Bill Grundy

Thanksgetting VS. Thanksgiving

Kevin Stott
Monday, November 20, 2017 10:40 AM EST
Let’s look at spreads for some NFL Week 12 matchups where the number might look a bit off, analyze why these numbers are where they are and then offer up picks on games where it seems there may be perceived edges against weak opponents.

Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions (Pick'em)
We know the Vikings have been in the sharp's underwear all year long. Lets see where they place their bets as the week plays out.
This Week 12 Thanksgiving Day early game sees the Everson Griffen and the Vikings heading to Ford Field in Detroit to play Matthew Stafford and the Lions on Thursday (FOX, 12:30 pm ET) from The Motor City in a huge NFC North date for the hosts. The Opening Point Spread looks a bit odd with the Vikings (+1650 to win Super Bowl, Heritage) —currently in 1st place in the NFC North with an 8-2 Record — playing such elite Defense (18.3 ppg, Tied #5) and having played much more consistently than the Lions (40/1 to win Super Bowl, Heritage). But Minnesota was going with their 3rd-string QB (Case Keenum) as its starter in Week 11 on Sunday against the Rams in Minneapolis (they rolled) with Sam Bradford (Knee) in the Injured Reserve List and Teddy Bridgewater (Knee) less than 100% and keen playing so well in Week 10. So with NFC Wild Card berth-chasing Detroit (6-4 SU) — the team very familiar with playing on Turkey Day — needing the Win so much more than Detroit and this QB shuffle in The Land Of 10,000 Lakes, the Lions and Vikings have been made dead-even.

When these two met in Week 4, Detroit pulled off the 14-7 upset, upsetting the hosts as 3-point Road Underdogs in a game which went well Under the Total (43½). Since that setback, the Vikings (9/1 NFC, Heritage) reeled off 5 straight SU Wins (4-1 ATS), while Ameer Abdullah and the Lions (20/1 to win NFC, Bovada) L3 straight SU and ATS after that date before W2 SU and ATS heading into their Week 12 NFC North meeting with the Bears in Chicago. The series Trends here show that in the early Thanksgiving Day game, Favorites have gone 11-1 ATS the L12 after the Lions upset the Vikings, 16-13 as small 1½-point Favorites at Home at Ford Field (42½) and the SU/ATS Wins improved. The record of Road Thanksgiving teams who have won SU and ATS in their previous games fell to 10-6 ATS with the result and it’s worth noting that the Under is a very strong 7-1 the L8 meetings. The Under (44½, Heritage) seems like a wisest look here, with the early start, Vikings RB Dalvin Cook out, the little amount of Rest for both teams having to play on Thanksgiving (3 Days) and the stingy Vikings D.

Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals (-9)
AJ Green and the Bengals haven’t been favored by this many points since last Regular Season when they played the Browns at Home in Cincinnati (-11) -- the Bengals won 31-17, covering ATS -- and with as weak as Cincinnati has played this season (4-6 SU, 2-4 Road), one would expect a smaller number here, probably in the 5 to 6 range. But we all know how bad the Browns (0-10 SU) have been ATS the L3 years (11-29-1 ATS) and as more Sharps and Public bettors look to fade Cleveland (2-8 ATS) from jump, look for oddsmakers to build another point or two into their spreads, knowing there may be an imbalance of Browns money and that this still winless team may be perceived as being content on losing out in order to get that always over-hyped #1 pick in the NFL Draft. In Week 11, Cleveland lost to Jacksonville, 19-7 (JAX -7, 37) while Cincinnati upset host Denver, 20-17 (DEN -2½, 38).

When these two met earlier this season in the River City, the Bengals won 31-7, easily covering ATS as 3½-point Home Favorites (41½) and a look at the Trends in this AFC North series we see that Cincinnati has gone a profitable 6-0 ATS the L5 meetings and 3-1 ATS the L4 games played at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland. So, all of these factors together have made that number for the Bengals possibly look a little bit high, but 2017 and recent history shows Cleveland still can’t be trusted and hanging an 8 will scare away many Underdog-prone Sharps whose gag reflex goes off anytime they see a number bigger than 5. The only numbers sports bettors should really be scared of are the one’s they control. Heading into Week 12, the Bengals (-9, #30) and Browns (-13, #31) were two of the worst three teams in Turnover Margin in the NFL (Broncos -13, #32), big reasons why these two are a combined 7-13 ATS.

Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs (-9½)
As well as slumping Kansas City (6-4 SU/ATS) has started and the way the Bills have played of late, one would think this line for this Week 12 AFC inter-divisional game from Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City on Sunday (CBS, 1 pm ET) would be closer to 12, but even with the Bills (5-5) in the potential midst of a starting QB change (Nathan Peterman from Tyrod Taylor), we see what seems like a smallish number for a Good team at Home playing a struggling team playing on the Road (Bills 1-4). Mad after losing at New York GiantsFC in OT, 12-9 on Sunday, we can expect 5th-year Head Coach Andy Reid (43-35 ATS), QB Alex Smith and the Chiefs (+1350 to win Super Bowl, Heritage) to come out aggressive here at Home with the Kansas City D stifling whomever the Bills end up having behind Center.

One reason this number may look odd also is because the linemakers are aware of how well the Bills Defense had been playing with Buffalo -- who were thrashed by the Chargers in La La Land on Sunday, 54-24 -- being the #1 team in the NFL in Takeaway/Giveaway (TO Margin) at +11 while the Chiefs ranked #2 (+9) into Week 12 play. The Trends in this series show the Chiefs are 3-0 ATS the L3 meetings, with Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and the Chiefs beating the Bills, 30-22 in at Arrowhead Stadium back in 2015, covering ATS as moderate 4½-point Home Favorites (40½). Buffalo (200/1 to win Super Bowl, 5Dimes).

Jacksonville Jaguars (-5) at Arizona Cardinals
Jacksonville favored in Arizona? In 2017? And by more than a FG? What gives? An over-reaction to Arizona’s QB (Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton) and RB (David Johnson) woes and Jacksonville’s evolution? One thing is for certain, the visiting Jaguars (7-3 SU) will be motivated, have the best Scoring Defense in the NFL this season (14.9 ppg) and Jacksonville is fighting vigorously with Tennessee (6-4 SU) in the AFC South. In Week 11 play on Sunday, the jaguars (41/1 to win AFC, Heritage) defeated the Browns in Cleveland, 19-7, covering ATS as TD chalks.

With those injuries to Cardinals QBs Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton, 3rd-stringer Blaine Gabbert was called into duty in Week 11 for the Gridiron Redbirds, and the Missouri product did an admirable job (24-34, 257 Passing yards, 3 TDs) in a tough 31-21 Loss to the Texans who rallied for a 14-0 4th Quarter in victory. Solid lean to the Under here (38, BookMaker) as Blake Bortles (15-11 ATS on Road, 4-1 ATS on Road in 2017) and the Jaguars (NFL-low 141 Points allowed) will be traveling 2,047 miles west and from the ET to the MT, losing 2 Body Clock Hours. Jacksonville has improved, but beating Larry Fitzgerald and the Cardinals in The Valley of the Sun is another thing.
These two haven’t played since 2013 when the Cardinals (500/1 to win Super Bowl, 5Dimes) defeated the Jaguars in Jacksonville, 27-14, covering ATS as 10-point Road Favorites. The prevailing thought here is that Site and Pride should weigh heavy here and that, though much improved, the Jaguars may be in for a fight in the Sonoran Desert at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, making this game turn into a chess match with a Loss probably ending any Cardinals (4-6 SU) Postseason hopes.

* Other notable line move right out of the gate:

Dallas opened -4 hosting LA Chargers NOW LA -1 +105

Minnesota actually opened -1 and bloomed to 2 -120 and is now actively moving towards a sturdy 3 in most books. I guess the sharps aren't waiting on this soft number. This number will already be well battle tested by the time Joe see's it in his morning paper.

Cincinnati opened at a juicy -9 hosting Cleveland and somebody promptly wacked that number down to a more manageable -7 with a cup of juice. And as we write this its actually leaked back up to an 8 now in some spots.

