The NFL serves up triple-header buffet for bettors to sink their teeth into Thanksgiving Thursday, kicking off Week 13.
Arguably, the much anticipated clash between the Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys, the afternoon matchup, which is bookended by a couple of divisional showdowns, is the game du jour on Thanksgiving’s Thursday NFL odds menu. Will America’s team silence their critics — and fusspot Jerry Jones, for that matter — when they take on the high-flying Buffalo Bills?
Before that intoxicating question is answered, though, the NFC North tilt between the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions kicks off the day’s festivities, an appetizer to whet the appetite that features rivals that are well under the cosh and faced with a lot to prove as the season winds down.
MORE: Get the latest NFL odds & betting advice at Sportsbook Review
And closing out the day’s card is the NFC South showdown between the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons, a game that could see Drew Brees and the Saints exact revenge on Matt Ryan and Co. all the while punching their playoff tickets well in advance of the postseason.
NFL and Thanksgiving go hand in hand. And for those looking to spice up the holiday with some choice NFL picks, look no further because we’ve got you covered with the best bets for all three games in this Thanksgiving Day NFL betting preview.
Chicago Bears (5-6-0) vs Detroit Lions (3-7-1)
- Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019, 12:30 p.m. ET
- Ford Field, Detroit
- TV Broadcast: FOX
- Opening Line: PK -110
The Chicago Bears are coming off a victorious performance in week 12, a stellar (heavy sarcasm injected here) 19-14 win over the hapless NY Giants at Soldier Field. The win saw the Bears improve to a 5-6 SU record on the season but, at the same time, it saw the Bears fail (yet again) to cover. This time as the -6 home favorites on the NFL odds board. As it stands, the Bears are among the league’s worst in spread betting with a 3-8 ATS record.
The Lions, meanwhile, are flush off a loss to the Washington Redskins in the nation’s capital. Yup, that’s right. Jeff Driskel and the Lions fell to rookie Dwayne Haskins – who incidentally couldn’t be bothered to finish out the game by taking the last snap because he was too busy snapping selfies with fans in the stands. Hashtag winning.
Losing to the Redskins is not a good look for Matt Patricia or his Lions; it sums up the trials and tribulations of a season marred by injuries. Such is the way it goes in the NFL.
Matthew Stafford, who’s been out with a back injury for several weeks now, is likely to be iced for the rest of the season seeing as the Lions are merely 3-7-1 SU and practically done for 2019. It makes no sense to risk the starter in a lost cause that is underscored by a 4-7 ATS mark that includes a 2-3 ATS mark at home.
Neither the Bears nor the Lions have inspired a whole lot of confidence in 2019. So, it’s not surprising bookmakers were noncommittal with their initial offering on the NFL odds board, rolling out a PK line for this matchup. Basically, giving the public license to determine the balance on the NFL odds board. And they have.
MORE: Full NFL betting guide for Week 13
Early betting has bet up the Chicago Bears, anywhere from -3 to -3.5 depending on the sports betting site. This trend says more about the Lions than it does about the Bears.
Chicago’s offense is anaemic and Mitch Trubisky has taken a massive step backwards – or maybe he’s always been mediocre but thanks to Vic Fangio’s defensive nous his shortcomings were masked by a formidable Bears defense last season.
Whatever the case may be, the Bears are just about as threatening as Winnie the Pooh. The offense is nothing to write home about and the defense isn’t what it was. Nevertheless, the Bears need this game if they’re to keep their slim playoff aspirations alive. Slim being the operative word.
The Lions are in dire straits and without their starting quarterback they simply don’t pack a punch at all. Even with Stafford though wins were too few and far in between, proving that even his elite quarterback play isn’t enough. Jeff Driskel looked serviceable in his first few starts but in last week’s loss to the Redskins the three interceptions he threw are cause for concern. There’s also question marks about his fitness to start on Thursday because of injury (hamstring). As if the Lions needed more injury worries.
All told, it’s hard to feel confident about either of these teams given their respective campaigns, but in this matchup the scale tips ever so slightly towards the Bears. Chicago’s defense is still respectable enough and should give Detroit’s depleted offense fits. On the flipside, Detroit’s porous defense might make Mitch Trubisky look semi-respectable.
NFL pick: Bears -3 (-110)
Buffalo Bills (8-3-0) vs Dallas Cowboys (6-5-0)
- Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019, 4:30 p.m. ET
- AT&T Stadium, Arlington
- TV Broadcast: CBS
- Opening Line: Cowboys -7
America’s team is hanging on a 7-point spread with most sports betting outlets but a few are offering Dallas on – 6.5-point spread. Should NFL bettors bite?
If recent trends are anything to go by, the resounding answer is, No. No. No.
Not only has Dallas failed to clinch a win over a winning team this season – and last checked 8-3 SU for the Bills constitutes a winning team – they’re also unreliable against the spread during America’s favorite holiday in recent memory. Since 2011, the Cowboys are 4-4 SU and 1-7 ATS.
If this doesn’t say potential trap bet, what does?
How the Cowboys are favored by so many points to begin with is anybody’s guess. As mentioned above, the Cowboys are winless against winning teams. To be exact, they are 0-4 SU this season in those instances and 1-3 ATS, the lone cover coming last weekend in a 13-9 loss to the Patriots at the Foxboro that saw the Cowboys cover as the +6 closing road underdogs.
The Bills have been coasting under the radar and going about their winning ways in unassuming fashion. Josh Allen has recently tightened up his game and since week 5 he went without an interception until throwing one in last week’s 20-3 win over the Denver Broncos.
In fact, since week 4’s loss to the Patriots in which Allen threw 3 INTs, he’s been nigh perfect throwing for 12 TDs and just 2 INTs. During that same seven-game span, Prescott has thrown for 12 TDs and 7 INTs. It’s no accident that this form correlates to the team’s bottom line: Bills are 5-2 SU during this span while the Cowboys are merely 3-4 SU.
Perceptions can be difficult to let go of, especially when it involves one of America’s favorite teams to bet on. Reality is the Cowboys aren’t playing to the sum total of their parts. Jerry Jones knows it; the team knows it; and so do NFL betting fans.
Dallas may yet win over Buffalo at the AT&T Stadium but laying a bucketload of points to a team that is riding the momentum of a season that is defying all expectations seems a bit rich.
NFL pick: Bills +7 (-110)
New Orleans Saints (9-2-0) vs. Atlanta Falcons (3-8-0)
- Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019, 8:20 p.m. ET
- Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta
- TV Broadcast: NBC
- Opening Line: Saints -7
Drew Brees and the Saints are on the verge of punching their playoff ticket. Sat pretty at 9-2 SU they’re up in second spot overall in the NFC standings – climbing into the coveted slot after clinching the win over the Panthers at the Superdome and a Packers loss to the Niners.
The Falcons beat the Saints a couple of weeks ago at the Superdome, a 26-9 win by Dan Quinn’s side that few saw coming in week 10. While the Falcons backed it up with a second-straight win over the Panthers in week 11, they finally dropped the ball in a 35-22 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home last week.
This is a divisional clash and with such rivalries anything can happen. The Saints are by far the better team and should come through for their backers with the all-important win, but the Falcons have a tendency to play up to the Saints when it suits. There is some measure of consolation in being the party poopers and making things uncomfortable for Drew Brees.
That said, Sean Payton may have underestimated the Falcons in week 10 but he’s unlikely to do so again on national television. Expect the Saints to gobble up the points in a big win over the Falcons on Thanksgiving day.
NFL pick: Saints -6.5 (-105)