By Scott Kacsmar
The NFL has a Week 12 schedule that’s already been under way with three games on Thanksgiving. We had our special NFL picks for that and were able to nail the Dallas game (+280) after Detroit failed to close our first parlay. Unfortunately, George Kittle sold the night game as well with 19 receiving yards.
In recapping our Week 11 NFL picks, David Montgomery and Tony Pollard both delivered touchdowns and wins. We also nailed the Packers-Chargers game (+178), but Kansas City dropped the ball for our big Monday night parlay (+663), and we needed another 25 yards from Kyler Murray in Houston (+280).
Each Friday, we will share seven NFL picks that we are including in our bets for the weekend. These can be prop picks, spreads, totals, alternate lines, moneylines, same game parlays, etc. We like to think outside the box instead of just telling you a 13.5-point favorite winning is a good pick. You can play the picks separately or parlay your favorite choices together.
Note: Picks are ranked in order of confidence (highest to lowest).
1. Patriots-Giants: No Under Is Too Low
When these teams played a 17-14 Super Bowl, it was an instant classic. If they play a 17-14 game this Sunday, that might be more points than expected. It’s been a rough year for the Giants and Patriots, and the Patriots may actually be having the worst of it with a 2-8 record, the worst in the AFC. At least the Giants still know how to beat Washington, completing a season sweep last week.
But a rookie quarterback like Tommy DeVito should be like shooting fish in the barrel for Bill Belichick, even if this is one of the worst defenses he has ever coached. DeVito threw 3 touchdowns against the No. 32 scoring defense last week, but he also managed to take 9 sacks in the process. This matchup is going to look ugly.
The other side of the ball may be just as bad, if not worse as Mac Jones lacks the mobility of DeVito. The Patriots lost 10-6 to the Colts the last time we saw them play, and both Jones and backup Bailey Zappe threw two of the worst interceptions you’ll ever see an NFL quarterback throw.
The Patriots beat the Jets 15-10 back in Week 3 in an ugly game at MetLife Stadium. They return there for this one, and it may not have any more points than that as a bye week is not going to solve the various problems the Patriots have.
At this point, it may not be in the interest of either team to keep winning games as they are competing for the No. 1 pick in the draft, and both could use Caleb Williams in a bad way.
Scott’s NFL Pick: Patriots-Giants Under 34 Points (-115 at FanDuel)
2. Bears-Vikings: Another Monday Night Under
Why not keep riding the best bet in the 2023 NFL season? The under is now 12-1 on Monday nights, and it even survived Chiefs-Eagles without a hitch last week. Teams just always seem to play poor offensive ball on Monday nights this year, and that would not be the biggest shock to see again in a game with Justin Fields and Joshua Dobbs at quarterback.
In fact, the Vikings and Bears already played in Week 6 and it was a 19-13 win by Minnesota that included a fumble return for a touchdown. The Minnesota offense was technically held to a season-low 12 points.
The Bears were under attack from the blitz of the Vikings, and Fields was blitzed 10 times with only 10 pass attempts. He was sacked 4 times and left the game injured.
It sounds like Justin Jefferson is unlikely to return from his hamstring injury for this game. The Vikings have a bye week after this game and could bring him back then. In the meantime, we’ll take the under for this divisional rematch.
Scott’s NFL Pick: Bears-Vikings Under 43.5 Points (-115 at FanDuel)
3. Steelers-Bengals: Free from Matt Canada Parlay
The Steelers finally did it. For the first time since 1941, they fired a coach during the season when they terminated offensive coordinator Matt Canada this week. It was a long time coming as in 45 games with the Steelers, Canada’s offense never had a 400-yard game and only scored 30 points twice.
Fittingly, the only 30-point game under Canada with Kenny Pickett at quarterback was the last matchup with the Bengals last season. The Steelers draw Cincinnati in a good spot this week with Joe Burrow suffering a season-ending wrist injury last week. We have a little 2-leg parlay that says Pickett is going to have a big game (for his low standards) as the Steelers need to get him going as they no longer can blame Canada for the shortcomings of this offense.
- Kenny Pickett Over 192.5 Passing Yards
- Steelers Over 17.5 Points
The Bengals have allowed over 240 net passing yards in 5 straight games, so the pass defense has been allowing a lot of plays lately. Pickett has not even cracked 160 yards in his last 4 games, but something has to give here in the first game without Canada. Pickett threw for at least 222 yards in 5-of-6 games to start this season, so he is capable of hitting this over.
The Steelers scored 23 and 30 points against the Bengals last year, two of their best showings on the scoreboard. They have topped 20 points in 5-of-10 games this year. There is also hope that Jake Browning could throw a pick-6 in his first NFL start or make some kind of turnover that gives Pickett a short field for an easy touchdown drive.
But the overall theme here is that the Steelers will have their best offensive game in a while immediately after firing Canada. Will it be a good offense for the rest of the season? Probably not, but the initial boost should be there this week.
Scott’s NFL Pick: Same Game Parlay – Kenny Pickett Over 192.5 Passing Yards & Steelers Over 17.5 Points (+188 at FanDuel)
4. Jaguars-Texans: Trusting C.J. Stroud and His Receivers
Simply put, this is the biggest game for the Houston Texans since the time they were up 24-0 in the divisional round of the 2019 playoffs in Kansas City. The Texans (6-4) have a chance to move into first place in the AFC South by sweeping Jacksonville. They are still a 1.5-point underdog in this game, but we have a 3-leg parlay that says C.J. Stroud is going to have another big afternoon with his young receivers:
- C.J. Stroud Over 1.5 Passing Touchdowns
- Nico Collins 40+ Receiving Yards
- Tank Dell 40+ Receiving Yards
Stroud has thrown multiple touchdowns in all 5 of his home starts this year. His only road game with 2 touchdown passes was the Week 3 win in Jacksonville. In that 37-17 win, Stroud passed for 280 yards with Tank Dell having a monster game with 145 yards. Dell had another 140-yard game last week, and the Texans are the first offense ever to have 3 receivers with multiple 140-yard receiving games in the same season. Dell, Nico Collins, and Noah Brown have done this for them.
