Week 12 NFL Underdog Betting Picks
A 3-2 week highlighted by three outright underdog winners in Minnesota, Washington and the double-digit 'Dog Houston Texans leads us into Thanksgiving Week. That runs the record to 19-8 ATS with 15 outright winners this season. Let's shoot for more pars and birdies on the gridiron and enjoy a main course turkey and hopefully added stuffing as a bonus with more outright winners.
We chip-in a turkey treat on Thanksgiving with another ugly and winless 'Dog. Don't toss your turkey just yet. Many of you likely couldn't stomach taking the Texans (+10) last week, yet that one was in the bag by halftime with the Texans leading the Titans 12-0 on their way to a 'shocking' 22-13 win. I could hear the moans and groans in the sportsbooks and on Twitter, as survivor players busted out along with bettors on the Titans.
But Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate and give thanks for our many blessings. And OSGA is chipping in with a free contest and a prize pool of more than $1,000 thanks to leading reduced juice sportsbook BetAnySports. Offshore Gaming Association loves bonus offers and OSGA is all inclusive in its support of bettors and leading online sportsbooks. The Thanksgiving Pick 'em contest has no point spreads and includes both NFL and NCAA football games this weekend.
Check out the early injury reports heading into Thanksgiving Day games, and also back here on this OSGA page Friday and Saturday with any additional picks as we monitor the betting lines and injury updates.
Three backup quarterbacks could start in the three Thanksgiving Day games. Andy Dalton is definitely starting for the Bears with rookie Justin Fields (ribs) out. The Lions could start Tim Boyle for the second straight game in place of Jared Goff, who is better than 50/50 to start as he recovers from an oblique injury. Lions coach Dan Campbell is "leaning toward" Goff starting, according to NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero.
Saints backup QB Trevor Siemian starts his fourth straight game with the desperate Saints now 5-5 and tackling the struggling Buffalo Bills and QB Josh Allen as a TD home underdog in New Orleans following three straight losses. Thursday night home underdogs have gone 0-5 over/under this season (all five games under the total). The Saints last four games have gone over the total as New Orleans' top-10 defense has allowed at least 27 points in three of their last four games.
The Raiders (5-5) also play with great urgency following three straight losses heading to Dallas (7-3) for an afternoon turkey treat following the toss your turkey appetizer between the Lions and Bears. At least we have some capable and competent quarterbacks to watch in Derek Carr and Dak Prescott. The highest scoring game of the day favors Dallas (-7.5) with an over/under of 51.5 points to shoot at while enjoying your pumpkin pie and live betting.
Check the key injuries and updates on these games including the quarterbacks and Cowboys wide receivers with Amari Cooper (COVID) out and CeeDee Lamb (concussion) not looking good to make post.
Rushing to the Window
In reviewing point of attack play and rushing stats in this week's match-ups, I can make a case for the Colts ground game as a home underdog against the Buccaneers. Indianapolis RB Jonathan Taylor ran wild in last week's road route at Buffalo. Taylor rushed 32 times for 185 yards with 4 rushing TD's and another pass reception touchdown. And Washington's improving running game and results should continue at home against a struggling Seahawks (3-7) - see the year to date rushing stats that matter in the Monday night analysis below supporting Washington.
During our five seasons of posting NFL underdog picks, Fairway's Football Forecast has chipped-in a 121-87 ATS (58.2%) mark with 63 outright underdog winners. There have been a handful of times where we include a short home favorite of 2-points or less with line moves or noting that those teams are priced like an underdog at home without homefield edge. This week we'll take our first home favorite on Washington (-1) on Monday Night Football. This line may rise, and QB Russell Wilson is struggling following his return from injury and he may well be gone from Seattle after some frustration following last year's 12-4 season. At 3-7, I believe Seattle will be a 'towel tosser' the rest of the season and don't see them winning at Washington.
I feel we should have a Sunday play, so check back Friday and Saturday for an update as I review the injury and team reports, stats and match-ups to determine if we can add another underdog or bonus pick as we shoot for more green on the gridiron.
