The best week of the NFL regular season is finally here and that’s because this is the week the NFL will be giving us its annual buffet of football on Thanksgiving Day.
Starting at 12:30 p.m. ET, we’ll be getting a total of three games and since everyone will be watching football on Thursday, I thought it only made sense to start things off here with a few Thanksgiving betting trends.
If you’re thinking about laying down some money on the NFL to add a little bit of non-family drama to your Turkey Day, here are two Thanksgiving trends that might help you decide which way to bet.
- The first trend has to do with the fact that the favored team has been dominating on Thanksgiving over the past four years. Since 2016, favored teams have gone 11-1 straight-up and 9-3 ATS. This year, the three favored teams are the Texans, Cowboys and Steelers. Two of those teams will definitely be testing the trend as Dallas has been the worst team in the NFL this year against the spread (2-8) while the Texans are tied for second-worst (3-7). On the other hand, the Steelers have been the NFL’s best team against the spread (8-2).
- The other interesting trend has to do with the over/under. Since 2014, the under has hit in every primetime game played on Thanksgiving. That’s six straight games where the under has hit (The under has actually hit in seven out of nine primetime games since the Thanksgiving night game was introduced in 2011). The primetime game this year is Ravens at Steelers which has an over/under of 46 points. This trend will also be put to the test and that’s because these two teams have hit the over the past three times they’ve met.
Alright, that’s enough Turkey Day talk, let’s get to the rest of this week’s odds.
NFL Week 12 early odds
(All lines from William Hill Sportsbook unless noted, all games on Sunday unless noted)
Texans (3-7) at Lions (4-6), Thursday
Opening line: Texans -2.5
Thanksgiving has been a disastrous holiday for the Lions over the past few years as they’ve lost three straight games on Turkey Day. The Lions are also just 3-9 straight-up in their past 12 games against AFC teams (6-6 ATS). As for the Texans, they’re 2-8-1 ATS In their past 11 games against NFC teams. The Texans are also 3-7 ATS on the season, which is tied for the second-worst mark in the NFL. In five road games this season, they’ve gone 1-4 ATS.
Washington (3-7) at Dallas (3-7), Thursday
Opening line: Cowboys -2.5
If there’s one team you don’t want to bet on in a Thanksgiving game, it’s the Cowboys. Since the start of the 2011 season, the Cowboys are 1-8 ATS on Turkey Day (4-5 straight-up). However, that one cover did come against Washington back in 2018. The Cowboys have dominated this series in recent years, going 11-4 straight-up against Washington dating back to the start of the 2013 season. These two teams played back in Week 7 with Washington winning 25-3 as a one-point underdog. Including that game, the Cowboys are 2-8 ATS on the year, which is the worst mark in the NFL.
Ravens (6-4) at Steelers (10-0), Thursday
Opening line: Steelers -3
In the past 10 games where the Steelers have been favored by a field goal or more, they’ve gone 9-1 straight-up and 6-4 ATS. The Steelers are also 3-1 ATS in their past four games against the Ravens, including back in Week 8 when Pittsburgh covered as a 4-point underdog in a 28-24 win. As for the Ravens, they’ve been nearly unbeatable on the road, going 10-1 straight-up in their past 11 games (7-4 ATS). The Ravens are also 5-1 ATS since the start of the 2018 season in games where they’re an underdog of three or more.
Opening line: Raiders -1
If there’s one situation when you might want to stay away from the Falcons, it’s when they’re facing a team from the AFC. In their past 15 games against AFC teams, the Falcons are 3-12 straight up and an ugly 2-13 ATS. However, one of those three wins did come back in Week 9 against the Broncos when Atlanta covered as a 4.5-point favorite in a 34-27 win. As for the Raiders, they’re 3-1 both straight-up and ATS In their past four games against NFC teams. One worrisome thing about the Raiders though is that this game is being played in the eastern time zone where the Raiders are 4-8 straight-up and 4-7-1 ATS since the start of the 2017 season.
Opening line: Bills -5.5
The road has not been kind to the Chargers this season as they’ve lost four straight away from Los Angeles. However, they have done a decent job of covering away from home, going 4-2-1 ATS in their past seven road games. The Chargers have also done a good job of covering in the eastern time zone, going 7-2 ATS since the start of the 2018 season (6-3 straight-up). As for the Bills, they’ve won 13 straight games when favored by five or more points, but they’re just 8-5 ATS In those games.
Opening line: Giants -4
The Giants have somehow turned into one of the safest bets in the NFL over the past few weeks, going 6-1 ATS in their past seven games (3-4 straight-up). The Giants are also 8-0 ATS in their past eight road games (2-6 straight-up). As for the Bengals, they’ve covered in three straight home games, but one thing you’ll want to keep in mind here is that they won’t have Joe Burrow, who was lost for the season after suffering a knee injury in Week 11. The Bengals also have a six-game winless streak (0-5-1) against teams from the NFC, including a record of 0-1-1 against NFC East teams this season.
Opening line: Colts -2.5
The Colts have dominated this series for nearly a decade. Since the start of the 2012 season, the Colts are 14-3 straight-up against the Titans and 11-4-2 ATS, including their win over Tennessee in Week 10. As for the Titans, they’re 6-1 straight-up in their past seven road games, but only one of those wins came when they were an underdog and that came on Sunday against the Ravens.
