You ever have one of those NFL weeks where you feel like everything is going to go chalk and you back all the favorites from a betting perspective or perhaps in a Confidence Pool? This feels like one of those weeks to me, which naturally means there will be a ton of upsets.
But Thanksgiving went exactly to form will all three favorites winning: Detroit over Minnesota, Dallas over Washington, and Pittsburgh over Indianapolis. Two of the three covered -- Dallas just missed. On my Thursday preview of the week here at Doc's, I recommended Pittsburgh and the "under" total and it won 28-7 against the Andrew Luck-less Colts. That was easy money.
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Of course, the Lions trailed in the fourth quarter again Thursday as they have in every game this season. Since 2008, eight teams have trailed in the fourth quarter in each of their first 11 games. The Lions are 7-4. The other seven teams went 4-73 combined through 11 games. In addition, just two teams in NFL history have seven wins in a single season in games they trailed in the fourth quarter: these Lions and the 2009 Colts. The head coach of both? Jim Caldwell. Those Colts went 14-2 and reached the Super Bowl. Hey, the Cubs won the World Series this year, so maybe the Lions can actually reach the first Super Bowl in their history. Barring a collapse, Detroit will win its first division title in more than two decades.
I legitimately can only see three underdogs winning outright this week: Houston (+1, which I don't even really consider a dog) vs. San Diego, Kansas City (+3.5) at Denver, and Green Bay (+4) at Philadelphia. Here are some line moves or potential game-changing injury notes for Week 12.
Giants at Browns (-7, 44.5): I touched on this Monday in my Opening Line Report and the spread hasn't moved. All seven of the Giants' wins and nine of their 10 games have been decided by one possession. I do want to mention two Bovada specials since released that involve this game. The first is whether Giants second-year safety Landon Collins has an interception, with "yes" at +250 and "no" at -400. Collins has been a big reason why the Giants have won five straight as he is playing like a monster and is in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation. Collins has five total picks in the past four games as well at least one in each. Josh McCown gets the start at QB for the Browns and he has six picks in 122 attempts this year. Worth a shot at yes. Then there's the usual "Will the Browns Go 0-16" prop with no-only at -500. I think they will get one at home. It could be Week 14 out of their bye against the sinking Bengals or Week 16 against the probably nothing-to-play-for Chargers.
Titans at Bears (+5, 42): Biggest line move on the board as this opened at a pick'em and a total of 45.5. The Titans, road favorites for the first time since Dec. 22, 2013 (-4 at Jacksonville and pushed in 20-16 win), are taking a big lean and certainly that's because Chicago apparently will start Matt Barkley at quarterback. Nothing had come out about a Jay Cutler injury early Monday or I would have addressed that. I watched the Bears' game against the Giants last week and Cutler never looked banged up to me (just lousy). But there are reports he has a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder, although the secretive Bears aren't saying anything and simply calling him day-to-day. Cutler hasn't practiced as of this writing and it sounds as if his season and Bears career is over -- there's no chance Cutler is back next year. Barkley's only other game action in Chicago came in Week 7 in Green Bay, when he completed six of 15 passes and threw a pair of interceptions. The Bears literally have nothing left with WR Alshon Jeffrey and LB Jerrell Freeman suspended, top offensive lineman Kyle Long and TE Zach Miller out for the season, and guys like WR Eddie Royal, LG Josh Sitton and OLB Leonard Floyd all unlikely this week due to injuries. This might be the most anonymous team in the NFL on Sunday. The Titans, by contrast, are relatively healthy.
Panthers at Raiders (-3, 49.5): Opened at -4 and 48. I actually would have given the Panthers a pretty good shot of winning here as they are on extra rest after beating New Orleans last Thursday and the Raiders on a short week after beating Houston Monday night and having some interesting travel back from Mexico. But Carolina is really banged up. Linebacker Luke Kuechly almost surely is out as he's in the concussion protocol. You probably saw the footage of him crying while being carted off against the Saints. He's one of the five best defensive players in the NFL, so that's big. Also likely out are defensive end Mario Addison (foot), the team's sacks leader, cornerback Leonard Johnson (chest) and center Ryan Kalil (shoulder). Oakland got out of Monday's win pretty healthy.
Rams at Saints (-7.5, 45.5): This opened at 6.5. I should say that some sportsbooks do still have it with New Orleans at -7 and I think that half -point could be important here as the Rams have been playing terrific defense for the past month or so but getting little help from the offense. I doubt that unit does too much Sunday as Jared Goff makes his first road start and has to deal with noise for the first time. New Orleans running back Mark Ingram suffered a potential concussion last Thursday night but has been improving and actually is likely to play -- certainly those few extra days helped him. As for Drew Brees, he has 26 TD passes and with four in this game would tie Peyton Manning and Brett Favre for the most seasons with at least 30 TD passes (nine) and extend his NFL-record streak of consecutive seasons with 30+ TD throws to nine. The Rams rank No. 5 against the pass and have allowed 15 TDs through the air. Brees probably has to wait until next week to hit 30.
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