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How to Bet NFL Thanksgiving Day Games

How to Bet NFL Thanksgiving Day Games

Thanksgiving Day is a great holiday for us Americans. It’s an opportunity for us to drink, eat (maybe too much), nap (after all the eating) and watch football. There’s no better way to spend time with your family.

You might opt to be just a fan of the great game of pigskin. Or if you’re like me, you’ll want to put your money on something. But how should you bet NFL games on Thanksgiving Day? With only three games on the slate, is there an edge at all or should you fade the board because the lines should be damn near perfect?

Since 2009, 33 NFL games have been played on Thanksgiving Day, with three games each year.

Here’s what the data shows:

Betting ATS

Favorites have had a slight edge on Thanksgiving Day, going 19-14 ATS and 25-8 SU since 2009. 

Home favorites have to cover, right? It’s a holiday and teams want to show up for their fans, right? Probably, yes, but from a betting perspective, that does not necessarily translate to covering spreads. In fact, home favorites are just 10-10 ATS since 2009 despite winning 14 of those 20 games straight up.

Who doesn’t love taking the underdog? Unfortunately, betting on underdogs hasn’t been a profitable endeavor in previous Thanksgiving Day games. Out of the last 33 games, home teams have been the underdog 13 times and in that situation are just 3-10 ATS.

Betting Game Totals

One would assume that the OVER would be more likely to hit on Turkey Day games because it’s a holiday and players want to rush home to their families. Well, that is probably true that players would like to spend time with their families but there’s no edge to be had here. Since 2009, game totals are 15-18 OVER/UNDER.

Repeat NFL Teams

The three games on the slate for Thanksgiving 2020 are:

Houston Texans vs Detroit Lions

Washington Football Team vs Dallas Cowboys

Baltimore Ravens vs Pittsburgh Steelers

No teams have seen more Turkey Day action than the Cowboys and Lions, with both teams having played 11 times on Thanksgiving since 2009. If you were planning on firing a play on the Cowboys, tread softly as they are a lousy 2-9 ATS and a coin-flip 5-6 SU in their last 11 Thanksgiving Day NFL games. Dallas lost outright to the Buffalo Bills 26-15 in 2019, failing to cover the spread as 6.5-point home faves.

The Lions historically have not done much better, posting a 6-5 ATS record and a 4-7 SU mark. Detroit covered the +5.5 spread against the Chicago Bears in 2019 but fell short of winning the game in a 24-20 loss to their division rivals.

How to Bet Thanksgiving Day Games

Although it’s a small sample size, it does appear best to fade the two home dogs. If you were a true gambler, you could even parlay the three favorites on the moneyline. Of course, as I always preach, practice bankroll management and never bet more than you can afford to lose.

If you’re looking for alternative wagering options for the Thanksgiving Day games, make sure to check out our Thanksgiving Day Betting Props article.

Whatever you decide, have a happy Thanksgiving. May it bring you a full belly, a good nap and maybe some extra dough.

For more stats and trends, check out Joe’s Thanksgiving Day Betting Primer.