Nobody associates Thanksgiving with fireworks. Unless you live in my neighborhood. Dang kids.
Fittingly, the NFL provided no fireworks on turkey day, as all three favorites — Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, and New Orleans Saints — picked up wins last week.
Naturally, though, the weekend’s games added intrigue, particularly at sportsbooks, including those in New Jersey.
Of note, the New England Patriots, who opened the week as low as 7.5-point favorites against the New York Jets but got as high as -13 later on, put away their AFC East rivals 27-13.
Although, Jets QB Josh McCown scared bettors with two chances at TD passes late in the fourth, both of which fell incomplete, before New York turned the ball over on downs.
Then consider the punching-bag Buffalo Bills sticking it to the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-21, the Cleveland Browns blowing out the Cincinnati Bengals 35-20, and the Denver Broncos stunning the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-20.
Yeah, it was a pretty good weekend.
Add ’em to your NJ sports betting slip
Buffalo Bills (4-7) at Miami Dolphins (5-6)
Believe it or not, it is not completely out of the realm of possibility that the Bills return to the postseason.
Not likely. But not out either.
After a four-game losing streak, Buffalo has won two straight. Starting QB Josh Allen has returned after a four-game absence due to an elbow injury. And though their competition has been relatively weak recently, the Bills appear to have settled down.
While the Miami Dolphins were mere minutes away from a win last week, they blew a 10-point, fourth-quarter lead in losing to the Indianapolis Colts. As a result, Miami, which opened the year with three straight victories, has dropped six of its last eight.
The Dolphins have allowed the fourth-most yards in the NFL while gaining the fifth-fewest. They have lost seven their last 10 against Buffalo, which has averaged 32.5 points over the last two games (compared with 6.7 the previous three) while allowing 15.5 points (compared with 34.3 in the preceding three).
With one of the league’s stingiest defenses in terms of yardage, Buffalo, a 4.5-point underdog, seems like a reasonable bet for an outright win and a +175 payday.
Los Angeles Chargers (8-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3-1)
Perhaps no team has gone as overlooked as the Chargers this season.
Just one game behind the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West, the Chargers have won seven of eight and feature a top-seven offense and a top-tier defense that allows the fourth-fewest points per game this year.
Los Angeles will be without RB Melvin Gordon, sidelined with a knee injury, and Pittsburgh features one of the top passers in the NFL in QB Ben Roethlisberger.
Yet, the Chargers feature a top signal-caller of their own, QB Philip Rivers, and a defense that has posted 11 interceptions this season.
Pittsburgh comes off a stomach-churning 24-17 loss at the Denver Broncos. Roethlisberger has thrown the second-most interceptions (12) in the league and has five picks over his past two games.
As a 3.5-point underdog, Los Angeles sits at +155 on the moneyline — and in line for its eighth win in nine games.
Washington Redskins (6-5) at Philadelphia Eagles (5-6)
This feels like another year in which the NFC East champ comes out the other side with a 9-7 record.
Both the Redskins (tied with Dallas atop the standings) and Eagles (one game back) each have a shot at the division crown.
Washington has lost three of its last four and has gone from a shoo-in for the playoffs to one of the last teams in the postseason. Injuries have plagued the Redskins, particularly at quarterback, where Colt McCoy makes his second straight start after not doing so for four years.
McCoy was intercepted three times in Washington’s Thanksgiving Day loss to the Cowboys. The former Texas Longhorn has thrown for 322 yards and three TDs over the past two weeks, complementing 63 rushing yards on 10 carries.
Philadelphia, meanwhile, is reeling a bit.
Though they did eke out a win against the New York Giants last week, the Eagles have dropped three of five. To boot, while its defense has allowed 30 more yards per game than its offense has gained, QB Carson Wentz has almost as many interceptions (5) as TD passes (6) over the past four games.
With a defense that has 21 takeaways this season, among the highest in the NFL, the Redskins enter as 6.5-point dogs with a +220 on the moneyline.
Long shots of the week
Four games at BetStars NJ sportsbook feature double-digit spreads. While wagering on the underdog in any game remains risky, the potential payouts stand as sizable rewards.
That said, test the action at your own risk:
Los Angeles Rams (10-1) at Detroit Lions (4-7)
In one of the most thrilling NFL games in history, the Rams outlasted Kansas City 54-51 in Week 12, shattering projected over/under totals that reached as high as 64 points.
Certainly, several miracles would need to take place for the Lions, losers in four of their last five, to pull this one out. Still, stranger things have happened. As a 10-point underdog, Detroit pays +360 with an outright win at home.
San Francisco 49ers (2-9) at Seattle Seahawks (6-5)
The 49ers were 1-1 two games into the season. Funny how things can change after an injury at quarterback. The Seahawks remain in the hunt for the playoffs, and every win certainly helps.
As a 10-point favorite, Seattle is in line to get one this week. But a San Francisco win pays +370.
Arizona Cardinals (2-9) at Green Bay Packers (4-6-1)
The Packers enter as 14-point favorites as they look to shake a two-game losing streak and a five-game stretch in which they’ve lost four times. Arizona, meanwhile, pays +600 for an outright win.
Kansas City Chiefs (9-2) at Oakland Raiders (2-9)
After their first loss since October, despite scoring 51 points, the Chiefs look to get back on track in this AFC West showdown. Only two teams have scored fewer points than the Raiders this season.
But who knows? Maybe lightning will strike for Oakland, a 15-point underdog with a +800 moneyline.
MVP, Super Bowl predictions at BetStars NJ
All season, Kansas City QB Patrick Mahomes has been the frontrunner for the MVP.
Now, it appears, the second-year Chief is chasing a seasoned veteran for the award.
In helping the Saints win 10 straight since a season-opening loss, QB Drew Brees has emerged as the favorite for an award he has yet to win in his illustrious career.
A pair of running backs remains in the running for the MVP, which has gone to QBs each of the last five years and 10 times in the past 11 seasons.
Here are the top MVP candidates according to BetStars:
- New Orleans QB Drew Brees, 1/2
- Kansas City QB Patrick Mahomes, 2/1
- LA Rams RB Todd Gurley, 14/1
- LA Rams QB Jared Goff, 18/1
- Dallas RB Ezekiel Elliott, 33/1
As for the conference championship and Super Bowl favorites:
- AFC: Kansas City 21/10, New England 9/4, Pittsburgh 5/1, LA Chargers 13/2, Houston 9/1
- NFC: New Orleans 6/4, LA Rams 13/8, Chicago 7/1, Minnesota 10/1, Dallas 16/1
- Super Bowl: New Orleans 3/1, LA Rams 7/2, Kansas City 11/2, New England 13/2, Pittsburgh 12/1
No interest in on-field action? Take a crack a predicting where RB Le’Veon Bell will land next:
- NY Jets 3/1
- Buffalo 4/1
- Oakland 5/1
- Houston 6/1
- Indianapolis 7/1
Where else to bet online in New Jersey
As it has been well-documented, New Jersey features an array of mobile sports betting options.
Eight mobile sportsbooks complement the nine retail operations in the Garden State:
- DraftKings Sportsbook
- PlayMGM Sport
- SugarHouse Sportsbook
- FanDuel Sportsbook
- William Hill NJ
- Caesars Sportsbook
- 888 Sportsbook
- BetStars NJ (no browser)
The list of NJ sportsbook apps includes a deep variety of traditional moneylines, parlays, in-game betting and futures.