Thanksgiving Day is sacred in the NFL, and every year we get three exciting football games to digest while chowing down on turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes. This year, the NFL has set up three exciting games that all have intriguing betting angles to explore. In this article, I’ll take a look at my favorite betting angle for each game with a focus on the spread, over-under, player props, and a large Thanksgiving teaser at the end. Let’s dive in and you can find updated Thanksgiving NFL betting odds.
How To Bet Thanksgiving NFL Games
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NFL Thanksgiving Betting Trends
Let’s look at the most interesting betting trends for Thanksgiving games over the past several years to help guide our picks for the games this year. As always, betting trends aren’t the be-all, end-all, but are instead a helpful tool for framing games you want to bet on.
- Cowboys and Lions are 6-10 ATS on Thanksgiving since 2005
- Thanksgiving favorites are 32-14 ATS since 2005, covering by 4.7 points
- Excluding the Cowboys, favorites are 27-7 ATS on Thanksgiving, covering by 7.5 points
- Thanksgiving favorites of seven or more points are 16-3 ATS
- Thanksgiving night favorites are 10-4 ATS
- Teams getting 57% or more of the spread bets are 24-7 ATS on Thanksgiving
- Thanksgiving night unders are 10-4, 6-0 in the last six games
Thanksgiving NFL Betting Odds
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions
- Lions are 4-0 ATS on Thanksgiving as favorites, 2-10 ATS as underdogs
- Bears are 5-11 ATS in their last 16 games as a favorite
- Lions are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games after an ATS win
- Bears are 5-2 ATS in the last 7 meetings between these teams
- Under is 7-2 in the Bears’ last 9 games overall
- Over is 7-1 in the Lions’ last 8 games overall
I’m not incredibly excited to bet on this game, and the Lions have burned me repeatedly this season. It seems that every time I bet on them to cover, they implode, and every time I bet on them to implode, they inexplicably play a competitive football game. If you’re into the off-the-field stuff, the vibes around the Lions are infinitely better than the Bears right now. Dan Campbell has Detroit playing inspired football despite several injuries derailing what wasn’t a terribly competitive roster, to begin with, while Bears’ fans are calling for Matt Nagy’s head.
Chicago’s defense would have been the difference-maker here, but Khalil Mack is out for the year, and Akiem Hicks and Eddie Jackson are question marks after not playing last week. Chicago has beaten Detroit straight up in six of their previous seven meetings and is 5-2 ATS in those games. The Bears also benefit from David Montgomery now being healthy as a talented runner who can take advantage of Detroit’s run defense, one of the worst in the NFL.
Road favorites are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games in Detroit on Thanksgiving, and the Bears’ defense is the one semi-respectable unit in this game. The Bears should be able to ride Montgomery and a solid defensive effort to the win and cover, but it’s hard to trust Matt Nagy. I selected the Lions to cover in my weekly picks, but I’m not sold on that at all. I think the Bears should be able to knock off the winless Lions, however, even with Andy Dalton at quarterback.
Bears win 23-20, Lions cover, over 42.5 points
The Player Prop
The one player prop I’m very excited for in this game is focused on David Montgomery having a big game. The Lions have allowed 140.5 rushing yards per game, the second-most in the NFL, and rank as the fourth-worst defense against the run in DVOA. DraftKings Sportsbook currently has Montgomery’s over/under on rushing listed at 76.5 yards, and I love the over there. Montgomery played on 95% of the team’s snaps last week and looks to be fully recovered from the injury that sidelined him earlier in the year. Chicago should look to lean on Montgomery, and he will finish with a great stat line given the matchup. I love his touchdown upside for this game, as well.
Las Vegas Raiders at Dallas Cowboys
- Raiders are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games as a road underdog
- Cowboys are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 home games
- Raiders are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games after an ATS loss
- Cowboys are 5-11 ATS in their last 16 Thursday games
- Over is 11-4-1 in the Raiders’ last 16 games as an underdog
- Under is 4-0 in the Cowboys’ last 4 games overall
Neither of these teams is playing at its best right now, and the Cowboys are suddenly dealing with a litany of offensive injuries. Amari Cooper is on the COVID list, CeeDee Lamb is in concussion protocol, and Blake Jarwin is on the Injured Reserve, so the pass-catching options will be limited to Michael Gallup, Cedrick Wilson, Noah Brown, and Dalton Schultz. Ezekiel Elliott has also been limited with a knee issue. Tyron Smith is a crucial injury to look out for as he missed the game this past Sunday. He’s a key cog to the run game and pass-blocking, which is especially important against a solid Raiders’ pass rush.
