One of the worst parts about college and pro football seasons coming to an end is that we lose our Thursday night fixes. Thankfully, we still have a good one in the NFL and a very competitive one in the collegiate ranks.
Dallas (-4) at Chicago (O/U 51.5) – Dallas enters the Windy City coming off a rather embarrassing performance on Thanksgiving Day in a home loss to Philadelphia. The loss dropped them to a game behind the Eagles with Philly of course having the victory in hand.
What I find fascinating is that the Cowboys will play in Philly next Sunday while the Eagles will be coming off of a tough home contest with Seattle. If Dallas can find a way to win this win and then take advantage of some extra rest, that could go a long ways towards a win against the Eagles.
Although the Bears have pretty much been eliminated from playoff contention, I don’t think you’ll see them just roll over for the Cowboys. Despite a defense that at times looks like it rolls over for everyone, Chicago will play hard especially with the game being on national television.
Bears’ Head Coach Marc Trestman said this week his Bears have to get back to running the ball. This might be a good week to do just that as the Cowboys rank 22nd in the NFL in stopping the run. That could mean heavier doses of Matt Forte which in turn takes pressure off of Jay Cutler.
Key Injuries: DAL OT Tyron Smith/Illness-Probable, CHI WR Alshon Jeffery/Hamstring-Questionable
Trends: The Cowboys are 1-4 against the spread in their last five game… Chicago is 3-11-1 ATS in their last 15 games at home… The total has gone UNDER in five of Dallas’ last seven games on the road in Chicago… The Bears are 4-2 straight up in their last six games at home against Dallas.
The Pick: My problem here is that I just don’t have complete faith in either team. That said, I have to go with the one playing better overall and that’s the Cowboys. Take Dallas to cover and the UNDER.
Central Florida (+7) at East Carolina (O/U 56) – Both teams are 8-3 but UCF is 6-1 in the American Athletic Conference while East Carolina is 5-2. Memphis is already in the house with a completed regular season and a 7-1 AAC record. If the Knights can win on the road here, they’ll get a share of the title.
Central Florida and Memphis did not play against each other this year and there is no conference title game either.
One other outside factor will be Cincinnati. They are also 6-1 and can clinch a share with a win Saturday against Houston.
Regardless of the outcome in this game both teams are heading to bowl games. What matters though is which bowls because the better the bowl the better the payout. UCF is 2-2 on the road while the Pirates are 5-0 at home.
Trends: Central Florida is 9-2 straight up in their last 11 games on the road… East Carolina is 1-4 against the spread in their last five games against the Golden Knights… UCF is 1-4 straight up in their last five games on the road against the Pirates… The total has gone OVER in four of ECU’s last six games when playing against Central Florida.
The Pick: I like the Pirates to win the game but take UCF getting seven and take the OVER.