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How To Bet Thursday Night Football

Picture of a football stadium

The old adage in sports betting used to be that the team that covers the spread also wins the game 70 percent of the time. 

We dug up the numbers and found that when it comes to the NFL, it's actually more like 83 percent.  I like to refer to this rule if I ever get really stuck over-analyzing a game. I just try to simplify it in terms of who will win the game, rather than by how much. 

But when it comes to Thursday Night Football in the NFL, the old adage is a little off. In this spot, the winning team has covered the number 85 percent of the time going back to 2012 for a record of 57-10 against the spread (through Week 7 of 2016). 

This season already, the winning team is a perfect 7-0 against the spread in Thursday night games. Three of those were underdogs, including the Denver Broncos in Week 1 (3 points), the New York Jets in Week 2 (1 point) and the San Diego Chargers in Week 6 (3 points). 

This win rate is important for a couple of reasons. One is that if you like the underdog, you may want to strongly consider taking it straight up rather than taking the points. The other is that these Thursday night NFL games have proven to make for lousy teaser bets. Sure, they cover that leg of the teaser but there was really no point in buying the points to begin with. 

If you picked all seven Thursday night games correctly this season, taking the underdogs straight up while laying the points with the faves, you’d be up $758.88 on $100 bets rather than $636.37 if you were to simply play the spread.

Keep these numbers in mind as these Thursday night prime-time games roll along and you should see your bankroll in better shape heading into the weekend. 

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