Sunday, December 3, 2023

NFL Betting Picks for the Thanksgiving Day Slate

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There’s no tradition quite like a stacked Thanksgiving day NFL slate. The league has treated us to an exciting one this year, featuring multiple teams at the tops of their divisions taking on tough divisional rivals. It should be a fantastic way to kick off the holiday weekend and could even serve as a preview of the upcoming 2023 playoffs.

Let’s take a look at some of the FanDuel Sportsbook’s NFL odds and see which bets might be worth considering for this action packed three-game slate.

Thanksgiving Slate Best Bets

Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions

Lions -7.5 (-110)

There’s been a real changing of the guard in the NFC North this year. After years of dominance, the Green Bay Packers are sorting things out with a new, young roster. While the Detroit Lions toiled at the bottom of the standings for years on end, they now look like the top dogs in the division with their 8-2 record.

We’ve already seen these two teams square off once this season. The Lions took a strong 27-3 lead in the first half of that contest before grinding out clock for the remainder of the night, finishing Week 4 with a 34-20 score.

Winning by more than a touchdown is no easy feat, but the way these two teams stack up against each other gives the Lions a clear path to accomplishing that kind of victory. As we saw in their first game, the Lions just need to run the ball.

According to numberFire‘s schedule-adjusted metrics, the Lions boast the fourth-strongest rushing attack in the league. Theirs is the only rushing attack in numberFire’s top six rushing offenses that doesn’t also utilize a mobile quarterback; the Lions’ backfield has just been that good this year. The recent emergence of 2023 first-round pick Jahmyr Gibbs has only served to further bolster what was already an elite ground game.

The Packers, on the other hand, just can’t stop the run. They rank seventh-worst against the run and have let otherwise-lackluster rushing games stomp all over them; the Pittsburgh Steelers put up over 200 rushing yards on this Packers defense just two weeks ago.

The Lions look like the better team across the board this year and are especially well-suited to hold onto a lead with the leverage their ground game has over Green Bay’s lack of a rushing defense. The Lions should be able to control the scoreboard and the clock in this one, improving their chances of winning by more than a touchdown.

Washington Commanders at Dallas Cowboys

Over 48.5 (-110)

The Washington Commanders are headed south to take on the Dallas Cowboys for the first time this year in what could be a fireworks festival. This game already has the highest total of the week (48.5) and has a good chance of hitting the over on that mark.

To start, the home team has been playing some top notch ball in recent weeks. Dak Prescott is playing out of his mind lately, averaging a ferocious 9.74 adjusted yards per attempt in those games. The Cowboys have scored an average of 37 points in those games, and it’s hard to see that train slowing down — especially against the Commanders’ sieve-like defense.

The Commanders just gave up 31 points to Tommy DeVito and the New York Giants after recently trading away two of their top young pass rushers. They don’t seem likely to stymy the Cowboys’ offense this week, so it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility that the Cowboys’ offense hits the over on its own without any need for the Commanders to contribute.

The Commanders’ offense should hopefully be able to do enough to make sure the Cowboys’ offense can’t fully take their foot off the gas. First-year starter Sam Howell is playing some tremendous football in his own right. While his volatile play style — which has him simultaneously posting the seventh-best completion rate over expectation (3.1%) while taking sacks at an enormous 10.1% rate — might not be for everyone, it has resulted in some high-scoring outings against strong defenses. The Commanders’ offense runs the seventh-most plays per game and are willing to air it out, which should help them put some points up this week even against the Cowboys’ elite defense.

San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks

Under 43.5 (-114)

The San Francisco 49ers have been playing some lights out defense this season and aren’t afraid of salting away clock when they have the chance. numberFire’s schedule-adjusted metrics rank theirs as the fifth-best defense in the NFL this season, which makes sense; they’ve shut down strong offenses like Dallas’ and Jacksonville’s while only letting the healthy Cincinnati Bengals and two other offenses even crest 20 points against them.

On the flip side, the Seattle Seahawks‘ offense has taken a minor step back from their surprisingly strong 2022 season. Their 21.6 points per game rank 16th this season, making them a pretty average looking offense by the numbers. numberFire’s model agrees with that assessment, ranking their offense 15th overall.

That league-average offense could take a pretty significant hit this week, limiting their ability to put points on the board. Quarterback Geno Smith suffered a bruised triceps tendon during Sunday’s loss to the Los Angeles Rams and now has to heal up over the short week. To make matters worse, star running back Kenneth Walker III suffered an oblique injury in the loss and veteran wideout Tyler Lockett, who has dealt with a hamstring issue for much of the year, was only able to play half of the game, putting their status’ for Week 12 into question. Neither player practiced to open the week, meaning an already-average offense could be without two of their most important players while working around an injured quarterback. That is, frankly, not a recipe for hitting an over.

Finally, these are two of the slowest-paced teams in the league — they rank 27th and 28th in offensive plays run per game. It would not be surprising to see the 49ers take an early lead before salting clock away via their strong running game, giving the Seahawks’ offense fewer chances than usual to hit the big plays they rely on to put points on the board.

Interested in playing NFL DFS? Head over to FanDuel’s daily fantasy football lobby to see all the offerings for this week’s slates.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author’s advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.

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