Thanksgiving is normally one of the most beloved days on the calendar for any football fan, and that is one constant that remains despite this being a year unlike any other. You can be sure at online sportsbooks in NJ, PA, and plenty of other states are going to be taking in plenty of bets on all three games.
Here is the schedule accompanied by some 2020 Thanksgiving NFL odds, courtesy of BetMGM Sportsbook:
- Detroit Lions vs. Houston Texans (-2) - 12:30 PM
- Dallas Cowboys (-3) vs. Washington Football Team - 4:30 PM
- Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) vs. Baltimore Ravens - 8:20 PM
With three games to preview, let's get to our 2020 Thanksgiving NFL predictions, which are technically the first three games on the Week 12 schedule.
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Thanksgiving Day NFL Picks 2020 | Texans vs. Lions Predictions
The Masters in golf began in 1934 and has been dubbed "a tradition unlike any other," but the Lions have been playing on Thanksgiving ever since moving to Detroit that very same year, so there's some tradition in the Motor City as well. And no matter what kind of season Detroit is having, there's something nice about the 12:30 kickoff at Ford Field every year.
Unfortunately for Lions fans, this team plays terribly on its own turf and is just 1-4 on the season at home this year. Although prior to last week's games, the early line had Detroit as slight favorites to pick up its second home win of the season over a Houston team that had previously only beaten the Jaguars twice. But then Week 11 happened, and Detroit feels like a team you just can't back at this stage.
If Matthew Stafford, D'Andre Swift, and Kenny Golladay are in action and healthy, the Lions are a completely different team and looking toward the Lions would actually be prudent. The issue is that the status of the latter two are up in the air and even though Stafford will play, he's clearly still dealing with an issue on his throwing hand and it showed against the Panthers.
Carolina's defense was allowing over 27 points per game going into Week 11, yet Detroit still couldn't manage a single point on offense. Even with a backup quarterback an no Christian McCaffrey, the Lions still lost by 20 points. No, the Texans are no world beaters but with all-world Deshaun Watson under center and his team riding high following a 27-20 win over New England, it's an easy decision to back Houston as favorites by less than a field goal.
You can bet this opening game is going to have some strange, unpredictable events going on that will probably cause more excitement than many people think these two teams are even capable of. Or may that's just because it will be the only game on while you wait for your big meal of the day.
Either way, this is one where we'd target the total when it comes out because of two lousy defenses. And currently, look for the road team to squeak one out despite the short week and travel.
Pick: Houston Texans -2 (-110), Over 50.5 (-115) - Make Texans-Lions Picks At BetMGM!
2020 Thanksgiving NFL Predictions | Washington vs. Cowboys Picks
In this matchup of the current NFC East basement (these things can change), one team hasn't won a game on the road all year and the other is the league's worst scoring defense. So what gives?
The Cowboys managed to snap a four-game losing streak with an unexpected win over Minnesota as seven-point underogs, which moved this opening spread from -1.5 to -3 heading into Thanksgiving. Washington is also coming off a win after dominating the Bengals, but now must travel to Dallas on Thanksgiving.
This is a bit of a revenge game for Dalton, who was knocked out with a concussion a few weeks back in the WFT's route of the Cowboys in the nation's capital. After that, he dealt with a COVID-19 diagnosis and is just now back to full strength. If the offense plays anything like it did against the Vikings, it's easy to see another Cowboys win. The problem is, Dallas is anything but consistent and it's hard to rely on a repeat performance although the moving of Zach Martin to right tackle has appeared to save the run game.
A healthy Dalton certainly makes Dallas' offense better but things have changed under center for WFT also. Alex Smith is back in the fold as starting QB after the injury to Kyle Allen and it seems pretty obvious so far that their offense has improved a bit also. Smith compiled over 300 passing yard in each of the first two games he started and even though he didn't do much in Week 11, it was promising to see Washington run for 164 yards behind Antonio Gibson in the 20-9 win.
We won't get into all the trends, but let's just say that the Cowboys have been a decent fade on Thanksgiving in recent history. While that has little bearing on 2020, we still look toward the slight underdogs and the free points since the WFT has found itself in close games as of late.
With the total at 47.5, this could be a sneaky over bet. The Dallas offense should be more than a bit better than we saw last time around agsinst a strong Washington defense, and we know the Cowboys' league-worst scoring defense isn't going to be pitching any shutouts.
Pick: Washington Football Team +3 (-115), Over 47.5 (-110) - Bet On WFT-Dallas At BetMGM!
NFL Thanksgiving Picks 2020 | Steelers vs. Ravens Predictions
Round two of this AFC North battle will be the nightcap on Thanksgiving after these two teams played earlier in the month to a 28-24 victory for Pittsburgh. The Steelers' vaunted defense forced four turnovers in that game including two interceptions from Lamar Jackson and despite being outgained 457 to 221 in total yards, Pittsburgh made the most of its possessions.
The Steelers are one of the rare teams that have remained remarkably consistent on both sides of the ball, ranking in the top five of the NFL in both scoring offense and scoring defense. But the latter of those categories is where Balitmore leads the league, having allowed just over 18 points per game this season.
If anyone thinks this is going to be a blowout for the undefeated Steelers, they likely have another thing coming. The schedule has been riddled with inferior opponents and even then, Pittsburgh has played in several close games. With that said, they've gotten up for all of the contenders in their draw, which really was just a three week stretch against Cleveland, Tennessee, and Baltimore.
You get the sense Pittsburgh won't go 16-0 and the Ravens are clearly talented enough to pull it off. But with Baltimore traveling on a short week and inclement weather playing into the home team's hands, this won't be the game. Take Steelers to beat Baltimore by one score for a second time this season to close out your turkey day. And look toward the under, since the run games should take over in what could be rainy night in the Steel City.
Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers -3 (-110), Under 45.5 (-106) - Bet On Thanksgiving NFL At BetMGM!
2020 Thanksgiving NFL Best Bets | Week 12 NFL Picks
Houston Texans -2 (-110), Over 50.5 Total Points
Washington Football Team +3 (-115), Over 47.5 Points (-110)
- Pittsburgh Steelers -3 (-115), Under 45.5 Points (-106)
Photo Credit: Associated Press