NFL

NFL Week 12 picks: Ravens vs. Browns, spreads, and more

Shane Jackson
Gabriel Santiago
Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) runs the ball into the end zone for a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns.
Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) runs the ball into the end zone for a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns. / Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
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It was a week to forget for both Shane Jackson and Gabriel Santiago last week, with each of them going 1-2 for a combined 2-4 clip. It is their first losing record in multiple weeks, so logic tells us that they are due for some positive regression this week. So make sure to follow these best bets for Week 12 of the NFL season!

As always, don’t be afraid to do your own research and place the bets that you feel comfortable putting your money on. As long as you place those wagers through WynnBET, we all can win together!

Spread picks

Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) congratulates wide receiver Mike Evans (13) after scoring a touchdown in the second half.
Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) congratulates wide receiver Mike Evans (13) after scoring a touchdown in the second half. / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Indianapolis Colts (+3)

The Buccaneers (5-5 ATS) and the Colts (6-5 ATS) both showcased impressive performances in Week 11, but I was a little more moved by Indianapolis’ physical beatdown of the Buffalo Bills. As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, Colts’ RB Jonathan Taylor (now +1800 to win AP MVP at WynnBET) rushed for four scores and caught a fifth touchdown en route to the 41-15 victory. Tampa Bay certainly looked more like themselves last week against the Giants, especially when you consider this was their first win since before Halloween. They’ll face a much more daunting task when traveling to Indy this Sunday. 

The Colts are 3-3 at home, and suffered two of those losses only by a single score. That’s exactly the margin they’ll have to work with here, getting three points on Wednesday. Now on a three-game win streak, their defense has played much better in recent weeks (holding opponents under 20 points each of the last two games). Of course, as we saw on this past MNF, the Bucs’ defense has also regained form (even without NT Vita Vea), but the Colts offensive line will present more of a challenge than that of the New York Football Giants.

The feature matchup in this contest will be exactly that: the Colts offensive line/ground game against Tampa’s stout defensive front. If Indianapolis can control the clock by running the ball productively, and if Carson Wentz can take care of the ball, then this should be a competitive game throughout. I feel confident with a hot Colts team getting three points at home. 

— Gabriel Santiago

Cleveland Browns (+3.5) at Baltimore Ravens

As a Ravens fan, I have no idea how to explain their 7-3 start to the season. Lamar Jackson being superman has helped hide a lot of flaws for this team, which is obviously amplified with all of their injuries. But last week’s 16-13 victory over Chicago without Lamar proved that coaching has also been a big boost for Baltimore this season.

That said, Cleveland closes the gap on that coaching matchup, and currently boasts a better roster on paper. While the quarterback matchup is a major advantage in Baltimore’s favor, it is worth noting that we don’t know how Jackson will recover from his illness. If he’s not himself, Baltimore is capable of getting beat by anyone and I think more than a field is just too much because of all that. The NFL Greenline tool at Pro Football Focus makes this line Baltimore -2.7, giving Cleveland a 55.1% chance at covering this game. 

More than that, though, this might be the ideal time to lock in those Browns’ AFC North futures. Cleveland (6-5) is currently +450 to win the division, with back-to-back games against Baltimore on deck this week and after its bye. Remember: Baltimore has to play Pittsburgh in between these two meetings. Maybe I’m just being a pessimistic fan, but at least I can say I put money on this exact future because of that logic.

— Shane Jackson

Moneyline madness

Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws during the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws during the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium. / Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay Packers (-110)

Here we see two talented NFC squads led by premier quarterbacks. Both are coming off losses, but the Rams (7-3) have struggled mightily as of late, despite high profile acquisitions of Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr. Fortunately for L.A., they’ve had a whole bye-week to put the embarrassing primetime loss to the 49ers behind them. In the other regard, Green Bay (8-3) is coming off a crushing walk-off loss to the rival-Vikings. In that game, the Packers started slow, but were able to battle back as Rodgers looked much more like himself in the second half. I believe he picks up right where he left off when the Rams come to Lambeau.

