COVID-19 Takes Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers Off NFL’s Thanksgiving Dinner Table

Posted on: November 26, 2020, 04:33h. 

Last updated on: November 26, 2020, 07:31h.

The NFL was supposed to have its usual three-course Thanksgiving buffet on Thursday. The cheese-and-crackers appetizer will be the Houston Texans (3-7) at Detroit Lions (4-6) in the first game. The main course of turkey, aptly, given the state of the NFC East, will be the Washington Football Team (3-7) at Dallas Cowboys (3-7) in the second game. The pumpkin pie was supposed to be the Baltimore Ravens (6-4) at Pittsburgh Steelers (10-0).

Thanksgiving NFL
A Detroit Lions helmet-wearing turkey decoy is shown during the Lions’ Thanksgiving game against the Chicago Bears in 2018. Detroit will host Houston on Thursday. (Image: Tim Fuller/USA TODAY Sports)

Instead, COVID-19 stole the pie.

A COVID-19 outbreak within the Ravens, with seven players having tested positive or been deemed high-risk close contacts as of Wednesday, and reports of more positive tests on Thursday, forced the game to be moved to Sunday. With uncertainty over who will be available, or even if the game will be played, it is off the board for now at sportsbooks.

“Selfishly, from a fan standpoint, it’s annoying to lose that night game. But it’s all good that we will pick it up on the other end. There certainly will be opportunities,” said Patrick Eichner, the director of communications for PointsBet.

Traditional Hosts

Thanksgiving is about family, food, and football. And, perhaps more than ever, sports betting. With the CDC encouraging people to stay home for Thanksgiving because of rising COVID-19 rates, sportsbooks are expecting a huge weekend, even with the biggest NFL game off the Thursday table.

The postponement leaves two games to be played by the traditional hosts, Detroit and Dallas.

The Lions are playing for the 81st time on Thanksgiving, with a 37-41-2 record. Bettors are expecting Detroit’s Thanksgiving losing streak to hit four games. Houston, which is a 3-point favorite, has 80 percent of the bets and 70 percent of the handle at PointsBet.

So much for root, root, root for the home team. At William Hill, a Michigan bettor placed a $30,000 wager on the Texans to cover.

In the second game, Dallas is a 3-point favorite over Washington. It has 88 percent of the money. Someone’s got to win the NFC East. Philadelphia is 3-6-1, and Washington, Dallas and the New York Giants are 3-7. The Eagles are the favorites at +175 at PointsBet, but Thursday’s winner could vault to the top.

Ravens at Steelers Moved to Sunday

A slugfest between bitter AFC North rivals, Baltimore and Pittsburgh, was put in the primetime window. Instead, assuming the COVID situation in Baltimore clears up, it will be part of the early games on Sunday.

“It’s fortunate that game is being postponed and not canceled entirely,” Eichner said. “As a football fan in general and having had the pleasure of working in the league, you love to see those storied rivalries with two classic franchises. Baltimore and Pittsburgh, a night game under the lights, it just feels right. It feels as American as football on Thanksgiving.”

Here’s the rest of the Week 12 schedule.

Thursday’s Games

  • Texans at Lions (+3), 12:30 p.m.
  • Football Team at Cowboys (-3), 4:30 p.m.

Sunday’s Games

  • Raiders at Falcons (+3), 1 p.m.
  • Chargers at Bills (-5.5), 1 p.m.
  • Giants at Bengals (+6), 1 p.m.
  • Titans at Colts (-3.5), 1 p.m.
  • Browns at Jaguars, (+6.5) 1 p.m.
  • Panthers at Vikings (-3.5), 1 p.m.
  • Cardinals at Patriots (+2.5), 1 p.m.
  • Dolphins at Jets (+7), 1 p.m.
  • Ravens at Steelers (no line), 1:15 p.m.
  • Saints at Broncos (+6), 4:05 p.m.
  • 49ers at Rams (-6.5), 4:05 p.m.
  • Chiefs at Buccaneers (+3.5), 4:25 p.m.
  • Bears at Packers (-8.5), 8:20 p.m.

Monday’s Game

  • Seahawks at Eagles (+5), 8:15 p.m.