Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:30 AM EST odds are subject to change.
New England +126 over Minnesota
8:20 PM EST. The Vikings' charmed life was exposed last Sunday against the Cowboys, as Dallas ran roughshod over Minnesota in a 40-3 final. It was so bad that CBS cut away in the third quarter to a more competitive game.
To the casual observer, one bad game might be easy to ignore, especially after the Vikings beat the Bills in Week 10, but we’re not going to be so forgiving. We’ve labeled the Vikes “frauds” for weeks, and we are not going to let up in this spot. On the surface, Minny looks like the much easier team to trust here with their 8-2 record. In reality, the Vikes are stumbling into this Thanksgiving game like they are drunk on your auntie’s boxed wine. The Vikings sport the second best record in the NFC, but when you look at the analytics, their warts are easy to see. Minny is just the 26th ranked team by weighted DVOA at Football Outsiders which values games played later in the season than those played earlier, as they should be. The Vikings don’t do anything particularly well, as their offense is 19th and their defense 18th. The Vikes estimated win total is a deflated 4.3. That’s fewer estimated wins than teams like Jacksonville, Pittsburgh and Las Vegas. Those are teams that nobody is looking up to at the top of the standings.
By contrast, the 6-4 Patriots are very much, “what you see is what you get,” as New England posts an estimated win total of 6.3. That’s pretty damn close to where they sit now. The Pats are taking a ton of heat for their “lucky” win over the Jets last Sunday, which came on a punt return for a touchdown by Marcus Jones with just five seconds left on the clock. It wasn’t exactly a resounding victory. Despite all of the Patriots' struggles this season, they are a top 10 ranked team in total DVOA. New England sports the top defense by DVOA league wide.
A further breakdown of Xs and Os is not necessary here, as this modest number tells us all we need to know. When a pooch opens at 2½, there is a very good chance that they are going to cover with a great shot to win outright. We’d argue that in their current forms, the wrong side is favored here. They could play this game in Fran Tarkenton’s backyard and we’d still favor the Patriots. We’re not going to bother with the points here, we’re going to take the Patriots to win this game outright. Gobble, gobble.
New England +126 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.52)