Thanksgiving Day NFL Live Betting: How To Live Bet Thursday’s Games
Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images. Pictured: Ezekiel Elliott (center).
As has become the tradition the last handful of years, the NFL is serving us a three-course meal on Thanksgiving Day. We have a Bills-Lions appetizer, a little Giants-Cowboys main course, plus Vikings-Patriots for dessert.
Each of those games presents some opportunities for live betting, which we’ll dig into below. For most of these, we’ll be targeting a specific scenario, and passing altogether if it doesn’t come to fruition.
Here’s what to watch for on Thanksgiving.
(Editor’s note: Because of the holiday, we will not be updating this file on a live, running basis as we normally do — so take in the scenarios, watch the games, and use your best judgment for your live bets. We have faith in you.)
The Lions-Bills Live Betting Scenario to Watch For
Overs If Detroit Leads Or Keeps It Close
Thanks to their success this season, Buffalo has played at one of the slower second half paces in the league this year — which has also led to them scoring roughly five fewer points per game in the second halves of contests.
However, they’ve also played extremely fast during the rare moments that they’ve trailed. Their pace of play when trailing by seven or more is third-fastest in the league, and their close game pace is fourth.
That tells us they’ll stay aggressive until they get enough of a lead that they feel comfortable letting up — the number at which that happens being heavily dependent on the time remaining.
As always, we’ll want situations where we can be reasonably confident this scenario will remain in place before placing a bet. For example, if the Lions were down three at halftime but started with the ball, that’s a better time than if the Bills were getting the kickoff.
Broadly speaking, though, any time the Lions go up by seven or more and the total has dropped from the 54.5 pregame line, look to pounce. Closer games will require a more delicate touch, while still hunting for lower numbers.
The Giants-Cowboys Live Betting Scenario to Watch For
Unders and/or Dallas Spread With The Cowboys Leading
This one should slow down a bit into the second half, but outside of that, the scenarios aren’t especially clear.
What does present a clear angle is the DVOA matchups. Dallas has one of the best rushing offenses by DVOA, while the Giants have one of the worst rushing defenses. On the other side, Dallas is better at defending the pass, while the Giants are worse at passing offense.
That creates a situation where it will be hard for the Giants to catch up once they’re forced to throw the ball, while Dallas should be able to control the clock.
Based on what happens to the spread and total in those scenarios, we’ll be looking at both Dallas to cover and the under to hit. Whichever of those things has moved further (in the right direction for us) from the pregame numbers would be our preference.
The Patriots-Vikings Live Betting Scenario to Watch For
Any Opportunity For Unders
This one will be short and sweet. There aren’t really any scenarios that would cause this game to speed up; both teams cancel each other out in most scenarios. For example, the Patriots speed up when playing from behind, but the Vikings slow down by a similar amount.
However, it’s a very tough matchup for both offenses here. Both defenses rank better by DVOA, and both have below average offensive line matchups in both the passing and running games.
Thus, we’ll be looking for a couple of quick/fluky scores to drive this total up from the opening 42.5. More or less any jump in the total will be enough here, regardless of time left on the clock.
How We Approach Live Betting in General
The NFL is perfect for live betting, with the pauses between plays providing plenty of time to get bets in. This season, I’ve built a model to project the pace of play under a variety of in-game scenarios. These include first vs. second half, as well as which team is leading or when the game is within a touchdown.
The primary benefit is for betting totals. If the game is going to be faster or slower than was assumed pregame, the application is obvious. Faster-paced games tend to produce more points.
Player props also present some interesting opportunities. Sportsbooks are offering a variety of live player props, and faster or slower than expected games create obvious opportunities.
Take a look around various books before placing bets, though. There tends to be more variation between shops in live markets than there is pregame.