts. It's the closest thing the NFL narrative machine might get to Horatio Alger this season, only in this case we're celebrating a quarterback we've watched grow up right before our very eyes.

"... and we're gonna win!" IT SEEMS SO LONG AGO!

Three points isn't much of a spread, but I like the Bucs in this one. This is Vincent Jackson's second week back in the lineup, so he should be finding his groove. Jameis Winston certainly seems to have found his.

BILLS at Chiefs (-5)

The Chiefs have suddenly become the trendy midseason pick, the "hot" team that nobody wants to play. That win against the Broncos two weeks ago, when a dead armed Peyton Manning was still the Broncos starting quarterback, is really giving Andy Reid and Alex Smith some credit with the establishment.

I'm not totally buying it. This is still Alex Smith's team.

Five points seems like a big spread for this one, especially since Tyrod Taylor is expected to start (had E.J. Manuel been the starter this week, a 15-point spread wouldn't be big enough). Pick the Bills here.

Steelers at SEAHAWKS (-3.5)

I wish we were seeing these two teams play last season or the year before that, when Seattle was rolling toward an NFC Championship. But this still might be a fun one at any rate. Seattle's defense can still surprise an opponent with a turnover, usually in the most brutal, shocking fashion possible. And that's exactly the kind of turnover Ben Roethlisberger is prone too.

It's possible Pittsburgh will put up 35 points in this one, and somehow, Seattle's offense has managed to score more than 25 points for two straight weeks (seriously, that's kind of amazing consider just how awful this offense is). I expect them to gouge the Steelers with Thomas Rawls, setting up a low-scoring affair that they can win. Plus, the other four picks here were all road teams, and it just feels too off to pick five road teams.