Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! In the spirit of the holidays, here are the best bets for Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday.
Bears @ Lions
The Pick: DET +3
The Lions have now covered the spread for two straight games! Hooray! There is a good chance they make it three in a row today. The Bears will be without Justin Fields and will be starting the red rifle at quarterback. Additionally, all the Matt Nagy rumors can only hurt the performance of this team. I'm starting to sound like a broken record at this point, but this will be the week that Dan Campbell gets his first win.
Raiders @ Cowboys
The Pick: LV +7.5
The Cowboys will be without their top two receiving options in this one. Both Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb will be on the bench and Dak Prescott will sorely miss their presence. The absence of Amari Cooper sunk Dallas in Kansas City last week and it could be a death sentence this week. Las Vegas is struggling to stay afloat at the moment and sorely needs a win. The Raiders have enough firepower to keep this game close and cover the spread.
Bills @ Saints
The Pick: BUF -6.5
Over the past three weeks, the Bills have been embarrassed by the Jaguars and humbled by the Colts. There is hope that they can turn it around this week though. The Saints are struggling right now and a visit from the Bills does not bode well for a rebound. Trevor Siemian is doing all that he can to put the team on his back, but it is not enough. Plus, Alvin Kamara will be out for the third consecutive game. The Saints season is on life support and the Bills will stamp it out on Thanksgiving night.
Michigan State @ Connecticut
The Pick: UCONN -2.5
The Big Ten is collapsing before our eyes..errr...at least this year.... for basketball. A multitude of upsets have been scored against the conference this season which does not bode well for national title aspirations. Michigan State got beat handly by Kansas in the season opener but has rebounded nicely over the past two weeks. Connecticut has gotten off to a hot start this year and won a double-overtime thriller over Auburn yesterday. Since I believe in the fallibility of the Big Ten, go with the Huskies in this one.
North Texas @ Kansas
The Pick: KU -14.5
Kansas is 3-0 with all three wins coming by at least 11 points. Outside of Michigan State, the other two wins came by an average 27.5 points. Even better for the Jayhawks, one of their stars, Jalen Wilson, will be returning against North Texas. North Texas has played well so far this year but is no match for Kansas.
Loyola Chicago @ Auburn
The Pick: AUB -2
Both teams suffered tough losses yesterday and are looking to rebound. Loyola has done great things in recent years, look no further than the Final Four run in 2018. The two teams are fairly evenly matched in terms of offensive and defensive efficiencies. However, Auburn has superior talent and will look to that advantage to carry them in this one. It will be a hotly contested matchup, but the offense will win out and Auburn walks away with the win.
Gonzaga @ Duke
The Pick: GONZ -8.5
Gonzaga has rolled through two top-five teams this year and will have a chance to do it a third time against Duke. I hold UCLA in high regard, so when I saw Gonzaga destroy the Bruins by 20 only a few days ago, I knew the Bulldogs were on a mission this year. Gonzaga has always been my championship pick and they validated that claim nicely to start the year. No matter how much talent a team has, Gonzaga is just in a tier of their own. You can't argue with what Gonzaga has done to start the year, so it is safe to pick them in this one.
Jets @ Wild
The Pick: MN -137
The Jets have lost four games in a row, three of those games were on the road. In total, the Jets have lost seven of nine games on the road this year. Now Winnipeg travels to face the Wild at the Excel Energy Center. The Wild are 5-2 at home and are coming off a brutal three-game road trip to Flordia and New Jersey. The first time these teams met back in October, the Wild walked away with a crazy 6-5 win in overtime. With Talbot in the net for Minnesota and the ugly Winnipeg road split, I feel comfortable picking the Wild.
Avalanche @ Stars
The Pick: COL -135
The Avalanche have played increasing well over the past few weeks. Six straight wins and at least four goals scored in all those games. Additionally, all of those wins came by at least two goals. The Stars have started to pick up the pieces of their ugly start to the season as they have four out of five games. Dallas will be starting their number two goalie on Friday, setting up the possibility for Colordao to blitz the Stars quickly and often. Look for the Avalanche to win their seventh straight.
Penguins @ Islanders
The Pick: NYI +128
The Islanders have lost seven in a row and something has to change. New York is too good a team to lose this many in a row. Nearly all of those games came against teams above the .500 mark. Now the Islanders will have their hands full with a Pittsburgh squad that is heating up. The Penguins are on a four-game win streak and have only given up two total goals over that stretch. It's tough to pick against those two streaks, but hey I'm feeling the upset here. The Islanders will win their first game at UBS Arena.
Panthers @ Capitals
The Pick: FLA -102
I see no reason to pick against a team that has been as successful as the Panthers this year. Following a recent four-game skid, the Panthers have followed it up with a four-game run of success. The offense seems to be on track and the goaltending has been serviceable. The Capitals have also put together an awesome start to the season, but just a few days ago lost to the Kraken. A team like the Capitals cannot lose to the Kraken, it's embarrassing. For me, it shows the weakness that Washington has. The Panthers will find a way to down Washington on the road.