|-1.5 HOU (-111) @ pinnacle|
8* Take Houston (#121)
There’s a lot not to like about the Lions this week. Detroit plays at home on Thanksgiving every year. They haven’t won a Thanksgiving Day game since 2016, before Matt Patricia took over as head coach. They were favored at home last year (-4 vs Washington), +3 underdogs in 2018 and +2.5 point underdogs in 2017 – we’re not talking about games where the Lions were outclassed. Patricia has a track record now – he doesn’t have his team ready on a short week.
The Lions are coming off a truly dismal showing in a shutout loss at Carolina on Sunday, and the broad trends point towards teams coming off a shutout loss as a ‘bet-on’ the following week: 56% since 1989. There is one major exception to that ‘rule’ and that’s teams coming off a shutout loss playing on a short week the following week. Those teams are only 40% ATS long term.
The Lions have cluster injuries when it comes to skill position talent, missing their top two receivers (Kenny Golladay and Danny Amendola) and their top RB, DeAndre Swift last week. Matthew Stafford – dealing with a painful thumb injury -- took five sacks and was under constant pressure, playing behind an offensive line that lacked effort and execution in a game where Detroit couldn’t even muster four yards per play against a bottom tier defense. Coach Patricia is on the hot seat, not likely to be back next year, and reports are surfacing about how fractured this locker room has been during his tenure. Even Stafford’s wife has gotten involved in off-field controversy; another distraction for this last place team. I’m not willing to ask the Lions to beat a Texans team that has shown real signs of life under Romeo Crennell following their 0-5 start.
Deshaun Watson continues to play at a truly elite level, despite OL issues, WR injuries, a head coaching change and the complete lack of a running game to support him. They’ve played hard for Crennel every week, despite their roster flaws, and they’re taking another step down in class after facing the likes of KC, Pittsburgh, Green Bay, Baltimore, Tennessee and Cleveland already this season; all playoff teams if the season ended today. Houston is the better of these two teams right now, and I expect them to show it on Thursday! Take the Texans.