NFL 2012 Week 12: Thanksgiving blackout

I like spending time with friends and family.  I love it.  One of the overwhelming conclusions I have found in various happiness research studies is that spending time with friends and family is one the biggest factors in determining personal enjoyment of life.  Don't spend the extra hour at work, go to happy hour with your friends.  So this Thanksgiving I am back in San Diego with my parents and siblings.  There are two grandparents, three parents, two grandkids, five dogs, a cat, and a fetus in one house for the next five days.  It's going to be awesome.

Since we made these plans I have been looking forward to being able to watch the Chargers as the local team.  So of course, the Chargers lose 5 out of their last 6 and generate no local interest and the game is going to be blacked out on Sunday.  There's still another couple days before the announcement, but I already know that it will be blacked out.  Illegal foreign internet feed, here I come!!

Houston (-3) over DETROIT: The only games I'm more confident about are the ones that have unknown quarterbacks so sportsbooks aren't accepting bets and Yahoo lets me claim Off (0) lines as zero.  I am more confident the 49ers and Bears win outright, but I'll take the Texans -3 over any other bet this weekend.
Not So Bold Prediction: Arian Foster scores a touchdown.
Bold Prediction: Houston wins by exactly 7.

Washington (+3) over DALLAS: Home field advantage means the Cowboys are more likely to lose than win, but just barely.  I don't see them covering. (Remember, this is just a percentages thing.  Which is what pundits don't understand about Nate Silver and Monte Carlo analysis.  If something happens 75% of the time, it is more likely that it will happen than not happen.  But I won't be shocked if it doesn't happen.  This isn't a prediction, it's a probability.)
Not So Bold Prediction: RGIII has more rushing yards than Tony Romo.
Bold Prediction: Jerry Jones picks his nose on national TV.

New England (-6.5) over NYJ: Only 6.5 points?  I have the Patriots as the third best team and the Jets in the bottom half.  I'd take the Patriots all the way up to 7.5...oh, I guess it's not that far off. 
Not So Bold Prediction: Tom Brady throws a touchdown.
Bold Prediction: A member of the Patriots defense Tebows.

Chicago (Off(0)) over MINNESOTA: With Cutler possibly out, we don't have a line yet.  I'm taking the Bears -0 and I will take them up to 7.5.  But if the line gets to 8, I'm switching to the Vikings.
Not So Bold Prediction: I really wanted to make it about Adrian Peterson, but the Bears have a really good defense.  So...the Bears score more than they did last week.
Bold Prediction: The Bears defense or special teams scores again.

CINCINNATI (-8.5) over Oakland: Man, the Raiders must be really bad to have the Bengals covering this line.  But I'll be cheering for the Raiders this weekend.  The Bengals are in the way of the Chargers path to the playoffs.  Along with the Colts, Dolphins, Jets, Bills, and Titans.  No problem.
Not So Bold Prediction: AJ Green scores mucho fantasy points.
Bold Prediction: Brandon Myers (who?) scores a touchdown.

Pittsburgh (Off(0)) over CLEVELAND: Regardless of who plays quarterback for the Steelers, I will take them until the line gets to 4.5.  I didn't include the Steelers in the list above because I am giving them the first wild card spot.
Not So Bold Prediction: Trent Richardson outscores Isaac Redman, or Jonathan Dwyer, or Rashad Mendenhall...whoever starts for the Steelers.
Bold Prediction: Heath Miller scores a touchdown.

INDIANAPOLIS (-3) over Buffalo: I'm more of a Bills fan than a Raiders fan this week.  But I don't think it will happen.
Not So Bold Prediction: Andrew Luck throws a touchdown.
Bold Prediction: CJ Spiller scores a touchdown.

KANSAS CITY (+10.5) over Denver: I don't even care about this game.  The right line, neither impacts the Chargers playoff hopes.  I guess I have Jamaal Charles on my fantasy team and I care about that.
Not So Bold Prediction: My expectation for Jamaal Charles fantasy score is greater than his actual performance.
Bold Prediction: Jamaal Charles outscores Peyton Manning.

Seattle (-3) over MIAMI: I'm kind of surprised by this line.  I mean a kind of strong 4-6 Miami team is a home dog to a...oh, Seattle is 6-4.  And almost a couple Pythagorean wins better also.  I guess this makes sense.
Not So Bold Prediction: Marshawn Lynch outscores Reggie Bush.
Bold Prediction: Sidney Rice scores a touchdown.

