NFL Best Bets Week 12: Thanksgiving & Sunday Edition

by Ahaan Rungta · Betting & Props

Welcome to NFL Best Bets Week 12! Here, we provide our best game line bets for the NFL slate each week on sportsbooks.

Each week’s article features picks on either the moneyline, spread, game total, or team total. For each bet, we will provide a wager size recommendation (note: 1 unit = 1% of your gambling bankroll). It is important to keep your exposure disciplined and stick to the recommendations. It is always worth line-shopping at the time you place your bet so that you can get the best value available online.

In Week 11, we won our only bet of the article, a 2-unit banger on the Rams moneyline who were victorious in a one-point home nail-biter against the Seahawks. Closing line value served crucial as the Rams were 1-point underdogs when we got them on the moneyline but finished as 2-point favorites pre-game on Sunday morning.

We are a day early on the article this week due to the jam-packed Thanksgiving Day action we want to put money on early. We are now 10-8 on the season and have won four straight article bets. Let’s keep the good mojo going into Week 12 for our best bet of the Thanksgiving slate.

1 unit: Commanders +12.5 (-110, FanDuel)

The Dallas Cowboys get the bright lights of Thanksgiving Day again, and this time it’s with one of the best teams they’ve had in recent times. They are coming off back-to-back games being favored by over 10 points, and it has resulted in two covers. They have posted a win by 32 and a win by 23. Now, they deserve to be heavy favorites against one of the most inconsistent offenses and porous defenses in the NFL in the Washington Commanders. However, this is a bit too many points, so we will take the scary leap of backing Ron Rivera’s squad.

Washington’s offense has gone under the radar, but Sam Howell has had flashes of excellence. He ranks around middle-of-the-pack among qualified quarterbacks in adjusted EPA/play but No. 10 in completion percentage over expectation, No. 11 in accuracy rating, No. 4 in completion percentage under pressure, and No. 10 in deep ball catchable pass rate. He’s versatile through the air and that should prove valuable against a Cowboys defense that have ranked among the league’s best in dropback EPA/play but have relied on a lot of turnovers (which are unsustainable at this rate).

Washington Defense

As for their defense, Washington’s secondary has been a debacle this season. They rank bottom-three in dropback EPA/play and are allowing big plays by the week like it’s their business. However, Dallas has faced a few similarly ranked pass defenses in the Cardinals and the Chargers and did not dominate either as much as the line suggests. They scored just 16 points and lost outright against Arizona, and they scored just 20 points in a close win against Los Angeles. The Cowboys have overlooked the supposedly “easy” matchups and underperformed in those spots. Week 12 could serve as a “lookahead” trap before they dive into the toughest part of their schedule, facing the Seahawks, Eagles, Bills, Dolphins, and Lions after this.

Last week, the Commanders lost outright as 9-point favorites. Since 1990, road teams who lost their previous game outright as favorite by more than 7, are 41-16-2 against the spread when facing a team with a .700-plus winning percentage. Since 2011, the Cowboys are 1-11 against the spread on Thanksgiving Day, and I think that alarming streak will only get worse in Week 12. Take the points with the Commanders. We could get a nail-biter on Thanksgiving afternoon in Dallas.

1 unit: Jaguars-Texans total UNDER 48.5 (-110, BetMGM)

One of the most anticipated matchups of Week 12 will be in Houston this Sunday. The former No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence will look to avenge a Week 3 blowout loss to this year’s No. 2 overall pick C.J. Stroud. This game is near-pick-’em for good reason, and a Texans win would flip these teams in the AFC South and put Stroud’s squad in first place. The route to this game being a hard-fought battle is in a low-scoring affair. Divisional unders in the NFL have proved to be a profitable system long-term, and I think that continues in this one.

The Jaguars defense has picked up steam lately. They already rank No. 6 in run stop win rate this season and now face a Houston run game that is already difficult to establish. A lot of the weight for Houston’s offense is on Stroud’s greatness, but that will be harder to come by against a hot Jacksonville pass defense. The Jaguars now rank No. 6 in dropback EPA/play allowed and No. 8 in overall EPA/play allowed. A second look at the Texans offense after surrendering 37 points to them earlier in the year should only help further.

Texans Defense

The Texans defense under head coach DeMeco Ryans is no cakewalk either. They are around middle-of-the-pack overall in DVOA and EPA/play allowed but stand out in terms of the snap-winning game, ranking No. 3 in pass rush win rate and No. 4 in run stop win rate. This season, Trevor Lawrence ranks No. 33 in completion percentage and No. 32 in catchable pass rate under pressure, so it is no coincidence that he struggled in his first outing against Houston and that could continue again on the road.

It’s best to back the defenses in this one and fade the overreaction by the books to this matchup of two great quarterbacks that soared over the Vegas total in their previous meeting.