The Houston Texans got a reminder last week in a blowout loss at the Baltimore Ravens why they are considered a pretender with the NFL Odds. Now Houston must regroup with a key divisional matchup at home against the pesky Indianapolis Colts. The Colts were written off for dead when quarterback Andrew Luck retired during the final preseason game but have instead defied all odds and critics to be in a first-place tie with Houston in the AFC South. Meanwhile the Pittsburgh Steelers are injury riddled and fighting for their playoff lives at the winless Cincinnati Bengals. The New England Patriots host the Dallas Cowboys in Week 12’s marquee matchup while the San Francisco 49ers host the Green Bay Packers in another good one. Let’s review this week’s wise guy picks.
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Indianapolis Colts +3.5 at Houston Texans, Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET FOX
The Colts recipe for success is a strong ground game with solid defense. Indianapolis is a fundamentally sound team that has lost just two of their last eight away games vs. the line. Houston’s 26th ranked defense makes them vulnerable and they have failed to get the money in their last seven home games against Indianapolis. Indianapolis is 6-4 straight up and 5-4-1 with the odds while Houston is 6-4 straight up with a 5-5 mark on the board.
Pittsburgh Steelers -6.5 at Cincinnati Bengals, 1 p.m. ET, CBS
The dreadful Bengals are winless and have been exposed as helpless with the NFL’s worst ranked defense. The offense is hardly better and ranks 30th for scoring. Pittsburgh owns this head to head series with just three losses against the spread in their last 19 visits to Cincinnati. A winless season by the Bengals is highly possible as Cincy has become a nuclear waste dump. Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin deserves considerable credit for keeping the Steelers in the hunt despite his roster being wiped out. A wild card playoff spot remains possible but there is no margin for error. Pittsburgh is 5-5 straight up and 6-4 with the line while the Bengals are 0-10 straight up with four payouts.
Dallas Cowboys at New England Patriots -6.5, 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX
The remarkable defending world champion Patriots continue to crank cash at home where they have covered 16 of their last 20 games. New England has also gotten the money in four of their last five meetings with the Cowboys. New England remains one of the most complete teams in the NFL ranking third for scoring offense and best for points allowed. The sloppy Cowboys have impressive metrics of first in the NFL for total offense and eighth for points allowed. Head coach Jason Garrett simply cannot command enough respect to get a polished product out of his players. New England is 9-1 straight up and 7-3 vs. the line while the Cowboys are 6-4 straight up and vs. the odds.
Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers -3, 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC
Green Bay is coming off a bye week and is resurgent with a renewed attitude and commitment under rookie head coach Matt LaFleur. Most important of all mercurial quarterback Aaron Rodgers approves of LaFleur. The Pack is 8-2 straight up and 7-3 vs. the odds but their 28th ranked defense remains a concern. LaFleur’s charges lead the NFC North. Green Bay has gotten the cash in just one of their last six games with the 49ers. San Francisco leads the NFC West with a mark of 9-1 straight up and 5-4-1 against the spread. The 49ers have the more complete look and superior metrics with NFL rankings of second for scoring offense and second for points allowed.
Week 12 NFL Wise Guy Picks: Indianapolis Colts, Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, and San Francisco 49ers
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