Thanksgiving featured a few of the best matchups of Week 12, leaving some potential blowouts for Sunday’s slate of games. Five teams are favored by at least seven points, according to the latest betting odds at Las Vegas sportsbooks.
The Cleveland Browns are one of the biggest underdogs on the upcoming schedule, and it’s looking less and less likely that they’ll even get one victory in the 2016 NFL season. The Seattle Seahawks are heavy favorites during their winning streak, and they are one of four first-place teams that are favored by at least six points in Week 12.
There’s no such thing as a “sure thing” when it comes to gambling, but here are the five best bets for Week 12 of the 2016 NFL season:
New York Giants (-7)
All of the Giants’ victories in 2016 have come in close games, but that should change on Sunday. The Browns continue to get blown out by their competition, and they aren’t likely to be competitive against the team with the NFC’s third-best record.
New York has struggled on offense this season, but that won’t be an issue against Cleveland. The Browns have allowed at least 24 points in every game, and all but one of their last nine opponents has reached 28 points. The Giants’ running game has improved in recent weeks, and it should continue to do so against a team that allows 143.9 rushing yards per game. The Browns haven’t scored more than 10 points in their last three games, and they’ll have trouble moving the ball against the No. 11 scoring defense.
Oakland Raiders (-3)
The three-point betting line in Oakland indicates that the Carolina Panthers are just as good as the Raiders on a neutral field. While Carolina might be better than what they’ve shown in their 4-6 start, Oakland has clearly proven to be the better team in 2016.
After beating the Texans by a touchdown in Mexico City, the Raiders have wins over two division leaders and the defending Super Bowl Champions. Houston has one of the NFL’s top defenses, but they couldn’t stop Oakland from reaching 27 points, something only two teams have been able to do in 2016. The Panthers have won three of their last four games by beating up on bad teams, but they are 0-5 against teams that have a .500 record or better. The Panthers will likely be without linebacker Luke Kuechly, their best defensive player, making it even more difficult for Carolina to slow down Derek Carr and Oakland’s high-powered offense.
Houston Texans (+1.5)
The Texans might be the NFL’s worst first-place team, but they shouldn’t be a home underdog against the San Diego Chargers. San Diego is in last place in the AFC West for a reason, and their losing ways are likely to continue on Sunday.
As much as Houston has struggled at times, they’ve been terrific at home. The Texans are 4-0 at NRG Stadium, defeating potential playoff teams like the Kansas City Chiefs and Detroit Lions. Brock Osweiler’s struggles haven’t been an issue at home because Houston’s defense has been so good, holding visitors to just 17 points per game. The Chargers continue to find ways to lose, often times committing late-game turnovers, and that could be an issue against a team with a defense as good as Houston’s.
Seattle Seahawks (-6)
The Seahawks are rounding into form, looking like the NFC favorites that many expected them to be at the start of the season. Having won three straight games by six points or more, Seattle should continue that streak when they visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Seattle struggled to score early in the season when Russell Wilson was battling leg injuries, but the offense is much improved now that the quarterback appears to be healthy. The Seahawks are averaging 29.3 points during their three-game winning streak, and they’ll be able to move the ball against a defense that’s struggled to stop good offenses. Seattle’s defense has allowed fewer points than any NFL team, and the mistake-prone Jameis Winston could throw multiple interceptions against the Seahawks’ vaunted secondary.
Arizona Cardinals (+4)
The Cardinals need a win to stay in the playoff race, and they offer the Atlanta Falcons a difficult matchup. Even if Arizona can’t steal a victory at the Georgia Dome, they have a good chance to keep Sunday’s game within a field goal.
It’s a matchup between the NFL’s top-ranked defense and the No. 1 scoring offense. While the Falcons have been able to move the ball with ease in most games, they’ve struggled against top defensive units. When facing the Broncos, Seahawks and Eagles, all of whom have top eight defenses, Atlanta is averaging less than 21 points per game. Arizona’s biggest struggles on offense have come against teams that can rush the passer, but the Falcons are only in the middle of the pack with 22 sacks. If running back David Johnson can get things going on the ground, he’ll give the Cardinals a shot to win in Atlanta.