NFL Betting Predictions: Week 12 Opening Line Report and Picks
Perhaps I'm just paying closer attention, but I truly can't remember an NFL season with so many crazy bad beats - and my condolences if you parlayed the Miami Dolphins at +7 on a 6-point teaser along with the "under" 44 for Sunday's game against visiting Tampa Bay in one postponed from Week 1 due to Hurricane Irma.
The Dolphins really had no right covering as they had a whopping 17 penalties (one shy of franchise record) for 123 yards and five turnovers. Jay Cutler was just 6 of 12 for 83 yards with three picks before leaving in the NFL's concussion protocol. I'd be surprised if Cutler (his teams are now 0-11 when he has been picked off at least three times) starts this week at New England even if healthy as Matt Moore played well in his spot and rallied the Fins to a 20-20 tie on a 61-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills with three minutes left. However, the Bucs drove right down the field and Patrick Murray hit a 35-yard field goal with four seconds to go. OK, 23-20 and no problem with Fins at -7 and under 44, right?
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Miami tried a bunch of laterals on the kickoff and naturally threw one backwards into its own end zone, which was recovered by Tampa's Adarius Glanton for a touchdown. By rule, the Bucs had to attempt the extra kick, which Murray hit for a 30-20 final score. Just a crushing bad beat! Miami has lost four straight for the first time since 2013. The Bucs have followed a five-game skid with back-to-back wins over AFC East teams behind backup QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to take some of the heat off Coach Dirk Koetter. It's possible that starting QB Jameis Winston returns this week from his shoulder injury at Atlanta. The Bucs' original timeline for him was two weeks, but I'm not sure they will rush him back with Fitzpatrick playing solidly.
There's also the off-the-field issue with Winston over allegedly groping a female Uber driver in 2016. Former FSU teammate Ronald Darby, now with the Eagles, says he was in the car and that nothing happened. John Clune, who is representing the Uber driver and also represented an FSU student who accused Winston of sexual assault in 2012, tweeted Sunday, "We have asked the NFL this morning to investigate Mr. Darby and are demanding that he immediately turn his phone over to the NFLso the GPS history can be forensically examined." The league is looking into the matter. I don't see how a suspension could be warranted even if true since the driver never contacted the police.
Here are some Week 12 early lines that caught my eye. I won't touch on Thursday's first game on the holiday (Vikings-Lions), my in-depth Sunday matchup (likely Bills-Chiefs) or the Monday night game (Texans-Ravens) as I will be previewing them here individually.
Giants at Redskins (-7.5, 44): This is the Thanksgiving night game, the first time the Redskins have hosted one on the holiday and first against the Giants. I guess Giants ownership is looking a bit better for not firing Coach Ben McAdoo last week as New York pulled off a big upset Sunday in beating Kansas City 12-9 in overtime as a double-digit home underdog. It was the fifth time in the past 39 years the G-Men were double-digit underdogs at home. Andy Reid teams simply don't lose coming off their bye week as it was only the third loss in 19 tries. New York's defense forced three turnovers, turning two Alex Smith picks into its first nine points. That unit was playing without starting cornerback Eli Apple. He was with his mother, who had brain surgery on Thursday. Kudos to the team for allowing Apple time to be away from the team to be with her. Simply put, the Redskins choked one away Sunday, blowing a 15-point lead in New Orleans with just under three minutes left and losing 34-31 in overtime. I'm starting to think Skins coach Jay Gruden could be in some trouble now too. In addition, Washington lost probably its second-best offensive player, running back Chris Thompson, to a broken leg. He had more than 800 yards from scrimmage this season and six touchdowns. Rookie Samaje Perine will be the featured back going forward. The Pick: Washington (although I'll be buying down to at least 7).
Dolphins at Patriots (-17, 47.5): Biggest spread of the year. The only time I could find Miami as a bigger underdog was on Dec. 23, 2007, also at New England, which was -22 and won 28-7. That Patriots team was unbeaten in the regular season. New England was last favored by this much Christmas Eve last year against Jets and won 41-3. The Pats are 2-5 ATS overall as at least a 17-point favorite. You may not hear from Dolphins coach Adam Gase until later this week whether it's Moore or Cutler, although the Miami media sure is pushing hard for Moore. Keep in mind his first start this year after relieving an injured Cutler in the previous game and playing well was Oct. 26 at Baltimore and Moore was awful in a 40-0 loss. He threw for 167 yards and two picks, both returned for scores. But Moore essentially only had one day of practice to get ready for that Thursday night game and not all week as he will here. I think it will be him. New England looked impressive in Sunday's rout of Oakland in Mexico City. The Pick: Miami (I'll always be taking a number higher than two touchdowns).
Broncos at Raiders (-5, 43): Shocking comments by Denver boss John Elway over the weekend as he called his team "soft" and then the Broncos went out and played like it in their sixth straight loss Sunday, 20-17 at home to Cincinnati. Some guys were clearly bothered by those comments as it's about the worst thing you can call a football player. Then again, if anyone has the cache to say what he wants, it's John Elway. My guess is that Paxton Lynch will get his first start of the season at QB for this game in Oakland. The Brock Osweiler experiment has been a failure and Trevor Siemian already had his chance. Last week, Lynch, who has been out with a shoulder injury, worked as Osweiler's backup in practice for the first time since the season opened and was the active No. 2 for Sunday's game. Whichever QB it is will have a new offensive coordinator as Mike McCoy was canned Monday morning. I thought Oakland had a decent chance of upsetting the Patriots in Mexico City, but maybe the Raiders players drank too much of the local water because they collectively s**t the bed in a 33-8 loss. The Pats are good, but that's an unacceptable outcome coming out of your bye week. Even at 4-6, Oakland isn't out of the AFC West race because the first-place Chiefs (6-4) have dropped four of five. The Raiders lost in Denver 16-10 in Week 4. Derek Carr left that one with a back injury. The Pick: Oakland.
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