I was very excited to write my first Thanksgiving column. One of the biggest days for sports of the whole year, and we get the best divisional matchup of the season? The last undefeated team, taking on the hottest young QB in the league? It was all ready to go, and then it was moved to Sunday. The safety of the players is a top priority, so I'm not too mad about a game getting moved, but it just sucks that it had to be that game. Now, we're left with four teams with losing records, with one of those games somehow having major playoff implications.
Anyway, if you need to find some glimmer of hope while juggling bad football and worse family members today, here's a few props that can hopefully win you some extra cash for Black Friday.
12:30 PM-Houston Texans at Detroit Lions
America's team every Thanksgiving, the 4-6 Detroit Lions face off against a Houston Texans team whose 3-7 really does not do this team justice. After a disastrous 0-4 start under Head Coach Bill O'Brien, the Texans have held their own at a respectable 3-3 since Romeo Crennel took over as interim Head Coach. At the center of any success the Texans can muster this year is DeShaun Watson. Since the departure of O'Brien, Watson has thrown over 300 yards four times. With a line set almost exactly at that mark for Watson, against a teams that defends as poorly as Detroit, it's just too tantalizing not to take. Approach with slight caution, as Randall Cobb is out for a few weeks with a thumb injury, but I don't see Will Fuller or Brandin Cooks having trouble picking up the slack. Watson's passing touchdowns, currently set at 2.5, is steep but not impossible. If you're feeling risky, throw a couple bucks down on it.
While I would like to throw in a couple of Thanksgiving related stats for this matchup, this is only the second game the Texans have ever played on the holiday, their first being a 34-31 overtime win against the Lions. Could this be the makings of an intense holiday rivalry? Probably not. Take the Texans against the spread.
My Pick: Deshaun Watson OVER 300.5 passing yards (-112)
My Pick if you want to impress your cool uncle: Deshaun Watson OVER 2.5 Passing TDs (+160)
ATS Pick: Texans -3 (-115)
4:30 PM-Washington Football Team at Dallas Cowboys
As I said in the beginning of this article, it's absolutely insane how this game has playoff indications. Before Sunday's games kickoff, the winner of this game will, at least temporarily have control of the NFC with a whopping four wins. That is, of course, unless they tie, in which case they'd share first place with Philly.
In order to make this game palatable in any capacity, it would be wise to throw down some player props, primarily on Dallas Running Back Ezekiel Elliott. Despite struggling for a large portion of the season, I think this will be one of his better performances of the season. Averaging around 130 yards on Thanksgiving days, as well as 96.3 yards against the Football Team on Thanksgiving, I don't see any reason why Zeke shouldn't hit his current listing of 70.5 yards.
As for Dallas' Andy Dalton, don't expect a whole lot. In his second start since his return, I think the Cowboys are going to look more towards running the ball due to Washington's middle-of-the-table ground defense. His current prop listing for passing yards definitely gives him some room to have a decent game, but I still think hitting the over is a long shot.
In terms of the final score, Dallas is 8-1 against Washington all-time on Thanksgiving day, and I think they'll extend that to 9-1 in a relatively close one, but still be able to cover. Normally, a line like the Cowboys current spread is one I wouldn't even bother with, but I'll have to deal with it today.
My Pick: Ezekiel Elliott OVER 69.5 rushing yards (-118)
Extra Pick: Andy Dalton UNDER 252.5 passing yards (-106)
ATS: Cowboys -3 (100)