It's Thanksgiving week, and if there's anything I'm thankful for this year, it's been my performance in this column for the last two weeks. I've gone 6-0, which has helped put some extra money in my pocket. Money I will quickly be spending on Christmas gifts.
There's a part of me that wishes I'd have kept records of what I bought people for Christmas every season. I want to compare those records to how I've done betting football during the same season. I would bet there's a correlation there.
So, to my nieces and nephews, I don't know why you'd be reading this, but just in case you are, expect your favorite uncle to splurge this year.
Lamar Jackson is the story of the NFL right now. Everything is about Lamar Jackson all the time, and deservedly so. He's been amazing, and he's the clear frontrunner for the MVP after his five-touchdown performance against the Rams on "Monday Night Football.'' Still, while the hype surrounding Lamar is deserved, it doesn't mean that it's not affecting lines, and goodness has it affected this one.
The Ravens are nearly a touchdown favorite at home against a San Francisco team that is 10-1. A San Francisco team that the Ravens could very well meet in the Super Bowl were they to get there. A San Francisco team with one of the best defenses in football. Now, I know the Niners have to do the dreaded West Coast to East Coast for an early game trip, but I'm not worried about it. I am concerned by Lamar Jackson, of course, but I also believe this San Francisco defense will give him more trouble than most. The Ravens just shouldn't be favored by this much against another good team.
Prediction: Ravens 24, 49ers 20
2. Cardinals (+3) vs. Rams
Yeah, I'm very into fading the Rams right now. Frankly, I'm not sure why the Rams are favored by so much against this Cardinals team. The Cardinals have gone 5-2-1 ATS in their last eight, and depending on where you got the number in their previous game against San Francisco, they're 6-2 ATS. They're 3-2 ATS at home this season, and 3-1 ATS as a home dog. They've played better than their record suggests.
Then there are the Rams, who are coming to grips with the fact they're paying way too much money to Jared Goff and Todd Gurley. In three starts since the bye, Jared Goff has completed 61.5 percent of his passes, but with no touchdowns and five interceptions. He's averaged a paltry 6.5 yards per attempt, and his adjusted yards per attempt is even worse at 4.2. He's been bad! Arizona's offense has been much more dangerous in recent weeks, and the Cardinals are coming off a bye. I'd advise taking the points, but don't rule out the Cardinals on the money line.
Prediction: Cardinals 27, Rams 24
OK, so maybe Kirk Cousins has done some work erasing the narrative that he doesn't play well in prime time games, but I'm still not buying Kirk Cousins. Not on the road in the Seattle environment he'll be forced to play in. Plus, the Minnesota defense has not played well for over a month. By the time this game kicks off on Monday night, the 49ers could have lost to Baltimore. That means the Seahawks would be tied for first in the NFC West with a win here.
Do you want to take Kirk Cousins over Russell Wilson in that spot? Is there any spot you want to take Kirk Cousins over Russell Wilson? Is anybody that isn't wearing purple and yellow face paint answering "yes" to those questions? Sometimes the simple answer is simple for a reason, so don't overthink it.
Prediction: Seahawks 28, Vikings 17