BETONLINE PRO PICKS BY BARRY WILNER: NFL WEEK 12
Fittingly for Thanksgiving, we are adding something extra to the table this week: Thursday game picks.
The late November feast always includes a game in Detroit followed by one in Dallas, and, since 2006, a night game that moves around. The afternoon contests have not always been so digestible, particularly with the Lions occupying the NFC North dungeon so often – they have lost five in a row on Turkey Day, though most of them by one score. Dallas is 2-6 since 2014 in Thanksgiving games it has hosted, including losses in the last three.
This year’s post-dinner matchup has New England at Minnesota. The Patriots are 1-0 in that game, the infamous Mark Sanchez butt fumble in prime time win at the Jets. Minnesota has never player in the night affair.
All three of Thursday’s offerings are intriguing, and five of the six teams involved have winning records and playoff aspirations. Naturally, the Lions (4-6) are lagging behind, but they have won three straight.
So has New England, albeit twice against the Jets and once versus Indianapolis. The Vikings should be a tougher test.
Buffalo should feel at home at Detroit, which is how things ought to be on this holiday. The Bills beat Cleveland at Ford Field on Sunday after being forced to move a game from snow-deluged Orchard Park.
Dallas comes off its most complete game of 2022, and maybe its best overall performance in a decade or so, with a romp at Minnesota. The Cowboys also luck out in that the Giants, who are tied with them for second place at 7-3 in the NFC East standings, are badly banged up in a short week on the road.
Texans at Dolphins (-12 ½)
Picking against Houston has been very prosperous for us, and the Dolphins’ high-powered offense is rested.
BEST BET: DOLPHINS, 40-13
Bengals at Titans (+2)
We simply think Tennessee is the better team at this point of the schedule, and is at home.
UPSET SPECIAL: TITANS, 20-17
Bills at Lions (+9 1/2)
Both teams should be able to score plenty of points, making for an entertaining opener to the Thanksgiving tripleheader.
Giants at Cowboys (-9 ½)
Something close to the full complement of Giants would have had us take the points. New York isn’t close to having that.
Patriots at Vikings (-2 ½)
A win would stamp the Patriots as a contender. Minnesota is running away with the NFC North, but needs a turnaround from the Dallas debacle.
Buccaneers at Browns (+3)
Also considered this for Best Bet.
Packers at Eagles (-7)
Green Bay has stumbled all season. Philly has stumbled the last two weeks, but good teams like the Eagles can win even when playing poorly, as they did at Indy.
Bears at Jets (-4)
Impressive how Justin Fields has improved. Not impressive how Zach Wilson has regressed. Fields’ shoulder injury is worrisome.
Rams at Chiefs (-14 ½)
One of many large spreads favoring the home team. The defending Super Bowl champs are such a mess.
Saints at 49ers (-9 ½)
Another of those big spreads. Don’t be fooled by New Orleans handling the Rams last week.
Broncos at Panthers (+2)
At some point, Denver will finish off an opponent. Maybe this week?
Ravens at Jaguars (+4)
Baltimore has a very manageable schedule to pursue home-field advantage in the AFC. So don’t slip up here, Ravens.
Falcons at Commanders (-4 ½)
Both coaches here, Arthur Smith in Atlanta and Ron Rivera in Washington, have done stellar jobs.
Raiders at Seahawks (-3 ½)
Nice gift Las Vegas was handed in Denver. Seattle won’t do that.
Chargers at Cardinals (+4 ½)
Unlike the Rams, this LA team has a chance to make the postseason.
Steelers at Colts (-2 ½)
Give us Saturday (Jeff and the Colts) on a Monday night.
Wilner’s 2022 RECORD
Last Week – Straight up: 9-4. Against the spread: 6-5-2.
Season – Straight up: 96-56-1. Against the spread: 81-66-6.
Best Bet – Straight up: 7-4. Against the spread: 4-7.
Upset Special – Straight up: 4-7. Against the spread: 5-6.