Stroud has done a great job of distributing the ball to his receivers, and we feel that giving 40 yards to Collins and Dell is reasonable and conservative with the volume the Texans are getting from the passing game right now. Collins has had at least 54 yards in every home game this year.
Scott’s NFL Pick: Same Game Parlay – C.J. Stroud Over 1.5 Passing Touchdowns & Nico Collins 40+ Receiving Yards & Tank Dell 40+ Receiving Yards (+190 at FanDuel)
5. Chiefs-Raiders: The Second Half Blues
For the first time in Kansas City history, the Chiefs have gone scoreless after halftime in 3 straight games. It is shocking to see that record happening in the Patrick Mahomes era, but this has been a problem beyond just the last few games.
The 2023 Chiefs have scored 119 more points in the first half than they have in the second half of games. Out of 1,577 teams since 1970, that is the largest differential ever through 10 games. The Chiefs are only averaging 5.3 points per game after halftime, and the only game where they scored 14 points in the second half was in Minnesota, the game where Travis Kelce momentarily left with what looked like a serious injury.
The over/under for Kansas City’s second-half total in this game is 13.5. It feels like the game scripts most likely to happen in this game favor the under there.
For one, the Chiefs could just come out and blow the Raiders away early, much like they did in Week 18 last year, and they won’t even need to score much after halftime. The other likely possibility is that the Chiefs have another struggle on offense and simply can’t get to 14 points in the half because of the mistakes they are making with dropped passes and turnovers this year.
The Raiders have played better since firing head coach Josh McDaniels. They held the Dolphins, in Miami, to just 6 points after halftime last week. We still think Mahomes is going to rebound and throw a few touchdowns against a defense he has owned in his career, and the scoreless second half streak should also end in this game since there is so much attention on that for the Chiefs.
But over 13.5 points in the second half? No, we’ll take the under again as the Bizarro Chiefs work their way through this season in an attempt to repeat as champions without having any good receivers except a 34-year-old tight end who has lost a step.
Scott’s NFL Pick: Same Game Parlay – Patrick Mahomes 2+ Passing Touchdowns & Chiefs Under 13.5 2nd Half Points (+228 at FanDuel)
6. Ravens-Chargers: Baltimore Back to the Ground Game
The Ravens are a 3.5-point road favorite against the Chargers this Sunday night. After losing tight end Mark Andrews to a serious injury last week, there are questions about how the passing game will look without Lamar Jackson’s most trusted target. This would be an ideal matchup for passing as the Chargers allow the most passing yards in the league.
But we have a 2-leg parlay that thinks the Ravens are going to go against conventional wisdom and use the running game to great success:
- Gus Edwards Anytime Touchdown Scorer
- Lamar Jackson Over 44.5 Rushing Yards
For starters, Gus Edwards has become automatic for the Ravens. Not only has he scored a rushing touchdown in 5 straight games, but he’s had 3 games with at least 2 touchdowns in this span. If the Ravens get close to the goal line, they are going to Edwards above anyone. With the way the Chargers have already allowed over 35 points in multiple home games this year, and the way the Ravens have scored at least 31 points in 5 straight games, you can count on Edwards to find the end zone again.
For Jackson, he has gone over 44.5 rushing yards in 6-of-11 games this year, so it has been a bit of a coin flip number for him. But he had 54 yards against the Bengals last week. He has done over 44.5 yards in back-to-back games multiple times this year.
As we said before, the expectations would be for Lamar to have a big passing night against this secondary that just allowed Jordan Love to have his first and only 300-yard passing game. But while Jackson could be good through the air too, we’ll trust that he finds his spots as a runner against a Brandon Staley defense that is usually poor against mobile quarterbacks.
Scott’s NFL Pick: Same Game Parlay – Gus Edwards Anytime Touchdown Scorer & Lamar Jackson Over 44.5 Rushing Yards (+280 at FanDuel)
7. Bills-Eagles: The Best Quarterbacks at Rushing Touchdowns
This is the game of the week as Josh Allen and Jalen Hurts should engage in an entertaining matchup between contenders. Plus, it’s not an island game, so we might actually get some touchdowns like we had in the 28-23 game between the Cowboys and Eagles a few weeks back.
But our favorite play with big odds on this game is for Hurts and Allen to score touchdowns as runners as they are two of the best to ever do that. We know Hurts has trademarked the Brotherly Shove as his signature play, and it is unstoppable. He scored another touchdown on it against the Chiefs, and he also had a draw run for a longer touchdown. Hurts has 9 rushing touchdowns this year and has scored in 7-of-9 games coming into Sunday.
Allen is more of a wild man who will hurdle a defender many yards short of the marker. He does not get the little quarterback sneak touchdowns, but he has still found a way to score in 7-of-9 games on the ground as well just like Hurts. With the way the Bills put the ball in his hands so much in big games like this, Allen could very well call his own number for a score in this one.
It should be a great game.
Scott’s NFL Pick: Same Game Parlay – Jalen Hurts Anytime Touchdown Scorer & Josh Allen Anytime Touchdown Scorer (+338 at FanDuel)