You don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t pull the mask off the Lone Ranger and you don’t bet against NFL favorites on Thanksgiving. Why? Because favorites are 47-23 against the spread over the past three decades (a .671 win rate) and 6-0 over the past two years. Teams favored by six or more points have gone 15-3 against the spread since 2003, per Bet Labs.

With that in mind, here is how we expect the Week 13 games to shake out, starting with three prime picks against the consensus point spreads (as of Thursday morning) from multiple sports books in Las Vegas.

Chicago Bears (-5½) at Detroit Lions

Pick: Chicago Bears -5½

Lions starting quarterback Matthew Stafford will miss his fourth straight game on Thursday because of a back injury. Backup Jeff Driskel (hamstring) is out. Rookie third-string quarterback David Blough will start. Yikes?

Chicago’s defense has been inconsistent but its pass rush is still formidable (a 27 percent pressure rate, sixth best in the NFL this season) and the Bears do a good job of taking away the deep parts of the field (an average depth of target of 6.4 yards, the second lowest in the league).

Buffalo Bills at Dallas Cowboys (-6½)

Pick: Dallas Cowboys -6½

There has been a lot of talk about how the Cowboys are still looking for their first victory against a team with a winning record this season (0-4), but don’t discount the work the offense has done in 2019. Dallas is averaging 2.5 points per drive this season, the fourth most in the NFL, with an impressively low rate of three-and-out drives (22 percent, third lowest). According to Football Outsiders, the Cowboys boast the best offense in the league even after you adjust their success on every play to a league average based on situation and opponent.

New Orleans Saints (-7) at Atlanta Falcons

Pick: New Orleans Saints -7

Look for Saints wideout Michael Thomas to feast on the Falcons’ secondary. Thomas leads the league in receptions (104) and receiving yards (1,242) and has helped New Orleans quarterbacks produce a 125.5 passer rating when he’s targeted this season. Atlanta, meanwhile, is allowing a league-high 114.1 passer rating to opposing quarterbacks who target their wideouts, per data from TruMedia.

Season best bets record (which we’re including for the first time now that it’s finally inched above .500): 15-13-2.


The three games above represent our best plays of the week because our analysis shows the point spreads are the most divergent from what we expect to happen once the teams take the field. Below are picks for the other games on this week’s schedule. However, trying to pick every single NFL game is something of a fool’s errand. The house wins so often partly because bettors try to make too many plays when the odds aren’t in their favor. Keep that in mind when evaluating the remaining games from the Week 13 slate.

Washington Redskins at Carolina Panthers (-10)

Pick: Washington Redskins +10

New York Jets (-3) at Cincinnati Bengals

Pick: New York Jets -3

Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts (-2½)

Pick: Tennessee Titans +2½

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars

Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars +1

Philadelphia Eagles (-10) at Miami Dolphins

Pick: Philadelphia Eagles -10

Green Bay Packers (-6) at New York Giants

Pick: Green Bay Packers -6

San Francisco 49ers at Baltimore Ravens (-6)

Pick: San Francisco 49ers +6

Cleveland Browns (-2½) at Pittsburgh Steelers

Pick: Cleveland Browns -2½

Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs (-10)

Pick: Kansas City Chiefs -10

Los Angeles Rams (-3) at Arizona Cardinals

Pick: Los Angeles Rams -3

Los Angeles Chargers (-3) at Denver Broncos

Pick: Los Angeles Chargers -3

New England Patriots (-3½) at Houston Texans

Pick: New England Patriots -3½

Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks (-3)

Pick: Seattle Seahawks -3

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