Last updated on: July 11th, 2022
Betting On NFL Thanksgiving Games
One of the most popular pastimes among American sports fans is betting on NFL Thanksgiving games. The NFL’s longstanding tradition of Turkey Day football goes back to 1920, the year of its inception, although it is popularly perceived as being started in 1934 with the first Thanksgiving game hosted by the Detroit Lions. Thanksgiving Day has become one of the top days for NFL broadcasts, with fans all over the country tuning into a handful of games. These games draw huge betting action and a wide, varied selection of betting options to choose from.
Bettors from all states can legally bet on Thanksgiving Day football using licensed international sportsbooks, with some states having land-based legal books as well. Thanksgiving now regularly features three games, with the Dallas Cowboys playing 79 consecutives, and the Detroit Lions playing 41 consecutive games on the holiday. Whether you are a casual bettor looking for a new way to enjoy this time-honored tradition or diehard football betting fan, we’ve got you covered
Real Money Thanksgiving Day NFL Betting Sites
No matter where you live, you can legally bet on Thanksgiving Day NFL games online. Many states have already legalized online sports betting, and even in states that haven’t yet legalized it, international sports betting sites offer players the option to legally bet on every game imaginable. Real money betting sites operating outside the United States fall under the jurisdiction of their country and are thus legal in the U.S. The best real money betting sites for Thanksgiving Day NFL football offer a wide selection of banking and betting options, top-notch data security, and great deposit bonuses to help new players.
As a tradition, betting fans tune in and bet on the Thanksgiving NFL games every season. Bovada is the best place to wager on the NFL Thanksgiving games because the popular online sportsbook offers more than just the typical game lines. There will also be odds for player props and team props as well as other alternate lines, some featuring insane odds. Whether bettors are looking to wager on the QBs, teams defense, or parlay player props into a bigger wager, betting on the NFL Thanksgiving games can net big wins at Bovada online sportsbook.
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2023 Schedule For Thanksgiving Day NFL Games
The NFC North always has teams playing on Thanksgiving, with the Lions playing 41 straight, but they are joined for 2023 by the Minnesota Vikings, who have not played on the holiday since 2017, where they defeated the Lions.
Buffalo Bills @ Detroit Lions
- Ford Filed at 12:30pm ET on CBS
New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys
- AT&T Stadium at 4:30pm ET on FOX
New England Patriots @ Minnesota Vikings
- US Bank Stadium at 8:20pm ET on NBC
Thanksgiving Day NFL Bet Types
Money Line: Money line bets are the simplest and most straightforward way to bet on Thanksgiving Day NFL football games. Bettors simply pick which team they think will win a given game. Payouts are adjusted based on the likelihood of either team winning (e.g., if you bet on the worse team, you’ll get a higher payout if they win). Money lines are the most approachable betting option for most fans.
Total: Totals, also known as over/unders, are bets on the combined point total of both teams. They are a great way to bet if you don’t have a predetermined rooting interest. Oddsmakers before the game will set a total line by predicting the total number of points that will be scored, and bettors guess whether the final total will be over or under that amount.
Spread: For bettors who want to maximize their return on investment when betting on the favorite or improve their odds in betting on the underdog, the spread is a great option. Oddsmakers set a line indicating how many points they expect the favored team to win by. If the players bet on the favorite to cover (beat) the spread, they must win by more than that total. If they bet on the underdog, they can either win outright or lose by fewer points than the spread.
Props: Proposition bets cover a wide variety of outcomes, directly, indirectly or only tangentially related to the game itself. They can cover everything from how many receiving yards a star player will have to how many times broadcasters will say the word “turkey”. Prop bets are a fun way to create interesting stakes in games where you don’t have a rooting interest. They are also an engaging way for people who casual fans to engage with a game.
Futures: Futures bets are pretty straight forward and are simply bets on games and events that will happen in the future. For the NFL it would be bets made in the regular season on Division Champions, Conference Championship games or the Super Bowl. Oddsmakers normally post future bets like those very early even before the regular season has even begun. Future bets are big risk bets, especially in the NFL because anything could happen to cause the wager to lose.