TAMPA BAY (+1) over Atlanta:  Wow, I'm kind of shocked by this one.  I mean, I never thought the undefeated Falcons were the best team in the NFL, but they were still really good.  And the Bucs always had a feel that they were better than they looked.  But to actually have the Bucs beating the Falcons?  Acually no.  On a neutral field the Falcons would be favored by 2.5.  In Tampa, the Falcons should be favored by 0.5 or less.  When I start allowing my subjectivity to benefit from my objective analysis one of these days, I would pick the Falcons because I think they win outright and I don't like the idea of picking the Falcons to win, but not cover with a spread this low.
Not So Bold Prediction: Matt Ryan throws a touchdown.  That's right, this belongs in the Not So Bold section.
Bold Prediction: Roddy White scores a touchdown.

JACKSONVILLE (+3) over Tennessee:  It wasn't that long ago I was trying to use more descriptive language to illustrate just how bad the Titans were.  Now they have the same record as the Chargers.  [Sigh.]
Not So Bold Prediction: The Titans best RB outscores the Jaguars best RB.
Bold Prediction: Chris Johnson gets 100 yards.

Baltimore (-1) over SAN DIEGO: I think this is the first time I am picking against the Chargers this season.  They have either been appropriately favored or a good value as an underdog.  And have failed so many times.  My only hope is that Joe Flacco confirms the punditry that he is not elite because he loses to the Chargers.  I look forward to watching a blurry internet feed on Sunday.
Not So Bold Prediction: Ray Rice scores a touchdown.
Bold Prediction: The Chargers either have a lead or are down by three with the ball, in the fourth quarter and Rivers throws an interception that costs them the game.  This situation could also occur in the 3rd quarter.

San Francisco (Off(0)) over NEW ORLEANS: This Off I don't quite understand.  How is the 49ers team any different with Alex Smith or Colin Kaepernick under center?  Did something happen to Drew Brees that I haven't heard about?  I'm taking the 49ers -6.5, but New Orleans +7.
Not So Bold Prediction: San Francisco wins.
Bold Predictions: If Colin Kaepernick starts and gets all the snaps, he outscores Drew Brees.

ARIZONA (-2.5) over St. Louis: I wonder what the Cardinals point differential looks like over the last 6 game?  If you exclude their 4-0 start and the Rams first four games, would they still be favored?
Not So Bold Prediction: Danny Amendola has a catch.  (I really wanted to put Larry Fitzgerald here, but it's possible he is held without a catch.)
Bold Prediction: No non-QB scores 12 points in this game.

Green Bay (+2.5) over NYG: Apparently, in New Jersey, I'm picking the Giants to win, but no cover?  That just doesn't feel right.  Looking at the numbers, these two teams are really close and home field advantage gives the Giants the slight edge.
Not So Bold Prediction: There are four passing touchdowns in this game.
Bold Prediction: There are seven passing touchdowns in this game.

Carolina (Off(0)) over PHILADELPHIA: I'm taking Carolina until they are favored by 1.5, then it's Philadelphia at +2 or better.  I wonder who has more turnovers per game this year, Michael Vick or Nick Foles?  Who is actually fired first, Andy Reid or Norv Turner?
Not So Bold Prediction: There is a turnover in this game.
Bold Prediction: There are four rushing touchdowns in this game.


  1. $40 on Houston and Washington.

    $20 on Baltimore, New England, Seattle, Kansas City, Green Bay.

    I may add a bet on Chicago, San Francisco, or Pittsburgh once I see a real line.

  2. It looks like the line on San Francisco is -1. I'll put $60 on San Francisco -1.

  3. Aaron, which way did the line move for SF? It moved away from SF (they laid fewer points) when Kaepernick was announced instead of Smith, right?

    I think that's a pretty strong statement that maybe your brand new, out of nowhere backup shouldn't be considered a better starter than the guy who nearly got you to the Super Bowl last year.

  4. I am taking $100 on GB +2.5 for the following reason: NYG are better away than home, so why are they getting the standard -3 home bump? Are the Packers not so good and I don't realize it? Are the Giants secretly really good and I don't realize it? This line confuses me.

    Another $50 on San Diego +1, in what promises to be another classic "they might not be terrible, and maybe there's a small hope of making the playoffs" win before the inevitable gut punch of a horrible loss ending all hope. It's just their style of torturing us, Aaron.

    A final $50 on Indianapolis -3 over Buffalo, another line that confuses me because I feel like Indy at home is wayyy better than the standard home -3 only over Buffalo. But maybe I am dumb.

  5. Oh, and congrats on picking all 3 turkey day games correctly.

    I go into this week at $890, handily losing to the moribund MP.

  6. Houston push (Apparently the line moved to 3.5, but I'm keeping my -3). Washington win, Baltimore win (frustrating primal scream or defeated grumble?), New England win, Seattle loss, Kansas City cover, Green Bay loss, San Francisco win.

    Up $120 to $1,170.