Written by: WindyCity iGGY

NFL Thanksgiving Day: Trends, Stats, and Predictions

November 28, 2013

Week 13 in the NFL kicks off on Thanksgiving Day with the Green Bay Packers visiting the Detroit Lions. It hasn't been a smooth ride for the Lions or their fans on turkey day, as they have dropped nine straight games. They will look to avoid a decade straight of losses on Thanksgiving against the Aaron Rodger-less Packers. 

Stats and Trends:

If you are loyal to the Lions, they have burned a hole in your pocket at the betting window. Since 1985, the Lions are just 11-17 straight up and 12-16 against the spread. Surprisingly, of the 28 games the Lions have played on Thanksgiving since 1985, only 5 of them have gone over the posted total. 

The Packers are 5-2 straight up, 4-3 against the spread, and only 3 of the 7 games went over the posted total. The last time the Lions won on Thanksgiving, it was against the Packers, way back in 2003. 

The Dallas Cowboys, who are no stranger to Thanksgiving Day games, play host to the Oakland Raiders. Oakland hasn't been on this stage frequently, only playing one time during the holiday since 1985. 

Cowboys, dubbed "America's team," have helped bettors go 15-13 straight up and 16-12 against the spread. Just like the Lions, low-scoring affairs are the norm for Cowboys games on Thanksgiving, as they have only gone over the total 8 times in the last 28 games. 

The last game of the holiday is the Pittsburgh Steelers traveling to Baltimore to take on the Ravens. Not much history for either team on Thanksgiving, Steelers 0-2 straight up, 0-2 against the spread, and both games went under the posted total. Ravens, 1-0 straight up, 1-0 against the spread, and the game went under the posted total. 

Predictions: 

Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions (-7) O/U: 49

You cannot ignore the Lions failures on Thanksgiving, but let's not all forget that during this span, majority of these losses came under the leadership of Matt Millen. The Lions are coming off a loss at home to the Buccaneers. A game they probably shouldn't have lost, and now they face a division foe that is without it's star quarterback. 

The Packers just tied with the Vikings in week 12. The way I see it, if Packers allow Christian Ponder and the lowly Vikings to put up 26 on them in Green Bay, the Lions should put up around 30 in this one.

On top of it, some of the Packers players called the Lions "a bunch of scumbags." That's probably not going to work out well for Matt Flynn. 

I won't back the Lions at this number, although I probably should. The safer play here is the over of 49. Despite the Lions only going over the total five times in almost 30 years on Thanksgiving, this one should eclipse the total, Lions do not want to put up another stinker with the division on the line. 

Lions 30 Packers 27

Oakland Raiders vs. Dallas Cowboys (-8) O/U: 47.5

The Raiders are a lousy road team, and they don't have much experience on Thanksgiving. Cowboys on the other hand, have only dropped one game at home all season. 

After a big road win against the Giants last week, the Cowboys look to separate themselves in the NFC East standings. A win here would give them a half game lead over the Eagles. 

I expect the Cowboys to win here, but I'm going to buy a point and lay the extra juice just in case it ends up being a 7 point game. Cowboys -7 (-130) is my official play. I also lean over 47.5. 

Raiders 21 Cowboys 31

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens (-2.5) O/U: 41.5

Throw all the stats out for this one and key on two issues. One, the Ravens are by far one of the best home teams in the NFL. Not just this year, but pretty much the past decade. 

Two, the Steelers are playing their best ball of the season, riding a 3-game win streak. Steelers beat this same Ravens team back in week 7 for just their second win of the season. Now they are in the home stretch fighting for a playoff spot after a disastrous start. 

These two have split the last ten meetings, having eight of them decided by 3 points or less. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger is 37-11 in his career against division opponents. 

In what should be a very close, competitive game, I will buy the half point and take the Steelers here at +3 (-120). 

Steelers 20 Ravens 18

That will wrap up my NFL Thanksgiving predictions. Happy holidays to everyone, enjoy the games and best of luck!

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