Did everyone notice how well the Steelers do in Prime time? Yep and the books noticed you noticing them ding that, and decided to put an extra loaf into the Steelers pants dealing out -13.5 points and that number has now landed on 14. Remember though, when those whales see a number larger than a 5 they begin to salivate. A full 14 is now perched on Pittsburgh's lap and look there is a freaking 16 now resting in front of the Patriots who on Sunday host the Tuna free Dolphins of Miami. The wise guys must be double parked outside the casinos right about now, eager to land such huge numbers on the dogs they know the public won't EVER take a bite out of. To them that's value. They must feel like being the only guy on Gilligan's Island that knows how to get back home.
Sharps did rather poorly last week going 2-2-1 missing on the New England total, Denver -2.5 hosting Cincy, getting a push on that missed field goal in Chicago and winning with their Giants and Vikings bets.

The Chiefs have looked pretty bad lately , but their number against Buffalo has moved from the 9.5 -115 to a full 10. Guess that means the Bills stock is still headed south despite their playoff chances.

In week four the Raiders and the Broncos played with Denver being favoured by 2.5 points with a total set at 47. Denver won that game 20-16 and the current number on their rematch this week sits at Oakland -5 and a total of 43. Both of these teams must look at their experiences with the soaring Patriots though and just sigh...there is a fork around here with both their names on it for this year. This game could turn out to be just another square dance low scoring drift off into the sunset kind of game IMHO.

Hope these help start your NFL assumptions for week 12 off on the correct footing.

Remember ALWAYS walk your dog!
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Bill Grundy

Most of the following comes from Bang the books.
Three Thursday games on the Thanksgiving Holiday means very tight numbers that appeal both to rather festive Joes and the invisible board room hermits sitting on top of their piles of mostly money. Yep its a short week for eight teams; the six in play on the holiday, and the two coming out of Monday Night Football. For the first time since Week 3, we also have no teams on a bye, so we have 16 games to take a look at this week.
Some awful quarterback performances and some all-around bad teams have produced some very big numbers in the marketplace. Sharp guys are out there betting for value where they see it and there have been some notable line moves early in the week. The current state of the NFL is almost unparalleled with the number of bad quarterbacks and really horrible teams, so we’ll have to see if we get a lot of early-week action or if the focus simply shifts to the days when limits are bigger. Whatever the case, we have a few things to discuss.
With a lot of high openers, quarterback uncertainty, and the week-to-week injury uncertainty, we haven’t seen a whole lot of movement early in the week. We should start to see some numbers moving around a bit more as we get into the middle of the week, but the current state of the NFL just doesn’t lend itself well to early line movement anymore.

NFL Week 12 Opening Line Report:

Minnesota (-2) at Detroit – The Vikings are the preferred side here coming off of a nice win against the Los Angeles Rams. Despite the short trip to Ford Field on a short week, the market has taken the Vikings from a pick ‘em to a clear road favorite. Bookmaker is actually all the way up to 2.5, but DSI is sitting at 1.5. Everywhere in the market remains below 3, so we can’t call this an overly significant move yet. ( This line has actually NOW moved into the significant area @ - 3 now.)

LA Chargers (PK) at Dallas – The Cowboys opened the smallest of favorites for this Thanksgiving Day clash, but the market took those +1s away and now we are sitting pick ‘em market-wide. The Cowboys have looked awful without Tyron Smith and Sean Lee, so it comes as no surprise that the market is anti-Dallas this week. This isn’t an overly significant line move, obviously, but road teams getting bet on short weeks are always notable.

Cleveland at Cincinnati (-8) – The market is backing the Browns. I don’t know why. After seeing the debacles the last two weeks, it makes no sense. But, there seems to be line value on Cleveland catching more than a touchdown against a Cincinnati team back home for the first time in about a month. The Browns have line value every week because suckers like me take it. Apparently there are others. We should start a support group.

Chicago at Philadelphia (-13.5) – We have two extremely large numbers this week. The Eagles are actually growing as a favorite, too. The Bears opened +13 and the number is up to +13.5 or even +14 in the market. Bovada is at 14. 5Dimes is at 14.5. The Bears are not good. The Eagles are really good and put it to the Cowboys in the second half. Apparently the expectation is that the Eagles are going to roll.

Miami at New England (-16.5) – But not as much as the Patriots are going to roll. We’ve actually seen some money hit the board on the dog here, unlike the previous game, but not much and not to push this thing any lower than 16.5. Seventeen points. For an NFL spread. Nice league, Roger. With Jay Cutler probably out and the Patriots bludgeoning opponents now, it probably makes sense.

