Thanksgiving NFL Betting: Odds and Analysis for All Three Games
This is the week every year when I have Thanksgiving envy. As a Canadian I get to celebrate Thanksgiving, but ours comes on a Monday in October. It's not the major holiday that the American version is, and we don't get a smorgasbord of football or a shopping frenzy or anything. Don't get me wrong, I love our Thanksgiving - but it may be the one Canadian thing that is second-best. Of course, I don't have to be an American to eat too much and watch football all day on Thursday. Let's look at each of the three games and what they have to offer us:
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Vikings (-3) at Lions: Case Keenum is currently at the helm of a team that is currently terrifying teams on both sides of the ball. Just think about that for a second. The Vikings have won six in a row, Keenum and Adam Thielen have a very special QB-receiver relationship, and the defense just completely stifled a Rams team that was rolling. This is a legitimate team - remarkable for a team that has gone through two starting QBs the last season and a half. Plus, Minnesota is strong on the road, and Detroit is an ugly 2-3 at home. It seems like a pretty straightforward pick. But, for fun, let's make a case for the Lions. They have a top five scoring offense and have the fourth most points in the NFC. Minnesota shut down the Rams last week, but this is the second straight high-powered offense they have had to deal with, and there could be some advantages for the Lions in this one as a result. The other thing working for the Lions here is the line movement. The game opened as a pick'em, and very quickly has moved to have Minnesota favored by a field goal. We could see further movement, too. A team playing at home on Thanksgiving - a viable playoff contender, no less - that is getting a field goal can be attractive. And finally, though Keenum is playing well right now, Matthew Stafford is the better and more proven QB here, and that has to be a factor. The Vikings are getting the bulk of the betting action, and that is justified, but they aren't a lock here by any means.
Chargers (pick) at Cowboys: The game opened with the Cowboys favored by four points. The fast and significant line movement is a sign that early bettors actually watched the games this past weekend. The Chargers looked awful early in the season, but in recent weeks they have looked like the best team in their division - which isn't much of an accomplishment this year. They absolutely crushed the Bills at home last week and have generally looked good lately. Dallas, meanwhile, was just awful in a divisional contest against the Eagles. Dak Prescott was the worst he has ever been, the defense was all but nonexistent, and the team just didn't seem like they cared enough to do anything about it. They are missing their best offensive player, the owner can't stop finding ways to cause drama off the field, and though they are just a game out of a wild-card spot, they have lost two in a row and just don't feel like a real part of the race at this point. I'd obviously like to have more points with the Chargers - I'd always like more points - but it's easy enough to make a case for the visitors here.
Giants (+7.5) at Redskins: The Redskins are better than you would expect a 4-6 team to be, and they looked solid last week despite the overtime loss to the Saints. The Giants are every bit as bad as you would expect a 2-8 team to be. They won last week, but don't be fooled. It was an ugly win over a struggling Kansas City team, and neither squad could do anything offensively. The Giants have had poor coaching, and their offensive is lousy. Washington is better, they are at home, and they should win. The question here, then, isn't necessarily to pick the winner but to figure out if they can win by enough points to cover the spread here. The number has climbed from the key number of seven to gain the hook, and it's possible it could climb more. I find it easy to dislike the Giants, and I don't think Kirk Cousins gets enough respect, so I know how I lean. How about you?
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