How To Watch Thanksgiving Day NFL Games
NFL broadcasting rights are very fluid, but for 2022, three different networks will each have the rights to one Thanksgiving Day game, with ESPN and NFL Network being the only two NFL broadcast partners without a game. All basic cable packages should come with all the necessary channels, but if you cut your cable, there might be some additional difficulty in watching or streaming games. Those who plan on betting on NFL Thanksgiving games and don’t have cable may want to borrow someone else’s cable provider password so that they can stream the games while they lay some money down.
Betting History Of Thanksgiving Day NFL
The year 2020 marked the 100th anniversary of Thanksgiving Day NFL football games, with over 200 total games played. Teams like the Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, and especially the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions have all been featured dozens of times, while many others have appeared only once or twice. Thanksgiving Day games have run the gamut, with massive upsets, barn burning shootouts, scoreless defensive slugfests, and everything in between. Here are a few of the most notable moments in the history of Thanksgiving football, from a bettor’s perspective.
Top 5 Biggest Covers In Thanksgiving NFL History (Favorites)
+34 points – Dallas Cowboys (-10) vs. Seattle Seahawks – November 27, 1980
Final Score: Cowboys 51, Seahawks 7The Cowboys were one of the best teams in football in 1980, and they proved it with a breezy beatdown of the Seattle Seahawks, who were in just their fifth season since joining the league as an expansion team in 1976. Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett led the Cowboy offense with 151 yards and two touchdowns from scrimmage, while the Seahawks offense turned the ball over seven times. The score was 30-0 at halftime and 51-0 before Seattle finally managed a garbage time touchdown against backups.
+29 points – Philadelphia Eagles at Detroit Lions (-2) – November 27, 2015
Final Score: Lions 45, Eagles 14Both the Lions and Eagles were pretty bad in 2015, but the Lions at least had a handful of transcendently talented players in quarterback Matt Stafford and receiver Calvin Johnson. The Eagles, in Chip Kelly’s second year as head coach, had a good but not great offense, but one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Stafford shredded that defense to the tune of 337 yards and five touchdowns, three of them to Johnson. The score was 38-7 by the end of the third quarter before the second string took the field.
27 points – Detroit Lions (-8) vs. Chicago Bears – November 27, 1997
Final Score: Lions 55, Bears 20The 1997 Chicago Bears finished the season in the bottom three in both points scored and points allowed with a roster whose biggest stars were guys like Erik Kramer and Ricky Proehl. They graded out as the second worst team in the NFL behind only the San Diego Chargers. In Detroit on Thanksgiving, that lowly Bears team ran into a buzz saw named Barry Sanders, who slashed his way for 167 rushing yards and three touchdowns on just 19 carries. As usual, all three of his touchdowns were highlight reel worthy.
+26 points – Tennessee Titans (-11) at Detroit Lions – November 27, 2008
Final Score: Titans 47, Lions 10Detroit was on its way to the NFL’s first full winless season since the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers expansion team. Their Thanksgiving Day matchup pit them against a 10-1 Titans team that would finish the season atop the AFC standings. As you might expect, disaster ensued. Titans’ running backs Chris Johnson and LenDale White were the NFL’s top thunder and lightning duo in 2008, and they combined for 231 yards and four touchdowns against the Lions. The score could have been worse if not for a barrage of stalled drives leading to field goals in the second half.
+25 points – Philadelphia Eagles (-3) vs. Arizona Cardinals – November 27, 2008
Final Score: Eagles 48, Cardinals 20In one of his signature performances, Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb torched the Cardinals defense for 284 total yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. Eagles running back Brian Westbrook scored three touchdowns in the game’s first 22 minutes. The Cardinals, led by future Hall of Famers Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald, attempted to mount a late comeback that fizzled out after an Anquan Boldin fumble early in the fourth quarter. The two teams would meet again in the NFC Championship that year—a Cardinals victory that sent them to the Super Bowl.
Top 5 Biggest Covers In Thanksgiving NFL History (Underdogs)
+44.5 points – Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Detroit Lions (+2) – November 24, 1983
Final Score: Lions 45, Steelers 3The Steelers entered the game at 9-3 and looking like a possible championship contender. Instead, the Lions handed them their worst loss in 36 years. Steelers quarterback Cliff Stoudt threw four interceptions and the Pittsburgh offense was held to just 3.8 yards per play. Detroit got contributions all over the field, with two touchdowns from quarterback Eric Hipple, two from running back Billy Sims, and an electrifying 81-yard punt return score from reserve receiver Robbie Martin.
