Early Thanksgiving Football Betting Tips

The Cowboys and Redskins collide Thursday in a true Thanksgiving tradition.

Thanksgiving is upon us which means it’s time for some real Thursday night football, and not those hapless games that parade under the Thursday Night Football banner the rest of the year.

Let’s face it, there’s no way you’re going to get to sit down tomorrow and work your way through the NFL’s Thanksgiving schedule looking for those all-important tips that will ultimately help you make the right pick. There’s always someone, or some task, that gets in the way. So take the opportunity today to get on top of things and pick your teams early.

Here’re a few tips from CasinoReview that may well help you with the three-game slate.

 

Houston Texans @ Detroit Lions

12:30 PM ET

In keeping with tradition, Detroit (4-6, 2-2 home) hosts the Thanksgiving Classic opening, this year welcoming the best team (record-wise) in all of football, Houston (9-1, 4-0 road).

The Lions have had a rough season so far, coming across as a one-dimensional passing team with just one receiving threat (Calvin Johnson). A porous defense hasn’t helped matter, with the team conceding 24.6 points per game, 23rd in the league.

The Texans meanwhile have been the toast of the AFC, serving up nine wins from 10. The team’s only loss – a 42-24 beat down at the hands of Green Bay – alongside close wins over the Jets, Broncos, Bears, and this past weekend against Jacksonville, have proved the side is fallible though, and Detroit will look to make the most of home field advantage.

These two sides have met just twice before (2004, 2008), splitting the pair between them.

Odds: Despite its superior record, Houston opens as just three-point favorites. The over/under is 49.

Take: Houston – With a defense that ranks in the top 10 in passing (7), rushing (2) and scoring (4), it’s hard to imagine the Lions putting many points on the board in this one – despite passing for more yards per game than any other team in the league. Detroit’s defense has been relatively sharp itself, until you consider points conceded, a category in which the Lions rank 23rd across the league. That means Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson and Arian Foster may have a typical Texans game. On top of all of this, Detroit has not won a Thanksgiving Day game since beating the Green Bay Packers 22-14 in 2003. Take the Texans to cover the spread and the total to go over.

 

Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys

4:15 PM ET

In the second of Thursday’s traditional Thanksgiving games, Dallas (5-5, 2-2 home) hosts division rivals Washington (4-6, 2-3 road) in what may prove to be the most competitive game on the schedule.

The Cowboys’ spluttering season has almost evened out over the past two weeks, with wins over Philadelphia and Cleveland (just). That being said, that isn’t exactly the most sterling of opposition.

Washington routed Philadelphia 31-16 this past weekend, halting a three-game skid in the process. Rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III has impressed for much of the season, and the Redskins at least seem pointed in the right direction. A win over the Cowboys will put the side back in contention for the NFC East, which the Giants seem determined to lose.

Washington’s pass defense – which is ranked 29th in the league – could be up against the wall as Tony Romo and the Cowboys passing game – ranked seventh in the league – looks to lead an almost rushing-less offense.

Odds: Dallas is favored but the opening spread of six points has dwindled to three ahead of kickoff. The over/under is 46.

Take: Dallas – In many ways it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Redskins take this game, which is more a commentary on the Cowboys’ lack of consistency than it is Washington’s prowess. However, Dallas has owned Washington in the recent past, taking three straight and six of the last seven. Add to that the fact that the Redskins have never beaten the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day (in six attempts) and Tony Romo’s impressive November record (21-3) and you have all the ingredients for history to repeat itself, however uninteresting that might seem to those rooting against America’s Team.

 

New England Patriots @ New York Jets

8:20 PM ET

The third game on Thursday’s schedule is the non-tradition, NFL-makes-some-money game between New England (7-3, 3-2 road) and the New York Jets (4-6, 2-3 home).

A win in this AFC East divisional match-up could well be enough for the Patriots – already three games ahead of the Jets, Bills and Dolphins, who are all tied up – to all but be awarded the division title. The Jets therefore need a win and even that might not be enough to bring back any credibility to what has been an incredulous season.

The bad news for the Jets is that not only was New England victorious earlier in the season, and not only have the Patriots won three straight, but the Massachusetts side has also won 18 of the last 24. The Jets, to put it abruptly, are up against it.

Rex Ryan, Mark Sanchez and Co. will need to remember that the Patriots’ victory earlier this year was achieved only in overtime. There might be some hope yet.

Odds: New England is a one-touchdown favorite heading into this one. The over/under is 51.

Take: New England – Okay, so we’re going with all three Thanksgiving favorites, but that’s just the way this schedule is shaping up. Few people expect the hapless Jets to get anything from the Patriots, a team that has averaged 47 points per contest over the last three games. Compare that to a paltry 14.3 being put up by the Jets in that same period. Take the Patriots to cover/obliterate the spread and take the total to go over, as it has in eight New England games this season, especially as the Patriots covered the total alone last weekend.

