NFL Tips: Mike Carlson's best bets for the Thanksgiving Day fixtures

Josh Allen
Can Josh Allen get the Bills back to winning ways?

The NFL serves up a three-course dinner on Thanksgiving Day and Mike Carlson has tucked in to the betting to deliver your preview for the special day

"The Saints will try to keep Josh Allen in the pocket and not allow him to keep pass plays alive or turn them into big scramble gains, which is what the Colts did successfully last week, but their linebackers are quicker."

One of the reasons I like the Thanksgiving holiday in America so much is that it exists specifically to, as it says on the turkey carcass, give thanks. Like for not having Jon Gruden coaching our football team, or Aaron Rodgers as our next door neighbour in case we bump into Mr Maskless at the grocery, or for not getting destroyed on our betting.

In this country we don't think too much of the difficulties watching games on Thanksgiving can become, especially if you live somewhere where traditional high school rivalries might take up your morning, or one of the big college games might pull you toward the TV as well.

Even back in the long-forgotten days of my children, when there was only one NFL game on TV, and even then it was Detroit, which was not the agony it is today, sneaking out of the kitchen, or from the dinner table, just to catch the score was always dangerous. Luckily in this time zone, without actually gathering the family for the holiday, we can give thanks we can watch all the games without fear.

We didn't do badly last weekend, even though the Steelers (with Big Ben Back, which I hadn't expected) carried the game over, and the Saints couldn't cope with Jalen Hurts. That Hurts. But the Bengals/Raiders duly went under, and in the suggestions pile the double of Miami and the under paid off. And Iron Mike the Under Taker hit on Houston/Tennessee (my podcast bestie), Buffalo/Indy as well as the Cards. With a couple of other misses, it was a 50/50 kind of week. Thanks be given and let's focus on the three midweek games.

Bears should edge a stinker

Chicago (3-7) at Detroit (0-9-1) (Thursday, 17:30): The sight of Matt Nagy panicking over his headset malfunction Sunday probably told you as much about the Bears as Andy Dalton making a couple of plays to bring them back to take a lead against Baltimore, which could be the slow spark of a quarterback controversy. On the other hand they aren't Detroit. The Lions are getting 3.5, but haven't covered for three straight years on Thanksgiving and Tim Boyle may be at QB again. On the other other hand, if ever there were a winnable game for them then this is it.

You might try spreading out on three anytime TD scorers: D'Andre Swift 2.255/4 Darnell Mooney 2.35/4 and TJ Hockenson 3.185/40. If you made me choose I'd probably take the Bears giving 3.5.

Cowboys will continue poor Thanksgiving run

Las Vegas (5-5) at Dallas (7-3) (Thursday, 21:30): The Cowboys are now "traditionally" the hosts of the second game and Jerry Jones gets a short week home field advantage. Though I like Dallas to bounce back here, the Cowboys are 1-9 against the spread in the last ten years on Thanksgiving, and they are giving the Raiders 7. History would have you take Vegas and the points, and if you think the over 51 looks tasty consider the Boys scored 9 Sunday and the Raiders 13 so I am going under in this one, and looking at Tony Pollard at 2.6313/8 and Bryan Edwards at 5.04/1 as anytime scorers.

Final game will go low on goals

Buffalo (6-4) at New Orleans (5-5) (Friday 01:20): Two of the top-rated defenses in the league both played terrible D last week, so what gives this time? Buffalo's type of containing D works well as long as you don't run through them up front, which Indy did, but which the Saints might not, unless Alvin Kamara is back. The Saints will try to keep Josh Allen in the pocket and not allow him to keep pass plays alive or turn them into big scramble gains, which is what the Colts did successfully last week, but their linebackers are quicker. I have a real problem here, as I think the under 46.5 is my best bet, although when I took it earlier this week it was 47.5. I also think the Saints might cover the 4.5. My problem is the likely TD scorers are many, in a game I don't expect to have that much scoring. Kamara if he goes is 2.35/4 which is good; Taysom Hill is 4.57/2.

Best Thanksgiving Bet: Under 46.5 at 1.910/11

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