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NFL Predictions Week 12: Top Underdog Picks, Vegas Odds and Score Predictions
Posted on November 23, 2016 at 4:00 PM
By Chris Roling
At first glance, the NFL‘s Week 12 slate, highlighted by a trifecta of Thanksgiving games, doesn’t offer much in the way of underdog picks.
Indeed, with the NFL hierarchy appearing to sort itself out, it will seem fewer viable underdogs exist heading into a slate similar to the Week 12 offering. It’s one suggesting clear outcomes in games such as the New York Giants against the Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans against the Chicago Bears.
For thrill-seekers, solid underdog picks do exist. Let’s take a fine comb to the schedule after looking at the entire week and pick out a few spreads with interesting underdog possibilities.
NFL Week 12 Odds
Odds courtesy of Odds Shark.
San Francisco at Miami (-7)
The knee-jerk reaction upon seeing the one-win San Francisco 49ers in any line whatsoever is likely to pick the opponent and move on to the next one.
Not so fast. The Miami Dolphins sit in second place in the AFC East at 6-4 and ride a five-game tear into Week 12. Facts. But here are some more—the Dolphins beat up Ben Roethlisberger to overcome the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 6, then escaped Buffalo by three points, the New York Jets by four, San Diego by seven and Los Angeles by four.
None of those teams boasts a record better than .500.
So no, Miami isn’t the shoo-in victor here. To make this even more interesting, the 49ers looked better than usual during a Week 11, 30-17 loss to the New England Patriots. While the hosts couldn’t slow Tom Brady, Colin Kaepernick unexpectedly tossed two scores with no picks, and Carlos Hyde averaged 4.5 yards per carry.
There is no ignoring the fact the San Francisco defense ranks dead last against the rush at 179.5 yards allowed per game, not to mention last in points allowed at 31.3. But if Kaepernick and the 49ers offense have found a groove, exploiting Miami’s 30th-ranked run defense and making this interesting seems likely.
In a week devoid of quality underdogs, a team overrated for a current winning streak falling to an overachieving bad team looks like an upset special.
Prediction: 49ers 27-20
Seattle (-5) at Tampa Bay
It’s no secret the Seattle Seahawks get off to a slow start each year, hence the team recently hitting on a three-game win streak to sit at 7-2-1 and first in the NFC West.
But it’s also no secret the Seahawks don’t travel well. For proof, keep in mind the team lost in Los Angeles in Week 2, tied in Arizona in Week 7 and lost in New Orleans in Week 8.
Now the Tampa Bay Buccaneers welcome the Seahawks to town while fresh off pulling an upset to remember in Week 11.
There, Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers downed the Kansas City Chiefs 19-17, with Winston tossing one touchdown and his offense controlling the clock for 35 minutes and 18 seconds. Tampa Bay coach Dirk Koetter wasn’t shy in his praise after the game.
“First of all, Jameis was out of sight (Sunday). That’s as good of quarterback play in however many years I’ve been in the league now. He was awesome all day. He played a great, great game. I gave him the game ball already,” Koetter said, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.
The difference here is Seattle’s offense, where Russell Wilson continues his strong play with 11 touchdowns to two interceptions and his backfield continues to get healthier. It will have an easier time against a Tampa Bay defense allowing 25.9 points per game provided it travels somewhat well.
Look for the Seahawks to inch this one out—Wilson can employ a ball-control offense as well as Tampa Bay. Either way, from a spread standpoint, the underdog looks like a great bet.
Prediction: Seahawks 24-23
Kansas City at Denver (-3.5)
Now is a good time for bettors to believe in the Chiefs turning it around in a hurry.
The Chiefs took the loss to the Buccaneers while only getting 261 yards with a touchdown and an interception from quarterback Alex Smith. His iffy play over the past few weeks isn’t surprising, though, after his needing to return from concussion issues.
And while the Chiefs might receive a skeptical eye going into Week 12, the Denver Broncos should be right there with them. After a 10-point loss to the Oakland Raiders in Week 9, the Broncos turned around and squeaked out a two-point win against the New Orleans Saints.
Over that two-game span, the Broncos have only received four touchdowns to three interceptions from quarterback Trevor Siemian. It’s clear the Broncos want more, as a quote obtained by Mike Klis of 9News noted:
This situation bodes well for a Kansas City defense boasting 13 interceptions on the year already. Keep in mind the Chiefs went to Denver last year and forced five interceptions in a 29-13 triumph.
It would be silly to suggest a similar blowout here, but bettors who enjoy underdogs will want to take a long look at this line. Kansas City’s offense looked great before Smith’s injury, and if it gets back on track, it knows a thing or two about punching a division rival in the mouth.
Prediction: Chiefs 24-17
Follow Chris Roling ( NFL news on BleacherReport.com