Expert Week 12 NFL Picks: Tips, Advice for Pick 'em pools

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The experts from TeamRankings are back and ready to assist with your Week 12 NFL picks. TeamRankings' value-based, data-driven approach can help you dominate your pick 'em pools, and in this article we'll offer five games you should take a closer look at. For more advice and a quick primer on how our method can help you win weekly and yearly prizes, read our article on NFL pick ’em pool strategy.

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Week 12 looks like a bit of a wasteland in terms of finding value on teams that are favored to win. There aren't really any surprising favorites, and several of the closer point spreads are in games where a big-name team like Pittsburgh is on the road vs. a not-that-great opponent like Denver and is still being overvalued as a result. At the same time, there are a number of really big favorites (Chargers, Saints, Ravens, Patriots) that are simply too big of a risk to pick against in most pools. As a result, pick 'em strategy this week is more about understanding which upset picks don't offer great value and which upset picks (if any) might be worth the risk given your pool's rules. is the only site that customizes pick recommendations, and last season, 81 percent of its subscribers brought home a prize in football pick ’em contests. So far this season, TeamRankings subscribers have already reported winning over 1,200 weekly pool prizes. To get recommended picks for your pools, check out our NFL Pick 'em Pool Picks. TeamRankings also offers data-driven NFL survivor pool picks and NFL betting picks.

Week 12 Fantasy Rankings:
Quarterback | Running Back | Wide Receiver | Tight End | D/ST | Kicker

Expert Week 12 NFL Picks Advice: Pick 'em pools

As we do every week, we're here to break down five Week 12 NFL games that stand out based one team's win odds and pick popularity. These games could very well be the biggest difference-makers in your pool this week.

Keep in mind we're not saying you should make all five of these picks. The best options for your specific pool depend on multiple factors, including pool size; whether there are confidence points; and whether there are season prizes, weekly prizes, or both. Our Football Pick 'em Picks product figures out the best pick strategy for you.

Note: Win odds and projected pick popularity data quoted below may change between publication time and kickoff time. If you want to see the latest numbers, our product updates multiple times per day with the latest information.

Favorites At Reasonable Prices

Indianapolis Colts (vs Miami)

Miami is coming off a bye week, while the Colts (7.5-home favorites) are coming off a 28-point victory over the Titans. Both the Colts and Dolphins are 5-5, and QB Ryan Tannehill is set to return for Miami this week. The Colts have won four games in a row, while Miami has lost three of its past four games. In fact, our power rankings rate Miami as one of the weaker teams in the league, even below a number of teams with only three wins so far. The betting markets have the Colts at implied win odds of 77 percent, and it's likely that an even higher percentage of your opponents than that will be picking them. Still, along with the Cowboys, the Colts should be pretty close to fairly valued this week, while other favorites in this general win odds range, such as Philadelphia and Tampa Bay, are being significantly more overrated by the public.

Jacksonville Jaguars (vs Buffalo)

This is a column about value, so keep in mind that we're not saying that the slumping Jaguars are going to dominate the Bills this week. We're simply saying that as three-point road favorites in the betting markets, the Jags aren't being overrated. In other words, don't think you're getting cute and crafty by making the Bills your upset pick this week because plenty of your opponents are already thinking the same thing. The Bills have about a 40-percent chance to win and around 40 percent of the nation is likely pick them. As a result, there are a bunch of smarter upset picks in this risk range that you could make instead (keep reading).

MORE TEAMRANKINGS:  Intro to data-driven NFL picks

Value Gambles

Detroit Lions (vs. Chicago)

The Bears are on a roll, but they are only 2.5-point favorites on the road against the Lions this week. For their part, the Lions are coming off an upset victory against Carolina, and Chicago will likely be starting backup QB Chase Daniel on Sunday in place of the injured Mitchell Trubisky. Based on the betting markets and our models, the Lions should have close to a 45-percent chance to pull off the upset here, while one pool hosting site is reporting that nearly 85 percent of players are picking the Bears. That's a big disparity, and if it holds through Sunday, Detroit would have a nice risk/reward profile as an upset pick.

Cleveland Browns (at Cincinnati)

The Browns are three-point underdogs on the road against in-state rival Cincinnati. Both teams have lost four out of their past five games, but people may still remember the Bengals’ hot start to the season. Cleveland has yet to win consecutive games, and their years of futility could be influencing how people see the Browns relative to the Bengals. With the Bengals cooling off after a good start, these two teams are much closer to each other than what the general public may think. The Vegas-implied win odds for the Browns are 40 percent, and with no more than 30 percent or so of the public likely to pick them, Cleveland looks like a solid upset pick for weekly prize pools.

Denver Broncos (vs. Pittsburgh)

Denver's profile this week looks very similar to Cleveland's, although the Broncos are at home against the better opponent and Cleveland is on the road against the worse opponent. On balance, Denver is also a three-point underdog with roughly a 40 percent chance to win, while a much higher percentage of the public's picks is expected to be on Pittsburgh -- over 80 percent at one site. Pittsburgh showed vulnerability on the road against Jacksonville last week, scoring two TDs in the last 2:30 of the game (the last one with five seconds left in regulation) to eke out a victory, while Denver pulled off a road upset of the heavily favored Chargers.

Which Of These Five Picks Should You Make in Week 12?

Maybe all, maybe only one. We're not dodging the question, but it ultimately takes a lot of math to get to the right answer.

We built our Football Pool Picks to do the number crunching for you and figure out when it makes the most sense to go with the favorite and when it makes sense to go with the underdog in your specific pool. Just answer a few quick questions about your setup (type of pool, number of people, weekly vs. yearly prizes, etc.), and our picks customize Week 12 recommendations to give you the biggest edge.

For example, based on win probabilities, there's about a 43-percent chance that only one of the "value gambles" listed above wins this week (the most likely outcome). There's about a 38-percent chance that two or all three of them win, and about a 20-percent chance that none of them win.

If you're in a weekly prize pool where differentiating your entry is key, making more than one of these upset picks probably makes a lot of sense. But in season prize pools, you may want to avoid all of them, especially if you're close to the top of the standings. The extra risk probably isn't worth it in that case.

If you're in an NFL survivor pool or planning on betting NFL Week 12, check out our NFL survivor pool picks and NFL betting picks.

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