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Lions vs Bills NFL Odds & Pick | Start Thanksgiving by Betting Buffalo

Lions vs Bills NFL Odds & Pick | Start Thanksgiving by Betting Buffalo article feature image
  • Lions vs. Bills opens the three-game NFL slate on Thanksgiving.
  • Buffalo is favored by 9.5 points in its second straight game at Ford Field.
  • Brandon Anderson previews the game and picks a side below.

Lions vs Bills Odds

Thursday, Nov. 24
12:30 p.m. ET
CBS
Lions Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+9.5
-108
54.5
-110o / -110u
+340
Bills Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+9.5
-112
54.5
-110o / -110u
-430
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

Thanksgiving football, baby!

There’s nothing quite like the smell of roasting turkey, a table full of mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, and cranberries, a house chock-full of relatives and friends, and yet another traditional post-parade Detroit Lions loss.

The Lions have lost five in a row on Turkey Day. They’ve lost 15 straight Thanksgiving games as underdogs, and they’re 7-14 against the spread (ATS) as a Thanksgiving underdog since 1990, per Evan Abrams.

Of course, most Lions teams don’t enter holiday festivities on a three-game winning streak like this iteration of the team. In fact, it’s only the second such instance for Detroit this century.

So, will these hot Lions buck the trends and pull a Thanksgiving upset?

Don’t count on it.

Lions vs. Bills Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how the Lions and Bills match up statistically:

Lions vs. Bills DVOA Breakdown
Offense
Defense
Edge
Overall DVOA 6 25
Pass DVOA 3 23
Rush DVOA 19 27
Offense
Defense
Edge
Overall DVOA 10 3
Pass DVOA 13 7
Rush DVOA 7 4
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Detroit’s three wins this month have come against the Packers, Bears and Giants. And though this team hasn’t been particularly great at anything (even during this win streak), the most important thing about the Lions is that they’ve been decent.

Over the past five weeks, the Lions rank 17th in DVOA. They’re 17th on offense during that span and a more-than-respectable 13th defensively, showing a marked improvement since their bye in Week 6. Detroit ranks around league average in most areas since then. That’s pretty good for a team that started 1-6!

Like Detroit, Buffalo has also been regressing to the mean in recent weeks. It’s just going the opposite direction.

The Bills ended a two-game losing streak with a win over the Browns on Sunday, starting slow but reeling off 25 straight points to coast to victory. Still, Buffalo built its team around the passing game on both sides of the ball, and it has fallen to league average in both respects in recent weeks.

That may not be regression as much as injuries taking their toll. Josh Allen is playing through an elbow injury, and the Bills are still missing Tre’Davious White and Kaiir Elam at corner, Micah Hyde at safety and Greg Rousseau on the line. It would be a surprise to see this team get much healthier on a short week, though they do luck into a weird back-to-back “home” game situation after last week’s game was moved to Detroit due to heavy snow.

Leave it to the Lions, flying home from New York, to have a home disadvantage on Thanksgiving.


Bet at FanDuel
Bills -9.5 | Lions +9.5


Still, it’s hard to ignore how similar this Bills opponent shapes up like its last one. Like the Browns, Detroit has an improving but beatable defense and a game-manager QB leading a run-first offense. Buffalo was able to stymie a better Browns attack and move the ball on a more talented defense, and it should do so against the Lions, too.

While the Lions’ overall profile has improved, they still rank 31st in play success rate defensively over the last five weeks and 30th for the season. Buffalo’s offense still leads the league in play success rate. The Lions are also still getting shredded on explosive plays and are among the league’s worst in that regard. Buffalo ranks near the top of the league in both rushing and passing explosive play percentage.

The numbers tell us Detroit is vulnerable to big plays, and you know Allen loves to rip one downfield. Allen’s made some mistakes in the red zone of late, but he can still shred a beatable defense, and these Lions are very beatable.

The Lions are improving — that much is true.

But we dare not confuse improving with good just yet. Buffalo is still the far better team in every facet. The Bills are big favorites for a reason. They’re better at everything, even if the November Lions are better than the September version.

Betting Picks

There’s nothing quite like a Thanksgiving football game. This is one both teams have had circled on the calendar, and that’s important because it means both teams should show up ready and focused.

Thanksgiving favorites traditionally crush — as long as it’s not the Cowboys. All other Turkey Day favorites are 28-8 ATS since 2006, covering 78% of the time by an average of over a touchdown. Favorites against the Lions are 10-3 ATS (77%) during that stretch.

Big Thanksgiving favorites are even more dominant. Turkey Day favorites of seven or more are an awesome 17-4 ATS (81%), and that improves to 12-1 (92%) excluding Cowboys games, covering by just under 10 PPG.

As much fun as Thanksgiving football is, these games often aren’t that close. History says to trust big favorites, and the rosters and numbers tell us the same thing. Even if the Bills take a bit to get the gears moving again, this team is just too high octane, with too many ways to win, for the Lions to hang for long.

We’re getting some value on the line. Buffalo was up 18 with 7 minutes left on Sunday before a couple of Browns scores in garbage time left that final score closer than it really was. Add in the Detroit winning streak and this line has dropped below the key number of -10, where it was Sunday morning.

We’re also in teaser range now, since adding six points to -9 gets us to -3 and another key number. If you’re hungry for a teaser, don’t wait around because this line probably moves back to at least -9.5 for teaser protection before kickoff.

If you can wait to bet live on the holiday, you might find a better number on Buffalo after the first quarter. The Lions defense has been far better in the first half, and the Bills have been poor in the first quarter. Buffalo ranks ninth worst defensively in the first quarter and outside the top 10 on offense. If you wait, you may get the Bills below a TD live.

On Thanksgiving, we back the better team. And all Lions punchlines aside, there’s just no question who’s the better team in this one.

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