Thanksgiving Betting Primer: Trends, bets, leans, more

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) scores a touchdown during the third quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

• Detroit's most recent win as an underdog on Thanksgiving was in 2003. Yet Dan Campbell's Lions are 8-4-1 ATS at Ford Field, including 5-0 ATS as a home underdog of 6+ points. Fading these Lions in this spot is not recommended.

• Perhaps even more disappointing on Thanksgiving, the Dallas Cowboys since 2011 are 1-8 ATS as a favorite. But, like Detroit, the Cowboys are 7-3 to the Over since 2012.

• Kirk Cousins' primetime reputation (11-17 ATS, including 5-9 at home) precedes this article, and overall since 2020, he is 5-10 ATS as a home favorite, and 10-3-2 to the Over.

Last updated: Nov. 22, 7:25 p.m.

Estimated reading time: 7 mins

Buffalo Bills @ Detroit Lions (+10, 54)

Thanksgiving Trends

– Since 2012, the Lions are 7-3 to the Over on Thanksgiving

– Since 2002, Detroit is 1-6 ATS and 0-7 SU vs the AFC on Thanksgiving

– Since 2001, Detroit as an Underdog on Thanksgiving is 4-12-1 ATS

– Detroit hasn’t won as an Underdog on Thanksgiving since 2003

– Since 2004, when the Total is set at 50 points or more, Detroit is 0-4 SU and ATS

Thanksgiving has not been a happy holiday in Detroit for some time: Regardless of the opponent, victory has eluded Detroit, and their record ATS on turkey day has been abysmal. A perpetual underdog, Detroit now welcomes one of the NFL powerhouses back to Ford Field, and a victory for the Lions would be stunning. Detroit has won three straight, but the difficulty level rises significantly on Thursday, and history suggests a Buffalo route.The only redeeming quality for the Lions on Thanksgiving has been their recent aptitude to the Over.

Detroit Lions Live Trends

– Detroit is 9-4-1 ATS in their past 15 home games

– Detroit HC Dan Campbell is 5-0 ATS as a home dog of 6 points or more 

– The Lions are 5-1 to the Over in their last six home games
– The Lions are 6-3-1 to the Over this season

– Home Underdogs of 7 or more points are 6-0 ATS, and 4-1-1 SU this season

– Home Underdogs of 7 or more points have covered twelve straight 

It is difficult to read these trends and choose to fade the Lions, despite the direct contradiction to the team’s Thanksgiving history: These trends are likely more significant because of their recency, although Detroit’s reputation in this spot is overwhelmingly poor. None of the aforementioned trends should be the foundation of an ATS bet on this game. 

Buffalo Bills Live Trends

The Bills are 7-3 to the Under this season

– Buffalo HC Sean McDermott is 8-3 to the Under on the road vs the NFC

– The Bills have gone Under in five straight games as the road team

– When the Total is set at 50 points or more, Josh Allen is 7-4-1 to the Over on the road

– When the Total is set at 50 points or more, Josh Allen has gone Under in four straight on the road

– Josh Allen is 4-1 to the Under vs the NFC North

Games at Ford Field have skewed to the Over, yet the Bills have leaned Under both on the road and overall this season: Perhaps Buffalo’s reputation of a high-octane offense has inflated its recent point totals, but be hesitant to bet the Under in a game involving the Detroit defense. 

– Buffalo HC Sean McDermott is 9-2 ATS on the road vs the NFC 

– Josh Allen is 7-2 ATS on the road vs the NFC

• Sometimes it is hard to decipher between signal and noise: The opposition’s unfamiliarity with the Bills might be a detriment to their chances to cover against Buffalo, or it could be by sheer chance the Bills have consistently covered in this spot. 

New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys (-9.5, 44.5)

Thanksgiving Trends

– Since 2011, Dallas is 1-10 ATS on Thanksgiving

– Since 2011, Dallas is 1-8 ATS as a favorite on Thanksgiving

– Since 2002, Dallas is 5-1 to the Over vs the NFC East on Thanksgiving

– Since 2012, Dallas is 7-3 to the Over on Thanksgiving

In similar fashion to Detroit, the Cowboys have perpetually underwhelmed on Thanksgiving: What is intriguing, however, is that the Cowboys have not been among the NFL’s worst over this span. Perhaps the nature of the Cowboys playing in a stand-alone game tends to inflate the line, as this record over the past decade is an anomaly. Regardless, at least they too have been a reliable bet to the Over.