+26.5 points – Philadelphia Eagles (+3.5) vs. Dallas Cowboys – November 27, 2014
Final Score: Eagles 33, Cowboys 10Both teams entered with identical 8-3 records, but Dallas was quarterbacked by Tony Romo while the Eagles were quarterbacked by Mark Sanchez. Many anticipated a blowout. Instead, the Eagles novel offense installed by Chip Kelly ran roughshod over the Cowboys defense to the tune of 256 rushing yards. Romo, for his part, threw two crucial interceptions and couldn’t threaten the Eagles secondary enough to create running room for DeMarco Murray. This wasn’t the worst blowout ever, but it was bitterly disappointing for Cowboys fans.
++26 points – Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions (+6) – November 22, 1979
Final Score: Lions 20, Bears 0The Lions entered Thanksgiving Day 1979 with an abysmal 1-11 record, but that didn’t stop them from manhandling the Chicago Bears in front of their home crowd. Lions defensive end Al Baker was credited with four sacks on Bears quarterbacks Mike Phipps and Bob Avellini. Bears kicker Bob Thomas missed his one field goal attempt and the Bears were either forced to punt or turned the ball over on each of their other 10 drives.
+24.5 points – Denver Broncos (+4.5) vs. New York Giants– November 26, 2009
Final Score: Broncos 26, Giants 6The game is perhaps best remembered for the NFL Network forgetting to turn their microphones off during an… impassioned sideline rant from Broncos coach Josh McDaniels. The game itself was rather dull. Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton led six Broncos scoring drives—two touchdowns and four field goals. The Broncos defense, led by defensive end Elvis Dumervil and Hall of Fame safety Brian Dawkins, harassed Eli Manning and the Giants offense all game, collecting three sacks and forcing three turnovers.
+24 points – Seattle Seahawks (+7) vs. Dallas Cowboys – November 27, 1986
Final Score: Seahawks 31, Cowboys 14The Seahawks were still a fledgling franchise in 1986. The Cowboys were far from a juggernaut, but it was expected that one of the NFL’s biggest franchises would easily dispatch the Seattle upstart team in primetime. Early on, it appeared the game was headed that direction, as Heisman winners Tony Dorsett and Herschel Walker piled up impressive first quarter yardage totals. Then the Seahawks scored in response. Then they scored again. And again. And again. In total, the Hawks outgained Dallas by 1.5 yards per play and cruised to a shockingly easy win.
Biggest Thanksgiving NFL Upsets
10 points – Miami Dolphins (+10) at Dallas Cowboys – November 25, 1993
Final Score: Dolphins 16, Cowboys 14The Cowboys were en route to their second consecutive Super Bowl victory in 1993, but the Miami Dolphins managed to beat them on their home field in a game widely remembered as one of the greatest Thanksgiving Day games ever. With four minutes left facing a 14-13 deficit, Dolphins quarterback Steve DeBerg led a 90-yard drive through several inches of snow. After reaching the goal line, the Dolphins got a delay of game penalty while trying frantically to clear snow for the game-winning field goal attempt. Ultimately though, Pete Stoyanovich’s attempt was good and Miami pulled off the upset. It was as shocking to those betting On NFL Thanksgiving games as it was to the general NFL fan.
8.5 points – Chicago Bears (+8.5) at Green Bay Packers – November 26, 2015
Final Score: Bears 17, Packers 13In soggy, sub-40 degree weather, the 4-6 Chicago Bears spoiled Brett Favre’s retirement ceremony at Lambeau Field with a timely defensive effort. The Bears secondary played extremely well, but cornerback Tracy Porter truly shined with four passes defended and an interception on Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The Packers drove down to the Bears 8-yard line on their final drive, only for the defense to force four consecutive Rodgers incompletions.
7 points – Seattle Seahawks (+7) vs. Dallas Cowboys – November 27, 1986
Final Score: Seahawks 31, Cowboys 14As mentioned above, the Cowboys were widely expected to win this game despite the fact that both squads were similar in terms of talent and experience. This win did a lot to prove to NFL fans that Seattle’s franchise had a bright future in the league. Pro Football-Reference’s Simple Rating System had the 1986 Seahawks rated as the NFL’s fifth-best team, but this was before the concept of sports analytics was popularized.
