Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
Week 1 is obviously huge in the NFL because it’s the start of the season, and Week 17 is when playoff spots can be decided and the season ends for many teams, but in the United States no day of the regular season compares from a football perspective to Thanksgiving, which is this Thursday. Turkey and football – and perhaps a nap in between – are a match made in heaven.
For decades, there were just two games on the holiday, with the Detroit Lions hosting the early game and the Dallas Cowboys the mid-afternoon matchup. In 2006 in an effort to boost interest in the relatively new NFL Network, the league added a prime-time game on the holiday and it has been played ever since. It’s no longer on the NFL Network and there are no set teams for that game.
No club has played more on Thanksgiving than the Lions, and they kick things off as 3-point underdogs against the NFC North rival Chicago Bears. Detroit hasn’t had starting quarterback Matthew Stafford the past three games, all losses, due to fractured bones in his back and probably won’t the rest of the season. The first game Stafford missed was Week 10 in Chicago, a 20-13 Bears win. Jeff Driskel started that and will again Thursday. Detroit has failed to cover its past six games overall.
The 4:30 p.m. ET kickoff features the Cowboys, who have played the second-most games on the holiday, hosting the Buffalo Bills. It’s their first Thanksgiving game since 1994. Buffalo has been a pleasant surprise at 8-3 and currently would be a playoff team. Dallas lost a huge game at the Patriots on Sunday and is battling for the NFC East title with Philadelphia. The second-place team likely misses the playoffs. The Cowboys are -7, while the Bills are 5-0-1 ATS in their past six on the road.
The Thanksgiving finale features the Saints and Falcons for the second straight year. Last November in New Orleans, the Saints were 31-17 home winners. However, Atlanta got payback in a big way in Week 10 this year with a 26-9 stunner in the Big Easy. The Falcons were 14-point underdogs and on a six-game losing streak entering that game, while the Saints were on a six-game winning streak. It remains the biggest upset of the 2019 NFL season. Atlanta is +7 this time and is 5-1 ATS in its past six as a home underdog.