Week 12 NFL Best Bets: Why I’m Backing Pair Of NFC Teams Against The Spread

Written By Eli Hershkovich on November 25, 2021 - Last Updated on November 28, 2021

Despite the Giants failing to cover at the Buccaneers on Monday night, underdogs are still 92-69-1 against the spread (57.1%) this season. So how should we approach our Week 12 NFL best bets?

As always, don’t blindly follow the underdog trend. Aim to exploit where the market is creating value instead. I’m 38-23 overall (+11.58 units), so let’s dig into my plays this time around.

Week 12 NFL Best Bets:

Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions

If there’s one Thanksgiving Day game to pass on, this one is probably it. Still, there’s betting value.

Not only have the Bears reportedly quit on coach Matt Nagy, but their defense is also yielding the fifth-highest expected points added (EPA) per carry. Although Khalil Mack (season-ending foot surgery) and Akiem Hicks (ankle) both regressed this season, they’re still key cogs in the front-seven. With Hicks expected to miss this contest too, look for the Lions take advantage on the ground.

  • EPA is calculated by expected points scored based on the down, distance, and field position at the start of a play — juxtaposed with the play’s conclusion.

Surprisingly, Detroit is accumulating the 12th-highest EPA per rush attempt. D’Andre Swift delivered a breakout showing in the Lions’ cover at the Browns (+13.5) on Sunday with 136 rushing yards. In fact, he’s accrued the league’s 13th-most breakaway carries of 15-plus yards. Even with Jared Goff (oblique) presumably starting under center, Detroit boasts a significant enough matchup edge.

On the other side of the ball, Chicago rookie quarterback Justin Fields will miss this game after exiting midway through against the Ravens with a rib injury. Enter Andy Dalton, who’s tallying the sixth-worst completion percentage over expected (CPOE) among QBs with at least 75 snaps.

Despite the Lions’ susceptible secondary, there’s no reason to anticipate Dalton exposing it. They’ve been steadier since their Week 9 bye too, yielding the 11th-lowest EPA per dropback over the two-game stretch. Dan Campbell’s team is live to rack up its first outright win of the season.

Week 12 NFL Best Bets: Lions +3.5 (PointsBet Sportsbook — placed at 3pm ET on Tuesday, Nov. 23; bet down to +3)
Best Available Line: Lions

Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay Packers

How poorly did the Rams‘ Matthew Stafford perform in their recent losses to the 49ers and Titans, respectively? He produced the seventh-lowest passing success rate (SR) during that span. Sean McVay’s bunch failed to cover as favorites each time as a result.

  • SR showcases whether a play is successful if a team gains:
    • 50 percent of the yards needed to move the chains on first down
    • 70 percent of yards to gain on second down
    • 100 percent of yards to gain on third or fourth down

But Stafford will face a Packers defense that’s surrendering the NFL’s 13th-highest passing SR. Couple that with two weeks of prep while incorporating newly-acquired wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. into the game plan, and the veteran signal caller should be set up to bounce back.

Joe Barry’s unit is struggling more so against the run, allowing the third-highest SR in that department. Even though Los Angeles presents below-average efficiency in that category, expect some holes to open up if Stafford finds a rhythm through the air.

On the flip side, the Rams’ front-seven must have success putting heat on Aaron Rodgers. They’re notching the seventh-lowest pressure rate across the league, but they could be in for a rebound themselves. Green Bay’s offensive line is severely banged up with left tackle David Bakhtiari (knee), left guard Elgton Jenkins (knee) and center Josh Myers (IR, knee) all likely to miss this contest. 

I’m higher on the Rams than the betting market is on the Packers, so this spread was an auto bet.

Week 12 NFL Best Bets: Rams +1 (FanDuel Sportsbook — placed at 3pm ET on Tuesday, Nov. 23; bet up to -2)
Best Available Line: Rams 

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Eli Hershkovich

Eli Hershkovich is a lead sports betting writer with TheLines and Catena Media, formerly with Audacy and The Action Network. His goal is to provide you with data and information to lead you to winning bets. Eli is an avid college basketball gambler — among many other sports — and still hasn't forgiven Virginia for ruining his 2018-2019 Texas Tech futures.

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