It’s no secret that Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen has been slumping a bit lately. But that’s no reason to doubt that he’ll feast on Thanksgiving, which is why Allen is the focus of my NFL player props spotlight this week.
Allen can throw. He can run. And he’ll likely do plenty of both against a Detroit Lions team that will still be overmatched on Thursday, despite their better play as of late.
While Detroit has improved on offense, it still boasts one of the worst defenses in the league. The Lions are 28th against the pass (262.2 yards per game), 31st against the run (153.7), and dead last in terms of points allowed (28.2).
For this article, I’m focusing entirely on Josh Allen's props and what kinds of numbers the Buffalo quarterback might put up against Detroit.
That’s enough of the appetizers. Let’s dig into the turkey and save some room for pumpkin pie with my free NFL picks for the first game of Thanksgiving Day.
Josh Allen Thanksgiving Day prop picks
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.
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Josh Allen Thanksgiving Day props
Pass the gravy
What happens when you mix an explosive Buffalo passing game with one of the worst defenses in the league? You’ll get at least a handful of big plays, which should include at least one deep ball that goes for massive yardage.
The Bills have already completed 37 passing plays for 20+ yards this season. Both Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis are big play machines that terrorize opposing secondaries, and each has caught at least one ball for over 50 yards this year.
What can Detroit do to stop them? Not much. The Lions are last in the NFL in yards allowed per pass attempt, giving up 7.8 yards each time an opposing quarterback lets go of the ball. Opponents are completing over 65% of their throws against Detroit and are averaging 11.8 yards per completion.
This all adds up to a game in which Allen will have the green line to take shots down the field and should be fairly successful in doing so. The Bills already pass the ball 66.8% of the time, and they might be even more inclined to push that balance, given Detroit’s struggles against opposing passing games.
Considering that this game is taking place indoors, plus the matchup problems that the Bills' wideouts present for Detroit, 37.5 feels like a modest number for Allen’s longest completion.
We’ll take the Over and watch happily as Allen moves the ball around the field with ease on Thanksgiving.
Prop: Longest pass completion Over 37.5 yards (-114)
Bring on dessert
I spent most of the last section talking about how Allen will find big plays in the passing game. But while those were key to my first prop, the fact of the matter is that he should also have consistent success against the Lions through the air, even when he has to go to a shorter or secondary option in his progression.
Sure, Allen has struggled over his past four games. But even in this stretch, he went for 330 yards against the Minnesota Vikings. In total, he has already thrown for 300+ yards five times this year and has another game of 297 yards.
This has all the makings of a get-right game for Allen and the rest of the Bills' offense, especially when we look at the passing attack. The Detroit secondary lacks the ability to cover Diggs and the rest of the Buffalo receiving corps, with Pro Football Focus rating the Lions as the worst coverage team in the league so far this season.
Allen may not recover his superstar status in one game. However, this is a matchup where the Bills quarterback doesn’t have to be perfect — or anywhere near it — to keep moving the ball down the field. We should expect this to be another 300+ yard game for Allen, which makes the Over on his yardage prop an easy play.
Prop: Over 275.5 passing yards (-113)
Scoop up the leftovers
We all know Allen can sling the ball around the field. But what makes him a truly special quarterback is his ability to complement his passing game with elite mobility.
Already this season, Allen has run for 483 yards and four touchdowns while averaging 6.8 yards a carry. Much like the cliché that defense doesn’t slump in baseball, Allen has shown that he can continue churning his legs even when he struggles to pass.
Over the past four games, Allen has run for 226 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries — that’s over 9.4 yards per attempt. That’s despite the fact that he didn’t really even try to run against the Cleveland Browns last week when he carried the ball just three times.
Given how well the Bills should move the ball on Thanksgiving, there will inevitably be opportunities near the goal line where Buffalo offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey will call Allen’s number. The Bills are also comfortable with Allen improvising on rollouts, any one of which can turn into a scramble for a touchdown.
This Lions' defense won’t stop the Bills from moving the ball all day long, and Allen is definitely going into this game with something to prove. We can get a plus number on Allen to score on Thursday, and that’s more than good enough for me to bet on him to reach the end zone.
Prop: Anytime touchdown (+145)