Week 12 NFL best bets, odds and predictions: Chargers shock Ravens


We hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and Black Friday, Pickswise Nation! We were treated to 4 NFL games already this week, but the fun continues on Sunday with another 11 matchups to get excited for. Our experts have 3 NFL best bets for you to consider for Sunday’s action, as they look to continue their winning run and add more profit to your bankroll. So far this season our NFL experts boast a 36-25 record for +18.24 units of profit with their 3-star NFL picks.

Now, let’s dive into this week’s best bets and help you bet better this NFL Sunday!

Chris Farley: New Orleans Saints vs Atlanta Falcons Over 42 (-110)

This is one of those situations where everyone and their brother will be looking for a low-scoring game, I don’t think that’s what we’ll see. For starters, the Falcons and Saints know they both need to improve their offenses. Although not considered in the “elite” crowd just yet, their defenses haven’t been the problem. Both teams feature vaunted secondaries that readily limit enemy QBs. They both own top-10 marks in opponent yards per pass to prove it. Atlanta has mostly been good against the run (3.9 yards per rush — 11th), but that’s hardly an area of concern for them heading into this contest. New Orleans’ 3.6 yards per rush and 100 total rushing yards per game don’t make them a very intimidating opponent. I covered the Saints’ defense against the run (hint: it’s not very good) in the spread write-up, and I love that for the Atlanta offense.

In any case, the defenses probably weren’t the focus during their week off. With Desmond Ridder back — the QB for whom they designed all their schemes for leading up to this season — the Falcons’ offense can play free. Arthur Smith and the Falcons’ staff know that New Orleans is stingy against the pass, so I expect plenty of tricks and customized play-designs for this big battle. After all, the winner takes command of the NFC South when it’s over. The motivation is there.

I don’t have as much confidence in the Saints’ offense, but the dam has to break eventually. They have too much talent — Alvin Kamara, Michael Thomas, Chris Olave and Taysom Hill, and just like their rival on Sunday I imagine the Saints’ offense is planning something unique for this big NFC South battle. The NFL has been riddled with unders all season (61.3% ATS in non-OT games), but this checks out as the definition of a regression game.

Be sure to check out our full New Orleans Saints vs Atlanta Falcons predictions

Andrew Ortenberg: Tennessee Titans -3.5 over Carolina Panthers (-110)

This isn’t exactly the marquee matchup of the Week 12 slate here as the Tennessee Titans get ready to host the Carolina Panthers, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still find some opportunities for value. And in this game, I think the value lies with Will Levis and the Titans. Tennessee has taken a hit in the market because they’re coming off 3 straight losses, but now is the time to buy low. All 3 of those losses were on the road, and playing 3 straight road games against 3 tough defenses was a tough task for a rookie quarterback like Levis. Now he’s finally getting to play a home game against a 1-9 Panthers team. Carolina has been pretty lifeless for a while now, and first-overall pick Bryce Young hasn’t shown nearly as many flashes as Levis has despite the fact that Levis only recently took over the starting job while Young has been the starter since Week 1.

Last week, Young took 7 sacks while averaging just 4.2 yards per attempt. The Panthers are 0-5 on the road this season, with 4 of those 5 losses coming by double digits. Conversely, the Titans are 3-1 at home this year despite their disappointing season overall, indicating they have a pretty real home-field advantage. And their only home loss was a one-possession game against a Ravens team that is among the best in the league. DeAndre Hopkins has been rejuvenated by Levis’ insertion under center, and he should be able to have some more success here against a Panthers defense that is a bit banged up and that has mostly underwhelmed even when healthy.

Be sure to check out our full Carolina Panthers vs Tennessee Titans predictions

John Martin: Los Angeles Chargers +3.5 over Baltimore Ravens (-110)

The reality is that a big part of betting the NFL successfully is to back underperforming teams against better ones if the spot (and number) calls for it. It never feels good, necessarily. I believe that’s what we’re getting here with the Chargers against Baltimore. I’ve made this point before but I think it’s worth making again. The role you’re asking a team to play matters so much. It’s one thing to lay 3.5 with this volatile Chargers team. It’s another altogether when you’re simply asking them to cover a shorter number at home off a disappointing loss.

Baltimore is one of the best teams in the NFL, without a doubt. Their DVOA numbers bear that out, but those DVOA numbers, at least offensively, all came with Mark Andrews in at tight end. He is such a safety valve and mismatch nightmare over the middle for Lamar Jackson, and there’s no obvious replacement. I’m of the belief that Baltimore was on the way to losing the game against Cincinnati last Thursday if not for the Joe Burrow injury. The Chargers, on the other hand, are in a now-or-never situation. For their coach and their playoff hopes. The Ravens should feel very good about their chances of winning the division with two starting quarterbacks down for the season and one that is starting Kenny Pickett. This feels like a spot where the Ravens could let up a bit and maybe let the Chargers hang around.

Also, it should be said that most of the Chargers’ issues defensively have come against the pass and not the run, which Baltimore specializes in. Lamar has played very well this season at times, but this is his first full game without his favorite target and he’s doing it on the road. Perhaps the Chargers lay an egg, but Justin Herbert should be able to do enough at home to keep his team within the field goal here to try and keep his season alive.

Be sure to check out our full Baltimore Ravens vs LA Chargers predictions for Sunday Night Football

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