Thursday Night Football Betting Preview

Bills at Saints

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Matt Burke
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Fact checked by Matt Burke
Nov 23, 2021

Each week, TheLines will provide a betting breakdown and analysis for the upcoming Thursday Night Football game. We’ll look at the TNF betting odds and see why they’re moving a certain way, along with breaking down the matchup and providing the week’s best prop bets.

Below we will look at the NFL betting line for the Buffalo Bills and New Orleans Saints and much more.

TNF betting odds and analysis

Buffalo Bills at New Orleans Saints – 8:20 p.m. ET

The Buffalo Bills and the New Orleans Saints will face off at Caesars Superdome for an interconference battle on Thanksgiving Night, Nov. 25. The game will mark the 12th meeting in a series the Saints lead by a 7-4 margin. The most recent game between the teams unfolded back in Week 10 of the 2017 season, when the Saints notched a 47-10 road win.

In that contest, Mark Ingram, who returned to the Saints three games ago after three-plus seasons away, rushed for 131 yards and three touchdowns, while then-rookie Alvin Kamara compiled 138 total yards (106 rushing, 32 receiving) and a rushing touchdown.

This game’s line has seen some notable movement since the look-ahead figure of Bills -4.5, despite the fact both teams suffered sizable losses in Week 11. While Buffalo was shocked at home by the Colts, 41-15, the Saints fell to the Eagles on the road by a 40-29 score in a game that Philadelphia already led 33-7 going into the fourth quarter.

Buffalo arguably looked worse and less competitive overall than New Orleans, yet the public remains heavy on Josh Allen and company. The number did go down -4 at one point Monday, but it’s been steadily on the rise since then. A little over 48 hours before kickoff, it sat at -5.5 and is currently Bills . The fact Kamara looks likely to miss a third straight game for New Orleans could naturally be playing a role.

Meanwhile, the total has also seen movement, albeit in the opposite direction. With both squads looking pedestrian offensively in Week 11 – again, it’s worth noting New Orleans had scored all of seven points going into the final period against Philly – and Kamara’s likely absence, the number has been bet down from the opening figure of 48 a full three points to 45. This, despite the stellar showing of the Over in the Saints’ home games this season. The total is currently .

There are a couple of other injuries on either side that could also keep the number tempered. Ingram was listed as a limited participant in Monday’s practice estimate with a knee issue, while Cole Beasley shared that designation in Tuesday’s session due to an ongoing rib injury. Additionally, New Orleans’ emerging tight end Adam Trautman is now on injured reserve with an MCL sprain. Meanwhile, even the projected COVID-related absence of right tackle Spencer Brown could have an impact on Buffalo’s offense, and it certainly may have played a part in the team’s poor 15-point showing against the Colts.

  • The Bills are 5-4-1 (55.6 percent) against the spread this season, including 3-2 (60.0 percent) in their road games and 1-0 in interconference games. The Over is 5-5 in Buffalo’s games this season, including 3-2 (60.0 percent) in its road games and 1-0 in its games against NFC opponents.
  • The Saints are 5-5 against the spread this season, including 1-2 (33.3 percent) as a home team and 2-0 in interconference games. The Over is 6-4 (60.0 percent) in New Orleans’ games this season, including 5-0 in its home games and 1-1 in interconference games.

For Thanksgiving football odds on each game played on the holiday go here.

Live betting angles: Buffalo at New Orleans

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TNF prop search tool

Looking to bet on props for Thursday Night Football? Use our prop search tool to find the best odds across legal sportsbooks in the US.

Bills vs. Saints game matchup

Allen has now thrown five interceptions in the last three games, a span during which he’s also committed two fumbles, losing one. Those numbers are probably a bit too reminiscent of Allen’s mistake-prone ways earlier in his career for both the quarterback’s and head coach Sean McDermott’s comfort. However, the opportunity for a righting of the ship may be afoot, as the Saints defense has been surprisingly vulnerable this season, especially at home.

New Orleans is allowing an NFL-high 424.0 total yards per home game, and almost all of it has been through the air. The Saints have given up an NFL-high 361.3 passing yards per home contest at a bloated completion rate of 71.2 percent, along with 13.7 yards per completion, a figure lower than only the 14.6 given up by the winless Lions in that split. However, it also bears mentioning New Orleans has still proven disruptive to quarterbacks from time to time, collecting 11 interceptions and 23 sacks in 10 games.

Allen will have to likely be extra mindful about ball security when considering he’s not likely to get much support from his ground attack. Buffalo already treats the run as more or less a necessary evil to be deployed as an occasional distraction, as the Bills run the ball just 38.5 percent of the time. When factoring in the Saints are facing the third-lowest rush play percentage of any team on its home field (33.7) and allowing an NFL-low 62.7 rush yards per home contest, it’s likely this is turns out to be a very busy night for Allen.

