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Columns - Magazine

The Gambling Solution: Week 12

by Jeff Baldwin
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Both Jeremy and Jeff started with a 1,000 unit bankroll as they go head to head all season long.

 

Jeff split his selections as he had winners on the Broncos and Colts, but came up short with the Jets and Over Lions/Raiders.  Jeff finished at plus 10 units for his picks in Week 11.  Jeremy went 1-3 as he lost with the Cardinals, Raiders and Over KC/SD.  His winner came on the Panthers who blew out the Redskins.  Jeremy finished Week 11 at minus 40 units.  Jeff increased his season-long lead to 260 units heading into the Thanksgiving Day games. 

 

As for the Thanksgiving games, Jeremy swept the board with winners on the Lions, Panthers, Bears and Over Cowboys/Panthers.  Jeremy finished Thanksgiving Day at plus 120 units.  Jeff went 1-3 as the Lions were his lone winner.  He came up empty on the Cowboys, Packers and Under Lions/Eagles.  Jeff finished Thanksgiving Day at minus 70 units.  Jeff’s season-long lead now only stands at 70 units as Jeremy is right back in it.  Can Jeremy stay hot and continue to cut into Jeff's lead?  Let's get to the picks for Week 12.

 

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Jeff Baldwin

Record: 29-19

Units: 1,370

 

Jeremy Wardwell

Record: 29-19

Units: 1,300

 

Steelers at Seahawks (-3.5) - 50 units
The Seahawks defeated the 49ers at home 29-13 as RB Thomas Rawls ran wild for 209 yards.  Rawls will take over as the starting running back moving forward as RB Marshawn Lynch underwent sports hernia surgery and will be out for most likely the rest of the regular season.  The Steelers come off their bye looking to make it three straight wins as they continue their push to put themselves in playoff position.  The Seahawks currently sit at 5-5 as they've had a disappointing season up to this point.  This isn't the same Seahawks team we are used to seeing especially on the defensive side of the ball.  This team has dropped two homes games already this season which is not what you expect from a Seahawks team.  They now host QB Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers looking to get above .500 for the first time this season.  It won't be easy as the Steelers’ explosive offense possesses many weapons that make this unit so difficult to defend.  Wide receivers Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant will both need to have solid games here in the passing game as they may struggle running the football against this Seahawks defense.  I can see RB Deangelo Williams doing more damage in the passing game than in the running game.  Roethlisberger will need to be smart with the football as he can't afford to turn the ball over giving the Seahawks prime field position.  As for the Steelers on the other side of the ball, they'll need to continue their strong play in slowing down the run.  The Seahawks want to run the football as that sets up their passing game.  In what will be a close game throughout, look for this game to be decided by a field goal. 
Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers +3.5

Cardinals (-10) at 49ers - 40 units
The Arizona Cardinals travel to Levi Stadium to take on the San Francisco 49ers in an NFC West matchup. The Cardinals remain a serious Super Bowl contender, reinforcing that position with a win last week over the Cincinnati Bengals. The 49ers however will only be spectators when the Super Bowl is played in their home stadium. They now sit at 3-7 after a 29-13 loss to the Seahawks in which they gave up over 250 yards rushing including 209 to Seattle backup running back Thomas Rawls. The Cardinals rank 10th in rushing and will be able to move the ball either in the air or on the ground as QB Carson Palmer has an arsenal of talent at his disposal. One player who may not be available is WR Michael Floyd who missed last week’s game and is questionable for this one. Whether or not he plays shouldn’t affect Arizona who come into this one leading the NFL in scoring at 33 points per game and could exceed that number against the league’s 28th ranked defense. San Francisco will start Blaine Gabbert at quarterback for the third straight game and he will likely remain the starter after the team placed Colin Kaepernick on IR with a shoulder injury. Gabbert is 1-1 in his two starts and will face a difficult challenge against the Cardinals’ 3rd ranked defense. Arizona will be able to key on shutting down 49ers receivers Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin as San Francisco has no running game to speak of and will likely be without RB Carlos Hyde for a fourth straight week. With so many factors going against the 49ers, the Cardinals should win this one in comfortable fashion. Look for Palmer to pick apart San Francisco’s secondary and the Cardinals’ defense to come up with a couple turnovers as Arizona rolls 34-21.
Pick: Arizona Cardinals -10

