New York Jets at Houston Texans (-2½)
Pick: New York Jets +2½
Tennessee quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw four interceptions in the upset loss to Houston and the Titans fumbled the ball four times, losing one, for a total of five turnovers to Houston’s none. That’s a recipe for disaster — for any team, against any opponent. Houston’s offense, however, still sputtered, scoring 10 fewer points than expected against the Titans after accounting for the down, distance and field position of each offensive play.
The Jets, meanwhile, are coming in with a three-game losing streak — during which they faced two of the AFC’s best in the Buffalo Bills and Indianapolis Colts. The Texans will pale in comparison. For example, after adjusting each team’s efficiency for strength of schedule, Buffalo is the fifth-best team in the league this year per Football Outsiders and Indianapolis is eighth. Houston is the fourth-worst.
The Jets have issues of their own: They rank next to last per Football Outsiders and will have rookie quarterback Zach Wilson back under center. Wilson struggled before suffering a second-degree sprain of his right posterior cruciate ligament in Week 7, but the Jets’ production with him throwing the passes is on par with what Houston has done — both have scored 11 fewer points per game than expected — leading me to believe this spread should be closer to a pick 'em. With Houston laying a couple of points, take the Jets.
Seattle Seahawks at Washington Football Team (-1)
Pick: Washington Football Team -1
Speaking of streaks, Washington has walked away with wins against the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Carolina Panthers the past two weeks, putting them ever so slightly into the playoff conversation. Big strides have been made on defense — that unit has allowed a 32 percent conversion rate on third downs in those two wins compared to a 57 percent rate during the first nine weeks of the season — and the offense appears to have coalesced around quarterback Taylor Heinicke.
Seattle is trending in the opposite direction. The Seahawks have lost two straight and the offense has just one touchdown over 20 offensive drives since quarterback Russell Wilson returned from injury. Only the Atlanta Falcons, with zero touchdowns in 23 offensive drives, have struggled more on offense these past two weeks.
The plays above represent our best bets of the week because our analysis shows their value is the most lucrative compared to what we expect to happen once the teams take the field. Below, you will find against-the-spread picks for all of the games on this week’s schedule. However, trying to pick every single game is something of a fool’s errand. The house wins so often partly because bettors try to make too many plays when the odds aren’t in their favor. Keep that in mind when evaluating the remaining games from the Week 12 slate.
Picks are against the consensus point spreads as of Wednesday morning.
Best bets record this season: 12-8.
Chicago Bears (-3) at Detroit Lions
Pick: Detroit Lions +3
Las Vegas Raiders at Dallas Cowboys (-8)
Pick: Las Vegas Raiders +8
Buffalo Bills (-6½) at New Orleans Saints
Pick: Buffalo Bills -6½
Atlanta Falcons at Jacksonville Jaguars (pick 'em)
Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars
Carolina Panthers (-1½) at Miami Dolphins
Pick: Carolina Panthers -1½
Philadelphia Eagles (-3½) at New York Giants
Pick: Philadelphia Eagles -3½
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals (-4½)
Pick: Cincinnati Bengals -4½
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3) at Indianapolis Colts
Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers -3
Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots (-6½)
Pick: Tennessee Titans +6½
Los Angeles Chargers (-2½) at Denver Broncos
Pick: Los Angeles Chargers -2½
Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay Packers (pick 'em)
Pick: Los Angeles Rams
Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers (-3)
Pick: San Francisco 49ers -3
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens (-4)
Pick: Cleveland Browns +4