It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without football. While there will be limited in-person attendance at each of the games this season, that won’t be affecting my typical routine. After stuffing myself beyond capacity, I will be falling into a recliner to enjoy the action with my family. Who’s with me? Winning a little money on some bets seems like the perfect way to make the Thanksgiving Day football games even more enjoyable. Here are my best bets for the Turkey Day slate.
All odds courtesy of 888sport.
Texans at Lions
Anytime Touchdown Scorer: Deshaun Watson (+200)
The Texans rushing attack going up against the Lions run defense is ugly on ugly. Houston comes in averaging just 84.6 yards on the ground (31st in the NFL) while the Lions are surrendering a healthy 139.0 rushing yards per game defensively (30th).
The Texans will be without David Johnson who is on IR with a concussion. Duke Johnson has slotted in to handle the majority of the backfield work with C.J. Prosise operating as a change of pace. Deshaun Watson has seen an uptick in both run attempts and yards since David Johnson’s injury. It was Watson, not Duke Johnson, that found the end zone against the porous New England Patriots run D. At 2-1 odds, I’m willing to bet that he does it again.
Total Rushing Yards: Duke Johnson Over 56.5 (+110)
For more on how bad the Lions run defense is, see above. By no means am I saying that the Texans’ rushing offense and Duke Johnson are other-worldly in their own right, but I like plus-money on this rushing prop. Unless Houston changes things up, Johnson is the workhorse back for the time being. Only once all season have the Lions held the lead RB of their opposition below 56.5 yards (James Robinson of the Jacksonville Jaguars). Look for Johnson to clear 60 yards rushing on Thanksgiving.
Washington at Cowboys
Point Spread: Washington +3 (-118)
A big win last week has suddenly put everyone back on the Dallas Cowboys. After only being 1.5-point favorites on last week’s look-ahead line, the Cowboys are now laying three for this tilt against Washington, a team that they’ve owned historically in Thanksgiving Day games (8-1).
The Football Team is fresh off of a big win in their own right and it’s worth noting that they destroyed Dallas in the first meeting between the teams this year. Kyle Allen quarterbacked that game and I’m fully confident in saying that current QB Alex Smith is an upgrade. The talented Washington pass rushers were a mismatch for the Cowboys offensive line in the first meeting and I expect more of the same on Thursday. A sprinkle on the Football Team moneyline isn’t out of the question.
Logan Thomas Over 29.5 Receiving Yards (-112 at 888sport)
Washington tight end Logan Thomas is coming off of one of his poorest games of the season. The positive we come away with is a buy-low spot on his yardage total for this Thanksgiving matchup. Thomas’s target share hasn’t faltered since Alex Smith became the starting quarterback, with five in each of the last two games. What’s more, in the first game against the Cowboys this year, Thomas caught four of four targets for 60 yards and a score.
The Cowboys have not contained tight ends with much success this season, surrendering 44 receptions and 537 receiving yards on 58 targets to the position. Assuming Thomas will receive his typical five to six looks, I like his odds of clearing 29 yards receiving on Thursday.
Bonus Thanksgiving College Football Pick
Point Spread: Air Force -6 (-108)
Air Force comes into this Thanksgiving Day home game with a 2-2 record. The losses came at the hands of San Jose State and Boise State, two teams who could very well collide in the Mountain West Championship Game. Colorado State head coach Steve Addazio was known for his defense at Boston College, but building the Rams to that level is still very much a work in progress. Look for Air Force running back Brad Roberts to follow up last week’s 177-yard, three-touchdown performance with another strong showing. This line moved in the Falcons’ favor as I penned this article, making me all the more confident in this Turkey Day bonus pick.
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