The best part of Thanksgiving for sports fans and bettors, is not the dried out turkey you will try and choke down, but the three NFL games that will help you forget the dreadful meal. This year’s slate features the traditional Chicago at Detroit and Washington at Dallas contests, but also presents Atlanta at New Orleans in the evening.
Chicago will try and down their second consecutive divisional foe after dispatching Minnesota on Sunday. Dallas is trying to get above 500 for the first time this season, and can take over first place with a win. The Saints, who are the hottest team in the NFL, will try and win their 10th straight game.
Five Bets takes a look at all three of the matchups, and picks a quintet of wagers gamblers might think about making.
1. Chicago -4 at Detroit
Chicago has established itself as the top team in the NFC North, and can extend their dominance with a victory over last place Detroit. The game opened at +3 for the home team, but shifted a point because of Chicago’s performance over Minnesota on Sunday.
Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has found his grove with the Bears, and the defense is No. 3 in total defense. The Lions will have to rely on Matthew Stafford, who is 13th in passing yards.
The Bears should win by at least a touchdown.
Take Chicago and give away the points.
2. Washington +7.5 at Dallas
When news of Alex Smith’s broken leg hit, Washington opened as a nine-point underdog. The sharps were all over that number, driving the odds down to 7.5 points.
Colt McCoy showed he is a capable backup, throwing a 9-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Reed on his first attempt after replacing Smith. The former Texas Longhorn finished 6 of 12 for 54 yards.
The Redskins will rely on running back Adrian Peterson more than usual, but so far he has proven to be up for the task. The Cowboys are No. 5 against the run, and they will definitely make McCoy beat them. That might be more than the backup can deliver.
Take the Cowboys and give away the points.
3. Washington at Dallas Over/Under 40.5
Indoors at AT&T Stadium screams over 40.5, but the under should be considered. Both Washington and Dallas average about 20 points a game, while the two defenses allow the same number.
It is interesting that the over/under opened at 40.5, and stayed there, even though the line on the game moved from nine to 7.5 points.
The variable here is Washington Redskins quarterback McCoy. He has started four times since being with the Redskins and has a 1-3 record. Overall as a starter he is 7-18 in his eight-year career.
Can Dallas shut down McCoy? The stats point to yes. It just comes down to will the Cowboys score at will against the Redskins. Probably not, though they should win the game.
Take the under.
4. Atlanta +13 at New Orleans
New Orleans could be the hottest team in the NFL right now. The Saints have won nine straight, and often by big margins. They are 8-2 against the spread, and in seven of those contests, won outright twice, and covered the other five easily.
Double-digit point spreads used to be a rarity in the league, but are becoming more commonplace. The 13 points that Atlanta is getting, doesn’t seem like enough.
Take New Orleans and give away the points.
5. Atlanta at New Orleans Over/Under 59
New Orleans is winning games by big margins, though the 50 points in this contest with Atlanta is the largest figure they have had all year. They over/under last Sunday was 57, and the Saints did their part, scoring 48 points, but Philadelphia could only muster a touchdown.
Still the Saints have hit the over in five of the six games where they have scored 40 or more points. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan should be able to score more than seven points.
Take the over.