This is the last week of byes and that is good, as that will provide far more opportunities to uncover underdogs for NFL picks.
With only two of our 14 listed games with spreads of a touchdown or higher, there should be ample “live dog” potential this week.
As is often the case in these scenarios, it’s not that an underdog is ultra-attractive against the NFL odds, rather a combination of what an underdog offers as strengths and understanding how that plays into the potential weaknesses of the favorite.
That is precisely the recipe for all three of our selections, so let’s have at it.
Oakland Raiders vs. New York Jets
Sunday, Nov. 24, 1 p.m. ET (CBS) at MetLife Stadium
Remember at the start of the season when the Jets were thought to have a shot at .500? Since becoming Miami’s first victim of 2019, that seems to be the wake-call Gang Green needed and they defeated fellow teams in their class in the Giants and Washington.
Sam Darnold has caught up from the time he was out and he’s no longer seeing “ghosts” as his comfort level with the offense has increased immensely. The Flyboys run defense has been stout all year, but it’s gone next level in permitting just 51.3 yards a contest in last three outings and is now No. 1 in the league.
Oakland won all three consecutive home games and is a legit playoff contender as we head into the last segment of the regular season. The Raiders are not beating themselves, which they have mostly done over the last 25 years, thanks to John Gruden. However, this is not a finished product and Oakland has still given up 25 points a game and has offensive droughts like a basketball team.
Game 11 is where the pressure starts to mount for the Raiders and they are not used to it. The Jets, there is no pressure and with certain New Yorker’s back in love with their team and Oakland 1-9 ATS off a home win, the team in green is a treacherous foe.
NFL pick: Jets +3 (-110)
New York Giants vs. Chicago Bears
Sunday, Nov. 24, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) at Soldier Field
In Chicago, Mitchell Trubisky has taken over for Jay Cutler and Al Capone as – Public Enemy No. 1. While Capone was a gangster and Cutler a bit of hipster, Trubisky reported, by the Bears, had a bad hip which prevented him from finishing the loss to the Rams.
Injured or not, Chicago’s top pick from 2017 draft is playing bad football and the offense is less fun to watch than the SNL skit about Bears fans, who loved “Da Bears” and “Coach Dika” (silent ‘t’).
This is why the New York Giants are garnering attention even if there rookie quarterback Daniel Jones is turning the ball over too frequently. The Bears’ defense is still very good, but if the Giants would stick with the running game and find more ways to get the pigskin in the hands of Saquon Barkley, they would enhance their chances of a win.
Big Blue’s defense ranks only 27th in yards allowed, however, if they can prevent big plays and force shaky kicker Eddy Pineiro to keep making field goals, they’ll have a chance since the G-Men are 8-3 ATS as road underdogs.
NFL pick: Giants +6.5 (-110)
Seattle Seahawks vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday, Nov. 24, 1 p.m. ET (FOX) at Lincoln Financial Field
Philadelphia played a game against New England that perfectly exemplified why they are 5-5 this season. The Eagles jumped to a quick 10-0 lead on the Patriots and were in a position to add on, but a turnover, followed by the offense going stone-cold, changed the game.
The Philly defense left Tom Brady so depressed after the game you would have thought the Pats lost. Coach Doug Pederson’s team has turned into like a baseball pitcher who has great stuff and will have six or seven strong innings. But it’s always that one inning, where the concentration lapses and he gives up just enough runs for his team to avoid winning.
That description fits the Eagles and Carson Wentz as they host 8-2 Seattle. If the Seahawks start playing defense as they did against San Francisco, the 49er’s one-game lead in the NFC West is far from safe and New Orleans, Green Bay and Minnesota will have to maintain or surpass their level of play.
Wentz can be rattled, while Russell Wilson is unflappable. Wilson will exploit Philly’s secondary and utilize the power running game and the Seahawks will better 9-2 ATS record as an underdog.
NFL pick: Seahawks +2 (-110)