Vikings at Falcons (-1.5) - 30 units
The Vikings come off a disappointing loss at home against the Packers 30-13.  They are now a half-game ahead of the Packers at 7-3 in the NFC North.  The Falcons suffered a devastating loss at home against the Colts as they couldn't hold a two touchdown lead in the second half.  I went against the Falcons last week, and I'm going against them this week as well.  The Falcons have dropped six straight games against the spread.  I like the Vikings to bounce back here after getting their five-game winning streak snapped.  The Vikings will rely heavily on RB Adrian Peterson to move the ball down the field.  The success of the running game will set up QB Teddy Bridgewater to hit some key plays in the passing game.  WR Stefon Diggs will be targeted heavily in this contest as I expect him to get back in the end zone this weekend.  As for the Vikings defensively, this is a solid group that will look to bounce back after having an off game against the Packers last week.  They need to do a good job containing WR Julio Jones.  They can't let Jones take over this game.  Another key piece to the defensive game plan is getting pressure on QB Matt Ryan.  Ryan is prone to turning the ball over so this feeds well into a very opportunistic Vikings defense.  Another positive here for the Vikings is that RB Devonta Freeman may not play due to the concussion he received against the Colts.  RB Tevin Coleman would start if Freeman sits this game out.  The Vikings are 11-2 ATS off a division game over their last thirteen games.  The Falcons are 3-11 ATS as a favorite over their last fourteen games.  The Vikings will come away with the outright win as they'll get back in the win column.
Pick: Minnesota Vikings +1.5
Chargers (+4) at Jaguars - 25 units

The Jacksonville Jaguars look to continue their climb up the AFC South standings in this Week 12 matchup against the San Diego Chargers. After their 19-13 win on Thursday night, the Jaguars have now won two in a row. Despite not putting up overly impressive stats last week, QB Blake Bortles has shown leadership and poise in the pocket for the majority of the season. His two primary targets, WR Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson will be able to take advantage of a Chargers’ secondary that is susceptible to the deep pass and has given up 16 passing TDs on the year. While the Chargers are mediocre against the pass, San Diego has now lost six straight after a 33-3 drubbing at the hands of the Chiefs. Injuries have taken their toll and stripped what was once one of the most dangerous passing attacks in the league of most of their weapons. Without wide receivers Keenan Allen and Malcolm Floyd, QB Philip Rivers has been forced to play with a mixed bag of aging veterans and unproven youngsters. Making things worse has been the inconsistent play of his offensive line who have failed to pass block consistently or open any holes in the running game to take pressure off of him. Jacksonville has a solid pass rush with 24 sacks on the year and will pressure Rivers. The Jaguars have a talented group of linebackers led by Telvin Smith who will make it difficult for the Chargers to move the ball with limited offensive resources. Jacksonville is 6-4 ATS and 4-0 in their last four games. Look for the Jaguars to hand San Diego their seventh straight loss and cover in doing so.  
Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars -4

Buccaneers at Colts (-3) - 20 units
The Colts came away with a huge road win in Atlanta as a late field goal was the difference.  QB Matt Hasselbeck earned his third win without any defeats this season when filling in for the injured QB Andrew Luck.  Hasselbeck will be behind center again this weekend as the Colts host the Buccaneers.  The Buccaneers blew out the Eagles 45-17 as QB Jameis Winston threw for five touchdown passes and RB Doug Martin rushed for 235 yards.  The Buccaneers are currently riding a two-game winning streak as they head to Indianapolis.  You have to like what you've seen out of this team.  They have become a very versatile team offensively as they are effective in both the run and pass.  The Buccaneers are ranked ninth in the league in yards per game as they average 370.  QB Jameis Winston has had a great rookie season leading this team to a .500 record after ten games.  Winston should be able to take advantage of a Colts’ secondary that gives up 279 yards/game through the air.  WRs Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans will be leaned on heavily here as both players should make some big plays in the passing game.  RB Doug Martin should also find room to run as the Colts rush defense is a mediocre unit giving up 113 yards/game on the ground.  As for Tampa defensively, they simply need to play solid defense as the Colts’ offense won't do anything flashy.  The Colts will run the ball with RB Frank Gore, and use short to medium range passing plays to move the chains.  Everything has been breaking the Colts’ way with Hasselbeck at the helm in his three wins, but I think that will come to an end on Sunday.  Look for the Buccaneers to score a late touchdown and get the outright win.
Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers +3

