Dak Prescott stars as Dallas Cowboys beat Tom Brady's Tampa Bay Buccaneers in NFL playoffs

Thanksgiving Betting Odds and NFL Betting Trends

Thanksgiving Day and American football are two of the United States’ grandest, most internationally-known cultural symbols. When you mix them together with a little betting – NFLbets traditionally (get it?) covers one team and the over/under in each game – well, damn, Thanksgiving is awesome.

A brief run-through of a few historic factoids follow. As always, NFLbets reminds NFL bettors that most (most, not all) historical precedent in football bears no relation whatsoever to or on future events. In terms of the Thanksgiving Day NFL games, however, there are a couple noteworthy stats.

Top Sportsbook Offers!

Bet on Football: 50% Welcome Bonus up to $1,000

SportsBetting.ag is your ‘top spot’ for the best in sports betting excitement. No matter what your favorite game might be you’ll find it on the board along with a huge variety of sports and betting options.

50% up to $1,000 Signup Bonus

Get the latest betting odds & lines for NFL Futures at BetOnline Sportsbook for betting on your favorite sport and snag a huge sign-up bonus.

Double Your 1st Deposit Up To $1000

MyBookie is one of the best sportsbooks to bet on the NFL at all times. They have options for the preseason, future odds and money lines. Check them out for sure today!

Bears at Lions is the second -most commonly-played Thanksgiving Day matchup – after Packers at Lions. Since 1945, Chicago has a 7-5 advantage in this game. Of note: Since the last realignment of divisions in the NFL, the Lions are 4-5 SU and ATS against their three NFC North division mates.

Thanksgiving Betting News for May 2023

More people watched Giants on Thanksgiving than State of the Union

More people watched Giants on Thanksgiving than State of the Union

The NFL's media viewership stats for the 2022 calendar year show that over 185 million people watched the NFL this year. The most-watched game of the year was Giants-Cowboys on Thanksgiving. Cowboys were in four of five most watched games of 2018. However, the league's average viewers per game are down. The change is due to Thursday Night Football moving to its streaming-exclusive Amazon Prime format.

Jan 12elitesportsny.com

Thanksgiving Football

• Thanksgiving Day games were first played in the inaugural season of the NFL. The rogue AAFC and AFL also scheduled such games as a matter of course on their schedule, and the USFL might’ve, too, had it miraculously survived Donald Trump’s sending that league into a graveyard spiral.

• The Detroit Lions began hosting the annual game in 1945; for 13 consecutive years beginning in ’51, the Green Bay Packers came to Detroit. The Dallas Cowboys began hosting a Thanksgiving Day game annually in ’66.

• These are just two of five teams to have played more than 20 Thanksgiving Day games.

• The Cowboys are the most successful of any franchise which has played in nine or more Thanksgiving day games, going a healthy 30-19-1 SU (a winning percentage of .622) from 1966 through 2017, as compared to their overall regular-season mark of 477-321-6 (.593).

• The only other team to have a winning record in nine or more Thanksgiving Day games are the Decatur/Chicago Staleys/Bears at 17-15-2 between 1920 and 2015. Note that about half of these games were played against the Lions in Detroit, a series which is knotted 8-8 going into 2018’s holiday matchup.

• The Lions are 37-39-2 all-time, which includes an 1-11 beginning in 2001, surely not at all coincidentally the first season Matt Millen was the club’s general manager. Take out this plateau-within-a-plateau and Detroit is instead a respectable 36-28-2 (.545) on Thanksgiving.

• The Green Bay Packers have frequently appeared in Thanksgiving Day games as both a huge draw nationally and a division mate of the Lions. The Pack is just 14-20-2 in these games but let’s put an asterisk on this one as well, courtesy those Lions: Between 1951 and ’63, Green Bay was a weak 4-9 at Detroit in Thanksgiving games. Right around then, the Lions went into possibly interminable decline while the Packers were becoming a team of legend, and Packers at Detroit on Thanksgiving Day wouldn’t happen again until 1984. Since then, Green Bay is up 6-2 SU.

