If you’re not excited for tonight, you’re probably from a hometown that only has one stop sign and no traffic lights. “Big Wednesday” or whatever you want to call is an epic night to hit the bars. Everyone from high school comes home for the Thanksgiving holiday. Alcohol, casual hookups, and some really bad hangovers are happen next. At least you have a full day of football and turkey to get you through things the next day.
Coming home hasn’t been as fun for NFL teams this year, at least against the spread. NFL teams are 66-90-4 against the spread in home games this year, which is a 42 percent success rate. Home favorites are faring even worse at 39 percent. Those are surprising numbers because Vegas usually doesn’t like to have such obvious trends. People will take notice, especially with Bill Simmons pointing it out on his podcast this week. Vegas seems to have made some adjustments this week with a lot of spreads bordering around three points or pick-ems. In honor of Thanksgiving and bucking this trend, I’m taking a lot of home teams this week.
Derek Houle pulled through with a great week in Week 11 of the BroBible Pickem Challenge. He successfully picked 13 of 14 games to win the week. Zachary Viskovich maintained his lead on top of the standings, but he’s one bad week away from losing his spot given how close things are.
Survivor Pick of the Week:
CINCINNATI over Oakland
I’ve got to stay true to my guns of always picking home teams regardless how bad the Chiefs are. Cincinnati has been playing pretty well in recent week and even though Oakland is likely to bounce back with enough offense to cover the spread, Cincinnati should win the game. It’s a rather tough week otherwise to find a survivor pick. The only other option would be Denver in Kansas City given how well the Broncos have been playing.
Locks of the Week:
DALLAS -3.5 over Washington
The Redskins had lost three in a row until they blitzed the Eagles with a big win last week. The key word in that sentence being “Eagles,” who are playing as bad as any team right now. The Cowboys almost lost last week because they were looking ahead to this game, so you know they’ll come out focused. They’ll be able to lock up the Redskins’ receivers with single coverage on the outside, allowing them to put a spy on RG3.
Oakland +8.5 over CINCINNATI
It’s tough to pick a team that’s lost the last two games by at least 23 points and the last three by double digits. Still I think Oakland has something left in the tank and Cincinnati doesn’t have the same firepower as Oakland’s last few opponents.
Buffalo +3.5 over INDIANAPOLIS
Andrew Luck’s boys are still public favorites despite getting whacked by the Patriots last week. Other than their Thursday night victory over Jacksonville, the Colts haven’t beaten anyone by more than four points in regulation this year. (The win over the Titans was by six in overtime.) Buffalo’s defense looks to have regained some form and their offense is better off with C.J. Spiller than Fred Jackson in the backfield.
Trap Game of the Week:
Green Bay +2.5 over N.Y. GIANTS
The Giants were in disarray coming into the bye and I’m not sure they’ll have things figured out any better now. I expect Eli and the offense to play better, but the secondary still has holes and the Packers have been humming in their last five games. The Giants have a terrible home record in recent years, so that’s not in their favor either.
Rest of the Picks:
DETROIT +3.5 over Houston
Jonathan Joseph will be a game-time decision for the Texans and it’s not looking good since it’s a short week. Even if he does play, he likely won’t be at 100 percent and that will turn out well for Calvin Johnson.
N.Y. JETS +6.5 over New England
The Jets got back to the basics last week and showed they’re at least competitive when they play a solid game on both sides and win the turnover battle. They had a little luck with a penalty call on a Rams’ kick return, but maybe luck is starting to turn in their favor.
TAMPA BAY +0.5 vs. Atlanta
Five wins in the last six are tough to go against. Everyone will be jumping on the Falcons because they have only one loss, but Vegas obviously respects Tampa Bay to make this game basically a pick-em.
Pittsburgh -0.5 vs. CLEVELAND
I bet Steelers’ fans weren’t prepared for the Charlie Batch era before the season. They’ll rely heavily on defense and the running game like they did last week against Baltimore and thankfully for them, Cleveland is no Baltimore.
JACKSONVILLE +3.5 over Tennessee
Dare I say I don’t mind the Jaguars offense with Chad Henne at quarterback? He at least makes them somewhat respectable and the receivers know there’s a chance they’ll be able to catch the ball. The Jaguars have lost all five home games this year, but Tennessee is worse than all their previous opponents.
MIAMI +3.5 over Seattle
The Seahawks are a Jeykll & Hyde team depending on where the game is played. They’re 5-0 at home, but just 1-4 on the road. I’ll take the points despite Miami’s recent offensive issues.
CHICAGO -0.5 over Minnesota
It’s still not known whether or not Jay Cutler will play this week, but we’ve got to make a pick. The Bears have lost two in a row, but should see more success on offense against Minnesota because they’re nowhere near the caliber of Houston or San Francisco.
Denver +10.5 over KANSAS CITY
I’m done picking against the Broncos.
SAN DIEGO +0.5 over Baltimore
The Ravens would have lost in Pittsburgh last week had the Steelers had anyone decent at quarterback. I still hate myself for constantly leaning against the Chargers, but I’m not one to back Joe Flacco in road games.
St. Louis +2.5 over ARIZONA
Ryan Lindley is playing quarterback for Arizona. That’s nothing I want a part of.
NEW ORLEANS +2.5 over San Francisco
The Saints have won five of their last six games, but most importantly their defense is playing at a much better level since Joe Vitt came back. Regardless of who starts at quarterback for San Francisco, I’ll take the hotter team with the better offense in their favored home environment.
Carolina +2.5 over PHILADELPHIA
Both teams are terrible, but I’ll take the one with the healthy offense.
Last Week: 10-4