Favorites Have Carved Up Underdogs Like Turkey on Thanksgiving Day

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is in line for a major bounce back game at home on Thanksgiving against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is in line for a major bounce back game at home on Thanksgiving against the Las Vegas Raiders. / Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

If you've been betting underdogs and road teams in 2021, congratulations! You've bucked several trends and have likely had a fairly profitable season thus far.

Now it's time to throw your process out the window. Sort of.

Underdogs are 92-68-1 against the spread (ATS) this season in the NFL, covering 57.5% of the time. Teams on the road have also been great against the number, going 96-64-1 ATS for a 60% clip.

But what about on Thanksgiving? Surely the lines are inflated by oddsmakers with more public bets coming in than most weeks, right?

Not the case at all.

Via gambling insider John Ewing on Twitter, favorites have actually been the better bet on Thanksgiving. Over the last 16 seasons, favorites are 32-14 against the spread on Turkey Day, covering a remarkable 70% of games.

Can Bettors Trust the Bears, Cowboys and Bills to Cover the Spread on Thanksgiving?

Here are the opening lines for this Thursday's set of games.

Bears at Lions

  • LINE: Bears -3.5
  • TOTAL: 41.5

Bears QB Justin Fields is currently questionable with a rib injury after going down in Week 11 at home against the Ravens. He earned his first win of the season back in Week 4 against these Lions, although he was very much in the role of "Game Manager" at the time.

Chicago has reportedly quit on head coach Matt Nagy in his fourth season at the helm, and while the Bears are more than capable of inking out a win against the worst team in the NFL, their players could se.

Our Iain MacMillan has a full betting preview for the early afternoon matchup.

Raiders at Cowboys

  • LINE: Cowboys -7
  • TOTAL: 51.5

The Raiders are a disaster over their last three weeks and have been blown out in three consecutive games; two of which came at home.

Dallas, meanwhile, is licking its wounds after its worst offensive performance of the season in Kansas City where they failed to get into the end zone. That will change against a bottom-5 Raiders run defense.

You can get my full thoughts for the late afternoon game here, as I like the Cowboys to cover, but would highly recommend betting it early if you're on the Dallas side. This number WILL move.

Bills at Saints

  • LINE: Bills -4
  • TOTAL: 47

Which Buffalo Bills team will show up on Thursday night? Then again, that question can also be asked of the Saints as well.

Both teams are struggling to find consistency, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Josh Allen was the top MVP candidate last week until they lost in blowout fashion to the Colts at home. Also, will the Saints offense change with Taysom Hill getting more opportunities after a brand new contract extension?

Our Reed Wallach breaks down the matchup here, and is actually on the side of the home dogs to finally get back on track in the dome.

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