NFL Picks: Thanksgiving Special Props Odds and Betting Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 11/26/2014
I used to like to do the "mosts" every Friday during football season here at Doc's, but I haven't really seen the sportsbooks list those props this season. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong place. You know, the most yards rushing in a week, most passing and most receiving. Well, Bovada has come through for us this week on the excellent Thanksgiving tripleheader. Just another reason to love Turkey Day football.
In my opinion, the NBA should delay the opening of its season to Thanksgiving as well, making it one of the best sports days of the year. That way we could have basketball season into July, leaving just one month of blah before NFL training camps open. But I digress. Alas, no NBA games on Thursday to do interesting parlays with. Here are Bovada's Thanksgiving specials, including two that aren't "mosts."
Most Passing Yards Picks
Detroit's Matthew Stafford is the 2/1 favorite as he faces a Bears defense that is 28th in the NFL in allowing 260.0 passing yards per game and probably will be missing starting linebacker Lance Briggs and cornerback Kyle Fuller. That defense has been torched three of the past four games by Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Josh McCown (at least yardage wise by McCown). Rodgers and Brady you can understand. Stafford has really struggled the past two weeks, losses in New England and Arizona. He has been much better under the Ford Field roof, averaging 280.4 passing yards per game. Last year Stafford didn't top 242 yards passing in sweeping Chicago.
Jay Cutler is 5/1 in the same game. Cutler is having a nice season yardage wise with three games of at least 330 yards. And he's going to have to throw a lot because I don't expect that Chicago can run the ball much against that very good Lions defense.
I believe the winner of this prop comes from the Eagles-Cowboys game. Mark Sanchez is 5/2 and Tony Romo 7/2. Might shock you, but Sanchez has thrown for at least 307 yards in all three starts. Romo has just one 300-yard game this season. He has been very good in his career on Thanksgiving as I wrote about in the Eagles-Cowboys game preview .
I'm going with Sanchez (forget Russell Wilson or Colin Kaepernick in the late game). You can also double up on Sanchez as Bovada has a prop asking if he will throw for at least 300 yards for a fourth straight game. "No" is -180 and "yes" +140.
Most Receiving Yards Picks
Detroit's Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate are the 7/2 co-favorites. Frankly, the Bovada oddsmakers are making Megatron a favorite by reputation only. He has been injury prone this season and has just two 100-yard games. He has totaled 117 yards in the past two. Tate has been more consistent and has five 100-yard games. Alas, most of those came when Johnson was out and he was clearly Stafford's top guy. Tate hasn't topped 100 in the past two, either.
I don't like either of those guys as Stafford will spread the ball around. For the same reason, I don't like the Bears' Alshon Jeffery (7/1) or Brandon Marshall (8/1). Sanchez also spreads the ball around quite a bit to guys like Jeremy Maclin (5/1) and emerging rookie Jordan Matthews (15/1). My pick is the Cowboys' Dez Bryant (9/2). He has three 100-yard games, including two with at least 150. Last season he had 110-yard and 99-yard games vs. the Eagles. Dez is a diva, and he will want to shine on Thanksgiving.
Most Rushing Yards Picks
Three of the top seven rush defenses will be in action Thursday, with the Lions No. 1 (70.7 ypg), Seahawks No. 6 (88.4) and 49ers No. 7 (92.9). The worst rush defense of the six teams belongs to Philadelphia at No. 16 (109.0). Thus, to no surprise, NFL rushing king DeMarco Murray is the heavy even-money favorite. His next 100-yard game will be his 11th this season and tie Emmitt Smith's franchise record. Murray had only 48 yards in his lone game vs. Philly last year. I hate to go chalk, plus already leaned the Cowboys' Bryant on the receiving yards, but I don't know how you can't go Murray here.
"Over/Under" Lions Touchdowns
It's set at 2.5 with the over at -175 and under at +145. This prop is obviously because Detroit hasn't scored a touchdown since the Week 10 20-16 win over Miami. The Lions haven't had three since a last-minute 24-23 home win over New Orleans in Week 7. That seems very hard to believe with all this talent. The Chicago defense has been awful at times this season, and I'd be stunned if the Lions don't score at least three TDs. Go over.
Will All 3 Games Go Over The Total?
This is yes-only at +600. Very interesting. Bovada has it set at 47.5 in Bears-Lions, 54.5 in Eagles-Cowboys and 39.5 in Seahawks-49ers. I previewed those latter two and recommended over. So do I think the first game will hit over? My only worry is that Detroit wins something like 31-10, but the Bears should be able to reach at least 20 and I expect the Lions to approach 30. Take this bet, it's great value.
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