Thanksgiving Day is one of the best days of football all year long with three separate NFL games spaced perfectly throughout the day to give you action for 10 hours straight. Thanksgiving also brings a lot of different fish into the water, which means that we have to be careful about line movement and the lines overall.
While we should not blindly bet based on one thing, we know that the public often loves favorites and overs, especially on big days like this one. I am not really allowing this to influence my picks because I still think there is value on certain sides regardless, but it is something to consider on major betting days.
Chicago Bears (-3.5) at Detroit Lions
This game is pretty simple for me, assuming that the Lions start either Jeff Driskel or David Blough. Neither of these players is very good, and I expect the Bears to have a short field on a lot of offensive drives. While we all know that that doesn’t mean this offense will score seven points, I think field goals will be good enough on some drives.
The Bears offense is not very good at all, and they have seen a ton of criticism all year for their performance so far. This was a team that won the NFC North with ease last season, and they have basically no hope to do so this season with incredibly similar personnel.
In recent weeks, however, I think that their offense has opened up just a little bit, and I think that they should eventually start to rack up some more points than they have this season, even though that still won’t be a lot.
The line of 3.5 in favor of the Bears here is too low for a team with a good defense against a bad quarterback. I like the Bears here.
Buffalo Bills at Dallas Cowboys (-6.5)
The Cowboys have the lesser record in this matchup, but they are better than the Bills in point differential after playing a tougher schedule, and I think that the line represents that well. It is really strange to see an 8-3 team go on the road to a team with a worse record and be almost a touchdown dog in that spot.
While this should be a really interesting game because of a few key matchups, I expect the Cowboys to control possession and control the game. The Bills rushing defense has struggled at times this season, and Ezekiel Elliott should give them all they can handle on Thursday afternoon. I think that the dominance on the ground by the Cowboys will be the story on Friday morning.
This compounded with John Brown being locked up by Byron Jones should result in a big Cowboys win here. I expect the Cowboys to cover and win by double digits here.
New Orleans Saints (-7) at Atlanta Falcons
With this game happening just a few weeks ago, we can see how the result of one game and the shift in location can change the line significantly. In their first meeting, the Saints were something like a 13.5- to 14.5-point favorite vs. the Falcons, and now they are only a touchdown favorite on the road. While the Saints generally struggle to be quite as dominant on the road, this game being indoors should mitigate that to some degree.
The Falcons controlled the last meeting in really dominant and surprising fashion. While the Falcons continued this performance two weeks ago vs. the Panthers, they looked a lot like the early-season Falcons last Sunday.
While there is not a great reason for these major discrepancies in their play recently, I am chalking that two-game stretch up to coaching-change motivation and confidence from then destroying one of the best teams in the NFL.
I think that this swagger has probably left the Falcons by now, and I expect the Saints to roll here by double digits.