Eli’s NFL Week 12 Best Bets: Will 49ers, Bengals Cover Against The Spread?

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Written By Eli Hershkovich | Last Updated
NFL Week 12 Best Bets

With NFL Week 12 odds ready to kick off, this article will assist bettors with price discovery and handicapping point spreads, moneyline odds, and totals across NFL betting sites. In particular, 49ers at Seahawks and Steelers at Bengals stood out — compared to my betting model. With that in mind, let’s examine my NFL Week 12 best bets for these games involving NFC West odds and AFC North odds.

Click any of the sports betting odds to place a bet at the best sports betting sites. We’ve sorted through to find the best available.

Bet: 49ers to win by eight points or more (or win by a touchdown to push)

Some bettors may be unfamiliar with the aforementioned term, price discovery. The process commences when wagers are made on the opening spread or total. Early action is used to adjust the number. Sportsbooks may follow the same script of operators deemed “market makers,” tinkering with their prices because a polarizing competitor shifted their own. Needless to say, liability tolerance (or lack thereof) may be enough to modify the odds for other shops.

Regarding the 49ers’ odds, they went from 4.5-point road favorites on the look-ahead line to -7. The spread then adjusted to a juiced -6.5 after reports surfaced that Seattle quarterback Geno Smith would play through a triceps injury, but that price didn’t last long. Here’s why I agree with the market — and then some.

Seahawks Fade Continues

If you’re new to this NFL Week 12 best bets column, I’ve gone against Seattle in each of its last two games. Part of the notion behind this one is the likelihood that Smith isn’t healthy — whether he actually starts or not.

The Seahawks’ offense is predicated on explosive plays, ranking No. 6 in that department while tallying 12th-most EPA per play. They’ve struggled to move the chains on third down when those aren’t materializing, compiling the NFL’s third-worst conversion rate. A banged-up Smith nor backup Drew Lock, who accrued a horrific -27.5 Completion Percentage Over Expected (CPOE) in his six dropbacks versus the Rams, are delivering the former against San Francisco’s defense.

For context, this metric illustrates how much higher (or lower) a QB’s completion percentage is relative to what we’d expect it to be based on the types of passes they attempted.

Not only does the 49ers’ zone coverage aim to limit chunk plays, but they’re also allowing the fifth-fewest EPA per play. Even with the loss of safety Talanoa Hufanga (torn ACL), rookie Ji’Ayir Brown has already proven he can fill the void above replacement level.

Conversely, San Francisco’s zone-rushing attack dominated Seattle in all three games last season. After nabbing defensive end Leonard Williams from the Giants, its performance hasn’t improved overall, yielding a top-five EPA per carry and rushing success rate. While Brock Purdy has returned to his early-season form after the bye week, expect Christian McCaffrey to exploit this matchup.

49ers logo 49ers SF
Seahawks logo Seahawks SEA
Offense Ranking OFF RNK N/A N/A
Defense Ranking DEF RNK N/A N/A
Offense Net Yards Per Game OFF NET YPG
Defense Net Yards Per Game DEF NET YPG
Passing Yards Per Game PASS YPG
Turnovers Committed Per Game TOC PG

Final Thoughts

I wouldn’t bet San Francisco over -7 (-120). Join TheLines.com’s free sports betting Discord to get an immediate alert whenever I place a wager. Head over to the #roles server to enroll in the push notifications.

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bet: Bengals (+1) to win outright (or lose by a point to push)

Unlike my first wager, I’m going against the market with the home underdog. Cincinnati was initially favored by nearly a touchdown, but it lost Joe Burrow to a torn ligament in his right wrist, costing him the rest of the year. Nevertheless, a seven-point swing isn’t warranted, per my model.

Don’t Buy The Narrative

Although the Steelers fired offensive coordinator Matt Canada on Tuesday, that doesn’t automatically improve an anemic offense. That’s because second-year man Kenny Pickett is at the center of their concerns. He owns the fourth-fewest adjusted EPA per dropback among qualified QBs, in front of only Bryce Young, Daniel Jones, and Zach Wilson.

I’ve noted the impact of Cincinnati losing Von Bell and Jessie Bates, its safety tandem from 2020-22, ad nauseam. Both the replacements and linebackers (particularly Germaine Pratt) have been vulnerable in coverage. However, Pickett’s downfield accuracy — or lack thereof — isn’t suited to take advantage.

Remember that Pittsburgh was the first team in NFL history to produce a 6-3 record over its first nine games despite getting outgained in each one. Hence, it’s received plenty of positive variance with a league-high turnover differential (+11). Those could resurface against the inexperienced Jake Browning, but that’s where the ground game comes into play.

For starters, the Bengals boast the ninth-ranked run-block win rate. This metric conveys the rate linemen can sustain their blocks for 2.5 seconds or longer. On the flip side, the Steelers’ run defense is their biggest liability, ranking No. 20 in EPA per carry allowed. It’s performed even worse in that regard without safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, who’s in jeopardy of missing this contest with a hamstring injury.

Like the 49ers, this script sets up well for Cincinnati running back Joe Mixon to shorten the clock. The Bengals showcase the fifth-lowest adjusted pace, aiding this notion.

Steelers logo Steelers PIT
Bengals logo Bengals CIN
Offense Ranking OFF RNK N/A N/A
Defense Ranking DEF RNK N/A N/A
Offense Net Yards Per Game OFF NET YPG
Defense Net Yards Per Game DEF NET YPG
Passing Yards Per Game PASS YPG
Turnovers Committed Per Game TOC PG

Final Thoughts

Depending on when you read this article, Cincinnati may become the favorite. I’d play it up to -1. Good luck with your NFL Week 12 best bets.

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