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The Chalk Roundtable: Best Bets for Thanksgiving NFL

Thanksgiving football gives us a chance to make some money on turkey day.

Last week was a brutal one for the Roundtable. There is no other way around it. Hand up…I had the ‘Cuse and it’s looking like I just need to accept the fact that Notre Dame is a really damn good team. We took further hits as a group on Iowa State, Atlanta, Fresno State, the Arizona Cardinals and the Minnesota combo of the Golden Gophers on Saturday and the Vikings on Sunday (although we’re hanging that loss on our guy Patrick since he’s the Vikings fan).

But this is a new week. And fortunately, it’s also one of the best weeks on the sports calendar. We’re focusing our efforts this week with a Thanksgiving Day Special of best bets to rally back after the hits last week. The addition of the third Thanksgiving game a few years back to add to the annual Detroit and Dallas hosted matchups has given football fans a full day of eating, drinking, football, and gambling. We’re going to mix it up a bit this with an unorthodox play, a couple total plays, a homer play, and more.

But first I’m going to get the debate going with the Thanksgiving Side Dish Power Rankings.

1. Mashed potatoes. Great mashed potatoes (shout out upstairs, Grandma) don’t need gravy, cheese, bacon, or anything else added, although I’m willing to get behind any of them. I’m not a food shamer. They go with everything and are vital to any Thanksgiving dinner. Rich, poor, and everyone in between can get behind a pile of creamy fluffy mashed potatoes on Thursday.

2. Stuffing. Stuffing is really good one day or two per year, and this is that day. I don’t know why it’s drastically better on a Thursday in November, but it just completes the mountain of food on a Chinet plate. In the bird or out, stuffing is crucial to the perfect Thanksgiving plate. And if you call it dressing, I can’t help you.

3. Corn casserole. Buttery, salty, sweet, and just flat delicious. After growing up in a family that had just straight sweet corn at the table, my first dalliance with a good corn casserole was a game changer. It’s become a staple for me when I am tasked with a dish to pass at the family event or the Friendsgiving. Simple to make and always a hit.

4. Mac and Cheese. If you are seeing a trend here, its carbs. Carbs are everything on Thanksgiving. Mac and cheese is good all the time, which is probably why it’s sitting this low on the power rankings. It’s hard to look forward to something that is always available, but when it’s as delicious as mac and cheese you make room.

5. Sweet potatoes. Some people call them yams I think. I don’t know, I call them orange greatness. Plus it makes you feel like it’s somewhat healthy since you know, sweet potatoes, right (just disregard the butter, sugar, brown sugar, pecans, etc.)?

Embrace debate and hit me up on Twitter (@schools_01) and tell me why I’m wrong and I will tell you why green bean casserole is trash. Anyway, let’s get on to making some money.

Last week: 1-7 (we will be better this week).

Patrick’s Pick (@TCFPgoy and @typical_chicago; 0-1) Washington Redskins (O/U 41) @ Dallas Cowboys (-7) (Thurs. 11/22 – 3:30pm CST)

Well, my debut to the roundtable did NOT go as anticipated. I understand that the Bears are good, I just didn’t realize they were THAT good what with their soft schedule and no big/good wins on their schedule up until that point.  Nevertheless, we press on. More games to be played in the NFL and more money to be made.  Here’s hoping that after you read our Thanksgiving roundtable special your wallet will be as full as your stomachs come Thursday night.

My pick for Thursday’s action is going to be UNDER (41) in Washington/Dallas. On Sunday in Atlanta, we saw the Cowboys struggle to find the end zone against the absolute worst defense in the league (32nd in DVOA according to Football Outsiders) and it was a field goal fest until the Zeke Elliot & Dak found the end zone late.

Dallas still believes it can win this division and why shouldn’t they? Philly is a mess, the Giants stink, and Washington’s starting QB Alex Smith is done for the season. All of a sudden Dallas just might be the best team in the NFC East with an improving defense, Dak getting confidence, and a running back who you can’t stop but rather, only hope to contain.

The other team in this matchup, The Washington Redskins, now must turn to veteran backup QB Colt McCoy to keep their division lead and playoff hopes alive after Smith’s leg injury on Sunday.  A backup QB, thrust into the starting job, on a short week, in a Thanksgiving primetime game, on the road, against the hottest team in that division, does not spell out a recipe for success.  Redskins should and probably will lean on a resurgent Adrian Peterson out of the backfield to carry the load on offense to minimize McCoy‘s chances for mistakes.