Giants (-2.5) at Redskins - 35 units
The New York Giants and Washington Redskins square off in an NFC East game. The Giants currently lead the division with the Redskins one game behind.  New York suffered a heartbreaking last-minute loss to the Patriots in their last game in which the offense was able to move the ball and QB Eli Manning threw for 361 yards and two touchdowns. I expect Manning to put up comparable numbers in this one as Washington is giving up more than 28 points per game in their last five and were torched by Cam Newton for five passing touchdowns last week. The Redskins have been Jekyll and Hyde for much of the season, winning big when they win but losing just as big when they lose. Their average margin of defeat is 14 points while their average margin of victory is 13. QB Kirk Cousins has mirrored that inconsistency passing for 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions but has only thrown more than one touchdown in two games. In his last game against the Giants earlier this year, Cousins was able to throw for more than 315 yards but was picked off twice while ending only one drive with a touchdown in a 32-21 loss. Since that time, the Giants’ defense has improved and with the exception of a 52-49 shootout loss to the Saints is giving up 21 points per game. The return of Jason Pierre-Paul has given a significant boost to the Giants’ pass rush which will help against a Redskins’ offensive line that has allowed only 17 sacks on the year.  The Giants sit at 5-5 but could easily be 8-2had they been able to close out a few of the games they lost late. Tom Coughlin’s teams are known for playing better as the season goes on and coming off their bye and relatively healthy, I expect them to play well in this game and take control of the division. The Giants are 5-0 ATS in their last five games against Washington.
Pick: New York Giants -2.5

Patriots at Broncos (Total: 44.5 points) - 20 units
The Patriots defeated the Bills at home 20-13 as they moved to 10-0 on the season.  The Broncos came away with a 17-15 victory over the Bears on the road as QB Brock Osweiler threw for 250 yards and two touchdowns.  Osweiler will get another start in this matchup as QB Peyton Manning is still sidelined with an injured foot.  The Patriots come into this game devastated by injuries as they've lost Dion Lewis, Julian Edelman and multiple offensive linemen over the past few weeks.  To make matters worse, WR Danny Amendola left last week's game due to an injured knee.  Amendola will most likely be a game time decision on Sunday night.  Even if Amendola plays, you have to wonder how effective he will be playing at less than 100% and against one of the best defenses in the league.  QB Tom Brady will have his work cut out for him in the passing game as you have to expect the Broncos’ defense to put all their attention on TE Rob Gronkowski.  Needless to say this isn't the matchup we anticipated from a player personnel standpoint when we saw this game on the schedule early in the season.  The Broncos’ offense will hope to get something out of their running game in order to take pressure off of Osweiler.  This may be a difficult task as they have struggled in that department all season.  The theme of this game will be defense. Look for both units to make it difficult for the opposing offenses to move the ball with great effectiveness.  Both Brady and Osweiler will be under a ton of pressure all night forcing hurried throws.  In the end, I'm expecting this game to stay on the low side as the winner comes away with a 20-17 victory.
Pick: Under 44.5
Buccaneers at Colts (Total: 46.5 points) - 20 units
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers travel to Lucas Oil Stadium to take on the Indianapolis Colts in a matchup of two quarterbacks at the opposite end of the age spectrum. Twenty-one year old Bucs QB Jameis Winston is coming off the best game of his young career when he dropped five touchdowns on the Eagles and has now thrown 15 touchdown passes on the year. Meanwhile, 40-year-old Colts quarterback Matt Hasselbeck will be making his fourth start in place of Andrew Luck and is undefeated in his previous three starts. Over that span, the Colts are averaging 22 points per game and facing Tampa Bay’s porous defense gives the Colts a great chance to top that number. Tampa Bay has averaged 25 points per game in their last five and will look to take advantage of a Colts’ defense that is giving up more than 400 yards of offense per game while allowing 25 points. Winston will again have his top two receivers with Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson who responded well after his first game action in several weeks.  Tampa Bay will also likely see the return of TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins who has missed the last seven games with a shoulder injury. This game lines up well for Tampa Bay and the return of key offensive personnel will help Tampa Bay gain more consistency. Six of the Bucs’ games have gone over the posted total this year. I expect this game to go over as well as Winston stays hot.
Pick: Over 46.5

Editor's note: Both Jeremy and Jeff started with 1,000 units as they go head to head all season long.

You can follow Jeff on Twitter @JeffBaldwin4 and Jeremy @jdwardwell5.

Jeff Baldwin
Jeff Baldwin has written Rotoworld's 'Gambling Solution' on Season Pass since 2011. He can be found on Twitter @JeffBaldwin4.