NFL Thanksgiving Schedule 2020: Best Odds and Picks for Thursday's Games

Thanksgiving Day is arguably the biggest football day of the calendar year for casual fans and this year is no different, with a nearly full menu of NFL games scheduled for Turkey Day.

The league had originally planned to play three games but was forced to postpone the matchup between the Baltimore and Pittsburgh after a coronavirus outbreak among the Ravens organization.

The day's two early games, however, will go ahead as planned with traditional Thanksgiving guests Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys playing on the fourth Thursday of November for the 81st and 53rd time respectively.

The Lions host the Houston Texans, while the Cowboys welcome the Washington Football Team in a key NFC East matchup.

Here's a statistical breakdown of the most important betting trends to know ahead of both games.

Houston Texans at Detroit Lions

  • FOX—12:30 p.m. ET

The Texans start the game as three-point favorite, with Bet MGM, FanDuel, William Hill and DraftKing all listing them as 9-10 to cover the spread. In moneyline terms, Houston is a 6-10 favorite, while Detroit is 7-5 and the over/under line in terms of total points scored is set at 51.5.

At 3-7, the Texans have a worse record than the 4-6 Lions but arrive into Thanksgiving on the back of a 27-20 win over the New England Patriots, while Detroit was shut out in a humiliating 20-0 loss in Carolina.

Houston leads the all-time series against Detroit 3-1 and is on a three-game winning streak against the Lions, which includes a win on Thanksgiving in Week 12 eight years ago—hitherto the Texans' only previous game on the holiday.

The Lions, meanwhile, are 37-41-2 on Thanksgiving and are badly banged up, with 16 players appearing on the injury report this week.

Houston, however, has the NFL's second-worst record against the spread so far this season, covering only three times in 10 games, one fewer than Detroit has managed. The Lions, however, have failed to cover in both games they played as home underdog.

Over their combined 20 games this season, the over has been hit six times in games featuring the Lions and in five games played by Houston. With Detroit giving up 28.7 points per game, the fourth-worst figure in the NFL, and the Texans allowing 27.3 points per game, taking the points seems like a good bet.

Washington Football Team at Dallas Cowboys

  • CBS—4:30 p.m. ET

Such is the dismal state of the NFC East that this game could have crucial playoff implications, despite both Dallas and Washington being 3-7. Both Dallas and Washington arrive into Thanksgiving on the back of wins, but the bookmakers have the Cowboys as a 2.5-point favorite and 5-4 and 6-5 to cover the spread with DraftKings and BetMGM respectively.

In moneyline terms, Dallas is a 7-10 favorite, while Washington is 27-20 and the over/under line in terms of total points scored is set at 46.5.

While Washington thrashed Dallas 25-3 when the two teams met in Week 7, that came after the Cowboys lost Andy Dalton to concussion following a vicious hit from Jon Bostic. Without their backup quarterback—Dalton had taken over from Dak Prescott in Week 5 after the latter suffered a season-ending injury—the Cowboys turned to third-stringer Ben DiNucci and their offense imploded. Dalton returned in the 31-28 road win against the Minnesota Vikings last week, a game in which Dallas' dormant offense finally showed signs of life as Ezekiel Elliott rushed for over 100 yards in game for the first time this season.

Washington knows the feeling of having quarterback issues all too well. Dwayne Haskins, the 15th overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft, was benched after four starts in favor of Kyle Allen, who was placed on injured reserve in Week 9 with a dislocated ankle. That has left the offense in the hands of Alex Smith less than two years after he suffered a life-threatening leg injury. Smith is 1-1 in his two starts this season but comes up against one of the worst defensive units in the league.

Dallas ranks bottom in the NFL in terms of total points allowed and in the bottom 10 in terms of yards per play and total yards allowed.

The Cowboys lead the all-time series 73-44-2 and the defeat in Week 7 snapped a three-game winning streak against Washington. When it comes to play on Thanksgiving, Dallas also has the upper hand, courtesy of a 31-20-1 overall record, while Washington has won just three times in 11 games it has played on the holiday and lost both its last two games against the Cowboys on Turkey Day in 2016 and 2018.

Dallas, however, is 1-8 against the spread in Thanksgiving games since 2011 and 2-8 against the spread this season, while Washington is 4-5-1 against the spread with four of its games going over.

Detroit Lions, NFL Thanksgiving
Detroit Lions fans dressed up in their turkey outfits having fun during an NFL, Thanksgiving Day game against the Chicago Bears at Ford Field on November 22, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions will play their 81st game on the holiday this year when they host the Houston Texans. Dave Reginek/Getty