Don't Bet on These Thanksgiving Turkeys

NFL Nov 25, 2020

Note:  The Baltimore-Pittsburgh game has been moved to Sunday evening.

Three NFL games are scheduled for Thursday, otherwise known as America's Thanksgiving.  

Here are the three match-ups, along with the current odds listed at SPREADS.CA:

While millions will feast on Turkey, it's just as important not to get gobbled up by losing wagers.

It's best to avoid these turkeys:

TURKEY #1 – Thanksgiving Day Underdogs:

On this shortened week, dogs have been dreadful, historically speaking.  Off four-days rest, the teams getting points are a horrid 13-25 against-the-spread since 2003.  That's just 27 percent winners.  It's hard to find any significant trend that produces a whopping 73 percent wins when bet blindly, but betting the other way and backing the favourites does appears to be the way to go.  Since NFL Thanksgiving Day games began many decades ago (mostly hosted by Detroit and Dallas), favourites have gone a magnificently profitable 105-79-4 (a 57 winning percentage) against-the-spread.

TURKEY #2 – Lions and Cowboys:

Detroit began hosting Thanksgiving Day games in 1934.  Dallas has taken the primetime slot most years since 1966, their first year to host the holiday football feast.  One might expect the long traditions for both clubs to favour them in betting circles.  However, both the Lions and Cowboys have fared poorly on Thanksgiving since 2003.  They are a combined 14 wins and 20 losses, good for just a 41 percent win percentage, when playing on Thanksgiving.  Oddly enough, both teams field identical 7-10 ATS records over this 17-year stretch.  

TURKEY #3 – Thanksgiving Night Dogs:  

In 2006, the NFL began adding a third game to the football festival, as there have now been 14 games played in the night time slot.  Most of these match-ups (8 out of the last 9) have been divisional games.  Surprisingly, the underdogs have stank up the holiday like week-old eggnog.  Dogs are just 2-12 in the Thanksgiving night games, which is a shocking record of futility.  So, betting the favourites in these night contests has produced 87 percent winners.  Now, that's something to celebrate!    

Based on these trends, Houston -3, Dallas -3, and Pittsburgh -5 would be the plays on Thursday, weighed slightly more to the Texans and Steelers.

Oh, and please pass the dressing and refill my champagne glass.  Cheers!  

Photo Credits:  Getty Images