Neither man’s team will play this Thursday, but Thanksgiving week will put four other coaches to the test, and not all of them have been successful with a short turnaround. With that in mind, here are this week’s prime picks against the consensus point spreads as of Thursday morning.
Season best bets record: 14-12-2.
Washington Football Team at Dallas Cowboys (-3)
Pick: Dallas Cowboys -3
From 2011 to 2019, with Jason Garrett as their coach, the Cowboys had a 1-8-0 record against the spread in Thursday games following a Sunday game, the worst record in the NFL over that span. New coach Mike McCarthy, meanwhile, had a 7-3-1 record against the spread in games with only three days of rest during his time with the Green Bay Packers. His teams were also 8-3 straight up in those games.
Washington Football Team Coach Ron Rivera has struggled in such games, despite a memorable Thanksgiving win over Dallas with the Carolina Panthers. He’s just 2-6-0 against the spread, and 3-5 straight up, in games with three days’ rest.
There is another reason to like Dallas in this matchup. Quarterback Andy Dalton, forced to leave the first meeting between these two clubs due to injury, returned to the lineup against the Minnesota Vikings last week and led the Cowboys to a 31-28 win, with 203 passing yards and three touchdowns. It was the team’s first time scoring at least 20 points since starting quarterback Dak Prescott was lost to a season-ending ankle injury in Week 5.
Cleveland Browns (-6½) at Jacksonville Jaguars
Pick: Cleveland Browns -6½
Cleveland’s defense is getting the limelight — it held an opponent to under 17 points for the third straight game on Sunday — but the Browns’ offensive line has been the starring group all season. The unit has earned the highest pass-blocking and run-blocking scores from the game charters at Pro Football Focus. Right guard Chris Hubbard has yet to surrender a sack in 289 plays, and three other starting linemen — left guard Joel Bitonio, center J.C. Tretter and right tackle Jack Conklin — have allowed just one each.
This week’s opponent, Jacksonville, has a struggling pass rush (third worst in the league, per PFF), which should allow Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield to operate virtually unfettered in the pocket. In situations in which Mayfield has a clean pocket to work with, he has produced a 107.5 passer rating. That drops to 31.3 when facing pass pressure. If Mayfield can get time to work, this game shouldn’t be close.
The two 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, you will find 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 12 slate.
Houston Texans (-3) at Detroit Lions
Pick: Detroit Lions +3
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers (-4)
Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers -4
Las Vegas Raiders (-3) at Atlanta Falcons
Pick: Las Vegas Raiders -3
Los Angeles Chargers at Buffalo Bills (-5½)
Pick: Los Angeles Chargers +5½
New York Giants (-6) at Cincinnati Bengals
Pick: New York Giants -6
Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts (-3)
Pick: Indianapolis Colts -3
Carolina Panthers at Minnesota Vikings (-3½)
Pick: Minnesota Vikings -3½
Arizona Cardinals (-2½) at New England Patriots
Pick: Arizona Cardinals -2½
Miami Dolphins (-7) at New York Jets
Pick: Miami Dolphins -7
New Orleans Saints (-6) at Denver Broncos
Pick: Denver Broncos +6
San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams (-7)
Pick: Los Angeles Rams -7
Kansas City Chiefs (-3½) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Pick: Kansas City Chiefs -3½
Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers (-8½)
Pick: Green Bay Packers -8½
Seattle Seahawks (-5) at Philadelphia Eagles
Pick: Philadelphia Eagles +5