It’s Thanksgiving feast week. When it comes to gorging your holiday meal, do you attack the table quickly before all the good stuff is gone or do you pace yourself and save room for dessert at the end?
NFL bettors can have the same approach, sinking their teeth into the opening Week 12 odds right away or letting things settle a bit before going in for seconds later. Depending on which side or total you like, both tactics can pay off.
I size up the NFL Thanksgiving Week schedule and highlight some of the lines you may want to bet right now and others you should let simmer.
Week 12 bet now, bet later picks
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3) at Cleveland Browns:Bet Now
- New York Giants (+8) at Dallas Cowboys: Bet Later
- Houston Texans at Miami Dolphins (Over 45.5): Bet Now
- Cincinnati Bengals at Tennessee Titans (Under 43): Bet Later
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3) at Cleveland Browns: Bet Now
Tampa Bay is straightening out the pirate ship after sailing off course for the majority of 2022. The Buccaneers have won back-to-back outings and are coming off a much-needed bye to rest their weary legs before the home stretch of the season.
Tampa Bay hit the board at -3 visiting the Browns in Week 12 and this line has already jumped to -3.5 at select books with the majority dealing an expensive field goal for the road fave.
Cleveland is coming off a weird week in which it had its trip to Buffalo moved to Detroit due to the snowstorm in Orchard Park, then proceeded to lose its second straight game and sixth in the past seven.
The Browns defense is terrible, having allowed 70 total points the past two contests and with the postseason picture all but erased, the team will be undergoing a transition to Deshaun Watson at QB in Week 13 — creating more distractions as the schedule winds down.
The Bucs defense remains a constant backbone for this franchise and the offense could snap out of its slumber with the WRs getting healthy and a spark in the ground game from RB Rachaad White. The NFC South is still very much up for grabs, so every game is big for the Buccos from here out.
If you think Tom Brady & Co. continue to roll, grab the field goal now before this spread gets bigger.
New York Giants (+8) at Dallas Cowboys: Bet Later
The Cowboys’ annual Thanksgiving Day game is an NFC East rivalry run-in with the Giants, who come into Week 12 off a bad loss to the Lions in East Rutherford. Dallas, on the other hand, couldn’t have looked better in busting the Vikings’ ass for a 40-Burger in Week 11.
New York has seen early action against it over the past month and a bit, and that pattern has popped up again here on Sunday night with the G-Men climbing to +8.5 right out of the gate. The Giants did have multiple injuries in the Week 11 loss and faces a short week to get right before traveling to Texas.
That said, if you expect a letdown from the Cowboys after mowing down Minnesota or buy into their terrible Turkey Day trend — 1-10 ATS the last 11 Thanksgiving Day games — then wait this one out for more points with Big Blue. The holiday Thursday will likely see America’s Team drawing plenty of public play, so be ready to dig into all those points.
Houston Texans at Miami Dolphins (Over 45.5): Bet Now
Over bettors didn’t know what to do with themselves in Week 11 with the Dolphins enjoying a week off. Miami is back in action this Sunday, hosting Houston with the total set at 45.5 points.
The Fins have been fantastic on offense since getting Tua Tagovailoa back under center and have produced 105 total points the past three games. An output like that would do the lion’s share of the work getting Over this total. But Miami’s dud of a defense should help too, allowing 76 points against in that span and ranked out 25th in EPA allowed per play.
If you think that’s bad, look at Houston’s defense. The Texans sit 27th in that EPA metric and have given up points to pretty pedestrian offenses lately. Miami is a much different monster than Washington or the N.Y. Giants, scorching foes for 0.571 points per play in the last three contests.
The Texans offense could be cause for concern if you’re betting the Over after amassing only 53 total points over the past four games. But those efforts came against sound defenses and methodical attacks. The Fins once allowed 40 points to the Jets.
‘Nough said. This total is on the rise already. Bet this Over now.
Cincinnati Bengals at Tennessee Titans (Under 43): Bet Later
The Bengals and Titans last met in the 2021-22 AFC Divisional Round, with Cincy escaping with a 19-16 road win on a last-second field goal. That playoff matchup played well below the closing total of 48 points.
This time around, the Titans’ passing game is not the same and the Bengals are holding out for WR Ja’Marr Chase, who could potentially return from injury in Week 12. They’re also waiting on the status of RB Joe Mixon, who will be in concussion protocol after leaving Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh.
The opening total of 42.5 has crept up to 43 points on Sunday night and any positives around Chase’s status will draw money to the Over. The Bengals offense has been humming in recent weeks, posting scores of 30, 35, 42, and 37 in four of their last five games (5-0-1 O/U).
Tennessee, however, can slow you down with or without the football. Running back Derrick Henry takes on a Cincy stop unit ranked out 24th in EPA allowed per handoff and anchors the slowest approach in the league (last in seconds per play). The Titans defense continues to improve and has given up 17 points or less over its last seven games (1-6 O/U) while boasting the fifth-lowest EPA allowed per play in that stretch.
If you expect another low-scoring finish like last January, wait and see if this total keeps climbing before buying back the Under.