By Dave Henry
America loves to bet, and there is no better event to put your money on outside of football than the Thanksgiving meal. Last year, we had some upsets, as asparagus came out of nowhere and upset steamed carrots. Both didn't make the menu this year, but we have plenty of food items that are hungry to be eaten and are begging for some action. Can Turkey cover as a huge favorite over Turducken? Will Pumpkin Pie continue its dominance over Apple Pie? Read on and find out how to put your mouth where the money is on Thanksgiving.
Turkey (-6) vs Turducken
Turkey is heavily favored here, and it is easy to see why. It's just got the whole package -- tradition, taste, and bones. Turducken just has no chance here against the powerhouse as Turkey is certain to be on all, if not the vast majority of plates Thursday. Turducken has been trying desperately to improve, but there’s just a huge talent gap between the two, and while it may get on one more plate than last year, it won’t be enough to cover the 6-plate spread. The only hope for Turducken to cover is if a few people go back late and try some once everyone else has retired to the living room to watch football. This did happen in a few households last year as people were too ashamed to go for the Turducken during the meal proper but came back later to sneak some while no eyes were watching. But I don't see Turducken getting on more than three plates the whole day. Take Turkey as the easy winner, giving up 6 plates.
Mashed Potatoes vs Sweet Potatoes (+3)
I’m going with the upset here. Mashed Potatoes are a solid favorite in this one, as everyone will have at least one go-around with them. But I like Sweet Potatoes here getting three wooden spoonfuls. While Mashed Potatoes will jump out to an early lead, I see Sweet Potatoes coming on late, led by the Uncles, who will pound the Sweet Potatoes in the second and third helpings. They’ll cut into Mashed Potatoes lead and keep it close enough to come within three wooden spoonfuls. Take Sweet Potatoes getting the spoonfuls.
Corn vs Green Beans (PK)
This might be the best matchup of the entire afternoon. This one seriously could go either way, which is why Vegas has it listed as a pick ‘em. Corn is typically your staple of the plate – no one really dislikes it or likes it. It gets the job done and it will wind up on everyone’s plate and the serving bowl will be near empty. But Green Beans are a bit of a wildcard, certainly if they are prepared in some kind of casserole, with almonds, with garlic, or in some other creative way. Done right, they could certainly gain a lot of helpings and empty that serving bowl. Corn will always be in a game, but I’m betting on a creative Green Beans dish to take this matchup. Go with Green Beans to empty the bowl, In a pick ‘em.
Apple Pie (+6) vs Pumpkin Pie
Perennial powerhouse Pumpkin Pie has dominated this matchup in recent years, setting a record last year with 12 pieces eaten. That’s a phenomenal number, considering the many different pie and dessert choices on the table. Apple Pie was well back, with only 6 pieces taken. Because of last year’s blowout, Vegas has the line set a little too high here, as Pumpkin Pie is a 6-piece favorite. That’s just lazy handicapping, taking the number from last year. What Vegas doesn’t know is Apple Pie has spent a lot of time in the kitchen, getting lots of work done, and there will be some new twists this year, with more brown sugar on the crust and some apple crisp elements baked in. I see eaters going hard for Apple Pie this year and it should easily cover the 6-piece spread. I call this my Cast Iron Pan Pick for Thanksgiving. Take Apple Pie, getting 6 slices.
Whether you are a degenerate gambler who just can’t wait for the 4 o’clock game, or just like to add a little action to your meal, these picks can bring a little more green to the table on Thanksgiving.