Las Vegas – Happy Turkey Day everyone, and welcome to Week 12 of the Westgate SuperContest. With three games going off on Thursday, this will be the first time all season I don’t wait until Friday to submit my picks. There are two games I really like this week that are causing me to pull the trigger on picks on Wednesday. If we are being honest, I also wanted something to pull for as I digest my amazing, deep-fried, turkey that I’m cooking outside on this 80 degree holiday.
Oh, also: I’m 26-26-3 on the season, so why not change things up for a week, because it probably can’t hurt.
I had a winning week last week (3-2) thanks to crazy ending of that Jaguars game against the Browns. The gods owed me that one after what happened the week before against the Chargers where the refs literally made up a replay review to take away a defensive touchdown and cover for Jacksonville.
Let’s get elbows deep into turkey and games and makes some picks.
Chargers -2.5 at Cowboys
Yup, I’m doing it. I’m breaking my own rule. I said I would NEVER pick the Chargers again this season after going 0-2-1 on them early in the year in the contest. However, this game is too good to pass up. This game is like my mom’s mashed potatoes, man. According to our fellow Action Network site Betlabs.com, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett is 2-13-1 ATS (4-12 straight-up) with six or fewer days between games. Ouch. The Cowboys looked lost against the Eagles and got outscored 30-0 in the second half, and now we’re supposed to think he’s going to magically fix this offense in three days? Many Cowboys fans were asking why QB Dak Prescott was in the game in the fourth quarter of a blowout loss, and they were right to do so.
On the other side, the Chargers are one of the hottest teams in the NFL after picking off the worst decision in recent memory by Buffalo, starting rookie QB Nathan Peterman, five times in a 54-24 win last week. The game was so bad that the Chargers rested their starters for the entire fourth quarter, which is a big deal on a short week.
Favorites are 24-11 ATS on Thanksgiving since 2003, and the early line on this game was the Cowboys -4. Now it’s flipped to the Chargers -2.5. That’s a massive move. The Cowboys will get starting left tackle Tyron Smith back, but without running back Zeke Elliott and with starting linebacker Sean Lee not being able to do much in the game due to a nagging injury, I like the Bolts to win in Big D.
Lions +3 vs. Vikings
The public is in love with Minnesota right now after beating up on the Rams at home last week. However, that game was 7-7 into the fourth quarter, and LA failed to make the big plays that the Vikings did. Another great stat from Betlabs.com impacted this pick. When there has been negative line movement on Thanksgiving of two points or more, teams on the other side are 8-2 ATS. The line went from Lions -1 to Detroit +3. Also, the Lions are coming off a tight victory against divisional rival Chicago on the road. I would expect another low-scoring game between teams that know each other well.
The Lions won the first meeting 14-7 on the road, and this game is at Ford Field. I have come around on QB Case Keenum, but this is a big game for the Lions, and this is their traditional holiday home game. Detroit is 37-38-2 SU all time in this game, including beating the Vikings last year 16-13. Minnesota may win this game, but I will take the points.
The Lions look to continue their win streak vs. the Vikings on Thanksgiving ?
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 22, 2017
Rams -2.5 vs. New Orleans
This game features the No. 4 offense in the NFL (Rams) hosting the No. 1 offense (Saints) in a huge game between division leaders. LA is coming off of a fourth quarter beating they took last week at the hands of another division leader in the Vikings and need a win to keep themselves ahead of the Seahawks in the West. This game will come down to the defenses, and amazingly enough, both units are pretty equal. The Rams are giving up 18.6 ppg (27th) while the Saints are allowing 19.6 ppg (24th).
Where I see the difference in this game is the fact that New Orleans should have lost last week at home to the Redskins. They scored 16 points in the final four minutes of that game to get it to overtime, where they won their eighth straight, but failed to cover. The Rams are 7-3 on the year and are averaging over 30 points per game at home after losses this season. This game will be high scoring, but I think the Rams are hungrier – and I think the Saints are due to have their luck run out.
Carolina -4.5 at Jets
Are the Jets really a borderline playoff team? They were supposed to go 0-16 this year, but they have found a way to win four games and go 6-3-1 ATS this season. At one point, QB Josh McCown was in the running for Comeback Player of the Year, but I think New York was playing above their heads for the first half of the season.
It’s time for them to come back down to earth, and Cam Newton and the Panthers are the team to do it. Carolina blasted Miami last week and had their best offensive game of the season. The Panthers have now won three in a row and three straight against the number. With Carolina’s defense rounding into form and their need to keep pace with the Saints in the division, I just don’t think the Jets are good enough to keep up. New York lost last week to Tampa Bay and failed to cover, snapping an amazing 6-0-1 ATS. It’s November, and the Panthers look like a playoff team, while the Jets don’t. I’m laying the points and taking Carolina.
Jags -5.5 at Cardinals
One team is 7-3 and going to the playoffs. The other is 4-6 and going nowhere. Jacksonville has been good on the road this year (4-1), even if they have been horrific historically against the NFC West (0-10 ATS). The Jags won last week and covered on the road against the Browns in amazing fashion. A strip sack-fumble recovery in the endzone was exactly what Jags backers (like me) were waiting all game to see. Arizona doesn’t have a running game at all, and even though Blaine Gabbert threw for three scores last week against the Texans, the Jags’ pass D is one of the best in the NFL. I don’t think Arizona has anything to play for, and Jacksonville knows they still have a lot to prove. Expect the Jags’ D to score in this one and Leonard Fournette to have a big game on the ground. Jags win this game by double digits.
— #Sacksonville (@Jaguars) November 22, 2017
Just Missing The Cut
Two games nearly made the cut. The first game that looked attractive, as documented by SportsInsights.com , was the Patriots -16.5 at home against the Dolphins. That’s a big line, but Tom Brady covered one even bigger (-17) last year against the Jets. Games with this large of a spread simply don’t happen a lot. There have been only 13 of them since 2003, with only four teams covering. I probably would have played this game if it was 17, but at -16.5, I decided to pass on it simply because there is a chance the Pats will be tired after their trip to Mexico City and pull their starters if given the chance. I could easily see a backdoor cover for Miami, but I don’t go against Tom Brady at home against the AFC Least.
The other game I looked at was the Seahawks (-6.5) on the road at the 49ers. Seattle just lost a really tough game at home to the Falcons, and they are not a happy bunch after all the injuries in the secondary. There is a chance new 49er Jimmy Garopollo plays in this game, and for that reason, I was scared off from playing it. I’m not saying Jimmy G would beat the Seahawks, but he could come off the bench and keep the game close. I’d rather not tempt the boy-wonder, even with the lack of weapons on San Fran’s offense.
Our Other Teams’ Selections
Team Sports Action (25-28-2) is taking: