So it's not the best Thanksgiving NFL slate we've seen.
The six teams playing Thursday went 0-6 last week. The day starts with a rough Chicago Bears-Detroit Lions matchup. The other games include the fading Las Vegas Raiders and New Orleans Saints, the disappointing Buffalo Bills and a Dallas Cowboys team that has looked awful in two of its last three games.
But, there are point spreads, and of course we'll be betting on the Thanksgiving games. Here's a betting preview of all three NFL games with the spreads from BetMGM:
Can Lions get a win?
Jared Goff is probably going to return, but is that a good thing for the Lions? Andy Dalton is going to start in place of Justin Fields, but is that a bad thing for the Bears?
Let's start with the Bears. This season isn't going well. "Fire Nagy" is everywhere in Chicago. But they're not a totally incapable team either. The Bears are just 3-point favorites, and the quarterback situation plays into that. Fields is the best option for the future and the Bears need to start him. But right now, Dalton can be a steady player whereas Fields has been inconsistent. Dalton can do a competent job leading the offense.
Even though the Lions are 0-9-1, they're not an underdog that gets blown out every week. They led the Packers at halftime. The Ravens needed a miracle win to beat the Lions. The Lions tied the Steelers and lost by a field goal against the Browns the past two weeks, and both of those games were on the road. The Lions are giving a great effort most weeks, they're just not good enough to win.
Even with the boost from the home crowd for what amounts to Detroit's Super Bowl, the Bears are better. In the end, it's hard to back a winless Lions team.
The pick: Bears -3
Props to add: Andy Dalton over 218.5 passing yards, D'Andre Swift over 33.5 receiving yards, Cole Kmet first TD +1400
Cowboys look to rebound
The Dallas Cowboys' face plant against the Denver Broncos a few weeks ago seemed like an anomaly, especially after they blew out the Atlanta Falcons. But then the offense sputtered again last week. The Cowboys were held out of the end zone by a Kansas City Chiefs defense that is improving but still not the kind of unit that should hold Dallas without a touchdown. It was a bit troubling.
The Raiders have been even worse lately. They've lost three in a row, and none of the performances was promising. That's why they're 7.5-point underdogs against the Cowboys.
We'll see who is healthy for the Cowboys. Amari Cooper is out due to COVID-19 reasons. CeeDee Lamb could be cleared from a concussion but that's not official. Ezekiel Elliott turned his ankle on Sunday and has a short week to get ready. The inactives report will be important to track.
Even with the Raiders struggling, the line seem too high. The Cowboys are capable of an offensive explosion, but that's a little harder to rely on after the past few weeks.
The pick: Raiders +7.5
Props to add: Kenyan Drake over 18.5 rushing yards, Dak Prescott under 273.5 passing yards
Bills still don't look elite
For some reason, the Buffalo Bills have been getting a pass. They lost 9-6 to the Jacksonville Jaguars and were still Super Bowl favorites at BetMGM as of last week. That has changed after they were blown out last week by the Indianapolis Colts, but only a little. The Bills are +850 to win it all, tied for the third-best odds. Still, they're a healthy 5.5-point favorite at the New Orleans Saints.
Part of that is due to the Saints. The Saints haven't won since Jameis Winston was ruled out for the season with a torn ACL. In all three of Trevor Siemian's starts, the Saints have gone through long stretches of bad offensive football. They have put together a few good possessions in a row each game, which has probably saved Siemian's job, but there hasn't been much consistency. It'll be harder to find consistency without Alvin Kamara, who was ruled out, and perhaps Mark Ingram, who is also dealing with an injury.
The Saints can still play some defense and it's hard to trust the Bills right now. Maybe Buffalo will live up to its preseason hype, but that hasn't happened yet.
The pick: Saints +5.5
Props to add: Devin Singletary under 24.5 rushing yards, Stefon Diggs under 79.5 receiving yards
What else is on the schedule?
There are two college football games, Fresno State (-7) at San Jose State, and the annual Egg Bowl between Ole Miss and Mississippi State. Mississippi State is a 1.5-point favorite in what is always an entertaining game.
There are also some quality college basketball games on the schedule, if you don't get enough football on Thanksgiving. The best game is early, as Michigan State takes on UConn, which is a 1.5-point favorite.
What's the best bet?
Let's go with the Bears, but it's not the easiest slate of games. We'll enjoy it nonetheless. Happy Thanksgiving.