It’s a tradition as entrenched in America as the turkey that’s served up on the same day, and the NFL football games slated for Thanksgiving provide bettors with some intriguing match-ups this year.
There are three contests that showcase two established teams that play on this day and an evening game that is celebrating its 11th year.
Since 1934 the Detroit Lions have hosted a team in the first game on the third Thursday in November and this year they will be welcoming Minnesota. The second game will feature Dallas, who has played on this day every year since 1966 and began the ritual as more of a publicity stunt by famous Cowboys General Manager Tex Schramm.
Finally, we arrive at the evening finale, which is the newest addition to the Turkey Day slate of games. This match-up began in 2006 as an idea by NFL executives to capitalize on the popularity of the sport. There is no assigned team to this game and this year the New York Giants will travel to Washington to face the Redskins.
Minnesota vs. Detroit
This game features the highest paid player in the league against the biggest surprise team. Lions quarterback Matt Stafford signed a five-year contract extension worth $135 million in August and has led his squad to a 6-4 record.
He is facing the first-place Vikings who have an 8-2 record despite losing two starting quarterbacks over the last 2 years. Teddy Bridgewater suffered a gruesome leg injury 15 months ago and was just recently added back to the active roster.
His replacement was former NFL #1 overall pick Sam Bradford, who almost immediately was injured and underwent arthroscopic knee surgery the first week of November. Then, quarterback Case Keenum stepped in to replace Bradford, and he has been able to keep the Vikings afloat for most of the year. Keenum has been the starter for the team’s current winning streak with a quarterback rating of 93.7.
The line on the game began as a pick ’em but has since moved from 1 ½ to 2 ½. The over/under has also been adjusted. It opened at 44 ½ and rose half a point.
LA Chargers vs. Dallas
Dallas got a serious dose of reality when they faced the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday without running back Ezekiel Elliott, who accepted his six-game suspension. He didn’t play against Atlanta the week before and a trio of replacements gained 67 yards on 15 carries in the 27-7 loss.
Sunday they faced the division leading Philadelphia Eagles and Alfred Morris managed 91 yards on 17 carries but the team still lost, 37-9.
The Chargers are fresh off a serious beat down of the Buffalo Bills. They won the game, 54-24 and are trying to salvage their season. The victory gave them renewed hope they can get back to a .500 record.
The odds started at 3 ½ points for Dallas but with their struggles offensively and a two-game losing streak, the line has moved to one point and in some cases, a pick ’em. The over/under has risen a half-point and now stands at 48.
New York Giants vs. Washington
The Giants travel to the nation’s capital to face a division rival that is fighting for a playoff spot. New York is struggling to attain mediocrity having won just two games all season. They did surprise Super Bowl contender Kansas City, 12-9 on Sunday.
But will they revert to the old team that has struggled most of the season? The Washington players certainly hope so. They lost in overtime against the Saints and if they have any chance of getting in the postseason will have to win this contest.
The Redskins are favored by seven, down from the opening line of 9. The over/under has jumped from 41 ½ to 44 ½.