NFL SpreadSHREDDER, Turkey Edition: Manning, Broncos to Do What in Kansas City?
It was a rare losing week last week for the SpreadSHREDDER, but thankfully its author is a consummate optimist who realizes he was on the right side of a wild Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Carolina Panthers game that saw Cam Newton and company blow a sizable fourth-quarter lead.
As I have taught so incessantly each week about the NFL, disappointing performances often lead to overachieving performances.
With the SpreadSHREDDER still batting .670 ATS on the season, it will be difficult to outperform anything it has already done, but Thanksgiving weekend in football often gives the wise guys some early gifts during the holiday season.
[SpreadSHREDDER Week 11 ATS: 1-2]
[Overall Record ATS: 22-11]
[Lines from Sportsbook.com via VegasInsider.com and FiveDimes.com]
Kansas City (+10.5) over Denver
To the skilled bettor, however, this is more appetizing than a fresh-baked Hawaiian Pizza. (Realize that I could have said Thanksgiving turkey, but clichès are for dorks.)
The Kansas City Chiefs will be a double-digit home underdog taking on a divisional rival playing its third home game in four weeks. The Broncos will also be battling a negative body clock, with their tilt against the Chiefs set to kick off at 1 p.m. ET, as opposed to the 4 p.m. ET late-game kickoff time they are usually afforded.
It also doesn't help that the Broncos have scored 30 or more points in back-to-back games, thus downgrading the division leader in emotion.
The Chiefs will be making a quarterback switch at home, as the team announced it would be starting Brady Quinn, which is a move that gives value to the home underdogs. As sorry as the Chiefs have been, they showed they can cope with the AFC's elite two weeks ago when they hung with the mighty Pittsburgh Steelers on the road right up until overtime.
The Broncos have covered at a rate 50 points higher than that of the Chiefs to this point in the season, using the spread range scale made famous by innovative wise guy Dan Gordon, indicating tremendous inflation headed into Week 12.
Don't call it an upset.
Prediction: Kansas City, 23-20
Dallas (-3) over Washington
Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys always seem to choose November to report to the season, and the 'Boys are at it again, stringing together back-to-back wins for the first time all year. It's worth noting that Romo is a perfect 5-0 on Thanksgiving, and at 5-5 on the year, the Cowboys have incentive to put themselves in position for a playoff berth, possibly by winning the NFC East.
The Cowboys' sloppy play at home against the Cleveland Browns last week was no aberration. In fact, that was the lone correct pick on the Week 11 SpreadSHREDDER, as the Cowboys looked ahead to a pivotal divisional schedule starting on Thursday against the Washington Redskins.
The Cowboys have relied primarily on the pass since starting running back DeMarco Murray went down, and with backup "Fragile" Felix Jones dealing with injuries yet again, the Cowboys will be expected to go with a pass-heavy attack against a Redskins bottom-five pass defense.
This Thanksgiving Day showdown between Dallas and Washington could either turn into a shootout or a blowout.
Either way, the Cowboys should cover comfortably.
Prediction: Dallas, 28-20
New England at New York Jets, UNDER 48.5
The last stand will be nationally televised and on Thanksgiving, so you do the math.
The Patriots will be without game-changing tight end Rob Gronkowski, and the temperature is set to flirt with the 30s by the time a chilly Thanksgiving Day game in MetLife Stadium kicks off.
Playing at 9.20 points over the wagering total on the year, New England now draws a dance partner that has averaged a putrid 18 first downs per game in addition to playing at a more reasonable 3.15 points over the number.
A fired-up home underdog should make a game of it against the Patriots, and in the Jets' case, that means forcing New England into an ugly slugfest.
Prediction: New England, 19-14