It's Thanksgiving and instead of thinking about the turkey you're making some last-minute bets before the bountiful spread of NFL football awaiting you and your loved ones. Why not make it interesting and show your family some impressive football acumen by predicting all of the day's games?
Luckily for you, I've got some picks that'll be sure to return some dividends once all the turkey's digested and the games have been played.
Take a look at my thoughts on betting for today's NFL action.
Houston Texans at Detroit Lions (12:30 p.m. ET)
Spread: Lions (+3)
Go with the Houston Texans to win by more than three points against the Lions at Ford Field. The Texans are 3-1 against the spread this season on the road while the Lions are just 1-3 covering at home.
Despite their inability to ward off the Jaguars' offense last week, the Texans' defense will show up in this game and keep the Lions relatively quietly with the exception of some big connections from Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson.
Wide receiver Titus Young has been benched by Jim Schwartz, leaving Johnson as the team’s best bet for success through the air.
Something tells me that despite the shootout last week against Jacksonville, the Texans' defense will be ready for the Lions' one-dimensional attack. Stafford and Johnson will make some highlight-reel plays and score some points, but they shouldn’t go crazy in this one.
Go with the under due to the Texans’ likely ability to run the ball and control the clock while keeping pressure on Stafford to limit his ability to throw downfield.
Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys (4:15 p.m. ET)
Spread: Redskins (+3)
The Cowboys are 5-0 on Thanksgiving with Tony Romo behind center. Still, the team has failed to cover the spread against the Redskins. Dallas is 0-4 ATS at home while the Redskins have covered a three-point spread against Dallas in each of their last four attempts.
Washington is a capable of scoring on any play, as they’ve shown this season, and will test the Cowboys mightily with their ability to both run and pass with Robert Griffin III behind center. Dallas has struggled to score a lot of points this season and distance themselves from anyone.
Look for the Skins to keep things close if not win this one, even on the road.
Despite the improved Cowboys defense, the team has been susceptible to being scored on several times this season. If anyone is capable of exploiting the new and improved Cowboys’ secondary it’s rookie Robert Griffin III. The rook’s dual-threat ability opens so many things up downfield for his receivers and the youngster has been finding them for big-gainers.
At the same time, Dallas is pretty explosive itself. Washington’s defense isn’t a very top-notch unit and will struggle at times to contain receivers Dez Bryant and Miles Austin. Felix Jones getting the ball in space also poses a significant problem for the Redskins' D.
Go with the over due to the potential for an offensive Thanksgiving shootout.
New England Patriots at New York Jets (8:20 p.m. ET)
Spread: Patriots (-7)
Last time it took an overtime win for the Pats to escape the Jets at Foxborough. This time, they’re heading into the Meadowlands on Thanksgiving night as seven-point favorites without the services of Pro Bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Despite the urge to bet against Tom Brady, take something into account. The Patriots have covered a seven-point spread against the Jets in five out of six tries. That’s nothing to turn your nose up at.
Last week, New England’s defense really came on by forcing turnovers and turning them into points. Mark Sanchez is not a great quarterback and is prone to making similar mistakes.
This should go without saying, but these two teams are going to put some points up. Last time they played, Tom Brady and the high-powered Pats offense actually struggled a little bit and still scored 29 points.
Go with the over here because of the struggles of both defenses and the ability for the Patriots to break 50 points on its own at any given moment.