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Thursday Night Football: Thanksgiving Trifector

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 22: New England Patriots from left to right: Tom Brady, Steve Gregory, and Vince Wilfork join television broadcaster Michele Tafoya in eating turkey legs after defeating the New York Jets 49-19 at Metlife Stadium on Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012. (Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

nfl-thanksgiving

We here at ATSSTATS would like to extend our seasons greetings to all of our fans, followers, and customers.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys

washington-redskins-vs-dallas-cowboys

9-0 ML Last 9 Games? Yeah. That’s fairly impressive…

9-0 ATS Last 9 Games? Whoa. Dallas has been consistently outdoing Vegas linemakers since the season opened.

When ANY team played as home/road, coming off 5 ATS win: 119-143-10 ATS, 155-117 ML

When ANY team played as a home, coming off 5 ATS win: 57-78-4 ATS, 84-55 ML

When ANY team played as a -7.0 to -9.5 Favorite coming off 5 ATS win: 22-23-2 ATS, 32-15 ML

When ANY team played as a -7.0 or more Home Fave coming off 5 ATS win: 24-38-3 ATS, 46-19 ML

Look at these 4 handpicked database super-stats that each focus on a unique key aspect of the game.

The narrative that we see here seems to revolve around the fact that this is going to be played on home turf. Look at what we found:

  1. When a team has a long streak, Vegas linemakers tend to begin over-compensating. That said, since the team is very strong to have beat the spread, (in this case 9 times in a row), they are still winning games ML. So we get them winning the games, but losing the spreads.
  2. When we look at what happens when this takes place on home turf, the pattern stays the same as it did in the first example. This serves to confirm the over-arching pattern.
  3. When we look at the third stat, we interject the specific point spread. At this point all bets are off. Vegas appears to almost flawlessly place the line in instances where the spread is a big score. If this were the end of the discussion, we might consider Dallas here…but it’s not.
  4. When we see what happens after isolating the home-team, in a big spread, after lots of consecutive ATS wins, we can begin to understand the narrative here.

Here’s what we think is happening:

Teams that are 9-0 ATS are obviously red-hot. The fact that they’re winning ML doesn’t at all surprise us. The fact that Vegas oddsmakers are having issues placing the line, is because they’re forced to over-compensate. In part due to the recent track record of the team, and in part due to the public betting on the success of the recent track record of the team. If you’re taking a line that should be -4.5 and you have to place it at -9.0, that’s going to affect overall trends.

The interesting part…is that when we distinguish between Home/Away (22-23 ATS) and just Home (24-38)…we see the psychology at play.

Conclusion: When red-hot teams with +5 consecutive ATS wins are playing @Away, we think that the home crowd agitates them. They have the skill and the heat to shut them up, and that’s exactly what they do. Something is motivating these teams, as visitors, to play for more than “just the win”.

On the other hand, when these +5 consecutive ATS win teams are playing @Home, while they’re still winning the games at even rates, there is a kind of a “novocaine factor” that takes place. Every time they score, the crowd cheers and they’re reminded that they’re winning.

And one thing that we all know is that a team that knows that it’s won, before the game is over, can no longer play like they need to  win. So these red-hot teams that take the lead in home games have to basically take their foot off the gas and this is what we suspect is contributing to the continuous ML wins, but the persistent ATS over-evaluation.

If Dallas was playing AWAY we would tell you to back the Cowboys. The fact they’re playing at home is in their advantage as far as ML goes, but it is absolutely NOT in their advantage as far as Vegas Oddsmakers are concerned.

When DALLAS COWBOYS played as -7.0 or more Home Fave coming off a 5 ATS win: 2-4 ATS, 4-2 ML

We will recommend the fade on Turkey day. We will recommend the 6-3-1 Redskins +7.

Minnesota @ Detroit

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 20: The Detroit Lions offense lines up against the Minnesota Vikings defense during the game on August 20, 2015 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Lions 26-16. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

These teams are polar opposite so far this season. Minnesota started with a bang, but has accrued a toothless 1-4 ATS, and 1-4 ML Last 5 Games. Detroit started off quite poor, but has amassed a healthy 5-1 ATS, 5-1 ML in their Last 6 Games.

