The year’s best food-and-football centric holiday also brings a great slate of games to bet on this week.
Personally, I am thankful for our picks last week, which went a tidy 8-5-1 against the spread to get us back on the right side of winning. I’m also thankful for home underdogs, double-digit lines, and the Philadelphia Eagles.
This week is an interesting one for gamblers, with three of the highest lines of the year on the board, so let’s get straight to the bets so we can make some money while we lounge around in a tryptophan haze on Thursday.
All lines courtesy of the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.
LAST WEEK: 8-5-1
Minnesota Vikings (-3) at Detroit Lions (Thursday, 12:30 p.m. ET)
The pick: Lions +3
The logic: This is a trap game for the Vikings if I ever saw one. Coming off a big win against one of the strongest teams in the NFC and travelling on a short week to play Matthew Stafford and a Lions team that plays well on Thanksgiving. Detroit wins this one outright.
Los Angeles Chargers (-1) at Dallas Cowboys (Thursday, 4:30 p.m. ET)
The pick: Cowboys +1
The logic: This game has gone through an absolutely terrifying amount of line movement over the past few days. After opening with the Cowboys as four-point favourites, the line has moved five points to make Dallas a slight underdog. This shift was driven by two things – a poor performance of the Cowboys on Sunday night, and an influx of money on the Chargers.
Scenarios like this leave bettors with a tough choice – you can either follow the money, and lay the point with the Chargers, comfortable in the knowledge that the high-roller bettors thought it to be the right side earlier in the week, or you can take advantage of the five-point swing Vegas is now spotting you on short notice.
When this game opened, I was ready to slam the Chargers – they could easily be one of the top teams in the AFC if not for their early season field-goal struggles, and the Cowboys have shown absolutely nothing on offence since the loss of Ezekiel Elliott. But with the swing, I’m going to take the five extra points, and hope for the best.
New York Giants (+7.5) at Washington Redskins (Thursday, 8:30 p.m. ET)
The pick: Redskins -7.5
The logic: The Giants won in dramatic, last-second fashion last weekend. The Redskins lost in dramatic, last-second fashion last weekend. Judging by the ebb-and-flow nature of NFL football, we’ll play the Redskins this week.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+9.5) at Atlanta Falcons (Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET)
The pick: Buccaneers +9.5
The logic: The Buccaneers have won two straight games, and now all of a sudden are laying almost double digits. The Falcons have looked back to their old selves the past two weeks, but it was against depleted Cowboys and Seahawks teams. This line should be closer to six, and the extra points make Tampa Bay and enticing underdog pick.
Cleveland Browns (+8.5) at Cincinnati Bengals (Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET)
The pick: Browns +8.5
The logic: Gah. The Browns. The scourge of my existence. Every week I believe, and every week they let me down, last week in absolutely gut-wrenching fashion.
But as big underdogs against a division rival that has hardly impressed with their play this season, we’re doing it again. It’s Thanksgiving, and betting on the Browns is my version of Charlie Brown believing that this is the time he’s finally going to kick that football.
Tennessee Titans (-3.5) at Indianapolis Colts (Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET)
The pick: Titans -3.5
The logic: Road favourites are never an easy bet for me, but the Titans are still looking to solidify their spot in the postseason, and got embarrassed last week by the Steelers. This is a good spot for them to right the tailspin against a team they have already beaten by two touchdowns earlier in the year.
Buffalo Bills (+10) at Kansas City Chiefs (Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET)
The pick: Bills +10
The logic: After Nathan Peterman imploded for the Bills, Buffalo has returned the starting quarterback role to Tyrod Taylor, who will be looking to prove they never should have benched him in the first place. He will also be playing to impress any potential offseason suitors. The Chiefs have lost four of five games and do not look like a team that should be favoured by double digits against anyone.
Miami Dolphins (+16) at New England Patriots (Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET)
The pick: Dolphins +16
The logic: Along with my addiction to betting on the Browns, I also have an uncontrollable urge to bet against the Patriots. It has lost me too much money to count over the course of my life.
This stems from the fact that usually their lines break every conventional rule of gambling, as they do again here. This is the highest line of the year, and in the NFL, the rule is you blindly take any three-score underdog.
The Patriots feel like they are unstoppable. They have punted just three times in the past two weeks on their way to winning both games by 25 points each. But like hitting on 16, you back the Dolphins in this spot because historically it’s the right play, even if it feels psychotic.
Carolina Panthers (-4.5) at New York Jets (Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET)
The pick: Panthers -4.5
The logic: Panthers are trending up and the Jets are trending down. As much as I love a home dog, this isn’t a game to overthink.
Chicago Bears (+13.5) at Philadelphia Eagles (Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET)
The pick: Eagles -13.5
The logic: The nervous Philadelphia fan inside me has made me hesitant to back the Birds once we were dubbed the best team in football. But after drubbing the Cowboys last week despite losing our kicker, beating a forlorn Bears team at home by two touchdowns feels like a safe bet.
More than 80% of the bets are on the Eagles, making this a sucker bet to me as a person who does his best to abide by the rules of gambling. But I’m tired of betting against my team when they’re rolling.
Also, if the Eagles lose, it will be entirely my fault and I will wholly accept responsibility.
Seattle Seahawks (-6.5) at San Francisco 49ers (Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET)
The pick: Seahawks -6.5
The logic: After their crushing loss to the Falcons on Monday night, the Seahawks now find themselves in a heated battle for a postseason spot in a crowded NFC. It’s a lot of points to lay on the road against a divisional opponent, but this game means so much more to the Seahawks than the Niners. Until we get confirmation that Jimmy Garoppolo is making his San Francisco debut, they’re not a team to think twice about betting against.
Denver Broncos (+5) at Oakland Raiders (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)
The pick: Raiders -5
The logic: It was recently announced that Paxton Lynch would be taking over starting quarterback duties for the Broncos, and I can think of better places to make your first start of the season than the hostile haunts of Raider Nation. Both teams are falling apart, but I trust the Raiders more to put the pieces back together.
New Orleans Saints (+2.5) at Los Angeles Rams (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)
The pick: Rams -2.5
The logic: With the Saints coming off a dramatic comeback and the Rams coming home after their first embarrassing loss of the season, this seems like a solid play to counter public perception. That said, if you’ve been waiting for the Rams to fall back down to Earth, this might be the time for you to cash in on your gut feeling.
Jacksonville Jaguars (-4.5) at Arizona Cardinals (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)
The pick: Cardinals +4.5
The logic: “Blaine Gabbert revenge game!” is not a sentence I thought I would be excited to write at the start of this season, but here we are.
Green Bay Packers (+14) at Pittsburgh Steelers (Sunday, 8:30 p.m. ET)
The pick: Packers +14
The logic: I know Hundley was bad last weekend, but this is a few too many points, and with 75% of bets currently on the Steelers, it’s a good spot to fade the public.
Houston Texans (+7) at Baltimore Ravens (Monday, 8:30 p.m. ET)
The pick: Ravens -7
The logic: This is a coin toss for my money, and probably a stay-away game for most people. But it’s a home team with a solid defence against Tom Savage and needing a win to keep pace with the AFC Wild Card race. That’s good enough for me.
LAST WEEK: 8-5-1
Now check out where every team stands going into Week 12
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