Football and Thanksgiving are the perfect marriage as no other sport is so uniquely tied to a holiday. The NFL has been playing games on Turkey Day for a full century now, and these days the league features three nationally broadcast games on the holiday. These games not only garner massive TV ratings, but are also some of the most wagered-on games of the year. Here is a betting guide with Thanksgiving football odds to get you ready for one of the best days on the US sports calendar. We will feature live point spreads for the Bills -9.5 at the Lions +9.5, Giants +10 at the Cowboys -10 and Patriots +2.5 at the Vikings -2.5.
Thanksgiving football odds
Here are live Thanksgiving football game odds along with a betting preview of each holiday contest.
Buffalo Bills -9.5 at Detroit Lions +9.5
The Bills versus Lions spread opened at Bills -10 and briefly dipped to Bills -9 before getting back to -10. Detroit is riding a three-game win streak although the quality of competition has not been the best as those victories came against the Packers (15-9), Bears (31-30) and Giants (31-18).
New York Giants +10 at Dallas Cowboys -10
The lookahead line had the Giants +7 but now Dallas is a massive -10 favorite. This NFC East showdown is huge in its importance to not only the division picture but the NFC playoff picture in general.
Both the Giants and Cowboys have impressive against the spread records this season as both are 7-3 ATS.
New England Patriots +2.5 at Minnesota Vikings -2.5
The Vikings look well on their way to a NFC North title and will look to separate themselves further from the pack with a win over the pesky Patriots. New England will likely be scratching and clawing for a playoff berth down the stretch of the season so a road win at one of the top teams, by record, in the NFL would be huge.
The Pats have one of the top against the spread marks in the NFL with a 6-3-1 record. Minnesota is 4-5-1 ATS.
Because of the betting interest in each Thanksgiving Day football game, lines have been up at sportsbooks for months. Here are what the opening Thanksgiving football odds looked like.
- Bills -8 at Lions +8
- Giants +7 at Cowboys -7
- Patriots +1.5 at Vikings -1.5
Find the best Thanksgiving betting prices
Thanksgiving weekend is a fabulous time to shop and there is no better place to find the best bargains on betting odds than right here using TheLines Props Search Tool. Enter the player name or team name to find a variety of odds from the top US sportsbooks.
Thanksgiving football schedule and TV channel
Thanksgiving Day games are currently televised by CBS, FOX and NBC. The Lions always host the first game of the day, which kicks off at 12:30 p.m. ET, while the Cowboys host the middle game, which kicks off at 4:30 pm ET. The Thanksgiving Night game kicks off at 8:20 p.m. ET. Since 2012, CBS and FOX have rotated the early and middle games on an annual basis. CBS gets the first game in even-numbered years, while FOX has that distinction in odd-numbered years.
This season’s Thanksgiving games will air as follows:
- Bills at Lions TV channel: CBS 12:30 p.m. ET
- Giants at Cowboys TV channel: FOX 4:30 p.m. ET
- Patriots at Vikings TV channel: NBC 8:20 p.m. ET
Games are also viewable on a number of authorized streaming services, such as Amazon Prime, NFL Network, FOX Sports GO, Twitch, PlayStation Vue, Hulu, Sling and YouTube TV for those who don’t have cable or satellite programming subscriptions. However, subscriptions to these streaming services are required.
How to bet Thanksgiving Day games like a sharp
Many of the same caveats that apply to betting Thursday Night Football games during the regular season are also applicable when it comes to looking at Thanksgiving football odds. After all, the teams are on the same type of shortened week as in a conventional Thursday Night Football contest, and the fact these games typically unfold in Week 12 of the regular season often makes the physical toll harder on players who have only three full days to recover from their prior contest.
All six teams playing in this year’s Thanksgiving Day games will have played their Week 11 games the previous Sunday. As is often the case, the visiting Thanksgiving Day teams will play home games in Week 11, in order to limit their travel to one trip on the short week. The Bills will host the Browns the Sunday prior to their Thanksgiving tilt. New England will host the Jets and the Giants will host the Lions.
Thanksgiving Day games can also offer the host teams a particularly pointed home-field advantage. The holiday contest is a long-entrenched tradition in Detroit and Dallas, where the Turkey Day game is a legitimate sell-out each season.
Needless to say, home-field edge undeniably carries the most weight when the hosts field a quality, healthy team. As is the case with many late-season games, injuries are a pivotal factor when considering a bet on the contest. Key absences can derail even the most formidable of home-field advantages, especially on a short week.
- The Lions, who have suffered through extended periods of ineptitude, are just 37-43-2 straight-up in Thanksgiving Day games, including 4-9 since the 2009 season. In contrast, the Cowboys, who have enjoyed much more overall success than Detroit in the last several decades, are an impressive 31-22-1 straight-up in Thanksgiving games – although only 5-8 since 2009.
- Last year’s early Thanksgiving games were both close with the Bears edging the Lions, 16-14, and the Raiders toppling the Cowboys, 36-33. Buffalo blasted the Saints in the night game, 31-6.
- As for Thanksgiving NFL spreads, the Lions are actually outperforming Dallas in that category over the last decade-plus. While the Lions are 7-6 ATS over their last 13 Thanksgiving Day games, the Cowboys are a paltry 2-11 ATS on the holiday over that same span.
- Favorites – be they visitor or host — have actually had a solid track record on Thanksgiving against the spread. Since 2009, favorites have gone 21-17 versus the number.
History of Thanksgiving Day football
The first official NFL games to be hosted on Thanksgiving Day occurred in 1920. However, in terms of current teams still playing annually on the holiday, the Detroit Lions have hosted a Thanksgiving Day game since the 1934 season, while the Dallas Cowboys, with the exception of the 1975 and 1977 seasons, have done the same since 1966, their seventh season in existence.
A third game, often between divisional rivals, was added as a primetime game beginning in the 2006 season with a Broncos vs. Chiefs tilt at Arrowhead Stadium. That contest aired on NFL Network. The only existing franchise that has yet to play in a Thanksgiving Day game is the Jacksonville Jaguars, which came into the league in 1995.
The first televised Thanksgiving Day game occurred in 1953 between the Lions and Packers, which aired on the now-defunct DuMont Network.