Picks of the week: Thanksgiving NFL games feature lots of turkeys
It’s one of the most hallowed traditions in America, right up there with the Super Bowl: Thanksgiving Day football – and specifically betting on Thanksgiving football. Sadly, however, this year’s selection is a tad disappointing from both the fan’s and bettors’ perspectives. NFLbets will nevertheless take a stab at this underwhelming trio because hey, who’s not going to bet the Thanksgiving Day games?
Chicago Bears -2 at Detroit Lions, over/under 38 points
A couple of weeks ago, the over felt like a gimme: After all, Matt Stafford has for over a decade scored points no matter who’s on the roster; overs on Lions games were 7-2 through the first nine games. But then Marvelous Matthew gave way to broken back bones and Jeff Triskel who is, in short, a serious comedown from Stafford; meanwhile, the Bears have averaged 16.7 points per game since their week 6 bye.
Betting on under 38 points isn’t as foolhardy as may seem. Since 2015, 72 games have kicked off with an over/under of 38 points or less, and the over is only 38-34. (Interesting side note: Despite the apparent overemphasis on scoring points, through Thanksgiving, 18 games in 2019 have already carried such a low point spread; at the current rate, ’19 will see the most 38-point over/unders in nearly 15 years.) This is certainly not an original supposition on NFLbets’ part, either: This line has dumped from 40 points to 38 since opening.
So take the under on an O/U of 38 points; this way, you’ll avoiding choosing a winner and profit from what could be a real snoozer.
Buffalo Bills +6½ at Dallas Cowboys, over/under 44½ points
In order to wager on this one, the NFL bettor is left to decide which of these two teams is the bigger fraud. And if you think that’s too harsh, just ask yourself why an 8-3 team is getting a full touchdown in a dome against a 6-5 team who marginally has a head coach.
It breaks down like so. In their three losses, the Bills are 1-1-1 ATS in losing to teams with a combined 20-13 mark. Meanwhile, they’re 8-0 SU (6-2 ATS) against teams that are 27-72 altogether. That 8-3 isn’t so impressive upon a closer look, eh…?
The Cowboys schedule hasn’t been nearly as easy as the Bills’, but in similar fashion to Buffalo, They’re terrible against winning teams: Dallas is just 1-4 SU/ATS against those above .500, with the sole W coming against the Philadelphia Eagles, who could very well finish the season 8-8 or worse.
So either one of these teams is a fraud or you’re flipping a coin to pick this game. NFLbets prefers the former supposition, and we’re guessing the fraud is Buffalo. Statistically, the Bills D is top-10 in quite a few categories, but again, that competition fills in a lot of blanks. In their last six games, Buffalo has surrendered 300 or more yards of offense four times, and has been statistically outperformed on offense thrice.
Jason Garrett seemingly still hasn’t grokked that he holds one of the NFL’s best ground weapons in Ezekiel Elliott, but Zeke might pile up a lot of yards accidentally: For example, Philadelphia Eagles RBs Jordan Howard and Mike Sanders combined for 170 yards on just 26 attempts against Buffalo in week 8. On top of this, Jason Witten and Amari Cooper contributed a total of 5 yards on 6 targets and a single reception put together against a truly proper defense. Here’s to thinking they should do a little better in this one – with “should” being the operative word there.
But then there’s Garrett. Think all the moaning about Garrett’s weak coaching is limited to the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area? Well, you may be right because this team’s misfortunes typically tend to send a cool blast of schadenfreude across the other 31 NFL markets, but the stats don’t lie. And those stats say that, since hired as head coach of the Cowboys in 2010, is a pitiable 6-15 SU (and just 4-17 ATS) in all games played on fewer than seven days off. Talent or no, these Cowboys are always in trouble on a short week.
So we’re gonna split the difference here and say take the Buffalo Bills +6½ at Dallas along with taking the Cowboys ML at -290.
New Orleans Saints -7 at Atlanta Falcons, over/under 50 points
Frankly, NFLbets is surprised this point spread is so low, given that Buffalo is getting 6½ at Dallas; much of the betting public agrees with us, too since this line has gained a point since opening. We suppose the sportsbooks are putting much stock in the Falcons shocking upset of these Saints two weeks ago. But that loss plus the preceding week’s bye is sandwiched by four 30-plus point wins. Meanwhile, the Falcons have scored 30 or more twice this season – in losses to the Arizona Cardinals and Houston Texans.
Since Devonta Freeman is out for Atlanta, Matt Ryan will likely take it to the air early and often, as opposed to the week 10 game plan which featured 36 pass plays against 34 runs. The Saints boast a top-5 rush defense and a middling pass defense, so Sean Payton would certainly prefer the opposite, but Ryan is beating anyone with his arm any more: His TD numbers are down, his interception numbers are up and he’s currently posting the lowest QBR of his career (59.8).
The Saints are a better team and NFLbets sees here an opportunity for those who get burned in week 10 to recoup some losses. We’re saying take the New Orleans Saints -7 at Atlanta.
NFLbets’ Picks of the Week last week: 3-3.
NFLbets’ Picks of the Week this season: 33-21.
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