NFL Week 12 early odds: Patriots open up as largest favorite of the 2017 season

After starting the season 4-2, the Miami Dolphins are suddenly in the middle of a meltdown that seems to be getting worse by the week. The bad news for the Dolphins is things probably aren't going to get any better this week because they have to travel to New England, where they haven't won since 2008. 

So what happens when one of the hottest teams in the NFL (the Patriots) gets set to host a team that hasn't won a game in nearly a month? You get the biggest point spread of the 2017 NFL season. 

The Patriots opened as a 15.5-point favorite over the Dolphins for this week's game at Gillette Stadium, giving us our biggest point spread of the year. Of course, the Dolphins are kind of familiar with being a huge underdog. Before this week, the previous biggest point spread came in a Week 6 game where Miami was a 14-point underdog in Atlanta. 

The Dolphins actually won that game outright, which gave us one of the most surprising upsets of the 2017 season. 

The Patriots aren't the only big favorites this week: The Eagles (favored by 11 over the Bears) and Steelers (favored by 14.5 over the Packers) are also double-digit favorites, but don't bet on all three of them, because the odds say that at least one of those teams won't be covering their spread on Sunday.  

Through the first 11 weeks of the season, there have been 15 games with a double-digit point spread, and in those 15 games, the favorite has gone 6-9 against the spread. That being said, an upset seems unlikely as the underdogs are just 3-12 straight up in those 15 games. Besides the Dolphins' win in Week 6, the Giants have pulled off the other two upsets as a double-digit underdog with a win over the Chiefs on Sunday and a 23-10 win over the Broncos as a 13.5-point underdog in Week 6. 

And yes, that's definitely odd: The Giants are 2-0 this season as a double-digit underdog and 0-8 in all other games. 

Alright, that's enough talking about huge underdogs, let's get to this week's odds. 

NFL Week 12 early odds

(All lines from Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, all games on Sunday unless noted)

Vikings (8-2) at Lions (6-4), Thursday

Opening line: Pick'em

Anyone who's made a Thanksgiving bet on the Lions over the past five years has ended up being pretty thankful for it. Since 2012, the Lions are 5-0 ATS and 4-1 straight up in games played on Thanksgiving Day. That total includes a Thanksgiving win over the Viking last season, where the Lions covered as a 1.5-point favorite in a 16-13 win. Including that Thanksgiving win from 2016, the Lions have won and covered in their past three games against the Vikings. The Lions are 3-0 straight up and 2-0-1 ATS in divisional games this year. One thing to keep in mind with the Vikings though is that they're 7-3 ATS on the season, which is the second-best mark in the NFL. 

The Lions are 2-0-1 against the spread at home this season.  USATSI

Chargers (4-6) at Cowboys (5-5), Thursday

Opening line: Cowboys, -3.5 points

Since his rookie year in 2016, AFC teams have had a tough time beating Dak Prescott. Since drafting Prescott, the Cowboys have gone 5-1 both straight up and ATS vs. AFC teams. That ATS mark is the best of any team in the NFL over that span. Of course, that doesn't mean you should bet against the Chargers because betting against them on the road is never a good idea. Although L.A. is just 2-3 straight up on the road this year, they're 3-1-1 ATS. Also, Philip Rivers is 2-0 all-time against the Cowboys. Dallas might be slightly more ready for the Thanksgiving spotlight though. This will be the Chargers first Thanksgiving game since 1969. 

Giants (2-8) at Redskins (4-6), Thursday

Opening line: Redskins, -7.5 points

If there's one quarterback you don't want to bet on in a week day game, it's Kirk Cousins. The Redskins quarterback is 0-9 all-time in his career in week day games with an 0-6 record on Mondays and an 0-3 record on Thursdays. That Thursday mark includes a Thanksgiving Day loss to the Cowboys in 2016. The Redskins have also been horrible in divisional games this year going 0-3 both straight up and ATS. Of course, that doesn't mean they're going to lose to the Giants because the Giants have been equally horrible against ALL NFC teams: They're 0-7 straight up on the season and just 2-5 ATS against NFC teams.  

