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NFL Best Bets for Thanksgiving Day: Lay the Favorites

Max Gilson
Written by Max Gilson
November 22, 2023
NFL Best Bets for Thanksgiving Day

Happy Thanksgiving to all! As is tradition, we have some of the league’s most historic franchises in action this Thanksgiving for three games on the Thursday slate. Lines have been on the move for these games, so we’ll take a look at these lines as the dust settles.

Packers at Lions

The Lions really pulled one out of their hats in Week 11 against the Bears, erasing a 26-14 deficit by scoring 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. The Lions offense looked slow to begin the game but seemed to round into form despite three interceptions by Jared Goff.

The biggest takeaway from that game was confirming our belief that this Lions defense really isn't so good. They had some outlier performances against the Chiefs and the Panthers that are severely impacting their numbers but as the season has progressed it has certainly come back around. That being said, I don’t think we’ll see much of an issue for Dan Campbell’s group this Thursday against the Packers.

The Packers listed a whopping 17 players on their injury report and will likely be without key offensive pieces in RB Aaron Jones and TE Luke Musgrave. LB De’Vondre Campbell is dealing with a stinger and could be in jeopardy to miss this one as well.

That defensive injury is especially significant as without Campbell, I think the Packers are going to have a very difficult time stopping the rushing attack. Expect a big day out of both David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs.

Best Bet: Lions -4.5 (1st Half)

An interesting wrinkle in the Packers season has been the QB play of Jordan Love. While his overall output suggests pedestrian, league average statistics, it’s really been a tale of two halves. Love has performed as one of the worst quarterbacks in the league in the first half yet elevates his play to second in epa per play in the second half.

It seems like the only way to get good QB play out of Jordan Love is to be behind in the game. Either that or the Packers are way too conservative with the play call out of the gate. Without two of his more important offensive players, I expect another poor start out of Jordan Love and am looking to back the Lions in the first half of this one.

I’ll take the Lions 1H -4.5 +100 at DK for a 1% play. I think the Lions are also the strongest teaser leg on the board. I’m not confident enough to lay the seven and a hook, just given the backdoor possibilities with Love’s second half play and the Lions defensive woes.

Commanders at Cowboys

The Cowboys are laying a huge number in this one after a rout of the Panthers on the road, as is common with Dallas to beat up on bad teams. The Commanders lost an embarrassing one to Tommy DeVito and the Giants after committing 6 turnovers against one of the worst teams in football.

I laid -9 with the Cowboys in this one on the lookahead line but am not interested in backing the Cowboys after the line has pushed out to -11. Washington is a bad team and Dallas has seemed to make their bread and butter blowing teams like this out.

That being said, Washington has been a capable offense at times and could be a tough squad to cover a big number against, especially if the Cowboys’ defense checks out. The total was bet to the over moving from 46.5 to 48.5. I’d lean under in this one but no official play here.

49ers at Seahawks

The Niners come into Seattle after beating the Bucs at home in Week 11 where Brock Purdy finished with a perfect passer rating. I have serious concerns with this Seahawks team as their offense has just looked so out of sync this season.

Pete Carroll is one of the league’s worst play callers and their simple offense relies too much on star players doing the heavy lifting. Geno Smith is banged up in this one with a bruised bicep and Kenneth Walker is expected to miss this game as well.

The difficult part of the handicap has been the Niners defense, which at times has not performed well in the secondary. Safety Talanoa Hufanga is now out for the season with a torn ACL, which could significantly impact the Niners defense. That being said, I don’t think an injured Geno Smith and the Seahawks offense are the squad that would give the 49ers trouble.

Best Bet: 49ers -6.5 (buy)

I’m laying -6.5 with the 49ers in this one for another 1% play. We saw the line reopen at -7 or worse but as confirmation that Geno Smith will play has rolled in, I’m comfortable buying San Francisco under the 7.

It’s looking like Thanksgiving football will be quite the chalky day, if SF pushes out to -7.5, I’d recommend adding a teaser leg to pair with the Lions. Happy Thanksgiving!

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