Jacksonville (-4.5) at Arizona – 4.5 is more of a consensus number here because some shops are still sitting on 5 and others are sitting on 4. The Jaguars shouldn’t have covered against the Browns. They’ll be on the road for a second straight week as they head to the desert. It isn’t a big surprise to see the early-week numbers grabbers pouncing on this one. The Greek and Pinnacle are two of the sharper books and they are at 4. Bookmaker and DSI remain 5. The rest of the market has split the difference at 4.5.

New Orleans at LA Rams (-2.5) – Books are trying to dig in and avoid going to 3 on this game, but it looks inevitable. We’ve got the Rams favored by 2.5 with extra juice as high as -125 out there in the marketplace. This number did open 2.5 flat, with the Rams post-setback against the Vikings and the Saints in a really tough spot off the comeback win over the Redskins. This is a number that should grow as the week goes along.

Green Bay at Pittsburgh (-13.5) – Maybe flex out of this game, NBC. Pittsburgh is a two-touchdown favorite on Sunday Night Football against the hapless Packers. The more public shops like Bovada and 5Dimes have already pushed this number out to 14. Most shops are still sitting 13.5. Most bettors are sick to their stomachs about the NFL card.

Houston at Baltimore (-7) – The Ravens, who have virtually no offense, are favored by a touchdown against the Texans, who have no offense. Maybe flex out of this game, ESPN. In this instance, it can’t happen because travel plans have been made and all of that. Teams wouldn’t agree to switching to a Monday. We have seen a little bit of Baltimore money, with Pinnacle at 7.5 with heavy juice and 5Dimes already up to 8.

Remember ALWAYS walk your dog!
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Bill Grundy

Money pouring in on Vikings, likely wiseguy $$$, but lines moving two directions? 5 dimes @ Min -1 , while Pinny holding 2.5 and Bovada and SIA with 3's. Sharps also loading up on the over moving total to 46 and just checking the lines all moving up on Vikings here at 12:21 EST. Sorry for the late post , but I must of been throttled off line , as occurs quite often when you reside in the Bigwoods of North America.

Hope these help.

Remember to Always WALK your Dog!

Bill Grundy

@ 7:25 pm EST approximately 1 hour till Washington hosts the New York Giants - the steady 7 -105 that held all week on the Redskins is now beginning to leak upwards to -7.5 again @ Bovada and Pinnacle while now even -8's have appeared @Sportbet and 5 Dimes. Looks like a few whales interrupted their thanksgetting to place a few more large bets on the home team to finish off the day with a home side coming through for a change of pace here today. The game total sits @ 44 points with only the square books holding 45's. Wish we had casinos with sportbooks.
Meanwhile a juicy spot (the 1st half total) has appeared which is being bet UNDER heavy like the 1st two games today both of which stayed under. CRIS has moved their line to 21.5 for the 1st half juicing the over @ -115 while others like Pinnacle and BetOnline are just raising the juice line to -130 and -131 on the 22.5
And now as I write this the books are synchronizing their positions to a 21.5 even at the moment 7:34pm EST.

Hope these help.

Remember ALWAYS walk your dog!
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Well-known member
Just a note: the Minny game first half sailed over, with 14 points in the final 37 seconds. Second half then went *miraculously* under 24.

Always remember to pet your cat!

Bill Grundy

Just a note: the Minny game first half sailed over, with 14 points in the final 37 seconds. Second half then went *miraculously* under 24.

Always remember to pet your cat!
Wow...37 seconds making a difference. thanks for pointing that out Garraund. I'd pencilled in 16-6.

What a difference it makes when the fans show up at a game in costume as in the case of the kids mimicking the coaching staff of the NY Giants.
When a game get boring they usually keep things rolling.

And so way back when the Blue Jays made the that big trade for David Cone and they were hosting the Milwaukee Brewers that night we quickly put together a Cone head pierced with a cheese square for my brother to wear as he had tickets for the game.
The things you do to get on the sports highlights to show other cities that your town has the right stuff.

And on the topic of the right stuff...Here's to hoping that the Winnipeg Blue Bomber fans attending this years Grey cup Sunday build one of their famous 'beer snakes' comprised of all of the plastic cups from the numerous beers they consume stacked one on top of the other to form a what turns out to be a very long snake that fans pass through out the audience. Woooo hooooo!