We start the week by breaking down the opening betting lines and odds for Thanksgiving day, as we try to find value on the three-game slate with our NFL picks and predictions. This year, we get an interesting slate with the potential battle for the NFC East title between Dallas and Washington, the Pittsburgh Steelers defending their undefeated season against the rival Baltimore Ravens, and the Detroit Lions trying to stay in the NFC North discussions against the Houston Texans.
NFL Thanksgiving Day Picks, Predictions: Opening betting lines, odds, and scores
Houston Texans at Detroit Lions
Spread: Texans -3
Moneyline: Texans (-145), Lions (+135)
The first game on the Thanksgiving slate is a matchup between the Houston Texans and the Detroit Lions. The opening betting line in this one has hovered around -2.5 to -3 in the Texans’ favor. This is likely because they are coming off of a 27-20 win over the New England Patriots; that and the fact that their offense has looked significantly better than the Lions. At least the passing game has.
Where the Texans have really struggled is on the ground. They currently rank 31st in rushing offense, and that doesn’t look like it will improve with their starting back David Johnson on IR. Duke Johnson hasn’t been able to do very much in his place. However, he will be facing off against the 30th ranked rushing defense in the league. This could be the game the Texans finally start to establish the run.
On the other side of the ball, the Lions have been hit by the injury bug. They will be without their WR1 in Kenny Golladay and Danny Amendola. Their secondary will also be missing key players. QB Matthew Stafford is still playing through an injury to his thumb, which clearly impacted his play last week in their 20-0 shutout loss to the Carolina Panthers.
These teams are both heading in different directions, and it is hard not to like the Texans in this matchup. Even with them being down both Kenny Stills and Randall Cobb, I trust Watson to be able to move the ball on a bad Lions’ secondary.
NFL Thanksgiving Day Picks and Prediction: Texans 34, Lions 27
How To Watch Lions – Texans Thanksgiving Day
Date: Thursday, Nov. 26
Time:12:30 p.m. ET
Location: Ford Field (Detroit, Michigan)
Washington Football Team at Dallas Cowboys
Spread: Dallas -3
Moneyline: Dallas (-170), Washington (+150)
This next game is a surprisingly important matchup that could help determine who is going to win the NFC East. Both these teams have losing records, but with the East being what it is, they are both still in contention.
Dallas is coming off an impressive win over the Minnesota Vikings, while Washington easily took care of the Cincinnati Bengals last week. This game will look to put strengths against weaknesses as the Cowboys’ high-flying offense will face one of its biggest tests against the Washington defense and dominant front seven.
Washington is a solid 10th in scoring defense, limiting opposing teams to 22.7 points per contest. Chase Young has been everything we expected and can wreak havoc on bad offensive lines. Luckily for Washington, the Cowboys have one of the most injured and underperforming offensive lines in the league. This might explain why these Thanksgiving day lines and odds are so close.
The Cowboys lost the first game between these two teams in a blowout. Washington dominated Dallas 25-3 in Week 7, but the Cowboys look like a much-improved team after their Week 10 bye and with the return of a healthy Andy Dalton.
The only way the Cowboys can get a win here is if the offensive line contains Young, and the team is able to establish the run with Ezekiel Elliott. That won’t be an easy task, but it is attainable. Against Minnesota, Elliott looked like the explosive back he was in 2019, and Tony Pollard continues to prove he could possibly be a starting back on any other NFL team.
It will be close, but I have faith the Cowboys will continue to dominate the Thanksgiving holiday and get the win. Against the spread, I like Washington, but moneyline, I like Dallas.
NFL Thanksgiving Day Picks and Prediction: Cowboys 21, Washington 20
NFL Picks Thanksgiving Day | How To Watch Cowboys – Washington Thanksgiving Day
Date: Thursday, Nov. 26
Time: 4:30 p.m. ET
Location: AT&T Stadium (Dallas, Texas)
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
Update November 25th: This game has been postponed to Sunday afternoon due to medical concerns.
Spread: Steelers (-4.5)
Moneyline: Pittsburgh (-215), Baltimore (+190)
The first meeting this season between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens was an instant classic. Ben Roethlisberger led the Steelers on a second-half comeback that saved their perfect season.
Unfortunately for Baltimore, they are coming into this game struggling. The Ravens have lost two in a row and three of their last four, hurting offensively with 24 or fewer points scored in each of those four games. The Steelers defense is not the unit you want to be coming up against when your offense is struggling.
Pittsburgh has recorded at least one quarterback sack in 67 consecutive games. After forcing four interceptions this past week, Pittsburgh has now had four consecutive games in which the defense has forced at least two turnovers. Over that stretch, they’ve recorded seven interceptions and recovered five fumbles.
These Thanksgiving day lines and odds are just not long enough. Pittsburgh should win this one easily, especially with all of the pieces missing for the Ravens.
NFL Thanksgiving Day Picks and Prediction: Steelers 27, Ravens 17