Cincinnati Bengals @ New York Jets Thanksgiving Pick & Preview: This could be my bonehead pick of the week, but it’s hard not to find some nice value in Cincinnati on the betting side of football. Numbers are a big part of the gambling game, and both of these teams have a lot of close games in their 2010 season history. Just look at the averages – the Bengals, despite being just 2-8, average just under 5 points less than their opponents. Lots of close games – last week’s game against Buffalo and Week 1 against New England – those are the only two games they’ve lost by more than 8 points all season long.
The Same can be said for the Jets – look at their averages. They only score 6 more points per game than their opponents, and they are 8-2 on the season. They’ve won each of their last 3 games in the final seconds. There were the great throws by Sanchez to beat the Texans by 3 late last week, and two overtime wins the previous two weeks. 6 of their 8 wins have been by less than 10 points.
Sure, the Bengals could come out and play like garbage after getting slaughtered by the Bills in the 2nd half of last week’s game where they had been up 28-7. They could. And the Jets could build off their tight wins and come out on fire. They could. But the truth is, the opposite will probably happen in both cases. The Jets should have lost – they won, that usually means they won’t play great the following week. After getting embarrassed, the Bengals will probably come out ready to prove themselves. They’ve had a lot of hard luck this season, but I think they have the talent to play with the Jets. Shoot, everyone does lately.
New Orleans Saints @ Dallas Cowboys Free Football Picks: I know the Cowboys are the talk of the town these days, and the lines are certainly reflecting that. I mean think about this line for just a second, and you have to think it’s not favoring the Saints by nearly enough.
First and foremost, the Cowboys are still a 3-7 football team with obvious holes. The Lions didn’t have any running game to speak of, and that game was a lot closer than 35-19 says. Detroit, for example, out-gained the Cowboys, but some big “crazy” special teams and defensive plays really helped the Boys get out of Detroit with a win. The Cowboys have played well since Jason Garrett took over the head coaching gig, and that could very well continue for the rest of the season – but there’s bound to be a lull, and I wouldn’t doubt if it was this week, at home, against the Super Bowl Champs.
Dallas has to be thinking “See, we’re good.” And that’s rarely a good thing for a football team to accept. They’ll need to keep doing what they’ve been doing to keep winning, and a reality check often helps that – that’s why (besides the stupid ass Dolphins) no team has gone undefeated for an entire football season. Reality checks need to happen. The Cowboys are going to get one this week.
Drew Brees is a magician at quarterback. He plays defenses like a puppet master, and he’s playing at a consistent high level for the first time this season – and so are his Saints.
New Orleans has won 3 in a row, and while they didn’t really dominate the Seahawks like I thought they would, they still looked like the much better team. Over the last 3 weeks they’ve doubled up Pittsburgh, destroyed Carolina, and took out the Hawks by 15. They’ve played well. They’ve out-gained opponents in each of their last 7 games, and they get Reggie Bush back this week. He could open things up for everyone.
Take the Saints in Dallas, and enjoy your turkey fixings.
NFL Week 12 Free Picks New England Patriots @ Detroit Lions: This one seems easy enough to me. Sure, the common thought in this game has to be the Patriots are going to win big, but the Lions have played a lot of tough football this season, they are relatively healthy, and Shaun Hill has played well as the back-up quarterback. Calvin Johnson is borderline unguardable, and while a short week has to favor the more experienced team, the Lions have a chance in this one, and that’s more than they could say about the last 5 Thanksgiving Day games.
The Patriots have been very inconsistent within games, but they always seem to find a way to win. It’s usually a strong first half and a “hang on” second half for the Pats. They’ve played plenty of games that came down to the wire, and let a lot of teams back in games that should have been put away much easier.
I like to bet against favorites when they should have lost last week but managed to win. The Patriots fit right in to that group. They were up big on Indianapolis, but they couldn’t put it away. Manning hammered out some quick drives, and I was honestly surprised that Peyton didn’t finish off the Pats with a score late. The way that game was going, I thought the Patriots were going to lose.
Covering a touchdown against Detroit might not seem like much, but they played better than the score in Dallas showed last week, and they play well at home (close losses to the Jets and Eagles – wins over Washington and St. Louis). I’m taking the home team here.
Texas A&M Aggies @ Texas Longhorns NCAA Football Thanksgiving Picks: I like the spread in this game, and I just flat out like the Aggies. Texas is struggling, or they have been all year, that’s how a team that’s normally in the National Title picture gets to 5-6 (2-4 at home, too). The Longhorns finally got a win after losing four straight football games, beating the might Florida Atlantic team 51-17 last week. After beating Nebraska on October 16th, the Longhorns lost those next four to Iowa State, Baylor, Kansas State, and Oklahoma State – they lost against the spread in all four, and didn’t finish within a touchdown in any single game.
The Aggies haven’t lost since Ryan Tannehill took over for Jerrod Johnson, midway through the Kansas game on October 23rd. The Aggies have gotten more and more impressive, beating Kansas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Baylor before really stepping up their defense last week to upset the Nebraska Cornhuskers 9-6. Tannehill didn’t do a whole lot of great last week against Nebraska, but he didn’t turn the ball over, something Jerrod Johnson really struggled with through the first handful of games. Did I mention that A&M won each of those previous 4 games by 12 points or more? They’re good, it’s not just a lucky streak.
The Longhorns will be out to ruin the party, but I have no reason to believe that might happen. Again, they’ve been having a tough time against just about any kind of team, and A&M just happens to be pretty dang good.
Texas A&M Aggies (-3.5) @ Texas Longhorns (Thurs)