With my college football handicapping fading, my NFL best bets got back on the right track in week 11.
An overall 4-2 ATS day was helped by an undefeated mark with my favorites, while my underdogs were underwater. That has been about opposite from what I've been all year, so here's my week 12 NFL picks with my favorite three underdogs.
Underdogs: 13-19-1 ATS
Overall: 25-39-2 ATS
New York Giants (+7.5) at Washington
There's a lot of big spreads out there this week, so there's plenty of opportunities to pick a big dog and hope for the best.
This matchup offers more than hope, though.
Both teams have some strengths and glaring weaknesses. Washington's defense has taken a sabbatical recently, which should provide the Giants some room to run if they choose that route.
The Giants' running game has actually been fairly effective when they choose to run, going for 4 yards per rush. That should work well against a Redskins defense that is allowing 5 yards per rush in the last three games.
Overall, though, I still think the Giants have a little left in the tank on defense. They showed some promise last week, and they'll need everything they can muster against a Washington pass offense that is averaging 7.4 yards per pass this season.
This number should be less than a touchdown, so I think you're getting good value with the Giants. — Go Against The Chalk with New York
Cleveland (+8) at Cincinnati
I just can't avoid the Browns. I think I just like to have my heart ripped out of my chest.
The last two weeks have been painful for anyone who backed the Browns. Two weeks ago, the Browns were in the game for the majority of it, only to see Detroit score late and then DeShone Kizer threw an interception in the end zone, giving the Lions a cover.
Last week's was even worse, with the Browns fumbling into the end zone late, giving the Jaguars a cover. Luckily, I picked Jacksonville last week, so my heart returned to my chest.
So now it's time to experience Cleveland once again. Both of these teams are pretty even on paper. Both average pretty much the same yards per play on offense, and the Bengals are slightly better on the defensive side of the ball.
If the Browns can continue running the football well (they're averaging 5 yards per rush in the last three games), this game should easily be within one possession. Cleveland's been knocking on the door of a cover in recent weeks, so I'll answer the call in week 12. — Go Against The Chalk with Cleveland
New Orleans (+2.5) at Los Angeles Rams
I'm not completely hopping off the Rams bandwagon, but the Saints are a better team.
Los Angeles has serious questions running the football, and that's been an issue developing for weeks. It's just now becoming a major storyline because of last week's loss.
The injury to Robert Woods also should hurt this offense, too, so I'm trusting the Saints defense, which has been good on the road. That's what has been missing from the Saints in recent years.
Offensively, I like the Saints because they're not dependent on a certain game flow. Now they can run the ball, so if they have a lead, they can run. If they're behind, they can throw. The Rams don't have near the offensive capabilities of the Saints, no matter what you see on paper.
You're getting great value with the Saints in an environment that doesn't create a true home-field advantage. — Go Against The Chalk with New Orleans
Scott Levine is the Associate Editor for the Clinton Herald. During his free time, he blogs about fantasy sports and handicaps games.
Scott Levine can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @ScottLevineCH