Gordon Von Denim: Thoughts & Projections

NFL Week 13: Numbers Don’t Lie, Thanksgiving Edition

Another solid week in the books… Last week, the model kicked ass. 8-4.

For the readers, I’ll provide a breakdown of the slate. As always I’ll provide narrative for both sides and some key statistics and injuries. Best of luck. In the holiday/giving spirit, I will share my entire slate of projections for today. I will be playing every edge, unless otherwise noted.

For a special Turkey Day surprise, this article only covers the three games on Thanksgiving. Check back for my article on the full slate on Friday or Saturday.

New format, but same concept. Because we cover SNF and MNF in our betting guides, my coverage for those games will be in those articles.

Projections YTD: 102-55-1 (158 sides with variance) 64.6%

** Denotes analysis for those games.

Thanksgiving NFL Slate

Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions

Buffalo Bills @ Dallas Cowboys

New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons

Bears @ Lions

Line: Lions +4.5, 37

Projected Line: Bears -5.5

Unreal. What an unmitigated disaster for the NFL. Here they are, rolling back matchups for the second time in three weeks AND they’ve got an underperforming Chicago team facing off Detroit’s undrafted rookie QB, making his first career start… on Thanksgiving. While my projected line is Bears -5.5 (meaning the model suggests plays on CHI -5 and below) I probably would play this up to 6.5 or even 7. But at this point, how do you still get involved? No matter where you are betting, the opportunity to get CHI -3, 3.5,4, etc have all come and gone. While I say this, I also don’t think people should leave money on the table and let’s give a quick shout out to one of Gambling Twitter’s favorites…

If you need to skip one game today, make it this one. They can’t accuse you of avoiding them too much if you skip the first game of the day…

I grabbed this 2 days ago when it was still Bears -3. Play it as you see fit.

Bills @ Cowboys

Line: Cowboys -7, 47

Projected: Bills +3

Color me shocked, but I am a big believer in the Bills Mafia this year. Their offense has shown signs of life and their offseason decisions to bolster the offensive line finally appear to be paying off. The offensive line is top 5 in DVOA run blocking, which is apparent to anyone watching Bills games as they continue to gash opponents on the ground with their big-bodied linemen frequently 4-6 yards up the field.

While no one doubted the ability of their defense, the offense was a major question mark as they had trouble scoring against even the most putrid defenses. Many people point to Buffalo’s strength of schedule as a point of contention or that Buffalo/Allen have their biggest prime time game in recent memory… Not me. While I am not expecting Buffalo to win outright, they will keep this game inside the touchdown mark. To me, this game provides a great opportunity for Josh Allen to show his playmaking ability. Currently graded as a top 3 rushing QB, he sits just inside the top 50% in passing according to DVOA and proving he is above average against a solid defense will be big.

Dallas ought to win, but I have a hard time envisioning them winning by ~10 points. Both teams like to hold the ball and feed their running backs, so this could be low scoring which likely keeps the score closer. After failing to get Cooper involved in week 12 in New England, look for Dak to target him early and often – although the Buffalo secondary is solid.

Saints @ Falcons

Line: Saints -6.5, 48.5

Projected: Falcons +6

Spare me the revenge talk, sheeple. Yes, New Orleans is going to win this game – but how do they win by over a touchdown while missing their starting left tackle and left guard, and only having six healthy offensive linemen? This is the epitome of a “take care of business” game for New Orleans. Their goal should be victory and no injuries. Play it safe, but no need to over extend.

I had counted Atlanta out of this game until I saw the injury report. While it is scary to lose both a starting tackle and guard, this is worst case scenario for New Orleans. Not only are they missing a tackle and guard, but they are on the same side of the offensive line. The Saints will have two unproven linemen guarding their most important asset’s blind side… yikes. To add insult to injury, the Saints will only have six (possibly seven) linemen available for this game. This affected my power rating, and what was originally a match (projected line at 6.5) has moved to 6, because of the cluster injury.

Atlanta could have already given up on the year, and perhaps New Orleans wins by 10+ but I will always ride with my numbers. Another great look here is the under first half total or under 48.5. When the more dominant offense has question marks on their offensive line that may hinder their ability to put up points, the under is a great play.

Model Recommended Sides:

Bears -4.5

Bills +7

Falcons +6.5