The holiday season is upon us, and it’s the unofficial start of the NFL stretch run.
Every team has burned through its bye week, and the playoff races have begun in earnest, which also means it’s time for Team NESN to turn it on in the Westgate SuperContest.
After coming ever so close to winning the Westgate Mini-Contest last season, NESN.com’s Mike Cole and Ricky Doyle are hopeful they can again finish strong in the premier NFL handicapping contest.
The NESN.com duo has back-to-back respectable 3-2 weeks, as they hope to climb the Team OddsShark standings by season’s end.
Here are their Week 12 picks:
Los Angeles Chargers (-2.5) vs. Dallas Cowboys
AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
Can already check this one off as a win, as it looks like being on the opposite side of the Cowboys is going to be beneficial moving forward.
Cincinnati Bengals (-8) vs. Cleveland Browns
Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati
You’d think that, given how bad the Browns have been for, well, forever, there would be some value in betting them against the spread. Wrong. Cleveland is 2-8 against the spread this season, 1-7 ATS in its last eight games as an underdog and 3-13-1 ATS in its last 17 road games. And if nothing else, the Bengals have cleaned up against bad teams, going 12-5 ATS in their last 17 games against teams with losing records.
Chicago Bears (+13.5) vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia
The Bears haven’t lost by more than eight points since Week 4 (on a short week at Green Bay against Aaron Rodgers) and Chicago has the recipe to keep it close: The Bears run the ball well (5.6 yards per carry in last three weeks), and they have a solid defense.
Buffalo Bills (+9.5) vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.
The Chiefs haven’t looked right in about a month, and they’re not usually a good bet when they’re heavy favorites. Kansas City has failed to cover its last four games as favorites of nine points or more, and 29th-ranked rushing defense might have problems against LeSean McCoy and the “returning” Tyrod Taylor.
Jacksonville Jaguars (-5.5) vs. Arizona Cardinals
University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.
SuperContest picks have to be in by Wednesday night if you’re taking a Thursday game, which we did this week, and the lines are locked across the board for everyone Wednesday. Sometimes that works out for you, and other times you pick the Jaguars only to see Jalen Ramsey hurt his hand in practice. The rookie cornerback’s matchup vs. Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald would have been fantastic, but given how little the Cardinals have to play for and how bad that offensive line has looked at times, we’re still feeling good about taking the Jags to cover in the desert.
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