Thanksgiving Day and Friday Football Previews


CHICAGO (5-6) at DETROIT (3-7-1) - 12:30 p.m. ET, Fox
Okay, so the Bears have a pulse once again following last Sunday's 19-14 non-cover win against the New York Giants as all-too-sensitive QB Mitchell Trubisky used his legs for one key TD and now that's the story here: Can Trubisky convert some third-down plays with his legs against a Lions squad that hasn't won in a month and has turnover-prone QB Jeff Driskel running the show?
Spread Note - The Lions enter this Thanksgiving Day game on a six-game pointspread losing streak and the Motowners have failed to cover six of their last nine games versus NFC North foes.

Here's the last 5 Thanksgiving Day games played by the Detroit Lions:

2018Chicago- 3DETROITBears, 23-16
2017Minnesota- 2.5DETROITVikings, 30-23
2016DETROIT- 1.5MinnesotaLions, 22-16
2015DETROIT- 3PhiladelphiaLions, 45-14
2014DETROIT- 7ChicagoLions, 34-17


BUFFALO (8-3) at DALLAS (6-5) - 4:30 p.m. ET, CBS
Give it to Cowboys' owner / GM Jerry Jones to stir the pot following his club's 13-0 loss-but-cover at New England last Sunday: The pompous Jones blamed coaching (and shoddy special teams) for that loss in rainy / windy Foxboro but the truth is the 'Boys won't win or cover here if WR Amari Cooper comes up with zero catches again ... yikes! Note the visiting and TD-underdog Bills have surrendered a grand total of 51 points in their last four games combined as this AFC East crew is off to the franchise's best start since the 1990s.
Spread Note - Dallas is 7-4 ATS (against the spread) overall this year and the 'Boys are a decent 9-6-3 ATS when playing AFC opponents the past few years.

Here's the last 5 Thanksgiving Day games played by the Dallas Cowboys:

2018DALLAS- 7WashingtonCowboys, 31-23
2017LA Chargers- 1DALLASChargers, 28-6
2016DALLAS- 5.5WashingtonCowboys, 31-26
2015Carolina- 1DALLASPanthers, 33-14
2014DALLAS- 3PhiladelphiaEagles, 33-10


On Thursday Night, it's ...
NEW ORLEANS (9-2) at ATLANTA (3-8) - 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC
Revenge! The N'Orleans Saints were roasted 26-9 at home versus these woe-be-gone Falcons back in Week 10 action and so we're not surprised the Las Vegas price tag for this clash jumped from Saints - 5 to -7 faster than you can say Mardi Gras! If New Orleans slinger Drew Brees (311 yards passing with 3 TDs in last weekend's 34-31 non-cover win against Carolina) doesn't have to shuffle his way out of the pocket much here, then the Saints might be scoring all night long. Pass the pumpkin pie and let's finish Thanksgiving with a blast!
Spread Note - The Saints have notched pointspread wins in six of their last nine head-to-head games against the rival Falcons.


On Thursday night, it's ...
OLE MISS (4-7, 2-5) at MISSISSIPPI STATE (5-6, 2-5) -- 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
It's an important Egg Bowl game for the Miss State kids: A win here and the program goes to a 10th consecutive bowl game but a suspension-riddled roster has caused this to be a trying time for second-year boss Joe Moorhead - who may or may not be dashing off to Rutgers at year's end. On the flip side, no bowl for Ole Miss but the Rebels would love to play spoiler and doesn't that + 2.5-point price look a tad suspicious? Key here is erratic Miss State QB Tommy Stevens (9 TDs, 5 INTs) who is true hit-or-miss guy.
Spread Note - Dogs have covered five of the last seven Rebels versus Bulldogs tilts dating back to 2012. Hmmm.



VIRGINIA TECH (8-3, 5-2) at VIRGINIA (8-3, 5-2) - 12 p.m. ET, ABC
How 'bout it? The winner of this commonwealth clash gets to face Clemson in the ACC Championship Game next Saturday ... what a reward! No doubt the V-Tech Hokies are peaking (see pointspread info below) with back-to-back shutouts for soon-to-be-retired defensive coordinator Bud Foster. P.S., the Tech defense has held opponents scoreless on their last 32 possessions. If Virginia - now a 2.5-point home dog - is gonna pull the mild upset then Wahoo QB Bryce Perkins (2,630 passing yards / 523 yards rushing) has to be Superman for a Virginia team that ranks 118th in the land in rushing ... ugh!
Spread Note - Virginia Tech's covered seven of the last 10 games in this in-state rivalry tussle.

#17 IOWA (8-3, 5-3) at NEBRASKA (5-6, 3-5) - 2:30 p.m. ET, Big 10 Network
It's been tough sledding - for a second straight year - for Nebraska head ball coach Scott Frost who nonetheless just inked a hearty contract extension, but if Frost wants to make Big Red Nation happy this holiday weekend then getting a "W" here (and a bowl invite) would be advised. On the flip side, Iowa - a 5.5-point betting fav for this Big 10 battle -- is shooting for its third season of nine-or-more wins since 2015 and the country's 13th-ranked defense should be swarming all over Nebraska QB Adrian Martinez if the "D" has its way here.
Spread Note - Iowa has covered nine of its last 12 away games including Big 10 road covers this year at Northwestern and Wisconsin.

#19 CINCINNATI (10-1, 7-0) at #18 MEMPHIS (10-1, 6-1) - 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
Here's the $64,000 question as we head towards this key American Athletic Conference clash: Is the 11-point favorite price tag "too rich" here? Sure, the Memphis Tigers have been a pointspread demon this year with a snazzy 7-3-1 ATS (against the spread) mark thus far and a win in this game gives Mike Norvell's squad a second consecutive berth in the AAC Championship Game (a Cincy win gets the Bearcats home field for the AAC title game) but Memphis QB Brady White (3,074 yards passing with 30 TDs) knows his own team's defense has allowed 30-or-more points four times this year. Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder (shoulder) has been hurtin' lately.
Spread Note - Memphis is 13-6-1 ATS while dating back to the middle of last year while Cincy's only 11-19-1 spreadwise in conference play the past three-plus years.

Here's the "who's hot" and "who's not" pointspread list as we head into Thanksgiving Day weekend (naturally, all figures below are against the spread) ...

Arizona has lost six consecutive pointspread verdicts
Buffalo has covered five of its last six games
Central Michigan is 7-1-1 spreadwise since mid-September
Clemson is 5-1 since early October
Duke is 0-5-2 following its 3-1 start
Florida is a robust 6-1-1 in its last 8 games
Illinois has amazingly covered six in a row
Kansas State's covered five of its last six
Maryland has failed to cover its last four in a row
Michigan is on a five-game spread run
N.C. State has dropped its last five in a row
Oklahoma has lost four straight games to Mr. Vig
Oklahoma State has won four in a row
Purdue's covered six of its last 7 tilts
Syracuse is a rotten 1-6 vig-wise since late September
Tennessee has covered six in a row
Utah has chopped it up with 7 consecutive spread wins and
Virginia Tech's covered its last five in a row.