Welcome back to another week of prop bets brought to you by my brain. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with family, food, and most importantly: winners. Thanksgiving day was kind to me with two wins and one loss, taking me to 20-24 on the season. That’s back-to-back winning weeks as we slowly climb back to 50%. There’s still plenty of football left for me to get back in the green, or royally mess this up. Let’s take a look at the turkey day picks before going into some picks for Sunday.
Lions Team Total Under 19.5: I sincerely hope nobody took the over on this game, it was painful enough even as an under bettor. The Lions actually could have gone over with a late touchdown, but the Bears somehow managed to run the clock all the way down on their final drive and kicked a field to ice the game. Winning a bet certainly made that easier to watch.
Cowboys Team Total Under 29.5: I have to admit, this game wasn’t on at grandma’s house so I didn’t catch the second half. We were in good shape to go under at halftime before a 20 point second half. I don’t have much else to add about this game, other than that Cowboys are frauds.
Saints Team Total Under 20.5: I actually decided I was going to change this pick at the last minute, and as soon as I did the article was published so I had to let it ride. This game actually should count as a win for my editor for having incredible timing, but since I’m selfish, I’m keeping it for myself. The Saints had nothing on offense all night and only managed to score six points in a fairly boring Thursday night game. The team totals have been good to me lately, I think I’ll try to keep riding that train going forward.
Now, let’s get to some picks.
Ravens Team Total O/U 25.5
There’s something about the Ravens playing at night that terrifies me, especially at home. It’s probably in my subconscious because of old Ray Lewis and Ed Reed highlights, or that time that Stevan Ridley got obliterated and fumbled the ball. When the Ravens wear all black on Sunday Night Football, they’re the most intimidating team in the league; nobody else has that kind of swagger. Does this matter for actual in-game success? I don’t know, I’m not even remotely qualified to answer that question, but it does matter in my mind, and that counts for something. Jack Conklin and Kareem Hunt should be returning for Cleveland which should be a boost for the Browns, giving the Ravens all the more reason to run it up on Sunday Night.
Lamar Jackson is “120% playing” this week after sitting out last week due to sickness; I would be happy with 100% of Lamar, so I’m very excited to see what the Ravens can do with that extra 20%. I hope they don’t get called for too many men on the field for having 11.2 guys on the field each play. That’s a terrible joke and I acknowledge it, they can’t all be home runs. Anyways, the Ravens should be able to run the ball effectively on Sunday night, averaging 2.9 yards before contact, good for sixth in the league while the Browns haven’t been overly disruptive against the ground game. The Ravens rushing attack can hopefully help neutralize Myles Garrett, the only way he could become scarier is if he was wearing the Ravens all black, and maybe a tinted visor. The Ravens have hit this number in four of their five home games, averaging over 30 points per game at home this season while the Browns have let opponents go over 25 in three of their five road games. I’m expecting a high-scoring shootout on Sunday night and see the Ravens getting all the way into the 30s.
P.S. What is going on with the AFC North standings? I can’t remember a time I’ve seen anything like that in the recent past.
Pick: OVER 25.5 First Half (-115, Fanduel Sportsbook)
Eagles/Giants First Half Spread
All season long I’ve been back and forth on the Eagles and I’m still not quite sure what to make of them. They just put 40 points on the Saints while only completing 13 passes. The defense isn’t anything special, but somehow they find ways to stay competitive in most of their games and seem to be trending in the right direction. The Giants, on the other hand, are a complete mess and just fired Jason Garrett. Saquon Barkley getting healthy is a boost for the offense, but not enough to overcome the incompetence of Daniel Jones. Watching them play the Bucs on Monday night was basically torture as the Bucs marched down the field repeatedly, and the Giants’ only touchdown was scored by an offensive lineman. I like the Eagles to dominate this game, although divisional games do always scare me.
The Giants’ defense isn’t particularly good, allowing over 24 points per game to opponents. What’s worse is their rushing defense, allowing 4.4 yards per attempt. ProFootballFocus grades them as the 26th best run-stopping unit in the league. The Eagles, of course, thrive on running the football. Nobody in the league runs the ball more than the Eagles, led by quarterback Jalen Hurts. He’s averaging 4.4 yards before contact, most in the NFL among qualified runners. Just a few spots behind him on that leaderboard is his teammate in the backfield, Miles Sanders. Sanders has been part of a larger committee for the Eagles this season, so while he obviously plays a part in avoiding would-be tacklers, it also speaks to how well the Eagles have been blocking, and how much other teams respect Hurts in the run game. Defensively, the Eagles haven’t been great, but the Giants are the most formidable offense. Maybe the change at offensive coordinator will spark some offense, but you don’t fix things like this overnight. First-half spreads can get weird so ideally, I’d take the full game line, but since I’m writing about prop bets I’ll take the Eagles to cover the first-half line. Go birds.
Pick: Eagles -2.5 First Half (-110, Fanduel Sportsbook)
Minnesota Vikings O/U 2.5 Touchdowns
The Vikings are another team kind of like the Eagles where it’s difficult to get a sense of if they’re good or not. I don’t think they’re good, but they’ve beat some solid teams and are second in the division and the sixth seed in the NFC right now. Kirk Cousins has done a good job of avoiding turnovers and doing just enough to win games. The 49ers are in a similar situation as the seventh seed in the NFC, coming off two straight wins against the Rams and Jaguars. The total for the game is set at 49.5, one of the highest in a seemingly low-scoring week across the board. This game could turn into a low-key shootout, as many Vikings’ games this year have.
Outside of Joey Bosa, the Niners’ pass rush isn’t anything spectacular, grading towards the bottom of the league according to ProFootballFocus. They only blitz on just over 21.5% of snaps and are getting pressure on just 22.4% of dropbacks. Naturally, this favors the Vikings’ passing game, Kirk Cousins’ passer rating drops about 40 points when under pressure. He’s been nearly flawless in a clean pocket, with a passer rating of 119.2, 16 touchdowns, and just two interceptions. It helps to have weapons like Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen, who have each had great seasons. Jefferson has established himself as a threat to score from anywhere on the field, creating explosive plays whenever he touches the ball. And to wrap up, the 49ers’ are allowing touchdowns on 60% of red-zone possessions, while Minnesota has been one of the most efficient teams in the red zone, finding the endzone on 68% of their trips. I like the Vikings to find paydirt against the Niners a few times on Sunday, pun incredibly intended.
Pick: OVER 2.5 Touchdowns (-110, DraftKings Sportsbook)
Featured Image by Jacob Roy (@jmrgraphics3 on IG)