The Raiders are much healthier physically, but mentally this team has been put through the wringer this season with off-the-field controversy coming from the incidents involving Jon Gruden, Henry Ruggs, and Damon Arnette. Las Vegas has struggled offensively lately with just 16, 14, and 13 points in their last three games despite not necessarily facing a gauntlet of defenses in the Giants, Chiefs, and Bengals over that span. Derek Carr has not been the same as a passer lately, and Ruggs is missed as a constant threat to take the top off the defense – it changes the way opponents game plan to face the Raiders.
This season, the Dallas defense has been excellent, and I predicted a big game from Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs last week, but they were held in check despite DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory being out. The clear value for me is on the under in this game, with both offenses underperforming and Thursday games with a points total of 53+ points going under at a 14-4 clip by an average of 9.6 points since 2003. The likely under makes a Dallas cover more difficult, but if you can get them by less than a touchdown, I’d bet the Cowboys on the spread as well.
Cowboys win 24-16, Cowboys cover, under 54 points
The Player Prop
Dalton Schultz has been excellent dating back to last season, and he was heavily relied upon previous week with Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb out. Schultz will likely be the top target in the offense this week against a Las Vegas defense that has allowed 71.2 receiving yards per game to tight ends, the second-most in the NFL. You can find Schultz’s receiving yardage prop at around 51.5 yards this week, and he’s gone over that mark in six of ten games this season and two of his last three games. You can also target his catch total or even Schultz to score a touchdown depending on where you want to get action, but I like him to have a big game.
Buffalo Bills at New Orleans Saints
- Bills are 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 games following an ATS loss
- Saints are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games following an ATS loss
- Bills are 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 games as a favorite
- Saints are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games against a team with a winning record
- Under is 8-1 in the Bills’ last 9 games after a straight up loss
- Under is 8-0-1 in the Saints’ last 9 Thursday games
The Bills started off the season hotter than any other team but are suddenly reeling and out of first place in the AFC East with losses in two of their last three and three of their previous five games. Buffalo’s offense was frankly appalling on Sunday, and Josh Allen has six interceptions over his past five games with uncharacteristically poor play from him. However, this is a tremendous get-right spot for the Bills against a Saints’ pass defense that is ranked middle-of-the-pack in DVOA and has allowed some big plays this season. Stefon Diggs will likely see a lot of Marshon Lattimore this week, but outside of that beneficial matchup, New Orleans doesn’t have the bodies in the secondary to match up with all of the Bills’ top pass-catchers.
One game doesn’t erase the fact that the Bills have one of the best defenses in the NFL, and they are going to be a mismatch for the Trevor Siemian-led Saints. Alvin Kamara could be back this week, but the Saints lack consistent offensive skill position talent even if he can return. In addition, Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk missed last week’s game, which led to the Eagles’ pass rush getting tons of pressure on Siemian. Buffalo’s pass-rush has some added juice with rookies Gregory Rousseau and Boogie Basham giving it some extra edge, and the secondary is full of talent that will dominate against the Saints’ wideouts.
It’s hard to imagine a better opponent for the Bills to bounce back against than the Saints, who got gashed by the Eagles last week and will potentially be without seven of their eleven offensive starters this week. Thanksgiving favorites have dominated in this spot, and the Bills will be fired up to get back on track after their embarrassing loss on Sunday with the added knowledge that the Patriots have overtaken them in their division. The under is 10-4 in the last 14 Thanksgiving night games and 6-0 in the previous six, so I like this to be a lower-scoring game, but I still have confidence in the Bills to cover handily. I’d bet the Bills up to seven points if needed.
Bills win 27-10, Bills cover, under 46 points
The Player Prop
Emmanuel Sanders has not been able to impact the offense lately significantly, and he’s been held to under 30 receiving yards in three of the team’s last four games. However, the Bills are at their best when he’s capitalizing on his downfield targets, and he should be able to do that against a Saints’ defense that has allowed an uncharacteristically high number of big passing plays lately. Sanders’s impressive air yards haven’t gone away, and he should get back on track in this matchup. I couldn’t find a number for his longest reception yardage, and that would likely be my favorite angle, but you can bet him over 49.5 receiving yards, as well.
NFL Thanksgiving Parlay Opportunities
What’s a Thanksgiving feast of football without a bit of parlay action? A moneyline parlay on the Bears, Cowboys, and Bills to all win their respective games would give you +197 odds on DraftKings Sportsbook, and that’s an enticing angle. You can also do an underdog 7-point tease on the Lions +10, Raiders +14, and Saints +13, but that’s not my favorite angle as favorites have been very successful on Thanksgiving.
I have the under hitting in all three games, and you can do a seven-point tease on unders with Bears-Lions under 48.5 points, Raiders-Cowboys under 58.5 points, and Bills-Saints under 52 points to get to +166 odds. For some added fun, you can also run a touchdown parlay with a player from each game. My favorite example would be David Montgomery, Ezekiel Elliott, and Emmanuel Sanders to get to +711 odds.