I had a perfect Thanksgiving last week. After struggling on Thursday games like it was my freakin’ job, I went 3 for 3 on Thanksgiving. I started out hot on Sunday as well, but finished the week with a 9-6-1.
The perfect Thanksgiving was a bit unexpected, but really needed. I should go back to see what my Thursday record is, but I’m almost afraid.
There are some pretty cool games coming up this weekend. A few division games that could be the difference in who wins their division.
Can the Giants find success with QB Geno Smith starting over Eli Manning?
We pick ever NFL game against the spread and throw out a few upsets in Week 13 of the 2017 NFL season.
Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys (+1) – My pick is Washington Redskins
The Cowboys have failed to score in the double-digits in three-straight games. I always thought the Cowboys was more than a one-man team, and I was correct…they are a two-man team. The Cowboys are a laughingstock without LT Tyron Smith and they are just a bad team when they only without RB Ezekiel Elliott. Dallas is now under .500 and it doesn’t look like they will be a playoff team since they will be without Elliott for three more games. The Redskins appear to add by subtraction with RB Samaje Perine taking over for injured running backs Chris Thompson and Rob Kelley. The Redskins now have a running game. They had to rely on short passes out of the backfield to move the ball as a quasi-running game before Thompson’s injury. Washington is a better team and will cover on Thursday.
Kansas City Chiefs at New York Jets (+3) – My pick is New York Jets
The Chiefs looked like the best team in the NFL through the first couple weeks of the season. They are currently on a slide losing five of their last six games. The games were competitive, but their offense has been found out. Rookie RB Kareem Hunt has hit a wall and teams are forcing QB Alex Smith to throw down field with little success. He didn’t throw an interception thru their first eight games, but has thrown four in his last three games. The Jets are better than people realize. They don’t have a very good record, but certain aspect of their game go unnoticed. WR Robby Anderson is turning into a Pro Bowl receiver and their front-seven has stop the run against some good backs. Their run defense hasn’t been consistent, but they have been pretty good at home. I need to see more from the Chiefs on offense before I lay a single jellybean on them, so I’m taking the points.
Denver Broncos at Miami Dolphins (+1) – My pick is Denver Broncos
These two teams have been horrible to bettors this season. Denver (2-8-1 ATS) and Miami (3-6-2 ATS) were almost automatic wins, but what the hell do we do when they face each other?! Miami hasn’t named a quarterback, but if Jay Cutler is healthy, they will start him over Matt Moore. Denver also has a quarterback carousel going on. Paxton Lynch injured his ankle late last week and Trevor Siemian took over with two touchdown drives. Siemian will start this game and honestly, he looked pretty darn good late against Oakland. His benching could be the best thing that happened to him. He saw two guys start over him and fail. Miami commits too many turnovers on a weekly basis. Denver’s defense is still pretty darn good and will keep the Broncos close. I have to take Denver.
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills (+8.5) – My pick is New England Patriots
That near-double-digit is begging to be bet on…but I’m not falling for it. The Patriots have been consistently beating teams by double-digits all season. The Bills ‘can’ be a decent team, but I worry Bills head coach will pull QB Tyrod Taylor early if he struggles in the first quarter. Hell, he may even start QB Nathan Peterman. He’s been weird about the position since Peterman’s first NFL start was beyond horrible. The Pats will run at the Bills just like the Saints and Jets did in early-November. The Pats will cover at New Era Field.
Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans (-6.5) – My pick is Houston Texans
This game was a blowout the first time they met, but that was during a fun stretch when QB Deshaun Watson wasn’t injured. QB Tom Savage hasn’t been very good in his place, but he has improved since his first attempt as starter. He’s actually playing better than Titans QB Marcus Mariota, who has thrown six interceptions the last two weeks. I don’t expect a huge output of offense in this game. The Titans have struggled to stop a team’s #1 receiver this year. Houston WR DeAndre Hopkins could be the key to this game. I’m don’t see the Titans being that much of a favorite in this game, so I have to take the points.
Minnesota Vikings at Atlanta Falcons (-3) – My pick is Minnesota Vikings
It looks like Atlanta finally got things turned around after a midseason slump. They have won four of their last five games. Their win at Seattle was the most impressive of the stretch. QB Matt Ryan has been consistent and even let WR Mohamed Sanu air out a touchdown pass to WR Julio Jones last week. I wouldn’t say any of their other games in this stretch have been against potential playoff teams. The Vikings are coming off a big division win at Detroit on Thanksgiving. Minnesota has won seven games in a row and have covered the last six games against the spread. The Vikings receivers have made it easy for Keenum with yards after the catch. When you add in their defense, the Vikings might be one of the best teams in the league. I think the Vikings have a shot at winning this game, so I’m taking the points.
Tampa Bay at Green Bay Packers (OFF) – My pick is TBD
This game is currently off the board until we know the injury status of Tampa Bay QB Jameis Winston. I will have a pick up later in the week.
San Francisco 49ers at Chicago Bears (-3.5) – My pick is San Francisco 49ers
I might be looking too much into SF QB Jimmy Garoppolo’s late-game performance last week, but I really liked what I saw. Not much has impressed me about the Bears in quite awhile. Chicago has lost four-straight games and are 0-3-1 ATS in those games. Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky is using more of the playbook every week, but he’s lacking playmaking receivers. The Niners could be a decent team if they can air out the ball a little to WR Marquise Goodwin. I have to take the points here since I don’t like Trubisky right now.
Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars (-9.5) – My pick is Jacksonville Jaguars
I’m the opposite of a ‘homer’ fan. I’m often way too hard on the Colts, thus is leads me to bet against them most weeks. I’ve seen all their games and I honestly have no idea how they end up within a touchdown by the end of the game. The last time they played the Jags, they were beaten at home 27-0. Jacksonville dominated Indy in all facets of the game. That was a rough stretch for the Colts. Indy QB Jacoby Brissett has actually looked comfortable at times. He has a nice ceiling as a player and will be a really nice backup behind QB Andrew Luck (if he’s every healthy). The Jags have had some issues when they can’t run the ball, like last week when RB Leonard Fournette was ineffective against the Cardinals. The Colts defense isn’t very good and they made backup RB T.J. Yeldon look like Emmitt Smith when he replaced the injured Fournette in their last match-up. This line feels a few points too high, but this is just a bad match-up for the Colts, so I’m taking the Jags to cover at home.
Detroit Lions at Baltimore Ravens (-3) – My pick is Detroit Lions
This could be a very tight game. The Lions love to pass and have talented receivers and the Ravens defense are ballhawks that pick off passes. The Ravens lead the league in interceptions and could make QB Matthew Stafford have a long day. Baltimore is a an underrated team and are solid at home. I do worry if they can move the ball on offense against the Lions. The Lions are 3-1 against the spread in road games this season. The Lions receivers are talented and guys like WRs Marvin Jones and Golden Tate are great route runners. I think the Lions have a chance to win outright, so I’ll take the points.
Cleveland Browns at Los Angeles Chargers (-13.5) – My pick is Los Angeles Chargers
I first thought this line might be a little too high, but then I remember how well the Chargers have played recently. I worry for the health of Browns QB DeShone Kizer after the Chargers are done with him. They will put pressure on him all game if they can’t establish the run to stave off blitzes. The Chargers offense has been one of the best the last few weeks with yards on the ground and in the air, very balanced. I have to take the Chargers here since their defense will cause a few turnovers.
Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints (-4) – My pick is New Orleans Saints
The Saints defense was humbled a bit by the Rams last week. They were able to handle RB Todd Gurley, but couldn’t stop QB Jared Goff. The Saints shouldn’t have to worry much about the Panthers passing game since they have really been trying to run the ball more. The Panthers have won four games in a row with their renewed emphasis on the run. The Saints were able to pick off QB Cam Newton three times in their first meeting this year. They won 34-13, but this game should be closer. I’m still taking the Saints to cover thanks to their backfield.
New York Giants at Oakland Raiders (-7) – My pick is Oakland Raiders
I don’t know what to think about this game. The Giants are benching QB Eli Manning in favor of Geno freakin’ Smith. The Giants have so many issues, but they have managed to keep their defense up in most games. They were trounced by the Rams a month ago, but they’ve played pretty well since. I really, really don’t know what to do with Geno Smith. Will he be better than Eli? Unless they trot out a whole new set of receivers, I doubt it. The Raiders will be without wide receivers Amari Cooper (injury) and Michael Crabtree (suspension) this week. I have to go with the beast I know rather than the one I don’t, so I’ll take the Raiders to cover at home.
Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals (+7) – My pick is Los Angeles Rams
The Rams beat the Cardinals 33-0 a month ago, but that was the game that QB Carson Palmer went down with an injury and backup Drew Stanton struggled. QB Blaine Gabbert has started for the Cardinals the last two weeks and has had success. I don’t know how well he will do against the Rams hungry defense. The Rams were impressive last week and QB Jared Goff really came into his own and spread the ball around to beat the Saints. Arizona needs to get RB Adrian Peterson going if they stand a chance, but I don’t see that happening. I’m taking the Rams to cover.
Philadelphia Eagles at Seattle Seahawks (+5.5) – My pick is Philadelphia Eagles
Winning in Seattle is a tough task, even when they come into this game limping. Seattle has injuries throughout their secondary and will be tested by Philly QB Carson Wentz. The Eagles are playing as well as any other team in the NFC. They have won nine games in a row and have covered their last eight games. Wentz is playing so well that he should be in the running for MVP…I doubt he will win, but what he’s doing is impressive. He’s not trying to do too much and has a great backfield behind him. Seattle may hang in this game for awhile, but Philly’s offense is just on fire right now and their defense is more than doing their job. I’m taking the Eagles to cover in Seattle.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals (+5.5) – My pick is Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh QB Big Ben has earned his money when it comes to playing Ohio teams. They beat the Bengals by 15 points in October, but Cincy QB Andy Dalton has been playing a lot better since. He hasn’t thrown an interception since the last game against the Steelers. Pittsburgh hasn’t been a really dependable team against the spread. The reason Cincinnati has been playing ‘okay’ lately is due to Dalton’s carefulness. He usually becomes erratic when it comes to the Steelers. Dalton will allow a Steelers cover on Monday Night Football.
*These picks are for entertainment purposes
Sweetbob’s NFL picks against the spread record in previous seasons:
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob