Thanksgiving NFL Betting Guide: Tips, Picks for Bears-Lions, Redskins-Cowboys, Falcons-Saints

Thanksgiving NFL Betting Guide: Tips, Picks for Bears-Lions, Redskins-Cowboys, Falcons-Saints article feature image

USA Today Sports. Pictured: Matthew Stafford, Ezekiel Elliott and Julio Jones

  • If you're looking for comprehensive betting and fantasy football previews for all three Thanksgiving NFL games, you've come to the right place.
  • Thursday's slate includes: Chicago Bears (-3) at Detroit Lions, Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys (-7) and Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints (-12.5).
  • Our experts cover trends, sharp action, fantasy football sleepers and make the case for a few bets.

All odds as of Wednesday evening. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets.

Betting odds: Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions

  • Spread: Bears -3
  • Over/Under: 43.5
  • Time: 12:30 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: CBS

Betting market: Following the news that Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky is doubtful to play, the Bears fell from -3.5 to as low as -2 with Chase Daniel expected to start under center.

The public lost faith in Chicago, too, as its spread bet percentage dropped from around 66% to 49%. However, there has already been some buyback on Da Bears, as they moved from -2 to a consensus of -3 on Wednesday evening (see the most updated odds and data here).

The over/under has also shifted after the injury news, as it’s down from the opener of 46.5 to 43.5 and even 43 in some cases. — Mark Gallant

Trends to know: Even though the Lions were able to win last week as a home underdog against the Panthers, it hasn’t been a smart move to back Matthew Stafford against good teams.

This will be the 21st time in Stafford’s career that he faces a team that is outscoring opponents by a touchdown or more. Stafford is 5-14-1 against the spread (-9.3 units), failing to cover the spread by 5.3 PPG.

Since 2009, Stafford is the least profitable QB in this spot according to our our Bet Labs data. — Evan Abrams

Stafford and the Lions face a Chicago Bears team that leads the NFL in interceptions and is fourth in the league points allowed per game. Over the Bears’ past three games, they have had seven interceptions on defense and opponents are averaging just 5.3 yards per pass attempt.

This season, the Bears are causing their opponents to turn the ball over on 4.25% of plays and lead the NFL with 27 takeaways.

Since 2014, Stafford has faced a defense causing turnovers on at least 4% of plays three times, and Detroit is averaging just 13.7 PPG in those contests. — Abrams

Vegas report: “I was expecting to have to go to Chicago -1 or -1.5 if Trubisky was announced as officially out. But what was very interesting is they announced him out while we were at -2.5 and we still took a sharp bet on the Bears after the news, which was very surprising to me. That’s why we ended up going to Bears -3 now. We’re going to make the wiseguys bet it to get us off the -3.” — Jason Simbal at CG Technologies as told to Adam Staple

Biggest mismatch: Khalil Mack vs. Taylor Decker and Rick Wagner

Jon Gruden’s biggest contribution to the NFL this season was freeing Mack from his imprisonment on Oakland’s defense so he could go to a team where he can actually make a difference.

Chicago boasts a top-three pass defense by DVOA, and Mack’s play has earned him a top-10 pass-rushing grade among edge rushers from Pro Football Focus.

Meanwhile, only two other tackle combinations have given up more combined pressures than Decker and Wagner — an issue that has been magnified since Golden Tate was traded because Tate was Stafford’s most reliable underneath option.

In three games since Tate was traded, Stafford has taken 17 sacks — six of which came at the hands of these very Bears in Week 10, including two to Mack himself — and has yet to clear 6.5 yards per attempt in a game. — Chris Raybon

Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Bears defensive end Khalil Mack

Which team is healthier? Bears

As mentioned earlier, it looks like Daniel will play in place of Trubisky (right shoulder) on Thursday, but the Bears should otherwise only be without tight end Adam Shaheen (concussion) and edge rusher Aaron Lynch (concussion).

The Lions have a few more injuries to worry about, with running back Kerryon Johnson (knee), defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson (ankle), wide receivers Marvin Jones (knee) and Bruce Ellington (back) and tight end Michael Roberts should all be considered questionable for their Thanksgiving Day matchup.

Note: Info as of 6 p.m. ET Tuesday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff. — Ian Hartitz

DFS edge: The Lions overhauled their secondary in Week 11, benching DeShawn Shead for someone named Mike Ford, who has now played 39 career snaps. Nevin Lawson, who’s been a consistent liability, moved into the slot.

This is great news for both Taylor Gabriel and Anthony Miller, but Allen Robinson figures to see plenty of first-team All-Pro cornerback Darius Slay. Gabriel is popping the most in our FantasyLabs Models at just $3,700 on DraftKings, where he boasts a strong +3.9 Projected Plus/Minus. — Hartitz

Bet to watch: Bears -3

I don’t typically like betting on favorites — particularly road favorites — but Thursday football games are the exception. The short week really seems to benefit the superior team: Thursday favorites are 93-62-3 against the spread since 2003, including 7-2 ATS this season.

The metrics suggest there is a massive gulf in talent between these two teams, with the Bears currently ranking third in DVOA and the Lions ranking 29th (per Football Outsiders).

The Bears will likely be without Trubisky, but the downgrade to Daniel is probably not as large as the public thinks.

It also dropped this line below the key number of three, and the Lions are dealing with some injuries of their own: They’re expected to be without both Johnson and Jones, which is not ideal against the best defensive team in the league. — Matt LaMarca

Betting odds: Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys

  • Spread: Cowboys -7
  • Over/Under: 40.5
  • Time: 4:30 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: FOX
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