Hello and welcome to the special Thanksgiving Edition of the HQ PM newsletter. With tomorrow being Thanksgiving, there will not be an afternoon newsletter stuffed with picks for you. I’m sorry, but it’s written into my contract that I’m allowed to leave the content mines at least five days per year, and Thanksgiving is one of the days I opt to see the sun.
But, since I love you as much as I do, I couldn’t send you into a Thursday full of football without picks, so today is a Wednesday edition of Football Friday. I have an NBA pick for you tonight, as well as a college basketball parlay. But I also have picks for all three of tomorrow’s NFL games.
So I hope all of you have a great holiday and holiday weekend. In fact, I’m giving you permission to start it right now. Start your weekend by reading these stories.
OK, let’s talk turkey.
All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
The Pick: Nets -1 (-110): All right, since it’s Thanksgiving weekend, tonight’s NBA play won’t be an under. I’m sure you’re growing tired of rooting for missed shots and long half-court possessions that feature one player jab-stepping for 20 seconds before driving into a lane full of defenders and turning the ball over. So tonight, I offer you a break and instead suggest taking the Nets as a small road favorite in Boston.
While Boston’s a better team than its 10-8 record suggests, I don’t know that I’d rely on things evening out. I think the Celtics are underperforming because they’re a team without an identity. Brad Stevens is no longer on the sidelines, and key players on the roster either don’t understand their roles or refuse to accept them. It’s the opposite with Brooklyn, where the stars are the stars, but they seem more willing to play within the team than Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown do at times.
Also, for whatever reason, Boston is considerably worse defensively at home than on the road. In eight home games, the Celtics have a defensive rating of 108.0. On the road, that number drops to 101.5, which is the best mark of any team in the league. If that’s not bizarre enough for you, there’s more! Brooklyn has an offensive rating of 112.0 on the road compared to 104.5 at home. So the Nets are better offensively on the road, Boston’s worse defensively at home, carry the one, divide by 3.25, and take the Nets.
Key Trend: The Nets have covered seven of the last eight meetings.
Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: The SportsLine Projection Model has a few strong leans on tonight’s game, but while it likes one side of the spread, it’s really fond of a play on the total.
💰 The Picks
Bears at Lions, Thursday, 12:30 p.m. | TV: FOX
The Pick: Bears -3 (-110) — It’s either Andy Dalton versus Tim Boyle or Andy Dalton versus Jared Goff. How can you not be excited about this one? I mean, I know that as a Chicago Bears fan, there’s nothing I want to do more than spend a holiday surrounded by family and watching Andy Dalton and the Chicago Bears! Surely that won’t lead to any arguments!
Anyway, the Bears are the right play here. It’s not an exciting play to make, but I don’t think it’ll matter whether it’s Boyle or Goff for the Lions. The truth is, while the Bears offense is terrible, and their playcallers are often clueless, they’re a better fit with Andy Dalton than they’ve been with Justin Fields.
The Bears love running all the short routes Dalton can throw and don’t know how to use Fields yet. Meanwhile, the Lions are terrible, and Jared Goff has never played well against the Bears. Plus, here’s a fun trend for you: the Lions have covered four straight on Thanksgiving as favorites, but as underdogs, they’ve gone only 3-11 ATS on Thanksgiving.
Key Trend: The Lions are only 3-11 ATS in their last 14 Thanksgiving day games as underdogs.
Raiders at Cowboys, Thursday, 4:30 p.m. | TV: CBS
The Pick: Raiders +7.5 (-115) — It’s fun to bet against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. They’re one of the most popular franchises in the country, playing in a spotlight game on a holiday. This means that sportsbooks have to protect themselves against the casual money that comes in for a game like this. Plus, now that sports betting is legal in so many more places, that’s more of a factor than before. And the result is the line is skewed too far into Dallas’ favor.
That’s one of the reasons why the Cowboys are only 1-9 ATS on Thanksgiving since 2011.
Well, they’re about to be 1-10. The Cowboys will be without Amari Cooper again and could be without CeeDee Lamb, too. Dak Prescott does not look to be 100%. There are just too many reasons to question how strong the Cowboys will be on a short week, and even if the Raiders have lost three straight coming into this one, they shouldn’t be getting more than a touchdown in this spot.
Key Trend: The Cowboys are 1-9 ATS in their last 10 Thanksgiving games.
Bills at Saints, Thursday, 8:20 p.m. | TV: NBC
The Pick: Over 45.5 (-110) — Buffalo has fallen out of first place in the AFC East, having lost three of five, and the main reason for Buffalo’s skid is that its defense has fallen off a cliff. After being one of the best defensive teams in the league to start the year, the Bills have shown cracks lately. While they were able to hold terrible teams like the Dolphins, Jaguars and Jets to low point totals, the competent offenses Buffalo has faced have put up plenty of points.
Now, you could argue that New Orleans is not a competent offense right now, and you’d have a strong case. Trevor Siemian is at QB, and Alvin Kamara is out too, but it’s had too much impact on the total. After all, New Orleans still has one of the best game planners and play-callers in the league in Sean Payton. Oh, and New Orleans’ defense is banged up, too. I see this as being a get-right game for Josh Allen and the Buffalo offense, and I see the Saints doing enough to make sure we get past this total. It’s not going to be some ridiculous shootout, but it won’t be a total snoozefest, either.
Key Trend: The over is 7-3 in Buffalo’s last 10 road games.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: The SportsLine Projection Model has put together a four-leg Thanksgiving Day football parlay that pays 12-1!
🏀 College Basketball Parlay
How about a four-leg parlay to send you into your holiday weekend? This one pays +128.
- UMass (-475)
- South Florida (-550)
- SMU (-900)
- South Dakota State (-230)