Thanksgiving Day has finally arrived, or at they call it in the retail market, Black Friday Eve, and with it comes a three-course NFL meal providing football fans plenty of action to watch before, after and even during meals. While the day does start off slow for those who enjoy watching the early game, there is plenty of drama as each game kicks off and unfold, providing plenty of topics for conversation, and maybe a few ways to make a wager or two. With six teams playing to start Week 12, here is my preview of the NFL Thanksgiving Day games this year.
Chicago (3-7) at (Detroit (0-9-1): Yes, America, I agree with (most of) you that the time has come for the National Football League to rotate all three of the Thanksgiving Day games and not just the primetime game. Yes, sports love tradition, however, there’s nothing wrong with starting new traditions, which should include more teams being able to play on Thanksgiving Day other than the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys. If there was ever going to be a call for this change to take place it will be this year when, once again, the Lions will host the first game on Thursday without a win this season. In fact, not only should Detroit take at least one year off from playing on Turkey Day, so should the NFC North, who brings to the table the Bears and the Lions, both of whom should be kept to regional broadcasts for the rest of the 2021 season. As for the game itself, Chicago hits the road at a 3.5-point favorite over Detroit with both squads ranked in the bottom quarter of most NFL stats. That means that both of these bad teams are evenly matched, which, strangely enough, should make for somewhat entertaining game even if there isn’t much on the line other than everyone looking forward to the 2022 season. The bettors appear to be rooting for the Lions to bag the Bears and earn their first win of the season Thursday, or they just don’t have any faith in Chicago being able to go into Detroit and win. Either way, about two-thirds of the bets laid early this week were on the Lions … which, as someone who will keep this game on in the background, I must admit I am rooting for. I am taking the Lions +3.5 to (hopefully) win.
Las Vegas (5-5) at Dallas (7-3): This game has definitely lost a lot of intrigue for me considering how both teams are playing coming into this week. The hosting Cowboys have lost two of their last three games in lackluster fashion, and the win in between those two games was a blowout win over Atlanta. Making matters worse is that Dallas’ QB Dak Prescott is playing with half a deck since he is likely to be without WRs Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb in this game, a cause behind why the Cowboys’ offense looked so bad Sunday against Kansas City in only scoring nine points. The Raiders head to Big-D losers of three straight starting with their last road game at the Giants and continuing with lopsided home defeats to Kansas City and Cincinnati. To say that this team has had the wheels fall off their season both on and off the field is an understatement, and now America will see how badly they have fallen apart during the second game of the Thanksgiving tripleheader. Dallas has been made a solid 7-point home favorite with the early money coming in at a 5-to-4 pace in their favor since leaving a touchdown on the table is often too much for some bettors to pass up. The Cowboys have been a much better home team this year in posting four wins in five tries inside Jerry’s World while the Raiders are a 50/50 bet both home and, on the road, split six home games and four road games so far this year. With how badly the Dallas defense has been lit up at times this year, Derek Carr could be primed for a big game Thursday, and if their defense can slow down Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott, getting back on track begin in this game. Dallas should be an easy pick, but they are never easy to bet with, and without so much of their talent, that bet is even more risky. So, I am taking Las Vegas +7 to keep in close and maybe pull off the Thanksgiving Day upset in Dallas.
Buffalo (6-4) at New Orleans (5-5): The Bills travel to the Bayou as the AFC East’s second-place team, having yielded the top spot to the Patriots this past weekend. This happened despite Buffalo scoring 69 points over the last three games; but sadly, for the Bills Mafia, 45 of those points came against the Jets, with only six and fifteen coming in loses to the Jaguars and Colts. The Saints are losers of three straight games since their Halloween upset over Tampa Bay, have fallen to the Falcons, Titans and Eagles in the month of November. All of which sets up this interesting Thanksgiving primetime game. Many bettor parlors still rank the Bills high or even number one in the NFL despite their recent struggles; with some of that coming from their recent up, then down games, making their overall numbers look good. As a result, Buffalo is a 4.5-point road favorite Thursday, with 85% of the bets calling for the Bills to cover and the same number banking on the over (46.5) to hit. Buffalo remains a good team that is closer to being in a slump than overrated; by contrast, the Saints took a huge step backwards when they lost Jameis Winston as their starting QB, leaving New Orleans to be a dink-and-dunk team on offense and as easy team to defend. The Bills know the AFC East is still up for grabs but they can’t afford to fall here and slip further behind the streaking Patriots … and while the ride was fun, the Saints are not as good as they were earlier in the year when they were defeating the Bucs, making this tailspin more understandable and much more difficult to pull out of for New Orleans. Taking the better team with the better QB in this game, give me Buffalo -4.5 to win and cover Thursday night to end Thanksgiving Day.
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NFL Thanksgiving Day Picks and Predictions | TooAthletic.com