warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

NFL Week 12: Top Three Betting Picks, Thanksgiving Edition

Max Meyer |
November 21, 2012 | 8:39 p.m. PST

Associate Sports Editor

Chris Johnson might not be in line for 2,000 yards like in 2009, but he could be in for a big day against the Jaguars (AJ Guel/Wikimedia Commons).
Chris Johnson might not be in line for 2,000 yards like in 2009, but he could be in for a big day against the Jaguars (AJ Guel/Wikimedia Commons).
Another undefeated week with my picks last weekend, and to celebrate I have three more great ones against the spread this week. Additionally, since it is Thanksgiving, I'll rank my picks in terms of my favorite Thanksgiving foods. 

The Turkey: Titans (-3) over JAGUARS

The Jacksonville Jaguars played an incredibly close game against the Texans last weekend, eventually losing in overtime. Whether it was the fact that Chad Henne looked like a much better quarterback than Blaine Gabbert or that the Jaguars play a lot better on the road, it was a very impressive performance. Don't be fooled, however, because the Tennessee Titans should handily beat the Jaguars.

The Titans made me look really good after destroying the Dolphins in their last game despite being six-point underdogs. Their starting quarterback Jake Locker returned from injury and played an efficient game against the Dolphins. Coming off a bye, Locker and the Titans have had two weeks to prepare for this lowly Jaguars team and an extra week to heal. Fun fact: road favorites coming off a bye have covered 26 of the last 30 against the spread.

Additionally, the Jaguars have the worst home-field advantage in the NFL (yes, even worse than the Dolphins). The Jaguars have lost by at least 17 points in each of their five home games. The Jaguars have played much better on the road this season. In fact, the road team in the ten Jaguars' games this season are 10-0 against the spread.

While the Jaguars did shut down Arian Foster last week, I'm not sure that they'll have similar success against the faster Chris Johnson. Johnson has looked like the CJ2K of old, racking up at least 91 rushing yards in the past five games. Additionally, Locker should have an easy matchup against the Jaguars' secondary, who gave up over 500 yards to the immortal Matt Schaub. 

Expect the Titans to take care of the Jaguars easily in this AFC South rivalry game. This pick is my lock of the week. 

The Stuffing: Patriots (-7) over JETS

I would absolutely love this pick if the line falls to -6.5, but I'll still take the New England Patriots as seven-point favorites. The line may drop soon though, as Logan Mankins, Chandler Jones, and Rob Gronkowski were all declared out for the game earlier today. Mankins and Gronkowski were expected, but Jones has started all 10 games for the Patriots this season and is tied for the team lead with six sacks. With several people freaking out about the Patriots' injuries, this is one of the few times that people will get to bet on an undervalued Patriots team. 

Tom Brady might not have Rob Gronkowski to throw to, but he'll still light up the Jets on Sunday (Teew Souza/Wikimedia Commons).
Tom Brady might not have Rob Gronkowski to throw to, but he'll still light up the Jets on Sunday (Teew Souza/Wikimedia Commons).
The Patriots have done well recently as road favorites and heavy favorites against the Jets. The Patriots have covered three of four games as road favorites this year, and all of the lines were over three points. Additionally, the Patriots have covered five of the last six games against the New York Jets in which they were favored by at least seven points. In the last 13 road games against the Jets, the Patriots are 11-2 against the spread. 

The Patriots have two things going for them: they are the highest scoring team in the NFL and they have the best turnover differential in the NFL. They are going to be facing against a Mark Sanchez/Tim Tebow quarterback combination that will not be able to match them in points and that will turn the ball over. Sanchez had one of his best games of the season against the Patriots earlier in the season, but that was before the Patriots added stud cornerback Aqib Talib. 

Expect the Patriots to blow out the Jets and for Tom Brady to prove that he doesn't need Gronkowski to still run an incredible offense. The Patriots recent dominance against the Jets (they've won 16 of their last 20 against them) will continue this week. 

The Cranberry Sauce: Rams (+1) over CARDINALS

It's amazing how quickly the perception of a team can change. The St. Louis Rams tied the 49ers in San Francisco two weeks ago, and everyone thought the Rams could fight for a playoff spot. Then, after they were favored against the Jets and lost last week, the Rams are underdogs while facing Ryan Lindley. That's right, a quarterback most people have never heard of is favored in an NFL game.

Lindley, a rookie who made his first appearance last week, was dreadful in his debut. Playing behind the worst offensive line can't help a quarterback who has a very limited chance to succeed in the NFL. And don't think that Rams' defensive linemen Chris Long and Robert Quinn won't have a field day against the worst offensive line in football. 

Additionally, the Rams' 12th ranked run defense will further torment the Arizona Cardinals on offense. The Rams will also be looking to make a statement after last week's embarrassing loss to the Jets. Since 2005 in non-September games, the Rams are 8-4 against the spread on the road after a double-digit home loss. Also, Rams head coach Jeff Fisher is 81-53 against the spread when his team is an underdog.

In this NFC West rivalry game, take the underdog Rams while Vegas is baffled why they ever considered making a team whose quarterback is Ryan Lindley a favorite. 



Reach Associate Sports Editor Max Meyer by email, or follow him on Twitter.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.