Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Week 12 Picks ATS: Turkey Day Surprise

LAST WEEK: 8-6 ATS - Sixth straight week above .500


THURSDAY THREE FAN PICKS: 3-0 ATS - smartest fans on the Inter-Web

FRIDAY FIVE CONFIDENCE PICKS: 4-1 ATS last week, 19-7 ATS on the season

Okay, enough shameless self-promotion. Gambling is a confidence game, and I just needed to take a moment to get us all geeked up for this coming week.

Good morning TSZ readers. What a terrific week to be a football fan. Like Lebron James once said, "Not one, not two, not three..." - oh wait, actually it is three - count 'em three Thursday football games to go with all the delicious food, the variety of beverages, and the family experiences that probably range anywhere from fun and relaxing to awkward and uncomfortable. Hopefully there's a big screen TV available if it's the latter, but either way - as usual - we have gambling to make the seasonal joy all that much better while simultaneously ameliorating the discomfort of social family obligations.

Marco and I are changing the format this week because of the larger Thursday schedule. We'll be focusing on the Turkey Day games this morning and submitting the rest of our Week 12 Picks tomorrow evening. We know we've been getting them in by Wednesday most weeks and we have most of the picks ready if you need them, we'd just like a little extra time to add the stuffing and the gravy. We also have two or three games we're watching line movement on, which is adding to the delay. If you absolutely need the picks today and will take into consideration that a couple of them may change by tomorrow, feel free to shoot us an e-mail at and we'll send you our preliminary results without all the verbiage that usually comes with them.

For now, however, let's talk Thanksgiving Day Football. HOME TEAM in CAPS with our picks in bold.

DETROIT LIONS (+3.5) over Houston Texans: WTF? Seriously? The Detroit Lions over the Houston Texans? Did Vinny fall off the wagon? Is Marco dating that girl from Michigan again? Is this still The Spread Zone I've grown to love? The answers are yes, yes, maybe, yes, and we hope so.

Breaking News: Titus Young suspended. We thought about it, but this does not change our pick. Here's a little blurb on replacement WR Mike Thomas from Wikipedia

Thomas was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the fourth round of the 2009 NFL Draft. As a rookie he started four of the 14 games in which he played, and had 48 receptions for 453 yards and a touchdown. His 48 receptions were tied with Michael Crabtree for fourth among all rookies.[2]
A key play of his career was in a 2010 Week 10 game against the Texans. With just 3 seconds remaining in regulation and the game tied at 24, QB David Garrard launched a "Hail Mary" pass from the 50-yard line intended for Mike Sims-Walker. The ball was batted down at the goal line by Texans DB Glover Quin, and then hit Thomas in the chest. Thomas was able to grab the ball next to his left knee before it hit the ground, and he took a step forward into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown.[3]

On the surface it looks like a bold/stupid pick to take the inconsistent Lions against the best team in football, but Marco read some articles which, along with the early line movement, convinced us that Vegas believes the Lions will win. Sure, CB Jonathan Joseph with safety help can stop Calvin Johnson, but WR Ryan Broyles along with TE Brandon Pettigrew can help Detroit capitalize on the struggling Texans secondary. The Lions have proven they can stop the run, so without Arian Foster having his normal impact, Houston will look like a pumpkin pie without whipped cream. Boring. 

I wish we had stats to show you how dominant Detroit has been on Thanksgiving Day, but c'mon we all know what Detroit was until two years ago. You might want to stay away from this game, because we think Houston is in for a Texas-sized surprise.


Washington Redskins (+3.5) over DALLAS COWBOYS: Anyone else think Cowboys versus Indians is a little cliche for Thanksgiving football? Well, let's face it - the fact that we still have mascots that reference the Native Americans (Braves, Redskins, Seminoles) is a little weird. What isn't weird is the fact that Marco and I have stopped trusting the Dallas Cowboys. Every week we have a conversation that goes something like this, "They're so talented. They're bound to have a break-out game." Then we bet on them and they fail to cover. Or we don't and they do. 

That being said, we're confident if the Washington Redskins this week for a variety of reasons. First of all, RG3 steps up in nationally televised games, while Romo cracks under the pressure. Look for Griffin and Albert Morris to run all over Dallas's pedestrian rush defense. Washington will control this game with time of possession and by converting timely first downs. The Cowboys, as usual, will settle for field goals. Ultimately, the Skins will win this game outright or lose by just one of said Dan Bailey FGs.

If you want some facts to go with our opinions, the Redskins last five meetings with the Cowboys in Dallas have been decided by a microscopic average of 2.6 points, with the highest margin of 5 dating all the way back to 2007.  They play close games, and the Redskins are 5-0 ATS in those trips, and 9-2 ATS in their last 11 against the Cowboys. Yes, the Cowboys have covered about two-thirds of their annual Turkey Day games, but this Dallas team's defensive specialty is stopping the pass while Washington not only boasts the second ranked rushing attack in the NFL, but also has one of the best running QBs. The nail in the coffin - Dallas is 2-9 ATS in their last eleven against division foes, while the 'Skins are 8-2 ATS.


New England Patriots (-6.5) over NEW YORK JETS: This line took a significant hit with Gronkowski going down, but no need to overreact as it sounds like TE Aaron Hernandez, who is actually a much more versatile player, is returning this week. We had a moment where we bought into the Jets 3-point overtime loss to the Patriots in New England five weeks ago. Then we saw that the Patriots have outscored their opponents 141-62 since that game while the Jets have lost to Seattle and Miami before scratching out a defensive win against the inconsistent Rams last week. Don't be a prisoner of that moment. The Pats offense won't miss a beat and let's face it, the Jets still suck. New England wins by at least a touchdown.

The numbers also support this pick with New England going 9-2 ATS in their last 11 road games against the Jets and 15-4-1 ATS in their last 20 road games period. If you want a sure bet on this game, take the OVER which the Pats have hit 15 of their last 16 division games. 

      Either one of these guys could beat the Jets right now

So there you have it, TSZ readers. Our bold and beautiful Thanksgiving Day picks. Don't forget to get your Thursday Three confidence picks into us this evening, so we can build upon the success of last week. Don't worry if you don't agree with us - differences when acknowledged and appreciated will ultimately make us all stronger.

Happy Betting and Happy Thanksgiving. We'll see you here tomorrow.

Vinny and Marco

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