On the other side, Trevor Siemian has been adequate-to-good in Jameis Winston’s stead thus far, posting an 8:2 TD:INT but also completing just 56.9 percent of his passes. Considering he’s played the last two games without Kamara and is operating with a lackluster pass-catching corps now also missing Trautman, the numbers are admirable. Nevertheless, there appears to be a significant lack of weaponry for this matchup on New Orleans’ part, as the Bills are allowing the second-lowest passing yards per game (181.8) and a miserly 59.4 percent completion percentage on the road. Buffalo has also yielded a 7:15 TD:INT overall, making this a very thorny matchup for Siemian and his pass catchers.

Matters don’t project to be any easier for whoever is part of the Saints backfield on Thursday. Buffalo’s defense is arguably the league’s best all-around unit, and a prideful one that will likely be zeroed in on putting its embarrassing showing against Jonathan Taylor (185 rushing yards, 4 rushing TDs) in Week 11 behind it. Despite that debacle, the Bills are allowing the seventh-fewest rushing yards per away game (97.2) and a modest 4.0 RB yards per carry. Meanwhile, New Orleans’ offensive line has struggled to open up running lanes, facilitating just 3.8 RB yards per tote.

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How to watch Thursday Night Football

The Thursday Night Football schedule is the most complex of the primetime NFL spots.

The first Thursday season opener didn’t fall under the TNF title. Cowboys vs. Buccaneers in Week 1 was broadcast on NBC at 8:20 p.m. ET. And, the three-game Thanksgiving slate is carried by three different networks.

NFL Network broadcast the games in Weeks 2, 3 and 4. Then, starting in Week 5 with the matchup of the Rams vs. Seahawks, FOX NFL Network, and Amazon will simulcast the game.

Still with us? Each Thursday night game will begin at 8:20 p.m. Eastern, regardless of the network.

Games can be streamed on NFL Network, FOX Sports Go, Amazon Prime and Twitch. Additionally, NFL Network and FOX can be streamed on services such as Roku, PS4 and Xbox One.

Thursday Night Football betting tips

How to bet TNF like a sharp

Thursday Night Football condenses the practice week for coaches, decreases recovery time for players and limits opportunities for media members to uncover stories and create narratives. This unpredictability factor can help to level the sports-betting playing field.

Taking the most rested team is never a bad idea. You want the healthiest squad with the longest amount of preparation time since its last game.

Siding with the home team in what would otherwise be a pick’em doesn’t hurt, either. You want the team that’s spent the longest amount of time preparing in the proper city, not wasting what can be the better of a day traveling.

You want the healthiest side, as simple as that. Without a proper injury report, it can be tough to tell what level of health players will be at when gearing up to play in a big primetime spot. Don’t expect a player who left a game Sunday to return in elite form by Thursday. He’ll more than likely be a decoy.

Don’t fall into the public opinion trap of TNF always being a lousy game. It’s still one of only 16 games those two teams will play all year and most of them generally need to win. Coaches will do the best with what they have, and plenty of players (Hello, Nick Mullens!) have burst onto the scene with strong games while filling in for an injured starter.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does Thursday Night Football start?

The true 2021 Thursday Night Football slate started with the New York Giants taking on the Washington Football Team.

How to stream Thursday Night Football?

TNF can be streamed live on NFL Network, FOX Sports Go, Amazon Prime and Twitch. NFL Network and FOX can also be streamed through services such as Roku, PS4 and Xbox One.

What is the highest-scoring Thursday Night Football game ever?

The Los Angeles Rams defeated the San Francisco 49ers 41-39 in Week 3 of the 2017 campaign in the highest-scoring TNF game of all time.

Who are the TNF announcers?

Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will return to broadcast TNF. Mike Pereira serves as the rules analyst with Erin Andrews and Kristina Pink working the sidelines. The same broadcast airs on FOX, NFL Network and Amazon.

Hannah Storm and Andrea Kremer made history in 2018 as the first all-woman NFL broadcast team as an alternate stream for Amazon Prime viewers.

Who was the original Thursday Night Football broadcast crew?

The original TNF broadcast crew for NFL Network in 2006 was Bryant Gumbel and Cris Collinsworth.

Retired Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo memorably joined Jim Nantz for CBS’ final year of TNF coverage in 2017.

Who sings the Thursday Night Football theme song?

FOX and NFL Network air their own instrumental themes to begin the coverage, unlike the SNF and MNF primetime spots.