NFL Betting Guide: Are Both Texas Teams Locks on Thanksgiving?

Sadly, the three-pack of games we had hoped for on Thanksgiving Day won’t exactly be happening — the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers will be tentatively postponed until Sunday due to a COVID-19 outbreak on the Ravens. That still leaves us with the Houston Texans traveling to play the Detroit Lions, and the Washington Football Team traveling to play the Dallas Cowboys.

Unfortunately, that game was the turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy all wrapped into a steaming hot pile of deliciousness. Sadly, the rest of the teams, per our power rankings, are near the bottom of the barrel. In fact, three of them are in the bottom-five of the league, with only the Washington Football Team clocking in at 20th.

Despite all that, there are still two games on the schedule. Let’s dive into what our model thinks could be some intriguing betting angles for these contests.

Houston Texans versus Detroit Lions

Our first game of the day brings us two struggling football teams in the Houston Texans and the Detroit Lions. Historically the gracious hosts of the morning football game, the Lions come into this one limping in a bit, getting shut out by the lowly Carolina Panthers in their last game, and dropping three of their last four contests.

From a betting perspective, it’s hard not laying the 2.5 points with the road Texans, and there’s some history to back them. But first, the obvious bet on the Texans is how truly poor the Lions looked in their last outing — almost as if this team had quit on head coach Matt Patricia. As a home dog, the Lions have dropped their last eight contests, and to make matters worse, the Texans are 6-3 against-the-spread (ATS) as a road favorite. Public money seems to be siding with the Texans, as 74% of bets and 80% of money is pouring in on the road team, per oddsFire, and we give the Texans a 51.3% chance of winning.

Another betting angle here could be the over. The over/under is set at a robust 51.5 points, and despite that bout of ugliness last week, the Lions have averaged 57.3 points combined in their last three home games. With Deshaun Watson topping 300 passing yards for the fifth straight game, the two teams could easily top the over for the 11th time in 12 Detroit home contests.

With the Lions possibly playing catch-up in this game, consider betting on Matthew Stafford. We project him for the second-most passing yards this week (289.78 yards), and with a passing prop of 274.5 passing yards over at the FanDuel Sportsbook, this could be a nice parlay to match with the Texans and the points.

Here are some other historical betting trends to consider:

— Both teams haven’t been ideal ATS bets this season. The Texans are only 3-7 ATS this year, while the Lions have only been slightly better at 4-6.
— The over has hit in five of Houston’s last six road contests.
— If the moneyline is your thing, the Lions haven’t won on Turkey Day since 2016.

Washington Football Team versus Dallas Cowboys

In game two of the day, we have an NFC East showdown that still sees everyone in the race for a playoff spot — although they will need to win the division in order to make it.

Despite being double-digit underdogs a week ago, the Cowboys pulled off a stunning upset of the Minnesota Vikings and will look to win yet again this week with Andy Dalton back under center. That puts them nearing the division lead with another win this week, and the Boys will certainly be looking to avenge an embarrassing 25-3 road loss from a few weeks ago.

While our algorithm only sees the over (46.5 points) hitting 48.29% of the time, there are some interesting trends to consider here. Ezekiel Elliott came alive with his first 100-yard rushing effort of the season, and he gets ready to do some damage against a bad Washington defense. Only allowing nine points last week to the Cincinnati Bengals is a bit misleading — they recorded a fourth and goal stop, two missed Cincinnati field goals, and were torched for 247 yards in the first half. This thing looks to be a shootout, and with 8 of these last 10 matchups doing the same, it looks to be a decent bet.

Despite a very poor ATS record, Dallas has actually covered in each of their last two games, and we expect them to win 52.8% of the time. 67% of bets and 78% of the money is coming in on America’s Team, and the over is getting smashed, as well, with 56% of bets on the over.

Prop bets often provide some interesting value propositions, and there are a few in this contest that look to be the same. With Elliott getting back on track a week ago, a positive game script and a prop of 70.5 rushing yards over at the FanDuel Sportsbook seems too easy. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt combined for 154 rushing yards in Week 3, and D’Andre Swift popped them for five yards a carry two weeks ago.

Assuming Washington is playing from behind, and perhaps even if they are not, Terry McLaurin could continue his ascent as a WR1. McLaurin’s prop sits at 78.5 receiving yards, a mark he’s already topped seven times this season.

Here are some other historical betting trends to consider:

— These teams have been awful for ATS bettors. Washington is 4-5-1 on the season, and Dallas is 2-8.
— Washington has been terrible on the road; they have lost their last six road games.
— Inside the division is where the Cowboys have buttered their bread. They are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 NFC East home games.