Thanksgiving marks a pivotal point in the NFL schedule, as the official playoff race begins in Week 12.
The NFL odds are tighter than your belt line after taking down third helpings of turkey, which means getting the best number for your NFL picks is as vital as a Costco-sized tub of Pepto-Bismol this weekend.
I kick the tires on the opening Week 12 odds and early action, highlighting some spreads and totals to bet now and some wagers to may want to wait on until later.
Week 12 bet now, bet later picks
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.
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San Francisco 49ers (-6) at Seattle Seahawks: Bet Now
This NFC West rivalry is the third and final game on the Thanksgiving Thursday schedule, and the short week doesn’t do the Seattle Seahawks any favors.
The Seahawks are coming off a 17-16 loss at Los Angeles, in which quarterback Geno Smith injured his right elbow. Smith left in the third quarter but did come back in for Seattle’s final drive.
Should Smith’s injury keep him questionable for Thursday (along with RB Kenneth Walker III), the market will move with the Seahawks going with QB2 Drew Lock against the top-rated defense in the league.
The San Francisco 49ers thumped Tampa Bay 27-14 in Week 11 and have won the last two outings by a combined score of 61-17 following a Week 9 bye in which San Francisco got a number of key players back from injury.
Grab the Niners below the key number (it was as low as -5.5 at FanDuel) as this spread will quickly blow through -6, -6.5, and -7 if Smith is out. Also, favorites are a popular draw with the public Thanksgiving Day crowds, who will also add San Francisco to parlays and teasers.
Best odds to bet 49ers (-6) right now
Jacksonville Jaguars (-1.5) at Houston Texans: Bet Later
As of Sunday night, the Jacksonville Jaguars range from -1.5 to +1 at the Houston Texans in Week 12. The market is very pro-Texans, with the surprise team of 2023 winning its third straight game against Arizona this Sunday.
A lot of fingers will point to Houston’s one-sided 37-17 win over Jacksonville back in Week 3 and the fact that the Jags are just 1-10 straight up and 3-8 against the spread versus their AFC South rivals since 2018.
However, Jacksonville has lost only once since that last run-in with the Texans and is also 6-1 ATS in that span. Houston, on the other hand, has seen its spreads move with money on them and that’s dried up some of its early-season value, leaving the Texans to cover just once in the past four games.
If you like the Jaguars to come looking for revenge in Week 12, wait and make sure you’re getting extra points by Sunday.
Baltimore Ravens at Los Angeles Chargers (Over 45.5): Bet Now
Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley was prickly with reporters when questioned about his defensive play calling following L.A.’s 23-20 loss in Green Bay. I can’t wait to see how he’s feeling after Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens run his ass off the field in Week 12.
Baltimore’s offense is absolutely humming, scoring 30-plus points in five straight games. The Ravens rank No. 3 in EPA per play in this span, fueling a 4-1 Over/Under count since Week 7. Oh, and you bring this relentless run game inside the fast track of SoFi Stadium this Sunday. Yikes.
Los Angeles’ defense has been let off the hook by some ho-hum offensive opponents in recent weeks but got pantsed by capable competition. The Bolts gave up 322 passing yards to the pop-gun Packers, had 41 dropped on them by Detroit, and ate 31 points from Kansas City in the past month.
This Over/Under total is out there between 45.5 and 46.5, but it’s climbing quickly. Bet the Over now as the Ravens alone should be able to do much of the heavy lifting.
Best odds to bet Over 45.5 right now
Carolina Panthers at Tennessee Titans (Over 37.5): Bet Later
The Carolina Panthers and Tennessee Titans combined for just 24 points in their respective Week 11 losses. That’s why this Week 12 total opened at 38 points and is dropping quickly to as low as 37 at some shops on Sunday night.
I wouldn’t blame you for betting the Under on this crummy non-conference clash, but there could be value in coming back around sniffing at the Over later in the week.
Carolina has faced some stiff defensive opposition the past three games, scoring a collective 36 points against the likes of Dallas, Chicago, and Indianapolis — all of which ranked Top 15 in EPA allowed per play.
The Titans, on the other hand, sit 31st in that advanced metric after watching Jacksonville post 34 points in Sunday’s blowout win. Carolina is slightly ahead of Tennessee in that measurement, ranked 30th in EPA allowed per play.
Tennessee has also been up against stingy defensive opposition in the past three outings, scoring a total of 36 points versus the Jags, Bucs, and Steelers — two of which rank Top 10 in EPA allowed per play.
Two rookie QBs struggling to move the chains for two teams with identical 3-7 Over/Under marks should have this total sinking like a stone. This game could be the Over/Under equivalent of “two wrongs making a right.”
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