This matchup screams plenty of carries for Zeke & AP. Watch those seconds tick tick tick off the clock and give me the under 41 in this one.

Pick: Under 41

Sean’s Pick (@Sean_Trader; 1-1) Washington Redskins (O/U 41) @ Dallas Cowboys (-7) (Thurs. 11/22 – 3:30pm CST)

I am piggy-backing off of Patrick’s thinking and sticking with a low scoring battle in the same game. However, I think there is value in attacking the under in the 1st quarter as well as on the game. I’m going with the unconventional route and taking the 1st quarter under 7.5. I have seen this fluctuate in various spots but the key number here is the hook. As long as it stays over a touchdown bet this one with confidence. I feel like the Redskins are going to lean heavily on the running attack with Colt McCoy at the helm as they try to ease him into his first start of the season.

Dak Prescott has been generally unimpressive on the season and like Patrick mentioned, I also see them pounding Zeke Elliot early and often as the Cowboys try to take control of the NFC East.

Pick: 1st Quarter Under 7.5

Matt’s Pick (@schools_01; 1-1) Chicago Bears (-3.5) @ Detroit Lions (O/U 44.5) (Thurs. 11/22 – 11:30am CST)

I’m a big believer in the intra-division home dog philosophy in the NFL. Division games are usually always a battle as teams know each other well and this one is no different. The Bears could be without QB Mitch Trubisky who did not practice Tuesday with a shoulder injury. Most NFL insiders are saying the Bears are prepping for life with Chase Daniel at least for the week ahead while HC Matt Nagy said the Bears are “cautiously optimistic” 10Gawd will suit up.

It doesn’t matter if he does. I love the Bears in this spot even with all that I mentioned above. The defense is riding high after their brilliant showing Sunday night against the Vikings. Khalil Mack is putting his case up with Rams DL Aaron Donald for NFL Defensive POY and he should eat up the Lions weak offensive line before he heads home for his Thanksgiving feast. The Lions will likely be without two of their top weapons in rookie RB Kerryon Johnson and WR Marvin Jones fresh off dealing WR Golden Tate to Philly a couple weeks back.

The unprecedented turnaround from Sunday night to a Thursday morning start will not be an issue for the Bears in preparation as they just faced the Lions less than two weeks ago. It’s an even weaker team they dominated much of the game in Soldier Field due to injuries. The Chicago D is riding the momentum and will carry it from the bright lights Sunday to the spotlight Thursday afternoon. Lay the points with the road fave in this one.

Pick: Bears -3.5

Joe’s Pick (@abes34; 0-2) Atlanta Falcons (O/U 60) @ New Orleans Saints (-13) (Thurs. 11/22 – 7:20pm CST)

The Saints have been the most impressive team in the NFL since week 3. Drew Brees and Michael Thomas are nearly unstoppable right now and the RB duo of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram are causing fits for every defense that gets in their way. However, the Falcons have their own set of weapons offensively with Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Tevin Coleman at Matt Ryan‘s disposal.

As you may have noticed I am a big believer in studying the trends (despite my 0-2 start at TLS). And there are some juicy ones in this game. Atlanta is 14-4 on overs when they are an underdog of 10.5 to 14 points since 1992. They average over 30 points in dome stadiums and an even better mark 34 points against divisional opponents. The Saints, on the other hand, are averaging 40 – think about that averaging 40 points per game in the Superdome this season. We just saw on Monday night two offenses destroy a 63.5 point total and I definitely see this one having little issue reaching 61.

Pick: Over 60

Nick’s Pick (@PetroTLS; 36-33-2, -0.5u): Prop Bets 

Like Joe, I love the over in the Saints-Falcons game. My Thanksgiving “sweat” should be even more fun than usual because I will be in Vegas for the holiday. For my picks this week I wanted to differentiate from the guys because of the small slate. So, will give my two favorite prop bets on the week.

Props courtesy of DraftKings 

-Zeke under 99.5 rushing yards

Alvin Kamara over rushing 57.5 yards

The redskins are tough against the run and them being a division opponent will make it even harder for the Cowboys to run the ball. Last week, we saw the Saints use Mark Ingram a ton. This week I fully expect Kamara to get the bulk of the carries, besides in the red zone.

Have a great and profitable Thanksgiving everyone!

Image: USA Today 

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