SharpClarke's Best Week 12 NFL Bet: NE @ NYG
For Week 12, I am returning to a game featuring Tommy DeVito and the Giants, a week after making a successful Over play in their game against Washington. It's important to continue to adapt views on teams and players with additional data, particularly when those teams or players have a small sample size in their current form. Last week, I made the case that DeVito was being undervalued as an NFL quarterback. This week, I am taking a stand on the other side. Let's dive in.
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NE offense v. NYG defese
This is my least confident aspect of the game's handicap. I don't even know who is starting at quarterback for the Patriots. But I am comfortable with any answer to that question. I hope it's Mac Jones, the best quarterback on the roster. He has caught a lot of flak for the Patriots' 2-8 record this season, but I don't think all of it is fair. Granted, he struggles mightily under pressure and cannot consistently deliver when the run game is not working. But they have faced a brutal schedule to date and have been dealing with injuries to boot. When their schedule finally let up against Washington and Indianapolis, they lost consecutive games despite grading as the more effective team overall in both outings. The Patriots' projected split in performance when trailing and leading prompted me to bet their season win total under before the season started because their schedule looked like a gauntlet. That has played out perfectly but indicates that we should see an entirely different team if they can take and hold the lead in this game.
The Giants have been mediocre against the run, but it could be much worse this week. After trading away Leonard Williams to the Seahawks a few weeks ago, they now look likely to be playing without Dexter Lawrence in this game. Lawrence has been an absolute stud for the Giants, and his absence will loom large. Whether it's Jones at quarterback, Bailey Zappe, or even Malik Cunningham, I expect the Patriots to lean on the ground game to set up easy opportunities in the pass game. It won't be the most explosive offense in the NFL, but I do expect some success, particularly if they are able to get some short fields by forcing offensive mistakes or winning the field position battle. Bill Belichick also knows, especially in a game like this, taking field goals over fourth-down conversions might actually be the right move. I expect more field goals than touchdowns, but still plenty of scores.
NYG offense v. NE defense
This is where the handicap really takes shape. Tommy DeVito took nine sacks last week against a poor Washington defense that has allowed good game after good game to opposing quarterbacks. Even this week, the Cowboys absolutely diced them up in a 45-10 win. DeVito did capitalize on several blown coverages and delivered some low-percentage throws down the sideline, typically out of structure. That delivered the unlikely win for the Giants and looked good on the stat sheet. But the Patriots' defense, even with its injuries, is a different animal. Belichick is famous for putting together disciplined coverage units that force inexperienced quarterbacks into mistakes and confusion. DeVito might be one of the worst quarterbacks Belichick has ever faced off against, especially behind this offensive line.
The Giants also could not run the ball against Washington, before two big runs late inflated the stat line. Outside of those two big runs, the Giants had a mere 24 yards on 17 carries. Yes, those runs count. But it was an extremely poor performance on a down-to-down basis. And the Patriots' defense, despite its struggles and the strength of opponents, allows the second-lowest success rate on runs in the entire NFL. The game will be on DeVito, and that is a very comfortable spot for Patriots' bettors. I expect fewer big plays due to fewer blown coverages, and more mistakes, particularly if the Patriots build a lead. I do not anticipate the Giants playing well from behind, with the team becoming one-dimensional.
This game opened with the Patriots favored by 3.5 points, despite their 2-8 record and uncertainty at quarterback. That may sound like a lot, but the lookahead line was 5.5, and so the market indicates optimism for the Giants based on their win against Washington. The Giants even caught money early on, pushing the spread closer to 3, before Patriots money pushed it back to 3.5. A simple look at this game suggests two very bad teams, with the home team getting more than a field goal, providing some value. I understand why the Giants would get bet here, but I disagree with it and am comfortable betting against it.
I like any and all bets on the Patriots here. I believe alternate spreads have value, particularly NE -9.5 +220 on FanDuel. But for purposes of this weekly best bet article, I will advocate for the straight spread bet on the Patriots, even laying the hook over the 3. This is my favorite spread bet of the season so far. However, I still am only risking 3% of my bankroll on the game because bankroll management is supremely important, and it is exceedingly difficult to identify large edges against liquid markets like NFL sides. Good luck if you follow along!
NE -3.5 (-108) on FanDuel, aok to -115
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