Turkey Tip Sheet
Published on Nov. 22, 2012, at 11:05 a.m. Eastern.
By Brian Edwards
**Texans at Lions**
–Before sitting down to Thanksgiving lunch, gamblers will need to place their bets for this 12:30 p.m. Eastern kickoff at Ford Field in the Motor City. As of late Wednesday afternoon, most books had Houston (9-1 straight up, 7-3 against the spread) favored by three with a minus-120 price. The total was 50 ½ points. Bettors can take the Lions on the money line for a plus-155 payout (risk $100 to win $155).
–After losing three of its first four games, Detroit (4-6 SU, 4-6 ATS) won three of its next four and appeared poised to stay in postseason contention. However, the Lions have dropped back-to-back game and are now in desperation mode. They lost a 24-20 nail-biter vs. Green Bay last Sunday as 3 ½-point home underdogs. The 44 combined points stayed ‘under’ the 53 ½-point total.
–In the loss to the Packers, Detroit took a 20-14 advantage with 4:25 remaining on a 27-yard field goal by Jason Hanson. However, Aaron Rodgers drove Green Bay down the field on a six-play touchdown drive to take the lead back. After committing a turnover, the Lions failed to cover when the Packers got a 39-yard field goal from Mason Crosby with 19 ticks left. Matthew Stafford threw two interceptions, including a 72-yard pick-six, and also coughed up a fumble. The Lions have given up seven touchdowns on returns this season, including punts, fumbles and interceptions.
–Houston was fortunate to win outright as a 15-point home favorite vs. Jacksonville last week. The Texans twice trailed by double-digit margins in the second half, but they nonetheless railed to capture a 43-37 overtime win over the Jaguars. With 2:01 left in OT, Matt Schaub found Andre Johnson for a 48-yard scoring strike to provide the winning points. The Jags took the cash and the 80 combined points easily went ‘over’ the 40 ½-point tally.
–Schaub completed 43-of-55 passes for 527 yards with five TD passes and two interceptions against Jacksonville. Johnson hauled in 14 receptions for 273 yards. For the season, Schaub has 18 TD passes compared to eight interceptions. Johnson has 60 catches for 870 yards and three TDs.
–Houston RB Arian Foster has rushed for 949 yards and 10 TDs, but he’s been limited to a 3.8 yards-per-carry average. He rushed for 77 yards on 28 carries against the Jags.
–Houston is third in the NFL in scoring, averaging 29.3 points per game. Also, the Texans are fourth in the NFL in scoring defense, giving up only 18.0 PPG.
–Houston has won all four of its road assignments, compiling a 3-1 spread record. The Texans own an 8-7 spread record as road favorites during Gary Kubiak’s seven-year tenure.
–To get an idea of how mistake-prone Detroit has been this season, consider these stats: The Lions are second in the NFL in total offense, averaging 401.7 yards per contest. However, they are just 15th in scoring with a 23.6 PPG average. In a similar vein, Jim Schwartz’s squad is 10th in total defense but 23rd in scoring defense (24.6 PPG).
–During Schwartz’s four-year tenure, Detroit has gone 7-6 ATS as a home underdog. The Lions are 2-2 SU and 1-3 ATS at home this year.
–Totals have been an overall wash for Houston (5-5), but the ‘under’ is 3-1 in its four road games. Meanwhile, the Lions have watched the ‘over’ go 6-3-1 overall, 2-2 in their home games.
–CBS will provide television coverage.
**Redskins at Cowboys**
–Most spots are listing Dallas (5-5 SU, 4-6 ATS) as a three-point ‘chalk’ with a minus-120 price. The total is 48 and the Redskins are plus-155 to win outright (risk $100 to win $155).
–Dallas lost for the fourth time in five games at Atlanta on Nov. 4, but the Cowboys have responded with two straight victories to get back into the hunt. They are only one game back of the 6-4 Giants for the lead in the NFC East.
