Week 12 of the NFL season features America’s team against the best team of this millennium. Covers checks in on the opening odds and early action for four games, with insights from John Murray, director of The SuperBook at Westgate in Las Vegas.
Dallas Cowboys at New England Patriots (-6.5)
Defending Super Bowl champion New England regained its winning form after a bye week that followed its first loss of the year. The Patriots (9-1 SU, 7-3 ATS) went off as 4.5-point favorites at Philadelphia and notched a 17-10 victory.
Dallas rebounded from a Week 10 home loss to Minnesota, though Jason Garrett’s troops got a stern test from a Detroit outfit missing Matthew Stafford. The Cowboys (6-4 SU and ATS) claimed a 35-27 win, narrowly cashing as 7.5-point road favorites.
“We opened Patriots -6.5 and are still there, despite taking a bet of $53,500 on New England already,” Murray said. “This will be one of the highest-handle games of the year to date.”
Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers (-4)
Like New England, San Francisco rebounded from its first setback of the season, though Jimmy Garoppolo and Co. got a fight from Arizona. The 49ers (9-1 SU, 5-4-1 ATS) won 36-26, returning a fumble for a touchdown on the game’s last play to push as 10-point home favorites.
Green Bay is coming off its bye week with an 8-2 SU mark, and it’s tied for the league lead at 7-3 ATS. In Week 9, the Packers topped Carolina 24-16 laying 5 points at home.
“The Sunday night game will also be a huge-handle game,” Murray said. “I’m expecting a lot of public support for the ‘dog. The 49ers are very banged up, and the Packers are coming in off their bye. I could see this number drifting closer to pick.”
Indeed, shortly after opening the Niners -4, the line tightened to 49ers -3 (even).
Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans (-3.5)
Indianapolis lost starting quarterback Andrew Luck to a surprise retirement two weeks before the season began. Yet through 11 weeks, the Colts (6-4 SU, 5-4-1 ATS) are tied atop the AFC South after rolling over Jacksonville 33-13 as 2.5-point home faves Sunday.
Houston gave up sole possession of first in the division with a dud of a Week 11 performance. The Texans (6-4 SU, 5-5 ATS) mustered only one score – a fourth-quarter TD after trailing 34-0 – in a 41-7 loss at Baltimore catching 4 points.
This battle for the division lead kicks off Week 12, as it’s the Thursday night game.
“Our look-ahead line was Texans -5.5, but that was before the Texans got crushed by the Ravens and the Colts put together an impressive win over the Jaguars,” Murray said. “Houston has struggled in this home-favorite role in recent seasons.”
Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints (-9)
Drew Brees missed five games for New Orleans, but his team still owns a three-game lead in the NFC South. In Week 11, Brees and the Saints (8-2 SU, 7-3 ATS) dumped Tampa Bay 34-17 giving 5 points on the road.
Carolina made a 5-1 SU and ATS run to start turning heads, then dropped two in a row SU and ATS. The Panthers (5-5 SU and ATS) were 3.5-point home favorites Sunday against Atlanta and came up with a mere fourth-quarter field goal in a 29-3 beatdown.
“We opened Saints -9 and quickly moved up to -9.5,” Murray said. “New Orleans will be a very popular public side included in many parlays and moneyline parlays.”
Patrick Everson is a Las Vegas-based senior writer for Covers.com. Follow him on Twitter: @Covers_Vegas.