Buccaneers (4-6) at Falcons (5-4)

Opening line: Falcons, -8.5 points

If there's one team in the NFC South the Falcons haven't been able to figure out, it's the Buccaneers. In their past four meetings, the Falcons are 1-3 against Tampa both straight up and ATS. This might be a game to stay away from though, because both teams have been horrible at covering this year with the Falcons going 3-6 ATS and the Bucs going 3-6-1. The Bucs are even worse on the road, going just 1-3-1. One thing to keep an eye on in this game is the possible return of Jameis Winston. When his injury was originally announced, the Bucs said he would miss two weeks and he's now missed two weeks. Of course, with the groping allegation hanging over his head, the Bucs might hold him out until that comes to a resolution. 

The Bucs have had the Falcons' number.  USATSI

Browns (0-10) at Bengals (4-6)

Opening line: Bengals, -8 points

This has been one of the most lopsided divisional rivalries in the NFL over the past few seasons. Not only have the Bengals won six in a row against the Browns (and covered each time), but they've won each of those games by at least 13 points. Although the Browns will likely end that streak at some point, it would be mildly surprising if it happened here. Not only are the Browns 0-10, but they're 2-8 ATS on the season, which is the worst mark in the NFL this year. The Bengals haven't lost a Sunday home game to the Browns since 2008. The Bengals are 8-1 straight up and 5-3-1 ATS during Andy Dalton's career when they're favored by eight or more points. 

Titans (6-4) at Colts (3-7)

Opening line: Titans, -4.5 points

If you're looking for the scariest bet of the week, it might be this one, because every piece of information seems to scream, "DON'T BET ON THE TITANS." First of all, when it comes to covering the spread, the Titans are just 3-6-1 this year, which is tied for the fourth-worst mark in the NFL. Not to mention, the Colts have been quietly covering spreads all season. At 6-4 ATS, the Colts are tied for the fifth-best mark in the NFL this year. Oh, and there's also this: The Titans 1-12 in their past 13 games against the Colts. 

Bills (5-5) at Chiefs (6-4)

Opening line: Chiefs, -9.5 points

You probably shouldn't even think about betting this game until you know who's starting for the Bills. Although coach Sean McDermott went with Nathan Peterman on Sunday, there's always a chance he could change his mind this week after the rookie's five interception disaster in Los Angeles. On the other hand, it might not matter who the Bills start because the Chiefs have been horrible lately. Since starting 5-0, the Chiefs have gone 1-4 both straight up and ATS. The Chiefs are also 0-3 ATS since 2015 in games where they're favored by nine or more. The good news for the Chiefs is that this game is at Arrowhead, where Kansas City is 3-1 straight up and ATS this season. 

Can the Chiefs snap their slide at home against the Bills?  USATSI

Dolphins (4-6) at Patriots (8-2)

Opening line: Patriots, -15.5 points

Normally, this is where we tell you not to bet the game until you know who the Dolphins starting quarterback is going to be, but with this team, it doesn't really seem to matter. Over the past four weeks, the Dolphins have gone 0-4 straight up and 0-3-1 ATS and it's hard to imagine Matt Moore being any worse than that if he starts over Jay Cutler (concussion) on Sunday. 

Panthers (7-3) at Jets (4-6)

Opening line: Panthers, -4.5 points

In what might be the biggest gambling shocker of the 2017 season, taking the Jets at home has actually been the safest bet to make in the NFL this year. Although the Jets are just 3-2 straight up at home, they're 5-0 against the spread, making them the only team in the NFL that's unbeaten ATS at home this year. These haven't been slouch teams, either. In their five home games, the Jets have covered against teams like the Patriots, the Falcons and the Jaguars. Of course, something is going to have to give here because the Panthers have been one of the best road bets in the NFL this year. The Panthers are 4-1 ATS away from home, which is tied with the Jaguars for the best road mark in the NFL. One thing to keep in mind: The Panthers have never beaten the Jets in New York. 

Bears (3-7) at Eagles (9-1)

Opening line: Eagles, -11 points

At this point, betting against the Eagles is the same thing as throwing away your money. In their past eight games, the Eagles have gone 8-0 straight up and 7-1 ATS. The Eagles overall ATS mark of 8-2 is the best in the NFL this year. One weird thing about the Eagles: They're 3-0 ATS since 2014 in games where they're favored by 10 or more points, including a game this year where they beat the 49ers 33-10 as a 13-point favorite. The Eagles are also 4-1 ATS at home, which is tied for the second-best mark in the NFL this year. These two teams met last season with the Eagles covering as a three-point underdog in a 29-14 win. 

