Season ATS: 25-20-1
Season Over/Unders: 1-3
Season Parlays: 1-3
Season Teasers: 2-8
Season Units: -15.5 units
Week 11 Recap: Stop the presses. I just went 1-4 ATS but still ended up +3 units on the week having actually hit a teaser. Someone pinch me. I’m so elated I’ll completely ignore the Bills wagon wheels being blown to hell, AP spraining his ankle (costing me the cover against the Raiders and my fantasy season), and the fact Tramon Williams fell down in what could have been a front door cover interception return for a touchdown. Hell, I’ll even forget about Dallas being the only other team besides GB to win but not cover. I’m that damn happy! You know why? Because luck has finally broken my way! I’m in such a good mood I decided to drop this tasty T-Day play. After all, what is Thanksgiving without drinking, passing out in food coma and gambling on football? I’ll even throw in some actual quasi-legitimate analysis. Just don’t get used to it.. Onto this delicious, no, dare I say delectable, special T-Day slate..
3 team 6 point Teaser: Detroit +12.5, Dallas -.5, SF +9
This is Detroit’s Superbowl. They’ve been waiting for this game all season. If the energy in their first Monday night game in eons against the Bears in Week 5 was any indication Ford Field will be rockin off the charts on T-Day. Call me crazy but I like the Lions a lot in this spot. The crowd noise + that front 4 defensively could give Rodgers fits. Aaron was actually knocked out of the game in Detroit last season. Obviously that probably wont happen again, but the Lions are one of the few teams in the league who can generate significant pressure rushing only 4 and dropping 7, the recipe to beating any elite quarterback who thrives at exploiting blitzes. The Lions are susceptible to the run, but James Starks is banged up and expected to miss the game due to the short turn-around. Ryan Grant is done. If you need evidence of this watch his run late in the 4th quarter against the Bucs last week. The hole was perfect, and even Rodgers had his hands up signaling an expected touchdown, only to see Grant die inexplicably 5 yards from the line of scrimmage. The Packers weren’t a good running team with Starks. Without him, they’re putrid.
On the other side of the ball the Packers continue to give up bushels of yards. They’ve allowed over 5.5 ypc over their last 5 games and for the year are second worst behind only New England in passing yards per game given up and second worst in receiving touchdowns allowed. They also just allowed the feeble Bucs offense to generate over 450 total yards last week. To make a long story short, Green Bay’s D has been a sieve this year. They rely almost entirely on turnovers to stop teams (they’re #1 in the league in interceptions), and if they don’t they’re in a world of trouble.
That leads into the final and most significant portion of analysis: Matt Stafford. Frankly, I don’t trust him. He’s ridiculously inconsistent on a week to week basis. He’s either red hot (final three quarters of last week against Carolina) or ice cold (Chicago game two weeks ago). If he’s on fire the Lions actually have a chance to win this game straight up, but I don’t have the stones to put my faith in that or even the +6.5 line (I’d need a touchdown just to consider it). I do like getting double digits here though. The Packers have only won by more than 12 points 3 times this year, and they were all against inept aerial attacks (Denver, St. Louis, Minnesota). Any team with an explosive passing game can hang with Green Bay, and even if Black Swan Stafford shows up they still have a great chance to backdoor cover, especially given how well the Lions play from behind (3 comeback wins of 17 points or more this season).
Many would consider teasing the Pack down to -.5 in this scenario, but I’m sensing upset here. As mentioned above I don’t have the confidence in Stafford to succumb to my gut, so teasing it down for Stafford insurance seems like the right play.
Dallas is 8-2 ATS as Thanksgiving hosts since 2002. They get up for these games. The Dolphins have increased their line perception by reeling off three straight, but delving deeper they’ve beaten up on the woeful tripod that consists of the Chiefs, Redskins and Bills. Who knows if this team is any better than the 0-7 squad 3 weeks ago that almost got Sparano fired. Personally, I had this line at 10, so the opportunity to tease it down to under one is too enticing to pass up. Romo is playing arguably the best football of his career and they finally have balance in the run game with Murray. Dallas does one thing extremely well and that’s beat the teams they’re supposed to beat at home. I see that continuing here..
The Niners are a red hot 9-0-1 ATS. I have to ride that in some fashion. SF sports the best run defense in football, which doesn’t bode well for Baltimore. We’ve seen what happens when the Ravens abandon Rice on the ground and become one-dimensional. Hint: he who must not be named that rhymes with Wacko usually self combusts and Balty losses (see Seattle). I could definitely see the Ravens phasing out Rice, and the Niners, who are respectable in the sack department with 25 on the year, getting some heat on Joe, resulting in turnovers.
On the flip side, I think the Ravens secondary is vastly overrated. Dalton shredded them last week to the tune of over 350 yards, and that was without stud rookie AJ Green. If SF can protect Smith he shouldn’t have a problem dissecting that defense (I can’t believe I just used Alex Smith and dissecting in a positive connotation in the same sentence). Ray Lewis is also out, which actually isn’t that significant as his impact is vastly overstated at this point in his career. The Niners weren’t running with great success on Baltimore either way.
Essentially, this bet comes down to the fact getting 9 points with an awesome defense in what should be a close, physical brawl, is a must play. This is also the Niners “test” if you will. Their schedule has been cake so far, and this is really the first matchup that will test their metal and determine whether they’re for real or just beating the crap out of the lifeless NFC West. I also like the brother v. brother plot line here. It ensures peak competition, and I’ve seen no evidence to suggest this season that Baltimore is the better team. I hate betting on or against Flacco as noted numerous times in this column because I apparently killed his family member in a different life, but I’ll roll the dice here at my own peril regardless.
Bet: 4 units
I’d actually wait out making a play here until just before game time. The Packers are obviously going to get the public money in any situation. They’ve already received 5,000 bets (over 70% of the action). My guess is the sharps don’t let the line get past 7 but any points you can get against GB is a good thing. The Dallas line won’t go past 7. Miami is already getting almost equal action, which is crazy. The Baltimore line probably ends at 3 in most books, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it hit 4 in some places. Overall, I’d hold out for the best number in the GB game and then cash your ticket.
Miami at Dallas (-6.5)
I’m riding with Dallas based on the above trend (8-2 ATS as a Thanksgiving host since 2002).
Bet: 1 unit
I’ll drop in later in the week to offer up the rest of my plays for week 12. In the meantime, Happy Turkey Day!