NFL Picks Against the Spread: Thanksgiving Home Favorites are Tasty

By Jason McIntyre

Picking five NFL games against the spread each week is terribly difficult. We’re using lines from the Hilton SuperContest, and remember, 57 percent is considered good. CineSport’s Noah Coslov went 3-2 last week to improve to 25-35 on the year. Jason went 4-1 to improve to 38-22*.

Due to the holiday week, no video. I know, you’re crushed. If you’re struggling with the lines, and need trends, Oddsshark is a good place to start.

Noah emailed in his picks:

Seahawks +1 @ SF – Who have the 49ers beaten in the past 3 weeks? They look miserable and have pulled out games against bad teams. Seattle isn’t great, but they aren’t bad.

Bengals -3.5 @ TB – Bucs are 0-5 at home this season ATS and the game means a whole lot more for the Bengals than the Bucs.

Vikings -2.5 vs. CAR – Minnesota fights and it doesn’t seem like the Panthers do the same. The Vikes get to the quarterback and Carolina can’t do a whole lot to protect Cam.

Patriots +3 @ GB – I don’t care where the Patriots are playing. If there’s getting points, I’m taking them. Who’s going to defend Gronk? If Matthews does, then who rushes the passer?

Ravens -5.5 vs. SD – Baltimore is a different team at home. That defense is suffocating there and the short week early cross-country game doesn’t help the Chargers.

Only agreement I have with him is on the Vikings. I like Minnesota because it has handled bad teams at home. The only reason I didn’t take Minnesota is that its season is over; Carolina is just one game out in the putrid NFC South. Perhaps Cam Newton got healthy over the bye week? It’s going to be 19 degrees, so a cold, poorly-played game seems likely.

I passed on The Game because picking against the Packers at home is bad for your health, but also because everyone loves the Patriots, yet the line has swollen to 3.5 most places.

Two disagreements. One is purely a situational play: I’ll go with Tampa Bay +3.5. The Bengals are playing their 3rd straight road game; that’s happened one other time this year (when Denver lost in St. Louis). Yes, it’s very difficult to pick Tampa again one week after losing on the Bucs in the Chicago game. Tampa dominated the Bears from every statistical standpoint, but two turnovers in a two minute span in the third quarter, both in their own red zone, gave Chicago the game. I nearly vomited.

Actually, check that – a last minute change: Despite everything I said above, I’ll go with the Washington Redskins +9.5 against the Colts. Back Colt McCoy? Sure, why not. He looked decent in a spot start against Dallas earlier this year. And Jonas Gray ran for 201 yards two weeks ago against the Colts. Can Alfred Morris? I’ll guess the Jay Gruden decision galvanizes the team and the Redskins play well and lose 24-17 or thereabouts. I left the Bucs thoughts up there so I can weep when they cover and Washington gets blown out.

I got sucked into liking two Thanksgiving turkeys: San Francisco -1 (playing down to the competition all year, I believe its best performance is coming today; Seattle hasn’t been able to move the ball on the road in the last month, and the public is on them because of an unimpressive 19-3 win over Arizona) and Dallas -3.

It’s the first time I’m backing Dallas this season, and doing so reluctantly. From one hard fought rivalry win over the Giants to a short week game against one of the league’s best coaches? I’ll ride the Cowboys offensive line and note the Eagles haven’t played particularly well against good teams on the road since the Week 2 win over Indy.

I also took Kansas City +1.5 in a night game at home against Peyton. I’ll regret it if Julius Thomas plays. And Buffalo -2.5 at home against Cleveland, not because of anything specific (though the loss of Tashaun Gipson is going to be significant), but because when you can get the better defense at home for less than a field goal, you’ve gotta take it.

To finish in the money in the Hilton Supercontest this year, you’ve got to probably win 52-54 games. So I’ll need a torrid 19-6 or 20-5 finish to pull it off. That seems unlikely, especially since I’m 14-6 in my last 20, and due for a regression.

Because you don’t have work this week and want to see how sharp (or square) we’ve gotten, it’s all right here.

Week 1: Five NFL Picks Against the Spread: Tampa Bay and … Who?
Week 2: Five NFL Picks Against the Spread: Another Sunday for Underdogs?
Week 3: The Underdogs Can’t Keep Up Their NFL Hot Streak, Right?
Week 4: NFL Underdogs Are Roaring, and Four Play at Home Sunday
Week 5: Five NFL Picks Against the Spread: Big Underdogs to Watch Sunday
Week 6: Five NFL Picks Against the Spread: Seven Home Underdogs Ready to Roar?
Week 7: Five NFL Picks Against the Spread: Can Home Underdogs Reverse the Trend?
Week 8: Five NFL Picks Against the Spread: The Packers, Eagles & Ravens Are Underdogs!
Week 9: 5 NFL Picks Against the Spread: Anyone Have an Appetite for Big Road Underdogs?
Week 10: Five NFL Picks Against the Spread: Can Underdogs Roar Again?
Week 11: 5 Picks Against the Spread: Can the Favorites Go 9-3 Again?
Week 12: NFL Picks Against the Spread: 12 Home Favorites on Revenge Sunday

If you’re wondering how I have four more wins here than in the Hilton contest, I sadly explained that here.