Thanksgiving Day can be defined by many different things. At the top of the list is the traditional turkey dinner. However, a close second would be the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys hosting the two traditional NFL games. Who doesn’t love betting on Turkey Day NFL games?
The Lions have been opened as one-point home underdogs against the Chicago Bears. While I do like Detroit getting the point at home against the 5-6 Bears, I am deferring to Thursday’s mid-afternoon game for my underdog pick of the week.
The Buffalo Bills come into the game against Dallas at 8-3 straight-up and right in the thick of the AFC playoff race. They beat up on Denver 20-3 in Sunday’s win as 3.5-point home favorites to improve to 7-3-1 against the spread. Buffalo is a perfect 4-0-1 ATS in five previous road games this season and it has gone 3-0-1 ATS when closing as an underdog.
The Cowboys have been opened as seven-point favorites for Thursday’s scheduled 4:30 p.m. ET start on FOX. The opening total line is set at 44.5 points. They were on the wrong end of a 13-9 loss to New England on Sunday closing as 5.5-point road underdogs.
Dallas is 6-5 SU with a 7-4 record ATS. It is 3-2 ATS at home and it has covered in six of the 10 games played as the favorite.
The one glaring asterisk in their record is a 24-22 loss to the New York Jets on Oct. 13 as a seven-point road favorite. The Cowboys blew out Miami 31-6 at home as heavy 22-point favorites in their other AFC game.
The main reason I am taking the Bills and the points for Thursday’s game is Buffalo’s defense.
It has risen to the occasion the past few weeks after giving up 31 points to Philadelphia at home on Oct. 27. Over the past four contests, this unit has allowed an average of just 12.8 points per game.
The Bills’ defense will face a much tougher test in Dallas after shutting down the likes of Miami and Denver the past two weeks. However, I still think this game will remain closer than the current touchdown spread.
The other big reason I am going against Dallas on a day where it usually wins with ease is the team’s overall inconsistency this season. They did battle New England tough in the miserable field conditions at Gillette Stadium. Yet, losses to teams like the Jets is still troubling.
The Cowboys were ranked first in the NFL in total yards per game going into Sunday’s showdown against New England but they were held to 321 yards in that loss.
Ezekiel Elliott has not been his usual force this season; ranked seventh in the NFL in rushing yards (919). The offense could be putting too much pressure on Dak Prescott’s ability to make plays.
Buffalo comes into this game with a 9-3-1 record ATS over its last 13 games and the Bills are 5-0-1 ATS in their last six November games. Dallas may be a Thanksgiving Day staple but the Cowboys are just 4-8 ATS in their last 12 Thursday games overall.
It you are looking to parlay the Bills with the UNDER on the total, that bet could make quite a bit of sense. The total has stayed UNDER in six of Buffalo’s last seven road games. It has also stayed UNDER in 15 of the Cowboys’ last 20 games against a team from the AFC.