Beating the Spread: Special Thanksgiving Edition!

We will return to our normal column on Friday, where the team continues to stack impressive weeks. Today we’re laying down our bets for fun – off the record – on Thursday’s games plus our takes on Thanksgiving. Before we get into the fun, know that we’re thankful for your readership as we try to beat Vegas all season. Thanks for being part of QB List.

Here’s how we’re doing it for this holiday edition. Each writer will make a pick on one of the games and then give his take on sides, salads, pies, and beverage of choice. Plus, each of us will give our tip for Thanksgiving survival!

Thanksgiving betting lines:

Chicago Detroit CHI -2.5 39
Buffalo Dallas DAL -7 45
New Orleans Atlanta NO -5.5 49
Stuffing Mashed Potatoes Pick ’em 2.5 scoops
Pumpkin Pecan PUM -5 1.5 slices
Potato Salad Macaroni Salad POT -10 1.5 scoops
Hard Alcohol Beer Beer -5.5 2.5 drinks
Happy Thanksgiving!

Staff Picks

Analyst Jeff Berckes Erik Smith Tom Schweitzer
Football BUF +7 NO -5.5 DET +2.5
Side Mashed Potatoes Mashed Potatoes Mashed Potatoes
Salad Potato Macaroni Caesar
Pie Pecan Pecan Pumpkin
Beverage Bourbon Over 2.5 Martini
Advice Errand guy Pace Yourself No Black Friday

 

Analysis:

 

Jeff Berckes: Food and football – a tough-to-beat holiday. Honestly, if you put Thanksgiving up against any other holiday, I’d pick it. It’s easily my favorite. A holiday built around three NFL games and an expectation to overeat. I’m not so sure I understand why Buffalo is getting 7 points in Dallas. I know we’re all a little suspect of just how good the Bills are, but their defense is still a quality unit and I expect them to keep it close (BUF +7). Our resident artist, Justin Paradis, said Mashed Potatoes v Stuffing was a straight pick ’em so that’s where we set it. It’s not really a question for me as I’ve got a long love affair with Mashed Potatoes (pick ’em). I’d honestly be pretty happy with just a plate of turkey and mashed potatoes and gravy and I’m going over 2.5 scoops. When it comes to the “salads” around the table (normally something drowning in mayo or cream) I can live without them but I’m definitely a Potato Salad (-10) guy, particularly if it has a strong mustard element. When we’re talking pie, let’s get this out of the way early – I’m firmly in the over 1.5 slices. Again, this is the one holiday where overeating is the expectation and I’ll happily oblige. For me, and this is a change in my adult life, it’s Pecan Pie +5. After spending a lot of time in New Orleans and also having a Mother-in-law who makes an excellent chocolate pecan pie, I’ve found my holiday dessert. I look forward to this most of all. Finally, holiday beverages, I usually like to have a little bourbon (hard alcohol +5.5) but I stick to the under 2.5 drinks. This holiday is about eating and I want to save as much room as possible for that pie! Finally, my advice is to be the “errand guy.” Someone needs more ice or spice or anything nice, you’re the person for the job. Why? It gets you multiple trips where you get a break in the action and you score points for being the person willing to do it. A little effort goes a long way.

 

Erik Smith: Atlanta had their little run for two weeks, and it was fun while it lasted. But they fell back to earth last week against Tampa and their defense turned back into a pumpkin (pie). With a banged-up Julio Jones, no Mohamed Sanu, and barely any running game to speak of, this offense isn’t firing on all cylinders. Meanwhile, Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara are elite talents, and Drew Bress is figuring out how to use tight end Jared Cook. I don’t love the line, but give me the better team, NO -5.5 is the pick. While stuffing is great, there’s a reason most of us only see it once or twice a year, while mashed potatoes are a year-round staple of the midwest. Creamy, cheesy, covered with gravy, I don’t care. Mashed Potatoes (pick’em) is the choice, and what was originally pegged as a close choice is turning into a runaway, so we may see some mid-week line movement here. If you’ve loaded your plate with mashed potatoes, adding potato salad might be just a bit too much, even for a former midwesterner like myself. Macaroni salad (+10) is one of my go-to choices, I even like the generic stuff at the grocery store. When your aunt makes her homemade macaroni salad, it’s a no-brainer for me. I love pumpkin pie, but I feel like once you’ve had one, you’ve had them all. Pecan pie (+5) is much more interesting and rich, and at the end of the day feels more like a special dessert than pumpkin pie does. As for my preferred Thanksgiving beverage choice, yes please! You’re probably visiting a relative’s place, and there’s always someone asking you if you would like a drink. There’s no better drink than a free drink, so don’t be picky, take what is available. I tend to lean towards the hard stuff since you need to save room for food. But don’t be picky, the holidays are the time for sharing, and someone wants to give you a free drink. Give me Over 2.5 drinks, you’re eating enough food that will soak up most of the alcohol anyway. Protip: pick one drink type and stick with it. There’s nothing worse than waking up the next day after mixing whiskey, red wine, and IPAs, and next thing you know your delicious Thanksgiving meal is a distant memory. My final advice; pace yourself! Don’t load up that first plate too high, the goal is to stretch your eating out from morning to night without putting yourself through too much pain and suffering. Think of yourself like a bison or a giraffe, keep grazing and stay on the move so you can enjoy your food all day long!

 

Tom Schweitzer: Of the three games on Thanksgiving day, I think the best value bet is taking the Lions +2.5. The Bears and Lions played 3 weeks ago and Detroit had multiple opportunities to tie the game late. Then last week, the Lions lost to Washington because of a kick return TD and 3 interceptions by Jeff Driskel. Driskel hasn’t had issues with turnovers in his seven previous starts and he’s been able to move the ball in all three of his starts for Detroit, so I think we’ll see the Lions get back on track at home. Hopefully, my day gets off to a good start with that pick and then it will be time to make some picks at the dinner table. If I have to pick one side dish, I’m going with the G.O.A.T. – mashed potatoes (pick). They’re great on their own, and you can mix them with just about everything. I’ve never tried mixing mashed potatoes with pumpkin pie, but maybe this year I’ll give it a shot. I’m not a big fan of potato salad or pasta salad for my thanksgiving dinner, but I don’t mind a nice Caesar Salad (wildcard!) as an appetizer for my thanksgiving feast. There’s plenty of room for a little lettuce before all the meat and potatoes. For a drink, you’re going to need something strong to help you digest all the food you ate, so how about a martini (hard alcohol +5.5)? One or two (or three?) of those mixes great with tryptophan and will have you pleasantly drifting to sleep in front of the TV right around the time one of your family members start talking politics. For dessert, I’m picking pumpkin pie (-5). It’s great before or after a nap, but be sure to save some for breakfast on Friday. And speaking of Friday, my one thanksgiving tip is don’t go shopping on Black Friday. Seriously, there are better things to do with your time than waiting in line with a group of strangers for a new TV. Hang out with your family. Catch up on a TV show. Sleep in. Buy stuff online instead.

 


 

What are your favorite picks of the week? Put in your comments below to play along. We’ll be updating our records all season!

 

Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)

Jeff Berckes

In addition to writing fantasy football content for QB List, I write Bears stuff for Windy City Gridiron and co-host the podcast Bears Over Beers. Follow me on Twitter @gridironborn

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