This is a terrible week for betting. Injuries and other abnormal situations have left five lines at near pick ‘ems and a couple more still not even on the board yet. And then there is the Monday night game – one does have to wonder if the “N/A” for that snoozer is “Not Available” or “Not Applicable,” since it’s not an NFL game.
Anyway, I pulled off my second straight 3-1 in week 11, so I’m inching ever closer to .500. Well, I’m still a ways off at 19-25, but 6-2 over the last two weeks is acceptable.
Tony still has a one-game lead for the season, but he dropped from 4-0 in week 10 to 2-2 in week 11. Here are the picks for Thanksgiving weekend.
Denver (-10) at Kansas City – I said it before and I’ll say it again, Denver is on as good a run as anyone in the league right now. Kansas City is starting Brady Quinn this week and they’ve looked like an aimless team just waiting for another offseason the last few weeks. The loss of Willis McGahee looks tough on paper but I think Ronnie Hillman actually fits the Peyton Manning system a bit better. I expect this one to be over quickly.
Houston (-3) at Detroit – They say Detroit always plays competitively on Thanksgiving Day but they’re really wrong. The Lions have lost eight in a row on turkey day and many times in recent years have not been competitive in doing so. Meanwhile, the Texans suffered a near-loss to Jacksonville last week and I think the Texans’ defense is going to want to reestablish dominance. Lions will score some points, but Houston will win comfortably.
Green Bay (+3) at New York Giants – It’s surprising to me that this line has actually moved toward the Giants. Have people forgotten how bad they looked heading into the bye two weeks ago? The Packers are on a pretty good roll. They seem to have rediscovered things offensively. And the Giants’ pass defense should play right into the hands of Aaron Rodgers.
Upset of the week: Washington (+155) at Dallas – The upset I wanted to pick was Tampa over Atlanta, but the moneyline has the Falcons at -115 and the Bucs at -105, so that didn’t seem very gutty. Robert Griffin III gets a chance to show off his multiple skills on national television. Tony Romo gets a chance to continue showing people that he is great until it matters. The Redskins win straight up.
New England (-7) over New York Jets – Even with Gronk out, how are the Jets going to manage to stop the Patriots offense, or manage to muster points against a Pats defense that has added troubled but talented Aqib Talib? The Jets almost pulled it out 5 weeks ago, losing in overtime, and managed to score 16 points against the Dolphins and Seahawks in the two weeks that followed, before “exploding” against the Rams for 27 last week. Since eking out the overtime win against the Jets, the Patriots are 3-0 and the lowest total points they’ve scored in a game is 37 against the Bills two weeks ago.
Miami (+3) over Seattle – There are two upsets I like this week on the heads up, this one has a slightly lower payout, so we’ll take the spread. Seattle doesn’t play nearly as well on the road, and add in the west coast team traveling east factor leads to the Miami win.
Tennessee @ Jacksonville Jaguars: Over 43.5 – Betting the over/under on this game may be the only way to make it mildly interesting.
Upset of the week: Buffalo (+145) over Indianapolis – Despite having Fred Jackson on nearly every one of my fantasy teams, this upset is based on the assumption that the Bills finally realized last Thursday night what every fantasy football player (and probably 31 other NFL teams) have known for a couple of months–the Bills need to better utilize CJ Spiller. His 22 carry, 91 yard performance last week–4.1 yards per carry–lowered his season YPC average to 6.6. The more carries he gets, the further that will probably come down–but his career average is 5.4, and he’s useful in the passing game as well. As long as the Bills realize this, I think they can win straight up. If they don’t, then Chan Gailey might want to get that resume up to date.