NFL Week 12 Underdog Picks
Detroit (+3) vs Chicago - Lions moneyline +140 at BetAnySports
Washington (-1) vs Seattle - WFT moneyline +102 at BookMaker
Chicago at Detroit
"I’m sure there are people who consider me too conservative, but you’ve got to be careful and you’ve got to be smart. We’re trying to win games 14-13 or 16-13.” - Lions head coach Dan Campbell after Detroit lost to Cleveland last week 13-10. A bonehead unsportsmanlike penalty (calling out a players mother) to start the fourth quarter proved costly in defeat.
Stats of note:
- The Lions (-26.9 points) and Bears (-26.7 points) are 32nd and 31st in the league in expected points added via their passing offense this season
- 60.9% of the Detroit receiving yardage has come after the catch - the highest rate in the league
- 36.9% of the Chicago receiving yardage has come after the catch - the lowest rate in the league
We're taking a risk here no doubt with the quarterback situations and terrible coaching of the Lions. Head coach Dan Campbell took over play calling duties the past two weeks from clueless coordinator Anthony Lynn. The running game has improved and RB D'Andre Swift will be the focus again as the Lions (0-9-1) try to avoid being a turkey again and get their first win of the season. Quarterback Tim Boyle struggled last week in his first start for the Lions going 15-of-23 for 77 yards and 2 interceptions as the Lions lost at Cleveland, 13-10. But he'll be better this week should he start against the Bears. Detroit has actually covered three of their last four games, and the Lions rushed for 229 yards at Pittsburgh in a 16-16 tie. In fact, the Lions have covered their last four road games and played both the Vikings and Rams tough in defeat with their last road loss to the Bears in Chicago, 24-14. The Lions were focused on passing that day with Goff going for 299 yards.
Detroit will pound the ground more on turkey day having averaged 151 rushing yards per game over their last three contests. But the Lions can also open up the offense against a Bears defense that was torched for 31 points per game in four contests prior to last week's loss at Baltimore against a clueless quarterback replacing Lamar Jackson. Regardless of the quarterbacks, laying a price on the road with the Bears is about as appetizing as having canned cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving. Toss the turkey on any meaningless trends you might read about on Detroit and Thanksgiving. The meat of the matter is that Chicago ranks 30th in scoring, 30th in passing, 30th in red-zone offense, 28th in yards per play, 27th in total yards and 16th in rushing. The Lions have the strong special teams and the Bears are going into early hibernation having lost 5-straight games. Head coach Matt Nagy will be fired following this Thanksgiving Day disaster. Lions get an ugly and unappetizing win in their home den on Thanksgiving.
Seattle at Washington
Struggling Seattle is getting respect with this line at the leading online sportsbooks, as the WFT is priced like an underdog at home as just a 1-point favorite and potentially pick 'em. The Seahawks have lost 5-of-6 and failed to score more than 20 points in those five losses. Seattle has averaged just 76 rushing yards per game and 20 rushing attempts over their last three contests and 98 rushing yards per game this season. Washington has run the ball more than 32 times per game over their last three contests and QB Taylor Heineke has played two of his better games to help Washington to improve to 4-6 with back-to-back wins over the Bucs and Panthers.
The WFT defense held both the Bucs and Panthers to less than 300 yards offense. Reviewing our rushing stats and chances for success, teams that out-rush their opponent by at least 30 yards in a game are 79-29-1 SU and 82-27 ATS (75%) this season. That includes 16-1-1 SU and 16-2 ATS the past two weeks with Washington pounding the ground 40 times for 190 yards in last week's win. Teams that run the ball at least 30 times in an NFL game are 90-14 SU and 81-23 ATS (78%) including 19-0 SU and 17-2 ATS the past two weeks. We've marked Seattle as overrated for weeks following our Week 3 best bet on the Vikings as underdog over the Seahawks. Win with Washington on Monday Night Football and add a first half bet on the WFT if you like the side and agree as well.
Check back this weekend for any additional picks and updates as we shoot for more touchdowns and green on the gridiron.
FairwayJay is a proven sports handicapper and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful analysts. He chips in additional sports betting coverage and reporting on industry news and events. Read more great insights from FairwayJay and follow him on Twitter: @FairwayJay