So we have cold meets hot and hot meets cold going on. This game actually reminds us a little bit of WSH@DAL. It’s like the same factors going on, except interestingly enough, oddsmakers have evaluated this at DET -2.5. Are they off their rockers? Is this too good to be true? The public doesn’t seem to think so. The Lions have 56% of the bets, so that’s just about as even as it gets. The public are finding that The Vikings must have some chances here.

  • Interestingly enough, the Vikings have some of the poorest yards production in the league. They are 24th in passing, and they’re dead last in their rushing. Vikings maintain 22nd in scoring.
  • By contrast, the Lions are 16th in passing, 30th in rushing, and 17th in points production.
  • The Lions’ ‘points-allowed’ is looking like the Vikings’ ‘points-for’.

Minnesota could have some personnel issues on the injury side of things:

  • [S] Andrew Senedjo is ?
  • [S] Harrison Smith is ?
  • [CB] Marcus Sherels is ?
  • [CB] Terence Newman is ?
  • [DT] Tom Johnson is ?
  • [WR] Stefon Diggs is ?

Senedjo, Smith, Newman and Johnson are not small fries. For the whole backfield defense to be questionable for Thursday is a very very big deal. With a terrible run-game, Lions will be looking to score in the air and these kinds of injuries will allow them to do exactly that.

To be missing Stefon Diggs is a death-blow as well. Having caught for 164 yards in week 10, Diggs is a crucial part of Minnesota’s air game. Reports state that he missed practice on Tuesday indicating that his knee issues might be a little more than superficial. Will he be ready for Thursday? We’re leaning to probably not, but with or without Diggs, it’s tough to stay away from a DET -2.5 wager in this spot. It really is too good to be true.

With that said, trap lines apply to lobsided action, and usually we’ll see the line move several points with the trap against the bait. We don’t see either of those indicators here. We are a little bit nervous regarding what those 44% of Vikings bettors are seeing that would make them want to bet Minnesota, but we have to stick to our stats, our guns, and our experience on this pick and take the Lions into the endzone with a -2.5 recommendation.

Lions -2.5, final answer.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Indianapolis Colts

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There is a lot of speculation regarding Luck’s entry on the injury list. What we know is that he was entered into concussion protocol some while after the game, and we know that they have a short week, facing-off against a Pittsburgh squad on Thursday, where they would be, theoretically, evenly matched. Colts are 5-4, Steelers are 4-5 for the season.

Concussion protocol requires rest, some rigorous testing, and extensive evaluations by a team of different doctors in different fields. Sources report that it’s negligible that Luck would be cleared in time to play by Thursday, even if he ends of concussion free.

So with all that said, the question is, “can the Colts cover the spread without Luck?”

In many instances, the backup QB can step in and change a team overnight if the starter is playing poorly. This usually happens when that QB has some experience, pedigree, or some superstar qualities.

QB Scott Tolzien, who is “so new that he still has the plastic on” is a bit of a wildcard, but not the good kind. Reports of his performance in the preseason have him pegged as being clearly below standard, and this kind of thing could spell disaster. The chances of him coming out to deliver a shocker of a performance are slim to none.

With S Mike Adams also needing to be cleared for concussion protocol after his last play of the game where he sustained some heavy impact, the Colts are showing weakness on both offense and defensive.

But there is one last critical factor that we need to note in terms of Tozien’s chances…when we look at the record, we find that the Colts’ defense has allowed Luck the 2nd highest most sacks and the 3rd most hits. And-that’s-the-point. Having a backup step into a protected pocket, vs. a backup that gets crushed…can be the whole entire difference. If the veteran, Luck, is getting flummoxed behind the C…then this defense will likely cause the nickname of, “Scott ‘The Piniata’ Tolzien”.

Although Pittsburgh’s pass-defense is bottom tier,  their D-Line pass-rush is 16th in delivering sacks. This means that the Steelers weakness will be their Cornerbacks/Safeties, not their Tackles/Linebackers/Ends. Tolzien has his work cut out for him.

Did we mention that in their last 3 games the Pirates have been cutting their teeth on:

  • 1st in their division, New England Patriots
  • 1st in their division Baltimore Ravens
  • 1st in their division Dallas Stars

All around, this is bad news for Tozien and the Colts camp.

At a +3 evaluation, fade the Colts, too many issues, too many mismatches.

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