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While there seems to be some controversy around whether macaroni and cheese or cranberry sauce belongs at Thanksgiving, few would argue against turkey, pumpkin pie, and football!
This year's Thanksgiving slate features three matchups: the Buffalo Bills (7-3) vs Detroit Lions (4-6), New York Giants (7-3) vs Dallas Cowboys (7-3), and New England Patriots (6-4) vs Minnesota Vikings (8-2). Let's break each one of these games down as I highlight the best bets to make for each!
Bills vs Lions Pick
- Spread: Bills -9.5
- Total: 54.5
- Moneyline: Bills -460 / Lions +360
The Bills snapped their mini two-game losing skid in Week 11 when they beat the Browns 31-23 in Detroit—the game was moved away from Buffalo due to the insane snowstorm. Prior to last Sunday, Buffalo had dropped games to the Vikings and Jets.
The Lions are heading into this matchup about as red hot as we've seen a Lions team in the last five years. Detroit has won three straight games, their longest winning streak since 2017, with those games coming against the Giants, Bears, and Packers. They face a much, much tougher foe on Thanksgiving, though.
Buffalo is currently the favorite to win Super Bowl 57, while none of the three teams Detroit has beaten in the last three weeks are given better than 80-1 odds to win the Super Bowl.
The Lions cannot defend whatsoever. They rank dead last in both points allowed and yards allowed. This isn't a huge deal when facing an offense like the Bears or Giants, who struggle to put up points, but will be quite problematic against the second-ranked scoring offense in the league.
Josh Allen may be held back a bit by his elbow injury, but Buffalo has more than enough to run up 35+ points against this awful Lions defense today.
Pick: Bills -9.5
Giants vs Cowboys Pick
- Spread: Cowboys -9.5
- Total: 45.5
- Moneyline: Cowboys -420 / Giants +330
These are two teams heading into Week 12 coming off very different experiences. The Giants were just humiliated by the Lions in Week 11, losing 31-18, while the Cowboys laid an absolute beating on one of the believed-to-be best teams in the league, the Minnesota Vikings.
It's the second time in the last three weeks that the Giants' winning record has looked fraudulent, as they were also beaten up by the Seahawks in Week 8. I believe we are going to see it happen for the third time in four weeks when they meet the Cowboys this afternoon.
I foresee this game boiling down to the Giants' inability to stop the run. They rank second-last in the NFL in yards per carry allowed, letting rushers go for 5.3 yards per tote. Dallas is finally starting to utilize Tony Pollard more, largely due to Ezekiel Elliott missing a few weeks due to injury, and the results has been very positive. The Cowboys are averaging 170 rushing yards per game in their last three contests, with Pollard receiving at least 14 carries in each.
Pick: Cowboys -9.5
Patriots vs Vikings Pick
- Spread: Vikings -2.5
- Total: 42.5
- Moneyline: Vikings -145 / Patriots +120
It's a little tough to tell whether Patriots have righted the ship or just taken advantage of a light schedule over the last handful of weeks. New England has won five of their last six, largely on the back of their defense, which has only allowed 38 total points in those five wins. Those wins did come over the Jets (twice), Frank Reich-led Colts, Lions, and Browns, though.
They will be tested further on Thanksgiving, though, as they line up against a Minnesota offense that ranks 13th in points scored. However, that Vikings offense only managed three points last week against the Cowboys last week and have only scored 30+ points twice in ten games. (Yes, I am hinting that this Kirk Cousins-led offense might not be as good as some think.)
With this being a late game, we also have to mention the Kirk Cousins primetime narrative. Cousins is 10-18 in regular season primetime games and 0-1 on Thanksgiving.
It's not even that Cousins doesn't win on primetime; it's that he has looked awful too often. He has thrown at least one interception in 16 of 28 games, including at least one in six of the last seven, posted a passer rating south of 78 in nine of those games, and less than 70 in six of them, which includes three of the last four.
I'm putting my money on a Bill Belichick defense to pester Cousins all night.
Pick: Patriots moneyline (+120)
Thanksgiving NFL Parlay
If you don't love laying all those points with Buffalo and Dallas or betting on Mac Jones to put up points, here's a great NFL parlay for Thanksgiving that just waters down those picks using alternate spreads:
Parlay: Bills -2.5 & Cowboys -2.5 & Patriots +7.5 (+118)
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