Cowboys Live Trends

– Dak Prescott is 12-4 ATS at Home vs the NFC East, these same games are 11-5 to the Over

– Dak Prescott as a home favorite vs the NFC East is 13-1 SU, 11-3 ATS, and 10-4 to the Over

– Dak Prescott as a home favorite is 23-15 to the Over

– Dak Prescott at home vs the NFC is 22-13 to the Over, and 20-14-1 ATS

– Dak Prescott is 8-1 to the Over at Home when the O/U is less than or equal to 44

Some of these trends are more notable than others (as is the nature of NFL trends), but the theme persists: Bet on Dak Prescott to cover as a home favorite, and bet the Over. While these ATS trends contradict Dallas’ history on Thanksgiving, it is reasonable to attribute them more weight due to their recency. 

– Dallas is 6-3 ATS, and 6-3 to the Over vs the Giants at AT&T Stadium

– Dak Prescott as a home favorite after Week 12 is 5-9 ATS

• For one reason or another, it appears the Cowboys have stalled at home as the season progresses.

Giants Live Trends

– Daniel Jones is 15-7 ATS on the road

– Daniel Jones is 5-1 ATS on the road vs the NFC East

– Since 2021, Daniel Jones is 15-6 to the Under 

There are fewer active trends to pull from with the current regime in New York, and none more enticing than QB Daniel Jones’ cover rates on the road: Since he entered the league, Jones has been among the most profitable quarterbacks to bet on in this spot, and there is no faulting those who continue to ride his road success Thursday afternoon. 

More Giants-Cowboys Trends

– Since 2021, NFC East matchups where the home team is favored have gone 9-1 to the Over

– Since 2021, NFC East matchups where the home team is favored by 6 or more have gone 6-0 to the Over

– Since 2009, matchups between the Giants and Cowboys are 18-9 to the Over

• For those convinced the Over is the play, more trends endorsing it are surely welcome. 

New England Patriots @ Minnesota Vikings (-2.5, 42.5)

Vikings Live Trends

– Kirk Cousins is 11-17 ATS in Primetime, 5-9 ATS at home

– Kirk Cousins is 10-4 to the Under at home in Primetime

– Kirk Cousins is 10-5 to the Under in Primetime as the QB of the Minnesota Vikings

– Kirk Cousins is 5-2-1 to the Over vs the AFC as the QB of the Minnesota Vikings

– Since 2020, Kirk Cousins is 5-10 ATS as a home favorite, these same games have gone 10-3-2 to the Over

The reputation of Kirk Cousins in primetime precedes this article: But the record is still worth noting. Surprisingly, Cousins has not been so terrible in this spot with the Vikings (7-7 ATS), though the history remains. More notably, the Under has been a very profitable bet when Cousins plays in primetime, although his recent record as a home favorite (10-3-2 to the Over) suggests caution. 

Patriots Trends

– Since 2017, the Patriots are 24-11 to the Under as a Road Underdog

– Games between the Pats and Vikings are 5-1 to the Under since 2000

– Mac Jones is 1-5 SU vs non-division opponents on the road

Mac Jones' record in this spot is abysmal: The Patriots' 6-4 record this season is somewhat fraudulent, and this could be a good spot to bet the Vikings to bounce back. Conversely, in recent years, Belichick's Patriots have had a pristine Under record in this scenario. It appears that when expected to lose, the Pats have been prone to low-scoring games. Perhaps this is an intentional effort to keep the games competitive. 

TNF Trends

– Since 2021, Thursday Night games are 17-10 to the Under

– Since 2019, the Visitor is 32-22 ATS on Thursday Night

– Since 2019, road underdogs are 20-12 ATS on Thursday Night

– Since 2018, inter conference games on Thursday Night are 5-1 to the Over when the home team is favored

A pair of longstanding trends suggest the Patriots +2.5 is the play: And TNF games have tended Under over the past two seasons. The niche stat of the Over being 5-1 since 2018 in this scenario holds no weight, and is far too particular to be actionable. 


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