The same situational angles we highlight for NFL betting each week are out there lurking for the average person during Thanksgiving Week.
Travel troubles and scheduling nightmares are abundant. Look-ahead spots are too, with big plans in place for family and friends. And even letdowns are looming, as you remember why you live on the other side of the country and rarely keep in touch with your hometown crowd.
Ah, the holidays.
I chow down on the always-tricky NFL Week 12 slate and highlight similar pitfalls in three NFL spot bets to consider when capping the odds.
Letdown Spot: New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys (-8.5, 44.5)
The Dallas Cowboys host their annual Turkey Day contest, welcoming the rival New York Giants to Big D on Thursday. Dallas is coming off its most dominating performances in, well… a very long time, and gave me (a Cowboys fan) bragging right over my big brother (a Vikings fan).
That 40-3 mashing in Minnesota does set the Cowboys up for a letdown spot in Week 12, having to turnaround quickly and focus on what is always a tricky spot for America’s Team. In fact, Dallas has covered just once in its last 11 Thanksgiving Day games.
This year presents a similar challenge, with the Cowboy playing three games in 12 days while the G-Men enjoyed a bye in Week 9, so their legs aren’t as wonky as the discount turkey you bought out of that guy’s trunk last Thanksgiving. There are some injury issues stacking up for New York, but the Cowboys also have some stars licking wounds on this short week.
Dallas is laying the lumber in this home game, with its public perception soaring and New York’s on the decline off a bad home loss to Detroit. The Cowboys are anywhere from -8 to -9.5 and will likely draw more public play with all those fans at home (and wagering) on the holiday.
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Look-Ahead Spot: Houston Texans at Miami Dolphins (-12.5, 45.5)
One look at this spread and you know the Miami Dolphins probably don’t have much to worry about in Week 12. And if you consider the Houston Texans’ five-game slide and the stench of tanking radiating from the franchise the past couple of weeks, Miami is also aware of its cushy situation Sunday.
That has the mind drifting to Week 13, where new head coach Mike McDaniel will meet his old team and former Jedi master Kyle Shanahan. The Fins cross the country for a rare showdown with San Francisco next Sunday — the lone clash between these two football nerds for the next four years (save for a Super Bowl showdown).
The Texans are bad, really bad, but Miami is not without its faults. The Dolphins’ defense is 24th in EPA allowed per play and 22nd in fourth-quarter points allowed (6.7), which could leave the backdoor open a crack if McDaniel & Co. start thinking ahead to the City by the Bay. Houston has managed to cover as a large dog this year, picking up winners at +7 twice, +10.5, and +14.
Schedule Spot: Las Vegas Raiders at Seattle Seahawks (-3.5, 47.5)
The Las Vegas Raiders have been living out of a suitcase for the past month and not only play their second road game in a row at Seattle in Week 12, but it will be their fourth away tilt in the last five showings going back to October 30.
Las Vegas opened this nasty stretch of schedule with losses at New Orleans and Jacksonville then flopped in its lone home stand — losing as 4.5-point chalk to the Colts in Week 10. The Silver and Black snapped that three-game skid with a crazy comeback push and OT win at Denver last Sunday, which also sets up a potential letdown for this fourth road stop in 28 days.
The grind of this travel-heavy slate is compounded by injuries to key skill players like TE Darren Waller and WR Hunter Renfrow, who are on IR until December. The Seahawks, on the other hand, come into Week 12 well rested and recovered off a bye and the forecast is calling for classic Seattle weather on Sunday: rain and temperatures in the low 40s.