–Jason Garrett’s club won a 23-20 decision over Cleveland in overtime last week. Dan Bailey’s 32-yard field goal with two seconds left in regulation forced the extra session, and then Bailey buried a 38-yarder for the win with only 2:01 left in OT. The Cowboys failed to cover the number as seven-point home favorites, while the 43 combined points slipped ‘under’ the 43 ½-point total.
–Dallas veteran QB Tony Romo has completed 67.3 percent of his throws for 2,916 passing yards, but he has a mediocre 13/13 TD-INT ratio. Jason Witten is his favorite target, bringing in 73 catches for 636 yards and one TD.
–Dallas has won outright in two of its four home games, but it is an abysmal 0-4 ATS.
–Washington (4-6 SU, 5-5 ATS) ended a three-game losing slide by pounding Philadelphia by a 31-6 count as a 3 ½-point home favorite. Robert Griffin III produced a spectacular performance, connecting on 14-of-15 passes for 200 yards and four touchdowns without an interception. RG3 also rushed for 84 yards on 12 carries.
–RG3 has been ‘as advertised,’ completing 67.1 percent of his passes for 2,193 yards with a 12/3 TD-INT ratio. The Baylor product has also rushed for 624 yards and six TDs.
–Washington has lost three of its five road games but has managed a 3-2 spread record. The Redskins are 3-1 ATS as road underdogs this year, 11-7 ATS in such spots during Mike Shanahan’s three-year tenure.
–Dallas has won three straight and six of the last seven head-to-head meetings with Washington. However, the Redskins have covered the number in the last four encounters. In addition, the ‘Skins are 5-0 ATS in their last five trips to Dallas.
–The ‘under’ is 6-4 overall for Dallas, 2-2 in its home games.
–Totals have been an overall wash (5-5) for the ‘Skins, but they have seen the ‘over’ cash at a 3-2 clip in their five road contests.
–The ‘under’ is on a 5-2 run in the last seven games of this storied rivalry.
–Kickoff is scheduled for 4:15 p.m. Eastern on FOX.
**Patriots at Jets**
–Most books are listing New England (7-3 SU, 6-4 ATS) as a seven-point favorite with a total of 48. Bettors can take the Jets to win outright for a plus-260 payout (risk $100 to win $260).
–Bill Belichick’s squad has won four in a row and six of its last seven, including last week’s 59-24 shellacking of Indianapolis as a 10-point home ‘chalk.’ Tom Brady threw for 331 yards and three TDs without an interception. Rob Gronkowski made seven receptions for 137 yards and two TDs, but he broke his forearm in the fourth quarter and will miss the next several games.
–On the bright side for the Pats, they’ll get their other stud tight end, Aaron Hernandez, back this week after he missed the last three games with an ankle injury.
–Brady is enjoying another sensational season, throwing for 2,976 yards with a 21/3 TD-INT ratio.
–New York (4-6 SU, 6-4 ATS) stopped the bleeding of a three-game losing streak with last week’s 37-23 win at St. Louis as a 3 ½-point underdog. Bilal Powell rushed for a pair of touchdowns and Marc Sanchez had one TD pass without committing a turnover.
–For the season, Sanchez is completing only 53.5 percent of his passes with an 11/9 TD-INT ratio.
–Since its first two games went ‘under,’ New England has seen the ‘over’ cash in eight consecutive games. The ‘over’ is 4-1 in the Pats’ five road assignments. They are 3-2 SU and 4-1 ATS on the road.
–Totals have been an overall wash (5-5) for the Jets, but the ‘under’ is 3-2 in their home games. They are 2-3 SU and 3-2 ATS at home.
–During Rex Ryan’s tenure, the Jets own a 3-1 spread record as home underdogs.
–The ‘over’ has hit in six straight head-to-head meetings between the Jets and Patriots.
–NBC will have the telecast at 8:20 p.m. Eastern.