Opening line: Vikings -4.5
Although the Vikings lost to the Cowboys on Sunday, they’ve still been one of the safest bets in the NFL over the past few weeks, going 6-2 ATS In their past eight games. That being said, the Vikings are just 2-3 straight-up in the past five games where they were favored by four or more points, including Sunday’s loss to Dallas. As for the Panthers, they’ve been one of the best underdogs to bet on this year. Since Week 3, the Panthers have been a ‘dog seven times and they’ve gone 6-1 ATS in those games (4-3 straight-up).
Opening line: Cardinals -2.5
The Patriots are an underdog in this game, which is notable, because they actually seem to do pretty well as an underdog. In their past 12 games as an underdog, the Patriots have gone 9-3 ATS and 8-4 straight-up. One other reason to like the Patriots is because they’re 7-2 straight-up (6-3 ATS) in their past nine games against NFC teams. As for the Cardinals, they’re 2-7 ATS and 3-6 straight-up in the past nine games where they’ve been favored.
Opening line: Dolphins -7
Although the Dolphins lost on Sunday, they’ve still been a solid team to bet on this season. In their past six games, they’ve gone 5-1 both straight-up and ATS. The Dolphins are also 7-2 straight-up and 7-1-1 ATS in their past nine games against the Jets. That being said, one reason to like the Jets is because home underdogs in divisional games are 14-4 ATS this season. The Jets are also 3-1 ATS in their past four games after starting the season 0-6.
Opening line: Browns -7
If there’s one team you never want to bet on as a road favorite, it’s the Cleveland Browns. In their past five games where they were favored on the road, the Browns are 1-4 straight-up and 0-5 ATS. The Browns are also 1-6 ATS in their past seven road games overall. The past five weeks haven’t been pretty either, as the Browns have gone 1-4 ATS in their past five games. On the Jaguars’ end, not only have the lost nine straight, but they’re 2-6 ATS in their past eight games. One thing to like about the Jags is that they’re 11-3 ATS in the past 14 games where they’ve been an underdog of a touchdown or more.
Saints (8-2) at Broncos (4-6)
Opening line: Saints -6
If you’re scared off by the fact that the Saints won’t have Drew Brees this week, don’t be. In the past six games they’ve played without Brees, the Saints have gone 6-0 both straight-up and ATS. The Saints are also 9-1 straight-up in their past 10 games against AFC teams (5-5 ATS). As for the Broncos, they’ve won two straight games as a home underdog, including Sunday’s win over the Dolphins.
Opening line: Rams -7
If there’s one underdog you don’t want to bet against, it’s the 49ers. In their past 10 games as an underdog, the Niners are 7-3 ATS (6-4 straight-up). The 49ers have also beaten the Rams three straight times, including back in Week 6 when San Francisco won 24-16 as a 2.5-point underdog. As for the Rams, since Sean McVay was hired in 2017, they’ve been favored by seven or more points a total of 19 times and in those 19 games, they’ve gone 17-2 straight-up (10-8-1 ATS). The Rams are also one of just three teams who are still undefeated at home this season (4-0). In their past nine games at home, the Rams are 8-1 straight-up and 6-2-1 ATS.
Opening line: Chiefs -3
This will be the 22nd road start of Patrick Mahomes‘ career and if the past is any indication, it might be smart to bet on him. In the previous 21 games, Mahomes has gone15-6-1 ATS. On the other hand, one issue with betting the Chiefs in this spot is that they’re 3-7-1 ATS in their past 11 regular season games against teams from the NFC (6-5 straight-up). As for the Buccaneers, they’ve been absolutely disastrous as an underdog. In the past nine games where that has happened, Tampa has gone 2-7 straight-up and 2-6-1 ATS. That being said, one of those two wins came back in Week 6 when the Buccaneers beat the Packers 38-10 in a game where Green Bay was favored by three points.
This game will mark the fourth time that Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes have met on the field. In the previous three games, Brady has gone 2-1 both straight-up and ATS.
Bears (5-5) at Packers (7-3)
Opening line: Packers -8
This rivalry has been pretty one-sided over the past four years. Since the start of the 2016 season, the Packers have gone 7-1 straight-up against the Bears and 5-3 ATS. That being said, the Packers haven’t done a great job of covering large point spreads, going 3-6 ATS In the past nine games where they were favored by a touchdown or more. As for the Bears, they’ve looked horrible over the past four weeks, going 0-4 straight-up and 1-3 ATS. Chicago is coming off a bye this week, which is notable, because the Bears are have been atrocious off the bye, going 0-6 both straight-up and ATS since the start of the 2014 season.
Opening line: Seahawks -6
Although the Seahawks generally dominate in primetime games at home, the same can’t be said on the road. In their past four road primetime games, they’ve gone 1-3 both straight-up and ATS. The Seahawks are also 0-5-1 ATS in the past six games where they were favored by six points or more. As for the Eagles, they’re 3-12 straight-up and 4-11 ATS in their past 15 games as a home underdog. One thing to like about the Eagles though is that they’re 8-1 straight-up in their past nine home primetime games.