Happy Turkey Day y’all! Welcome to a very special Thanksgiving Day Picks Against the Spread. Aaron and I are here with picks to all three games. We will be back with our regularly scheduled program on Friday.
Kyle’s reaction: Hopefully you are spending the day with good food, good people and good football. Based upon my picks, i’m not sure about the football part but it is still football. We have to soak up whatever this season has left to offer.
After a 2-1 Week 11, I’m gaining some steam. A 3-0 day would get me back to .500 with plenty of time to get back in the money. Let the good times roll!
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Aaron’s reaction: Happy Thanksgiving Piggies! Welcome to the Week 12 Thanksgiving Bonus picks article. Normally, Kyle and I give you our 3 best picks of the week to help you win money each and every NFL Sunday (or Monday, sometimes).
This week, we’re picking all 3 games on Thanksgiving so you can eat, drink, be marry, and hopefully win some extra spending money. The picks below are in order of confidence, so bet wisely!
Week 10 results:
On the season:
Aaron : 20-15-1
Kyle : 14-17-2
Let’s get to the picks:
Washington Redskins +7.5 @ Dallas Cowboys
What have the Cowboys done this year to show that they should be favored by more than a touchdown to any team in the league? Sure, they are now 5-5 after back to back wins, but they’ve beaten the struggling Eagles and the struggling Falcons (more on them in pick #2). They beat the lowly G-men by 7 points and the Lions by 2. I think Dallas is improving as a team, but they aren’t that good.
Washington just lost Alex Smith for the year with a broken leg. While we wish him a speedy recovery, I think this is good for the Redskins. Their defense is clicking and performing at a top 10 level in both rushing and passing yards.
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Despite the addition of Amari Cooper, Dallas still has virtually 0 passing game. Their rushing game is top 5 in the league, but that typically doesn’t lead to blowouts. I think Colt McCoy is going to shine in his first start since 2014. This guy is a veteran, with great accuracy, who doesn’t make a lot of mistakes.
Sound like anyone in particular? Like the guy he replaced? Would this line be 7.5 if Alex Smith was there? I don’t think so! And I don’t think you should change your bet because of it. Dallas might win this game, but it’s going to be closer than 8 points!
Pick: Redskins +7.5
Atlanta Falcons +13 @ New Orleans Saints
Ugh. I don’t want to do this. The Falcons and my hometown Broncos are the most frustrating teams in the NFL this year. Who would have thought that Devonte Freeman’s absence would absolutely crush this team’s rushing attack?
The good thing is, for this line not the Falcons, is that they are going to need to pass. A LOT. Their passing game has still been strong behind Matty Ice, Julio, and rookie-star Calvin Ridley. This rivalry has always produced tight games – ATL L by 6, ATL L by 10, ATL W by 3, ATL W by 6, and ATL W by 13 dating back to 2016.
I understand that the Saints are playing like one of the best teams we’ve seen in a long time. I’ve watched them a lot this year, and to say they are good is an understatement. Their last 2 weeks they have beat Cincy and Philly by a total combined score of 99-21.
I think this is skewing the public’s bias as to what this game is going to look like. On the flip side, Atlanta lost their last 2 games to the Browns and the Cowboys. This is a divisional rivalry game and you have the Falcons literally trying to save their season with a win. It’s a stretch to say Atlanta wins this game – but I think they could. At least, they should keep this respectable while fighting for their season.
Pick: Falcons +13
Chicago Bears -3.5 @ Detroit Lions
Here’s what I wrote in our Week 11 Six Pack: “I liked the Lions a lot this year – I really thought Patricia was going to have a great 1st year story. I’ve picked the Lions three times already (Week 2, Week 4, and Week 7) and won on all 3 picks.