 

Remaining Week 12 Schedule

Sunday: (1 PM ET) Minnesota @ Chicago | Oakland @ Cincinnati | Pittsburgh @ Cleveland | Buffalo @ Indianapolis |Tennessee @ Jacksonville | Denver @ Kansas City | Seattle @ Miami | Atlanta @ Tampa Bay; (4:05 PM ET) Baltimore @ San Diego; (4:25 PM ET) St. Louis @ Arizona | San Francisco @ New Orleans; (8:20 PM ET) Green Bay @ NY Giants

Monday: (8:30 PM ET) Carolina @ Philadelphia

Lions Head to the Windy City for Monday Night Football

Matthew Stafford wrenched D.J. Moore's helmet from his head the last time Detroit and Chicago met. Will the Bears be on the hunt for retribution?

You can bet that when the powers that be were putting together the Monday Night Football schedule they fully expected this matchup between Detroit (2-3, 1-2 road) and Chicago (4-1, 2-0 home) to be both a grudge match and a potential division-topper.

Of course, Detroit’s erratic play has the team languishing at the bottom of the division (below Minnesota!) while the Bears have been the talk of the north, charging to an impressive 4-1 record and top spot. This game might not decide who leads the division, but you can count on it being both a grudge match and an important fixture in terms of heading forward.

The last time these two sides met (November 13, 2011) Chicago took a 37-13 win in a hot-tempered affair that is best remembered for Matthew Stafford tearing D.J. Moore’s helmet off following an interception.

It was the kind of moment that has punctuated this rivalry since its inception in 1930, when the Bears took on the Lions (then known as the Portsmouth Spartans) for the first time. It was also the sort of moment this Chicago side isn’t likely to forget. You think we’re not going to see some Chicago defenders looking to get up close and personal with Mr. Stafford?

Chicago’s run of form has been built on a strong running game that has averaged 123.6 yards per game (good enough for ninth in the league). Matt Forte may only be rushing for 67.5 YPG but he’s getting help from Michael Bush (41.2 YPG). Detroit could be in for a long night, but the Lion’s own top ten rush defense may well be up for the challenge.

Detroit may well consider forgetting the run before the first quarter is over. Chicago has the number one rush defense in the league, giving up just 65.8 YPG. That leaves the team relying on Matthew Stafford’s arm.

Stafford has averaged 298.6 YPG through the air, leading the most prolific passing attack in the league. Whilst that is undoubtedly a good thing, the Detroit gunslinger has only connected on four touchdown passes all season. This miserly number is confounded by the five interceptions he’s thrown. Going through the air against Chicago could be tough, especially as the past two weeks have seen Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman return interceptions for touchdowns.

Meanwhile, Jay Cutler has put up consistent, if not awe-inspiring, numbers. He’s averaging 241.8 YPG and has tallied an even seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. The big worry at this time is that opposing defenses have gotten to him 14 times for sacks.

Historically speaking, the Bears lead the all-time series 95-65-5, and have won seven of the last eight and 11 of the last 13, a dominant record if ever there was one.

 

Odds: Lines opened with Chicago six-point favorites to take this one. As the week has progressed, this number has risen slightly (-6½). The over/under is 47½ points.

Take: Chicago – There’s a real temptation to pick Detroit for one simple reason: in the season of the upset, only one underdog (Tennessee) has come away with a win this weekend. A Detroit victory would be at the very least a talking point. However, this Chicago side looks defensively solid enough to put the Lions down. Stafford is unreliable through the air, and the Lions’ run game is less than stellar, and even less likely to trouble the number one rush defense in the league.

The two sides are combining for an average of 55 points per game this season. The total has gone over in six of the last eight Bears games at Soldier Field as well as five of seven Detroit games. The smart money then has to be on the OVER.

 

Player Props

If you’re looking for more action than the spread has to offer, Bovada is offering an extensive list of player props to get involved with. Here’s a few to get you started.

Will Matthew Stafford (DET) pass for more than 285½ yards? Yes (-125), No (-105)

Will Matthew Stafford (DET) throw more than 1½ touchdowns? Yes (-165), No (+135)

Will Matthew Stafford (DET) throw more than ½ interceptions? Yes (-260), No (+200)

Will Jay Cutler (CHI) pass for more than 260½ yards? Yes (-120), No (-105)

Will Jay Cutler (CHI) throw more than 1½ touchdowns? Yes (-155), No (+125)

Will Jay Cutler (CHI) throw more than ½ interceptions? Yes (-200), No (+160)

Will Calvin Johnson (DET) score a TD? Yes (-125), No (-105)

Will Brandon Marshall (CHI) score a TD? Yes (-125), No (-105)

Will Mikel Leshoure (DET) rush for more than 62½ yards? Yes (-125), No (-105)

Will Matt Forte (CHI) rush for more than 80½ yards? Yes (-125), No (-105)