LAS VEGAS -- Thursday's Thanksgiving tripleheader got the NFL's Week 13 off to a rousing start.
It started off with the Lions blowing out the Packers 40-10 as a 6.5-point home favorite, and it appeared that the recent trend of favorites feasting on Turkey Day would continue, but then the underdog Raiders jumped all over the Cowboys, returning a fumble on the opening kickoff for a touchdown and leading 21-7 right before halftime. The Cowboys ended up rallying and even got over the consensus closing line of minus-9 with a late 31-21 lead, but a Sebastian Janikowski field goal made the final score 31-24 as the Raiders got in the back door. In the nightcap, the Ravens were in control most of the game as a 3-point home favorite over the rival Steelers, but Pittsburgh scored a late touchdown to get within 22-20 to cover the spread.
The favorites (and home teams) won all three games, but underdogs won the day at 2-1 against the spread. All three games went over their closing totals.
Personally, I salvaged a 1-1 ATS day as I lost with the Packers but won with the Steelers (I don't ever recall having two spread-covering TDs overturned by replay, but we finally got there) to follow up on last week's 6-1 ATS mark as I try to get back to .500.
So, let's reset my record, get rid of the Thursday games and get back to the rest of the Week 13 card as we look at how the public and wiseguys are viewing each game. I'll also give my take on each game, including an ATS pick.
Last week: 6-1 ATS | Thanksgiving Day: 1-1 ATS | Year to date: 37-43-3 (46.3 percent) ATS
Programming note: I'm no longer eligible for ESPN.com's Streak for the Cash contest, but they've asked me to suggest some plays. This is different from picking games against the spread (especially because they mostly have you pick games straight up, and the games are closer to pick 'em), but it's all about win percentages/odds, so I'll tackle those at the end of the column.
Note: Consensus pick percentages from ESPN Insider's PickCenter as of late Tuesday night.
Matchup: Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts
Spread: Colts minus-4.5
Public consensus pick: 61 percent picked Colts
Public perception: The public is not behind the Titans, so even a 40-11 blowout loss by the Colts can't keep the public from backing Andrew Luck & Co. The Colts won the first meeting between these divisional rivals 30-27 two weeks ago Thursday in Nashville, so the public expects the Colts will also handle Tennessee at home.
Wiseguys' view: The oddsmakers are giving the Titans more respect. The line in the first meeting was Colts minus-2.5 and bet to 3 (so that game pushed against the closing number), and now with the change in home-field advantage -- where you would normally see a swing of 4 to 6 points -- this is just 1.5 to 2 points higher.
Tuley's Take: I agree the line is a little short, but I like the Titans in this rematch. Hopefully the Titans will remember how they dominated early in the first meeting with Chris Johnson piling up 70 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter and they keep giving him the ball this time. The Colts allow 125 rushing yards per game and Johnson should have a field day. The Titans have the better defense, allowing 37 fewer yards per game, while the offense gains just 6 fewer yards than the Colts. I expect another close game (and would be quite happy if it comes down to a field goal).