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We've got some huge NFL matchups this week that will decide playoff races.
As always, our team of experts is here to give you the best NFL bets to make this Sunday, including spread and total picks.
Best NFL Week 12 Betting Picks
Pittsburgh Steelers -1.5 @ Cincinnati Bengals – 1 pm ET
The Steelers have a -29 point differential for the season (a little under -3 points per game), and they have a -44 first down differential (gaining 4.4 fewer first downs per game than their opponents this season).
The Steelers also have a massive -699 passing yard differential compared to their opponents (gaining nearly 70 fewer yards through the air per game than their opponent) and also a -176 rushing yard differential (gaining 17.6 yards less on the ground than their opponent per game).
These numbers are on par with some of the worst teams in the NFL, and yet the Steelers are 6-4 and would be in the playoffs if the season ended today. This is a testament to their ability to play situational football and make big plays at opportune times. There is no better visualization of this ability than their turnover numbers, which tell the story of a safe offense and an aggressive defense.
The Steelers' defense has 19 takeaways this season compared to only 8 turnovers on offense. This has allowed them to win games even as they have struggled on offense. The question for this game is if the trend can continue, and I believe it will.
If it weren't for Joe Burrow's season-ending injury, I wouldn't be so sure that the Steelers would be able to maintain their turnover dominance this week against the Bengals because Burrow typically keeps the ball safe, but with Jake Browning at the helm, I could see the Steelers D teeing off on the young QB.
I went back and watched Jake Browning's tape from this preseason, and he has a knack for making mistakes while under pressure and trying to do too much with too little. He also doesn't have a lot of poise in his pocket. If his first read isn't open, he tends to panic and make ill-advised decisions. The Steelers should be able to eat him up on Sunday, based on what I saw from the preseason.
Denver Broncos Moneyline (-118) vs. Cleveland Browns – 4:05 pm ET
The Broncos keep finding ways to get it done, including a win on Sunday night football over the red-hot Minnesota Vikings last week 21-20.
The Broncos have now won 4 straight games and will be facing a Browns team that will be starting rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson. Thompson-Robinson has completed just 55% of his passes on the year with 4 interceptions and 0 touchdowns. In his 2 starts this year, the Browns are averaging just 212.5 yards per game.
The Broncos' defense continues to be the story as they have turned things around quickly since allowing 70 points to the Dolphins earlier this year. During their 4-game win streak that includes wins over the Chiefs and Bills, the Broncos are allowing just 17 points per game.
So, the Broncos' defense should have no trouble slowing down a Browns offense that has a track record of struggling without Deshaun Watson behind center.
Russell Wilson continues to be the offensive leader the Broncos expected when they signed him to a big contract 2 years ago. During the 4-game win streak, he has completed over 74% of his passes with 7 touchdowns and 0 interceptions.
While the Browns' defense is tough, the Broncos shouldn’t need to score too many points to get the win against a Browns offense that will struggle to score.
Given the likelihood of a lower-scoring game, don’t mess around with the point spread being so close to PK, and grab the Broncos on the moneyline Sunday afternoon.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Las Vegas Raiders UNDER 43 – 4:25 pm ET
Typically, I don't like betting against Patrick Mahomes to score points, but after analyzing the numbers, it seems like a sound bet.
The Chiefs have only scored 15.7 points per game over the last 3 weeks and only 21 points per game over the last 7 games, which is slightly lower than their season average of 22.5 points per game.
There has clearly been a scoring regression for the Chiefs this season, and the strength of the defenses that they have been playing has actually gotten weaker (in terms of points allowed per game) as the season has progressed.
As for the other side of the ball, you always have to worry about Davante Adams and Josh Jacobs, but the Chiefs' defense had taken care of similarly explosive playmakers, such as when they held Tyreek Hill and the Dolphins freaky fast offense to only 2 touchdowns or last week when they held the Eagles to just 238 total yards on offense.
The Chiefs' defense has been so dominant lately that I'm not worried that the Raiders are going to go on an unexpected scoring run, especially with Aidan O'Connell at QB. O'Connell isn't a terrible quarterback; he is just young and inexperienced, facing a dominant pass rush and a secondary that has been getting better every week since the beginning of last season.
Between the Chiefs' uncharacteristic scoring troubles and their dominant defense facing a young offense, we should see a low-scoring game, even as the matchups between these 2 teams have tended to be high-scoring offensive showcases in recent years.
Baltimore Ravens @ Los Angeles Chargers OVER 47.5 – 8:20 pm ET
This is a Sunday night meeting between 2 of the better offenses in the NFL.
The Ravens are averaging 366.5 yards and 27.6 points per game while the Chargers are right behind them at 354.3 yards and 25.9 points per game.
The Ravens’ offense really has been clicking on all cylinders in recent weeks, they have scored at least 30 points in 5 straight games. Even without TE Mark Andrews who is out with an ankle injury, the Ravens have plenty of offensive options including Odell Beckham Jr. who is coming off his best game of the season with over 100 receiving yards against the Bengals last week.
QB Lamar Jackson has played at another level over the last 5 games, completing 69% of his passes with 7 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions.
Meanwhile, the Ravens defense has shown some cracks in recent weeks, including allowing 33 points to the Browns 2 weeks ago and 20 to the Bengals last week.
The Chargers’ offense should be able to move the ball and get some points at home where they are averaging 28.6 points per game on the season.
Look for this one to have some fireworks, as both teams can strike quickly, and play the OVER 47.5 on Sunday night.
Philadelphia Eagles -3 vs. Buffalo Bills – 4:25 pm ET
When you think of matchups like this, where both teams create tough matchups for their opponents, the refrain that comes to mind is usually “iron sharpening iron.”
It's a common and often overused metaphor in sports used when top-performing individuals or organizations face off against each other to improve their skills.
It was an apt metaphor for last week's Eagles-Chiefs matchup, or 3 weeks ago when the Eagles just barely beat the Cowboys, and even 5 weeks ago when they played the Dolphins.
When it comes to the Eagles figurative iron, it has been thoroughly sharpened by formidable talent and close competition; you can't say the same about the Bills.
The Bill's season has been underwhelming, not just in terms of wins and losses but also by the quality of their opponents.
They split their season series with the 4-6 Jets and lost to the 2-8 Patriots, the 5-5 Bengals, the 5-5 Broncos, and the 7-3 Jaguars.
Their wins came against the 3-8 Giants, the 4-7 Commanders, the 4-6 Buccaneers, the 5-6 Raiders, and their only win against a winning team came from their divisional rivals in the 7-3 Dolphins.
The Bills just simply aren't ready to play a dominant team like the Eagles, much less beat them. This is not the Bills team that we are familiar with; they're not the dominant force that they have been in recent years.
Josh Allen has been accident-prone. They've only recently established a stable running game with James Cook, and injuries have plagued their secondary. I just don't trust them to stay competitive against an Eagles team that has proven their legitimacy week after week.
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