Thanksgiving player props: Dispensing sweet picks for Patriots-Vikings
Last season, we rocked and rolled our way to the Super Bowl with music-themed Thursday Night Football player props, joyfully celebrating the start of a new NFL week. This year, we'll use an episode from "Must See TV" cornerstone "Seinfeld" each week to remind us that betting is supposed to be fun, even when an absurd series of events leads to a losing bet.
"A man without hand is not a man. I've got so much hand I'm coming out of my gloves." - George Costanza about gaining the upper hand in his relationship after pre-emptively breaking up with his girlfriend.
The human mind works in strange ways. George breaks up with Noel, and he immediately seems more appealing to her. After we demanded that the 2021 Vikings win more close games, the 2022 Vikes have won all of their one-score contests, and we still complain that they don't have a better point differential on the season.
Meanwhile, we're willing to look the other way on the Patriots. Their six wins have come over Mitchell Trubisky, Jared Goff (with multiple injured weapons), Jacoby Brissett, Zach Wilson, Sam Ehlinger, and Wilson again. Only one of those quarterbacks will be starting for his team next week.
Season 3, Episode 14 of "Seinfeld" featured Jerry and Elaine accompanying George to his classically-trained pianist girlfriend's recital, only to have it interrupted when Elaine laughs at a Pez dispenser that Jerry puts on her leg. Noel was embarrassed by the interruption - classical music's version of the 40-3 blowout.
'The Pez Dispenser'
George was about to get dumped, and he turned things around with a desperate move, getting Justin Jefferson-quality upper hand when Kramer invented the "pre-emptive breakup." It wouldn't last for George, and the excitement over Minnesota's win in Buffalo didn't, either.
Like George and relationship success, Kirk Cousins and prime time don't go together, while the Patriots are expected to take advantage of the absence of offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw. The Vikings know Matthew Judon will be trying to menace Cousins like he has other opponents on the way to leading the league in sacks.
How do the Vikings counter this attack? With Dalvin Cook on the ground and via screen passes and play-action bootlegs by Cousins. We know why the Patriots are good against the pass, but they're just OK against the run. At least Kevin O'Connell can plan around the hole Darrisaw leaves behind.
Cook should be a significant part of the game plan to take the heat off Cousins, and strangely, he's gotten the upper hand with more than 100 yards from scrimmage in every other game this season.
Pick: Dalvin Cook over 91.5 rushing + receiving yards
A TD that's definitely going to happen
Jefferson's fantasy managers might have needed an intervention on Sunday more than Richie Appel after he caught just three passes against the Cowboys. Jefferson's too good not to bounce back in a big way. Outside of an eight-catch, 94-yard game by Tyreek Hill in the opener, the closest thing to a true no. 1 wide receiver that New England has faced is Amari Cooper or Michael Pittman and their aforementioned quarterbacks.
As "Joe Hollywood" George says, let's cut to the chase. Jefferson only has four touchdowns this season, but it's hard to imagine that he doesn't reach double-digit scores. With a TD in each of the two games prior to the fiasco versus the Cowboys, Cousins is obviously looking Jefferson's way with seven of his 19 red-zone targets in Weeks 9-10.
Pick: Justin Jefferson anytime touchdown (+110)
A TD that probably won't happen ... but maybe it does
Jerry opens the show talking about women's application of perfume, calling the wrist "apparently an action-packed area." Well, this season, there's been no more action-packed area than over center, with the proliferation of quarterback sneaks. These long shots are never a day at the beach, but Cousins has two rushing touchdowns already this season (and nearly another in Buffalo) and could dive into the end zone like Kramer's Polar Bear Club into the ocean, or he could get loose on a play-action bootleg.
Cousins is available anywhere from +900 to +1400 to score, and if he cashes this bet, somebody should dump the bucket of Gatorade on Marty Benson's head.
Pick: Kirk Cousins anytime touchdown (+900)
How to bet: The first two bets should be single-unit wagers to win a unit on minus prices and more than a unit on a plus-money bet. The last wager should be smaller, trying to win back your standard unit size.
Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there’s a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.