As of Wednesday morning, this game is sitting as a Pick ‘em; That may not be the case come Sunday. With two teams that attract traffic at the window every week, it will be interesting to see where the public leans in this contest. This season, the Rams have been a darling for the media and bettors, alike. However, their defense has looked exceptionally porous at the linebacker spot, and teams have begun to run it right up the gut against L.A.; They have already given up 11 rushing touchdowns on the season (fifth highest total in the NFL). As we know, Green Bay takes a balanced approach on offense, so look for the Packers’ run/play action game to be on full display.

Entering Week 12, Pro Football Focus has the Rams and Packers ranked 1st and 2nd in offensive metrics, respectively. However, keep in mind that this game will be played in Green Bay and not Los Angeles, so yes, weather will be a factor. As of now, Sunday’s forecast is showing frigid temperatures, but no snow. Coaching will absolutely be a factor in this one as well; will LaFleur’s or McVay’s offense thrive more in the cold? Considering this game is a Pick ‘em, I’m riding with Rodgers and the Pack at Lambeau. 

 — Gabriel Santiago

Minnesota Vikings (+150) at San Francisco 49ers

Gabe (a 49ers fan) and I both believe the wrong team could be favored here. San Francisco might be coming off back-to-back wins, but let’s not get too crazy. The Rams just might be a favorable matchup for the 49ers and the Jaguars are, well, the Jaguars. In fact, San Francisco’s only two victories at home the last two seasons have come against the Rams.

The Vikings, meanwhile, might just be the better team. Pro Football Focus ranks Minnesota’s offense ninth in the NFL, led by quarterback Kirk Cousins who has a 90.2 overall grade. Wide receiver Justin Jefferson is already on the fast track to becoming the best WR in the league, as evidenced by last week’s performance against the Packers when he caught eight balls for 169 yards and two scores.

Minnesota +3 (+100) as of Wednesday is the right play, but I think the moneyline (+150) is worth a sprinkle because an outright victory is certainly possible.

— Shane Jackson

Totals to consider

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) looks to pass in the fourth quarter at Bank of America Stadium.
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) looks to pass in the fourth quarter at Bank of America Stadium. / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Panthers at Miami Dolphins OVER 41.5

Honestly, this number caught my eye because it was the lowest of the NFL Week 12 slate, and that’s how I’ve been identifying my chosen totals as of late (checking for the highest and lowest numbers and working backward). It’s been effective so far; I’m 4-0 with totals over the last four weeks. Enough about me, let’s talk about Cam. The Panthers are 1-1 since Newton’s return, and despite suffering a loss to Washington last week, they have certainly looked recharged (McCaffrey’s return has also helped). 

Miami has shown mixed results this season (much like Carolina), but they also seem to be playing better on offense since Tua Tagovailoa’s return. Even against a good Panthers’ defense, Tua can be hard to gameplan for. Of course, the same can be said for Cam Newton. Perhaps neither of these men are who you would choose to start a franchise around today, but their mobility cannot be denied. Simply, I think each side scores in the twenties on Sunday. Although there is plenty of defensive firepower in this contest, both defenses have declined in recent weeks (PFF has Carolina ranked 21st, and Miami 25th in defensive metrics) I’m going OVER 41.5 total points here. 

— Gabriel Santiago

Buffalo Bills at New Orleans Saints OVER 45.5

We had to get one Thanksgiving Day pick in, and it might as well be the nightcap. Hopefully you are able to stay awake for this game after eating all that great food, because this one will feature plenty of action! PFF projects this score to be 46.7 points, giving us more than a full point to work with here.

Pro Football Focus has Buffalo 11th in offensive rankings. While Josh Allen hasn’t been as efficient as last year, he’s still capable of big performances when things are clicking. The Bills are second in the NFL in scoring offense with an average of 29.5 points per game.

On the other sideline, New Orleans has averaged nearly 28 points per game in the previous four games with Trevor Siemian under center. According to OddsShark, the over has hit in each of the last four New Orleans games. For comparison, the over only hit in three of the first eight contests of the season.


Shane’s record for NFL picks given out on The Playbook: 25-18-1

New to wagering on sports? For all you need to know, check out our "Sports Betting 101" series! (hosted by Claudia Bellofatto)
New to wagering on sports? For all you need to know, check out our "Sports Betting 101" series! (hosted by Claudia Bellofatto)
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