In weeks 3-7, they rushed the ball an average of 29 times per game (33, 20 in a L, 28, 35). Week 8 against Seattle, they put it on the ground 13 times – LOSS. Then in week 9 against Minnesota, 24 total carries but 5 of those were Stafford and 2 were end arounds – LOSS. Last week against the Bears, you guessed it, 24 times on the ground in another loss. It doesn’t help that LeGarrette Blount sucks, but this team needs the running game to open up the pass for Stafford.”
Why am I telling you this? Well, as you probably know, Detroit beat Carolina by 1 last week. Sure, the Panthers could have won (and covered) if Rivera didn’t go for two points and the win… but regardless, Detroit showed up to play against a top 10 team at home. I actually picked against both of these teams last week and paid the price.
This week, I’m going back to the Bears on Thanksgiving. I was leaning toward the Lions to start, but with Kerryon Johnson looking doubtful I have to stick to my guns. The Lions don’t win when they can’t run the ball. Stafford usually comes to play on Turkey Day but he’s having a rough season. His line held up last week, but they may have exhausted too much energy to handle Roquon, Mack, and the rest of the Bears intense pass rush.
The Bears are riding a 4-game winning streak, which slightly scares me, but I feel that they are easily the all-around better team in this match-up. Marvin Jones is unlikely to go, leaving Stafford with limited options through the air (the only way you can beat the Bears). The Bears have the best rushing defense in the league – Blount won’t surpass more than 30 yards this game and I bet you he gets at least 10 touches.
Pick: Bears -3.5
Detroit Lions +3.5 vs Chicago Bears
The contrarian in me can’t stay away from the Lions at home this week. They are home in back to back weeks and coming off of squeaking out a win against Carolina. Detroit will be without Kerryon Johnson for sure and likely Marvin Jones. Bruce Ellington and Theo Riddick will step in their absence.
The Bears are coming into this game off of an impressive win against division rival Minnesota Vikings. This has allowed the Bears to open up a 1.5 game lead in the division. Their defense has been great and Mitch Trubisky has made plays.
But as I said I’m backing Detroit especially with Trubisky potentially not playing. I expect a slower start with this game is starting 30 minutes earlier than normal. The Bears probably win but it will be by a field goal or less. Take the home team.
Pick: Lions +3.5
Dallas Cowboys -7.5 vs Washington Redskins
This is a match-up between two teams going in opposite directions. The Dallas Cowboys have found their rush attack and Ezekiel Elliott has eclipsed 120 plus yards in two straight games. Amari Cooper has helped open up the pass game. Leighton Vander Esch has been a revelation on defense and has improved that side of the ball.
Washington continues to battle injuries and lost QB Alex Smith for the season. The offensive line is already a problem, they are relying on Josh Doctson and Maurice Harris to make plays on the outside and 1,000 year old Adrian Peterson will surely break down soon. Now Colt McCoy, who hasn’t started since 2014 is under center. He was 1-3 in his 4 starts that season.
The line has come down from the opener at 9.5 to 7.5, which feels much more appropriate.
I expect to see a lot of the Jones family celebrating and high-fiving in this contest. Take the Cowboys at home.
Pick: Cowboys -7.5
New Orleans Saints -13 vs Atlanta Falcons
Of the three Thanksgiving day games this is the one i am the most unsure about. The New Orleans Saints are steamrolling their competition, covering 8 of their last games against the spread.
They have been especially good at home with wins over the Rams and demolishing the Eagles this past week.
The Falcons on the other hand have lost two straight including last week at home against Dallas. They head on the road for this contest. Injuries continue to pile up for Atlanta but the one thing that can be counted on is their offense. Julio Jones has scored in three straight games and Tevin Coleman has been solid.
This line screams take the Falcons, this is too many points. It opened at 14.5 and has come down to 13. That said, I’m taking New Orleans here. While the Saints have been a cover machine all season, Atlanta has only covered three times.
I expect a game not that dissimilar from what we saw on Sunday against Philly. I can see Drew Brees now sitting down with a turkey leg after another dominant win.
Pick: Saints -13