As is tradition, this year’s slate of Thanksgiving Day football matchups does not disappoint, giving NFL and college football fans a total of five rivalry games to watch, bet on, and be thankful for while eating dinner with family and friends. As soon as odds are released, we continue to update this page daily with the top Thanksgiving football picks.
NFL Matchups On Thanksgiving
The NFL is giving fans a three-course meal of pro football on Thanksgiving Day with three division rivalry games – all from the NFC – scheduled to be played.
Each matchup could have major playoff implications as teams look to stay atop the division while others try to stay alive in the race for the playoffs. Here are our NFL Thanksgiving Day previews:
Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions
The NFL’s longest-running annual rivalry, dating back to 1930, will meet for the 179th time on Thanksgiving Day in Detroit.
The Bears are favored to win their divison according to preseason future odds. The Lions are predicted to finish last in the NFC North. While the Lions have made some improvements on the offensive side of the ball we will see on Turkey day if they have enough to beat their division rivals.
Prediction: Chicago Bears: 21 @ Detroit Lions: 17
Buffalo Bills @ Dallas Cowboys
The second game of the day features one team trying to win a Super Bowl and another trying for a winning record.
The Buffalo Bills have fallen on hard times over the past few years but their team is significantly better this year. If eveyone can manage to stay healty the Bills should be able to put up a good fight.
The Cowboys started their 2019 season red hot going 2-0 and looking like one of the Cowboys teams from the past. Zeke, Dax, and Cooper have been lighting it up on the offensive side of the ball, if they can keep up their production they will be really hard to beat.
Prediction: Dallas Cowboys 34 > Buffalo Bills 10
New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons
Finally, the primetime game will feature the 101th meeting of a rivalry that started in 1967. The Saints travel to the other Mercedes stadium, which will host the Thanksgiving Day game for the Falcons.
This rilvary is deep and it looks like Drew Brees will be back in time to light up the Falcons. The Saints have struggled without their normal starting quarterback but a rilvary game is a whole other story.
The Falcons have lost a couple of games early in the season but will belooking to defend their home turf come Turkey day. This game can go either way but since I am betting on it, I’m gonna go with the Saints.
Prediction: Falcons: 28 @ Saints: 38
NCAAF College Football Matchups On Thanksgiving
If you’re a fan of college football, then you’ll get to double dip during this year’s Turkey Day with two NCAAF rivalry matchups being served up.
Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State
Since 1901, these two Mississippi teams have played in one of the most historic rivalries in all of college football and will meet in the 116th Egg Bowl for possession of the Golden Egg Trophy on Thanksgiving night.
Both Ole Miss and Mississippi State are having an off year which means this Egg Bowl is up for grabs. In recent years the State Bulldogs have consistantly been a stronger team but with inner-state rilveries anything can happen.
Prediction: Ole Miss 7 @ Mississippi State Bulldogs 28
Thanksgiving NFL Betting Trends and Strategies
When NFL teams play on Thanksgiving, traditional betting strategies take a step back and a different approach is needed – if history is any indicator.
Teams who play on this holiday have the shortest turnaround of any point during the season. Each team must rest up from a Sunday game, prepare, and play again on Thursday during the day, excluding the night game.
Feast on these trends and strategies before placing your bet on any of the Turkey Day NFL matchups.
Be Thankful for Favorites
NFL favorites have covered 68% of the matchups played on Thanksgiving since 2006 and have an overall record of 23-11.
In this 12-year period since the NFL adopted a third game, Turkey Day favorites only had a losing record from 2012-2014. Chalk is good here, but just make sure your turkey doesn’t taste like it.
Invite the Public to Dinner
A common betting strategy for NFL point spreads is to “fade the public.” Unfortunately, this strategy of wagering against who the majority of the public is betting on goes over worse than your Aunt’s “special” casserole.
Here is how Thanksgiving matchups go when the public has more than 50% of point spread tickets on one side.
- More than 50%: 65% covered
- More than 60%: 71% covered
- More than 70%: 89% covered
Grab a Plate and Get in Line Early
In 2017, both the Vikings (+1.5) and the Chargers (+4) were underdogs in early lines given by some sportsbooks. By the time the game started, the Vikings (-2.0) became the favorite and the Chargers (PK) turned into a pick game.
The lines moved 3.5 and 4.0 points respectively, which means people who bet early got great value by simply serving themselves as the line came right out of the oven instead of waiting for scraps.
Sample the Side Dishes
These are some helpful tips to nibble on to get you started, but each is a small sample size equivalent of a side dish. You still need to take injuries, season and recent performance, etc. into account before betting.
Instead, simply apply these Thanksgiving trends to your own NFL betting model. Doing this will give you the full course meal ahead of Thursday’s slate of game, and we can all give thanks to a day of good food and NFL betting action.