NFL Thanksgiving Classic Betting preview
Turkey not the only thing on the menu in Detroit
The NFL always promises great fanfare and hard-hitting action, whether it is week one, or week seventeen, but perhaps the most fun-filled, exciting day of the year is Thanksgiving Thursday, where the nation watches a triple header of football, punctuated with fantastic feasts and family gatherings. Well, that time is now, and three of the weekend's best games are showcased this Thanksgiving, with Detroit and Dallas featuring as ever.
First up, Houston travel to Ford Field looking to improve their AFC leading 9-1 record, making the playoffs a near certainty, whilst the shambolic Lions hope to maintain some respectability in a season that promised so much more. Later, two NFC East teams clash, as the Cowboys host the Redskins. A win for Washington would see them equal Dallas' 5-6 record, whilst the Cowboys know a win would see them go only 0.5 games behind division leading New York. The action culminates at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford as the Jets host their AFC East counterparts New England, who, with a win, will all but lock-up their tenth division title in eleven years.
With William Hill - the Home of Betting, you can find a wide range of markets on every NFL game this season, including a full range of lines, spreads, and totals, as well as player props and margins. For this Thanksgiving Thursday, we are offering a number of specials, on which you can bet now.
Titus Young is the personification of the Detroit Lions team he suits up for. A young talent that whilst looking like somewhat of the finished article, actually has a long way to go, as well as being in need of a major attitude adjustment.
And for Young, maybe a week on the sidelines will provide him that, yet his team must roll on, and host the almost irrepressible Houston Texans on the back of two disappointing divisional losses. Matthew Stafford has helped this team to lead the league in passing yard per game, however with only 12 touchdowns in his ten games, the devastating potency that he demonstrated last year hasn't come to the fore. This could be down to the ten picks he has thrown, or because of the increased press coverage Calvin Johnson has received. Last season's stand-out WR has a lowly three TDs this season, yet still leads the league in receiving yards with 1117 and Megatron may be the key that unlocks the door to Detroit's first Thanksgiving Classic win in nine years.
The guards that stand in the way of said door stand on the defensive side of Houston's team and, after a poor performance at home to Jacksonville on Sunday will be baying for blood. Clubhouse leader in Defensive Player of the Year is, for the moment, J.J. Watt, who with 12.5 sacks and 20 tackles for loss, will always be a handful for offensive lines. However, Houston's aggressive 3-4 scheme has seen OLBs Brooks Reed and Connor Barwin look strong as pass rushers. Of course, the story of Sunday's game in Houston was on offense, and Matt Schaub had a career day, throwing for 537 yards and 5 TDs. Whilst the Jags' D isn't too comparable the that of the Lions, you can expect Schaub to be over on the total yards.
This promises to be a passing bonanza, punctuated by a ruthlessly efficient Texans run game. Expect a Houston win, and for them to cover the spread, even on this short week.
Tip of the Game - 10/11: Over 50 points
Worth a punt -13/2: Houston to win by 13-18 points
Thanksgiving Day football is characterised by ridiculous awards, on-set turkey dinners, and a disappointing, yet often victorious, Dallas performance, and the same can be expected this season.
The Cowboys, and more importantly head coach Jason Garrett, can count themselves lucky that an overtime win over the Browns was just that, as a loss at home to Cleveland may have, rather ridiculously, called time on Garrett's tenure. Often it seems as though club mascot Jerry Jones (sorry, owner) is looking for a reason to fire his head coach, but that win should keep Garrett in employment for another fortnight at least, though a win at home on Thanksgiving against one of the team's oldest rivals will help. Tony Romo has looked in his usual average form, looking good, but rarely better, whilst the consistently disappointing Dez Bryant has led the team in receptions and yards, but left a lot to be desired.
Yet, Washington's 29th ranked pass defense will give Dallas hope. The Redskins have been stout against the run, letting up an impressive 95 yards a game on average, but have come unstuck in the air, and will need to rely on their rushing tandem of QB Robert Griffin III and RB Alfred Morris to see them garner enough points to amass the W in Arlington. The Skins haven't registered two consecutive wins all season, and after their impressive return from the bye, a 31-6 pummelling of NFC East rivals Philly on Sunday, Mike Shanahan will be drilling his team this week, looking to repeat that form.
In a tight prediction, backing the home team is often the way to go, and even in RG3's return to Texas, I can't see him overcoming the Cowboys, yet expect Washington to push close to the spread of +3.
Tip of the Game - 7/10: Washington +4.5
Worth a punt - 132: Double Results of Redskins/Cowboys
When Rob Gronkowski lined up to protect his kicker on a point after on Sunday, it was meant to be a routine play. Seconds later, his forearm had snapped, and he is now projected to miss at least a month of football.
For New England, this is a hard blow to what was turning out to be a potentially brilliant season. Gronk was second on the team in receptions and receiving yards behind the ever reliable Wes Welker, scoring a magnificent ten touchdowns this season. Now Tom Brady has to find another comfort blanket, and whilst their other big name TE, Aaron Hernandez and big play generating WR Brandon Lloyd are listed as questionable, the Patriots' QB is in danger of relying on the running back committee in New England to generate a fluid offense. Fortunately for Bill Bellichick, Stevan Ridley has propelled the Pats to 5th in the league in rushing, which does not bode well for Rex Ryan.
As a defensive coach, Ryan will be horrified to see his team ranked 30th overall for rushing yards allowed, averaging over 140 a game. However with stout pass coverage, even without the premiere CB in the game through injury, the Jets have managed to eke out four wins, including a resilient rebound against the mediocre Rams on Sunday. However hosting the Patriots is a completely different kettle of fish, and with a 85.7% completion rate this season, expect a few Tim Tebow sightings throughout this late game.
The Patriots will win this game, and should be out of sight by half time as Thanksgiving comes to an end.
Tip of the Game - 11/10: Over 51 points
Worth a punt - 15/2: New England to win by 19-24 points