Linemakers are underrating Tony Romo (right) and the Cowboys, while overvaluing the Giants' win streak. (Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Week 12 of the NFL season is here. Time to place your bets.
Which games should you pick and which should you avoid? Joe Fortenbaugh and Tom Mantzouranis break down everything you need to know entering this weekend’s NFL action.
Joe Fortenbaugh: Rams -1 vs. Bears. This game is all about the situation, as the Rams have had two weeks to prepare (5-1 ATS over last six games coming off the bye) for a Chicago team that needed approximately six hours and an overtime frame last Sunday to defeat the Baltimore Ravens 23-20. The Bears are just 5-15-1 ATS over their last 21 games and currently rank 31st in the NFL against the run (133.9 yds/gm), so expect the Rams to control the clock by featuring a heavy dose of running back Zac Stacy (79 carries, 323 yards, three scores over last three starts). Note that the Bears are also 3-13 ATS over their last 16 conference games and 1-7 ATS over their last eight outings following a straight-up win.
MORE COVERAGE: Week 12 picks | Week 11 Power Rankings | More betting analysis
Tom Mantzouranis: Cowboys +2.5 at Giants. Get Dez Bryant The Ball By Any Means Necessary. After a painful loss to the Saints two weeks ago, the Cowboys looked in the mirror in the interests of improvement and came away with this mandate. The Giants have won four in a row on the back of a defense that has allowed just 47 points over that span, but they don't have anyone who can keep Bryant in check. I'm not even sure they have a double-team combo that can slow him down. Meanwhile, the Giants offense is only averaging 22 points during their streak (across a full season, that'd be right in the middle of the pack league-wide), and Eli Manning has two interceptions and two fumbles in that time, so his ball security isn't getting much better. That's not a good fit facing a defense that's fourth in the league in takeaways. Three of the Cowboys' losses have come by less than a touchdown, and the Giants' four wins have come against bottom-barrel QBs.
BANKS: Giants revival the latest twist in always unpredicatble NFC East
NFL Week 12 Betting Odds
|Matchup||Date & Time||Line||Over/Under|
|San Diego at Kansas City||11/24 1 p.m. ET||Kansas City -4.5||41.5|
|Chicago at St. Louis||11/24 1 p.m. ET||St. Louis -1||45.5|
|NY Jets at Baltimore||11/24 1 p.m. ET||Baltimore -3.5||39|
|Carolina at Miami||11/24 1 p.m. ET||Carolina -4.5||41|
|Pittsburgh at Cleveland||11/24 1 p.m. ET||Cleveland -1||40|
|Tampa Bay at Detroit||11/24 1 p.m. ET||Detroit -9||48.5|
|Jacksonville at Houston||11/24 1 p.m. ET||Houston -10||43.5|
|Minnesota at Green Bay||11/24 1 p.m. ET||Green Bay -4.5||43.5|
|Tennessee at Oakland||11/24 4:05 p.m. ET||Tennessee -1||41.5|
|Indianapolis at Arizona||11/24 4:05 p.m. ET||Arizona -2.5||45|
|Dallas at NY Giants||11/24 4:25 p.m. ET||NY Giants -2.5||45.5|
|Denver at New England||11/24 8:30 p.m. ET||Denver -2.5||54|
|San Francisco at Washington||11/25 8:30 p.m. ET||San Francisco -5.5||47|
Stay Away From
Fortenbaugh: Browns -1 vs. Steelers. Public perception of the Steelers at the moment is at a season-high thanks to four wins over the team’s last six contests, including a 37-27 win over Detroit last Sunday. The same cannot be said about the Cleveland Browns, who came off the bye in Week 11 to suffer a 41-20 blasting courtesy of Cincinnati. But Pittsburgh is just 1-5 ATS over their last six road games, while Cleveland is 13-6-1 ATS over their last 20 games following a loss. Keep in mind that Pittsburgh has covered the spread just once in their last five trips to Cleveland.
Mantzouranis: Ravens -3.5 vs. Jets. Two great defenses, two mediocre to terrible offenses. I'd take the Ravens at anything less than 3, but, in what will likely be a physical game, I can't place much confidence in a team that runs the ball as terribly as the Ravens do, especially against the best run defense in the league. And while the Jets' pass defense isn't nearly as good, Joe Flacco has just six touchdowns and five interceptions in his last four games. Meanwhile, do I really need to point out how flighty and unpredictable the Jets have been this season?
Best Of The Rest
Fortenbaugh: Cowboys +2.5 at Giants. The Cowboys have spent two weeks listening to people tell them how lousy they performed in a 49-17 blowout loss at New Orleans, so expect Dallas to play with its hair on fire Sunday against a Giants team that is riding a mirage of a four-game winning streak in which New York defeated Josh Freeman, a banged-up Nick Foles, Terrelle Pryor and Scott Tolzien. The Giants are just 19-41-2 over their last 62 games played in the month of November, while the Cowboys are 10-4 ATS over their last 14 games following a performance in which the team surrendered more than 30 points.
Chargers +4.5 at Chiefs. San Diego is 6-2 ATS over their last eight games following a loss, while Kansas City is 5-11 ATS over their last 16 games against teams with a losing record. At -3, I’d look to Alex Smith and the Chiefs. But anything more than a field goal is a tough sell with an offense that averages just 23.2 points per game (16th in NFL).
FARRAR: Previewing Chiefs-Chargers, Colts-Cardinals and every other Week 12 game
Mantzouranis: Colts +2.5 at Cardinals. The Colts have a really troubling trend of starting games slow and having to dig themselves out of holes. But they should be able to get out in front of a Cardinals offense that ranks 22nd in the league, even if Bruce Arians knows some things about Andrew Luck and the rest of the Colts attack. The Cards defense is legit, but there's nothing convincing about wins over the Jaguars, Texans and Falcons. I just have a feeling about this one.
Packers -4.5 vs. Vikings. Not that I love Scott Tolzien, but … Christian Ponder. The Vikings' QB depth chart is a dumpster fire, and Leslie Frazier's use of all three is beyond puzzling. With a defense as bad as Minnesota's, I can't turn my back on any team that has Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Eddie Lacy.
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