NFL Thanksgiving weekend best bets: Cowboys win; Colts, Patriots stay hot

Intro by Doug Kezirian

After NFL bettors survive a triple-header on Thanksgiving, they have to tackle a Sunday card that offers an unusual amount of short spreads and games that seemingly will come down to the final few minutes. Only one Sunday game has a point spread above 4.5 points, thanks to nine games featuring a line of 3.5 points or less.

“When you really dissect each game, it’s a really good slate. It’s still a little early to be talking playoffs, but teams that are in the hunt have big games,” DraftKings sportsbook director Johnny Avello told ESPN. “For the most part, when you look at all the matchups, they’re pretty competitive and they mean a lot.”

The early slate is headlined by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3) visiting the Indianapolis Colts, while the afternoon’s marquee matchup is the Green Bay Packers (pick ’em) hosting the Los Angeles Rams. “Sunday Night Football” involves a divisional showdown with the Baltimore Ravens (-3.5) hosting the Cleveland Browns.

Each week during the season, betting analysts Doug Kezirian (13-20-2, 1-1 last week), Tyler Fulghum (9-23, 1-3), Joe Fortenbaugh (34-27-1, 0-4) and Anita Marks (173-161, 8-15), Fantasy and Sports Betting analyst Eric Moody (85-75, 6-15), ESPN Stats & Information’s Seth Walder (45-41, 4-2) and Mackenzie Kraemer (4-10, 1-2), sports betting deputy editor David Bearman (23-18-1, 2-1) and Football Outsiders’ Aaron Schatz (36-28, 2-4) will provide their top plays across the NFL landscape. (Records through Week 11.)

Here are their best bets for Week 12.

Note: Lines from Caesars Sportsbook as of Wednesday (unless otherwise indicated).

Jump to: Bears-Lions | Raiders-Cowboys | Bills-Saints | Steelers-Bengals | Buccaneers-Colts | Panthers-Dolphins | Titans-Patriots | Eagles-Giants | Falcons-Jaguars | Jets-Texans | Chargers-Broncos | Rams-Packers | Vikings-49ers | Browns-Ravens

Thanksgiving Day games

Chicago Bears (-3, 41.5) at Detroit Lions, 12:30 p.m. ET

Schatz: This is the tale of two backup quarterbacks. Andy Dalton is the backup to Justin Fields, but that’s only because the Bears need to develop Fields. Dalton has been the better quarterback this season and gives the Bears a better chance to win if Fields needs to sit out because of Sunday’s rib injury. Fields’ passing DVOA of -41.7% is the worst among qualifying quarterbacks. Dalton’s -6.5% is only slightly below average. ESPN’s QBR tells a similar story, with Dalton at 54.0 and Fields at 25.6. It’s a huge gap.

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