Seahawks (6-3) at 49ers (1-9)

Opening line: Seahawks, -7 points

The one thing we don't know about this game is whether or not 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan will finally unleash Jimmy Garoppolo. If Garoppolo's going to start, this seems like a good game to do it. For one, the Seahawks will be coming off a short week. Also, Seattle will be missing half of its vaunted secondary with both Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor out. Although the Seahawks have dominated this series with seven wins in a row, it hasn't been a lock to bet on them because the 49ers have covered in the past games, including back in Week 2 when 49ers lost 12-9 as a 13.5-point underdog. 

Broncos (3-7) at Raiders (4-6)

Opening line: Raiders, -5.5 points

Although the Broncos have won two straight against the Raiders, that means nothing right now because the Broncos haven't been able to beat anyone, lately. Not only are the Broncos on a six-game losing streak -- their longest losing streak since 1990 -- but they haven't covered a single game in that span. Overall, the Broncos are 2-7-1 ATS on the season, which is the second-worst mark in the NFL. Of course, one of those covers came back in Week 4 when the Broncos beat the Raiders 16-10 as a 3.5-point favorite. That was at home. though, but this one is on the road, where the Broncos are an ugly 0-4 ATS on the road, joining the Browns as the only other team in the NFL that hasn't covered the spread in a road game this year. On the other hand, the Raiders haven't been much better. Oakland is just 3-6-1 ATS on the season, which is tied for the fourth-worst mark in the NFL. 

Saints (8-2) at Rams (7-3)

Opening line: Rams, -2 points

The Eagles might have a better record, but there's not a team hotter in the NFL than the Saints. Thanks to their 15-point comeback win over the Redskins on Sunday, the Saints were able to push their winning streak to eight games, which is the longest in the NFL this season. During the streak, they've gone 7-1 ATS. Overall, the Saints are 7-3 ATS on the season, which is tied for the second-best mark in the NFL and puts them one game ahead of the Rams, who are 6-4 ATS. These two teams actually played last season in New Orleans with the Saints covering in a 49-21 win where they were an 8-point favorite. 

Jaguars (7-3) at Cardinals (4-6)

Opening line: Jaguars, -4 points

We're starting to reach uncharted territory with the Jaguars. Although this isn't a huge spread, it is a huge spread when you consider the fact that this is the Jaguars we're talking about. This game marks just the fifth time since 2006 that the Jags have been favored by four or more points in a road game. In the other four games, the Jags went 1-3 both straight up and ATS. The most recent of those games came back in Week 3 when the Jags lost 23-20 to the Jets as a 4-point favorite. Even though the Jags didn't cover in that game, they're actually the best in the NFL at covering in road games, going 4-1 ATS away from home this year. As for the Cardinals, they're 2-7-1 ATS this season, which is tied for the second-worst mark in the NFL. This game will mark just the second time that these two teams have ever played in Arizona (The Cardinals won the only meeting in 2006). 

Packers (5-5) at Steelers (8-2)

Opening line: Steelers, -14 points

After watching Green Bay get shut out at home on Sunday for the first time since 2006, it looks like oddsmakers have lost all faith in the Packers. This gigantic opening line marks just the second time since 1990 that the Packers have opened as an underdog of 14 points or more. The only other time came in 2010 when Green Bay opened as a 14.5-point underdog to the Patriots. Of course, this spread isn't just because the Packers are bad, there's also a lot of reasons to like the Steelers. In their past three home primetime games, the Steelers are 3-0 and have won by an average of 42.7 to 13.7. This marks the third time this season that the Steelers have been favored by 10 or more points. In the two prior games, they went 2-0 straight up, but 0-2 ATS. 

Texans (4-6) at Ravens (5-5), Monday

Opening line: Ravens, -7.5 points

Joe Flacco might not be playing well this season, but he always seems to show up for home primetime games. Since the beginning of the 2011 season, the Ravens are 9-0 straight up in home primetime games and 7-2 ATS. Also, they're getting a Texans team that has never won in Baltimore in their 15-year franchise history. Of course, they don't have to win this game to cover the spread, which might make them a smart bet. The one thing about the Texans is that they've quietly been one of the safest road bets in the NFL this year. Although they're 1-3 on the road, they're 3-1 ATS, which is tied for the third best mark in the NFL. 

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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