Week 13 of the NFL season means turkey day and touchdowns, so we’ll start this betting preview off with the latest odds for all three Thanksgiving games.
NFL Bettors Have a Trio of Games for Which to be Thankful
According to the oddsmakers at online sportsbook Bovada, the holiday begins with the Chicago Bears (5-6) as (-3) road favorites visiting the Detroit Lions (3-7-1). Bears fans have been clamoring for a backup to replace beleaguered starting quarterback Mitch Trubisky all season, but it’s the Lions who are forced to field a second-stringer in Jeff Driskel for this one.
Next up, the Dallas Cowboys (6-5) will look to notch their first win against a quality team when they lay (-7) playing host to the Buffalo Bills (8-3). Dallas has feasted upon the dregs of the NFL standings, but the team’s “best” win came against a Philadelphia Eagles (5-6) squad that can’t even sustain a .500 record.
And if you can overcome the heavy dose of tryptophan to stay awake, Thursday Night Football sends the New Orleans Saints (9-2) to the Dirty South as (-7) favorites at the Atlanta Falcons (3-8). In seasons past, this one would be a barnburner to decide the AFC South title, but in 2019 the Saints are pushing towards the postseason while the Falcons find themselves angling for a Top-5 draft pick.
Super Bowl Rematch and Super Bowl Preview Highlights Sunday Slate
When the betting public awakens on Sunday to cap yet another Thanksgiving weekend, they’ll be treated to a second course that starts with two of the best teams in football squaring off.
The early window will be defined by the Baltimore Ravens (9-2) hosting the San Francisco 49ers (10-1) in a battle of Super Bowl 54 contenders.
Sparked by the MVP-caliber play of second-year starting QB Lamar Jackson, the Ravens have won seven straight games – the last five of which have occurred in blowout fashion. During that span – over which Baltimore has outscored opponents to the tune of 40.4 to 12.4 on average – Jackson and his innovative “Pistol” offense have defeated last year’s Super Bowl participants 37-20 (Patriots) and 45-6 (Rams).
Not to be outdone, the Niners are seeking a perfect 6-0 record on the road, and the team would still be chasing perfection if not for a 27-24 overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks (9-2). Boasting a similarly powerful blowout ability, San Francisco has notched wins of 37-8, 36-26, and 51-13 over its last five-game sample.
Despite the apparent similarities between these two rush-first, defense-oriented contenders for a first-round bye, Bovada has the Ravens as (-6) home faves here.
Divisional Rivalry Games Abound as Postseason Approaches
The Cleveland Browns (5-6) entered 2019 as a dark horse Super Bowl pick, but a lackluster start to the season sees the team fighting simply to post a .500 record.
The first step in that quest comes on Sunday, when the Browns head eastbound to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5) in a pivotal AFC North showdown. The Steelers are currently occupying the #6 seed in the AFC playoff bracket, so whichever team can steal a victory in this one has the inside path to a playoff appearance.
Browns QB Baker Mayfield seems to be settling in after a rough start, while the Steelers turn to third-stringer and undrafted rookie Devlin “Duck” Hodges after backup turned starter Mason Rudolph was benched last week. Given that disparity of talent at the game’s most important position, the Browns get the nod here as (-2.5) road favorites.
Another divisional rivalry game to watch pits the Indianapolis Colts (6-5) as (-2.5) favorites hosting the Tennessee Titans (6-5) in a game that could decide both the AFC South title and a Wild Card seed.
The divisional wars continue with the Arizona Cardinals (3-7-1) hosting the Los Angeles Rams (6-5) and the Denver Broncos (3-8) hosting the Los Angeles Chargers (4-7) – with both road teams as (-3) faves – plus the Kansas City Chiefs (7-4) laying (-10) as hosts to the Oakland Raiders (6-5).