7 points – Chicago Bears (+7) at Detroit Lions – November 25, 1993
Final Score: Bears 10, Lions 6In 1993, the Detroit Lions were an engine basically entirely run by the strength of Barry Sanders’s legs. A revolving door at quarterback couldn’t produce a decent performance until the final few games of the season. Despite the one-note offense, the Lions went 6-1 in one-score games. The Thanksgiving Day matchup against Bears was the only loss. Little happened after a 42-yard touchdown pass from Bears quarterback Jim Harbaugh to receiver Terry Obee in the second quarter. The Bears defense tallied two interceptions and five sacks.
7 points – Cleveland Browns at Detroit Lions (+7) – November 23, 1989
Final Score: Lions 13, Browns 10Believe it or not, from the time when the Cleveland Browns joined the NFL in the merger with the All-American Football Conference until their abrupt departure in 1994, they were one of the league’s top franchises. The Browns made the playoffs for the fifth consecutive time in 1989. The Browns’ defense was a top-five unit in the NFL and featured four Pro Bowlers. Despite all that talent, they couldn’t overcome 10 penalties and a crucial Bernie Kosar interception to beat the Lions on Thanksgiving.
Highest Scoring Thanksgiving NFL Games Of All Time
87 points (No O/U) – Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions– November 22, 1951
Final Score: Lions 52, Packers 35The score is even more remarkable given the point-scoring environment of the NFL in the 1950s. Teams scored about 20 points per game on average and it was rare for teams to get more than nine or 10 possessions in a game. This wild game featured eight touchdowns of 30 yards or longer, including an 85-yard touchdown run by the Lions’ Bob Hoerschemeyer and two punt return touchdowns (71 and 89 yards) from Lions safety and Hall of Famer Jack Christiansen. The Packers got plenty of scoring of their own, driven largely by the arm of quarterback Tobin Rote. They were in the midst of a late-game comeback when Christiansen returned his first punt for a touchdown, which killed all momentum.
84 points (O/U 40) – Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions– November 27, 1986
Final Score: Packers 44, Lions 40Few fans showed up to this game between far below-average teams, but those who did show up received a show. The two teams traded scores throughout the first half and the Packers took a 23-20 lead into halftime. Then the Lions raced out to a 37-23 lead with three consecutive scoring drives led by quarterback Joe Ferguson. Then the Packers roared back, finishing the game on a 21-3 run and sealing the win with an 83-yard punt return by receiver Walter Stanley with just 41 seconds to play. This game is too often forgotten because of the teams involved, but it’s truly an underrated gem.
82 points (O/U 46) – Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions– November 23, 1995
Final Score: Lions 44, Vikings 38The Lions totaled 534 yards of offense and had three different receivers (Herman Moore, Brett Perriman and Johnnie Morton) with at least 100 receiving yards. Vikings receiver Jake Reed added 149 receiving yards of his own and the two teams combined to score 10 total touchdowns. Vikings receiver David Palmer electrified viewers with a 74-yard punt return for a touchdown in the second quarter, but the Lions offense simply overwhelmed Minnesota’s defense throughout the game.
82 points (O/U 46.5) – Minnesota Vikings at Dallas Cowboys– November 26, 1998
Final Score: Vikings 46, Cowboys 36The Cowboys nearly doubled the Vikings in time of possession, totaled 32 first downs, and had no turnovers or sacks for the entire game. They also outgained the Vikings and performed better on third downs. Statistically, they should have won this game going away. But no statistic exists that can adequately capture Randy Moss’s impact on a football game. Moss only caught three passes, but all three went for 50+ yard touchdowns. Both Vikings quarterback Randall Cunningham and Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman had.
82 points (O/U 44) – Minnesota Vikings at Dallas Cowboys – November 26, 1987
Final Score: Vikings 44, Cowboys 38After three-quarters of intense back-and-forth football, the Vikings seemed to take a commanding lead when a Rick Fenney rushing touchdown put them up 14 with eight minutes to play. Instead, Troy Aikman led two all-time great scoring drives to tie the game with just under two minutes left, throwing touchdown passing touchdowns to receiver Mike Renfro (who nearly came to blows with Vikings All-Pro safety Joey Browner on both plays). In overtime, the Vikings picked off an errant Aikman pass and scored the winning touchdown on a 14 yard rush from tailback Darrin Nelson.