• Finally, by dint of sheer longevity, the Chicago/St. Louis/Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals have played in 23 Thanksgiving Day games from 1920 to 2008. In traditional Cardinals fashion, the team is a terrible 6-15-2 (.261 – well worse than even the overall franchise winning percentage of .399 over these years).

Of all the NFL games to bet on every year, the Thanksgiving Day games are second only to the Super Bowl in popularity. And thanks to certain traditions, these games represent one of the few instances in which long-term history is of use to the NFL bettor. Below run some FAQs on that most hallowed of all Thanksgiving traditions – betting on football!

Thanksgiving Betting FAQ

NFLbets isn’t exactly sure how this myth remains so pervasive. Though the Dallas Cowboys have played on every Thanksgiving Day since 1996 and typically play a division rival, it’s not always the case that Washington draws the Dallas game on the second-favorite day for NFL betting. Of note: The Cowboys are 9-1 SU vs Washington on Thanksgiving and are 6-2 ATS in this matchup since 1990.

The only teams guaranteed to play on Thanksgiving are the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions. Since 1977, the Lions have played 23 of 45 Turkey Day games against an NFC North rival – the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings.

For much of the post-merger period, the Lions have been mired in mediocrity, running up a 317-439-4 SU record from 1970 to 2018, a winning percentage of just .371. In this respect, the Lions are far more successful in Thanksgiving Day games, at 22-27 SU (or .449). And though Vegas lines rarely set the Lions as favorites on Thanksgiving Day despite institutional memory as well as any real or perceived homefield advantage, the Lions are a good bet on T-giving: They’re 25-24 ATS since 1970 in this game.

Bears at Lions is the second -most commonly-played Thanksgiving Day matchup – after Packers at Lions. Since 1945, Chicago has a 7-5 advantage in this game. Of note: Since the last realignment of divisions in the NFL, the Lions are 4-5 SU and ATS against their three NFC North division mates.

In terms of straight-up wins, Detroit is the all-time leader in Thanksgiving Day wins with 37. However, their cumulative win-loss record of 37-40-2 through 2018 ranks them just 20th overall. Only nine teams have played at least 10 games, and incredibly the Cowboys are tops at 31-19-1 (.618), followed by the New York Giants at 7-5-3 (.567) and Chicago Bears (18-15-2 or .543).

Worst in the NFL are Washington at 3-9 (.273) and the Chicago/St. Louis/Arizona Cardinals at 6-15-2 (.304). Only the Cincinnati Bengals (at 0-1), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1) and Cleveland Browns (0-3) have gone winless on Thanksgiving Day; the Baltimore Ravens (2-0), New Orleans Saints (2-0), Carolina Panthers (1-0), Houston Texans (1-0) are the only undefeated sides; and only the Jacksonville Jaguars have never played on the holiday.

Maybe if you bet them on the money line (ML) – because as good as the so-called “America’s Team” is on Thanksgving for the fans, the Cowboys are just 20-19-1 ATS from 1978 to 2018.

Betting Thanksgiving NFL games

Can this history teach us anything? In the case one of the perennial hosts, sure! While winning or losing on Thanksgiving in a certain year says nothing about doing so afterward, the superior records of these teams on the holiday would seem to indicate an institutional knowledge of how things are done for this particular game: The frequently-losing Lions become at least an average home team for Thanksgiving, i.e. figure them 3 to 6 points more than typical. And despite NFLbets’ cynicism about the historical record, we believe the Lions’ current 5-1 ATS run *is* meaningful.

Meanwhile, the home turf (literally) advantage Dallas gets on Thanksgiving has disappeared at some point during this decade – or perhaps it’s just the Cowboys Effect, which tends to overrate the ’Pokes. The Cowboys haven’t won ATS on Thanksgiving since 2010, going 0-7 ATS since then, with a mere 3-4 SU to show for it. Maybe the institutional memory is failing in Dallas, after all…