3 Thanksgiving Day NFL Trends to Know: Favorites Tend to Cover on Short Weeks


Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Ezekiel Elliott

Nov 22, 2018, 12:00 AM EST
  • The NFL's Thanksgiving Day slate features three divisional matchups -- Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions, Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints.
  • Using our Bet Labs software, we found a few strategies you should know before betting on Turkey Day football.

Turkey, pumpkin pie and football. It must be Thanksgiving. If you are going to bet the NFL’s three-game slate on Thursday, here are a few strategies to follow for a profitable Turkey Day.

  • Chicago Bears (-3.5) at Detroit Lions (12:30 p.m. ET, CBS)
  • Washington Redskins (+7.5) at Dallas Cowboys (4:30 p.m. ET, FOX)
  • Atlanta Falcons (+13) at New Orleans Saints (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC)

A word to the wise: Most of these sample sizes on these trends are small, so use the research below as a starting point, not as the only factor, in your decision-making process.

1. Gobble, Gobble, Chalk

Favorites on Thanksgiving are 27-11 (71.1%) against the spread since 2003 per Bet Labs. Teams favored by six or more points have gone 14-3 ATS.

This is a small sample but it follows a larger trend. On a short week, four days between games, favorites are 93-62-4 (60.0%) ATS since 2003.

The Thanksgiving holiday is the shortest week of preparation in the season with teams playing day games. The more talented and better coached teams (usual the favorite) have an advantage in these instances.

Betting the chalk on Thanksgiving not only works for the full game but for first-half and second-half bets, as well. Since 2005, first-half favorites have gone 24-12-2 ATS while second-half favorites are 26-11-1 ATS.