Lowest Scoring Thanksgiving NFL Games Of All Time
1. 0 points (NO O/U) T-Five Games
In the earliest days of the NFL, scoreless draws were unfortunately fairly common as a number of rules made consistently moving the ball difficult. There were no hash marks, so eventually most plays would be run directly from the sideline. Consecutive incompletions resulted in a turnover. The ball was oblong and unwieldy. In other words, the scoring environment was less than ideal. There were five scoreless games in total, all played prior to 1930. Only two such games featured two current NFL franchises, both between the Bears and the Cardinals.
2 points (NO O/U) – Green Bay Packers at Frankford Yellowjackets– November 29, 1928
Score: Yellowjackets 2, Packers 0All reports of this game, including that of Frankford’s owner, claim that the Packers badly outplayed the Yellowjackets. The Green Bay Press-Gazette claimed the Packers played “rip snorting good football”. Frankford got consecutive first downs only twice the entire game and never crossed Green Bay’s 30-yard line. The Packers reached the red zone six times but went scoreless in all their trips. The only points of the game came on a Green Bay punt in the end zone. The snap flew over the punter’s head.
2 points (NO O/U) – Buffalo All-Americans at Akron Pros – November 29, 1923
Score: Pros 2, All-Americans 0After back-to-back games were canceled, the Akron Pros managed their only win of the season in a home game against the Buffalo All-Americans. Only 1,700 fans showed up to watch the game. Both franchises folded before 1930 because of financial difficulties. There are no remaining accounts of the game, so we can only assume that the game’s only points came on the greatest safety in the history of the NFL.
3 points (NO O/U) – Chicago Cardinals at Chicago Bears – November 24, 1927
Score: Cardinals 3, Bears 0Before moving to St. Louis and eventually Arizona, the Chicago Cardinals were the perennial little brother franchise to George Halas’s Bears. They frequently finished near the bottom of NFL standings and several times discussed disbanding, relocating, or merging with another team. Occasionally, however, they would get the best of their crosstown rivals. In front of a small crowd of 6,000 at Wrigley Field, Evar Swanson scored the game’s only points on a field goal and the defense held on for a Cardinals win.
3 points (No O/U) – Chicago Cardinals at Chicago Bears – November 29, 1923
Score: Bears 3, Cardinals 0Yes, the Bears also won their own 3-0 clunker in this classic NFL rivalry. For once, both teams were in championship contention for this Thanksgiving showdown, sporting identical 7-2 records. The Bears’ Dutch Sternaman hit a 30-yard field goal in the first quarter to create a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. The Bears would finish the season 9-2 and second in the NFL behind only the undefeated Canton Bulldogs.
Bonus – 16 points (O/U 36) – Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions – November 25, 1993
Final Score: Lions 10, Bears 6The lowest-scoring game in the era of publicly available betting information. Specifics about this game are covered above in the “biggest upsets” section.
Betting On Football On Thanksgiving With Mobile Devices
It is now easier than ever to bet on football using a smartphone, tablet, or other compatible mobile devices. Domestic sportsbooks have released their own downloadable sports betting apps in states with legal sports betting and international sportsbooks offer browser-based mobile sports betting to users in all 50 states. Online sportsbooks invest heavily to provide optimized mobile versions of their websites that function similarly to downloadable apps. These mobile sites offer all the same betting options, deposit bonuses and other features as the desktop sites do. With this, betting on NFL Thanksgiving games shouldn’t be a problem even if you are visiting family for the holiday.
Deposit And Withdrawal Methods For Thanksgiving Day NFL Betting
Depositing money into an online sports betting account is easier than ever. Top NFL sports betting sites offer flexible banking options to suit the needs of all their players. Most online sportsbooks accept deposits using traditional credit/debit cards, cryptocurrency, e-wallets, and sometimes even alternative methods like wire transfers. Each deposit option has its own rules dictating processing times, fees, etc. Generally, cryptocurrencies and e-wallets fastest and cheapest deposit methods. They also generally offer larger deposit bonuses.
Withdrawing money from those online betting accounts can be slightly more cumbersome because many of them can’t deposit directly back into a credit or debit card account. The easiest way to withdraw money is with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or e-wallet services like Zelle, which process within minutes and can then be transferred directly to your bank account. If those methods don’t work for you, other methods, including wire transfers, courier checks, and more can be used instead. Unfortunately, these alternative methods generally require high fees and long processing times. If you’re betting on NFL Thanksgiving games and win your bet, don’t expect to be able to receive those winnings instantly through these alternative methods.