The Thanksgiving Week schedule is its own beast, with three games on Thursday and a new Black Friday matinee mixing up the NFL odds in 2023.
Holiday plans and the demands of family and friends also provide unique distractions for those teams traveling in Week 12, but we’ll stick to the classics, scouring the schedule for the best situational handicapping opportunities — AKA spot bets.
As you chow down on your turkey & Co., consider these sticky spots when making your NFL picks in Week 12.
Letdown Spot: Kansas City Chiefs (-9) at Las Vegas Raiders
That sets the table for a letdown spot from the Chiefs, who have a short week with Thanksgiving right in the middle of that prep before traveling to Las Vegas for Week 12.
The look-ahead lines have Kansas City laying as much as -10 in a divisional road game on a tight turnaround after Turkey Day. It’s not the best situation — even without a looming letdown and short week — with divisional road faves of -7.5 or higher going just 9-15 ATS since 2020.
The result of Monday’s Super Bowl match will have influence over where this spread goes as well as how ripe the Chiefs are for a letdown spot in Week 12.
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Look-Ahead Spot: New England Patriots at New York Giants (+3.5)
No team in the NFL has been bitten by the injury bug as badly as the New York Giants. They entered Week 11 with the depth chart as shallow as a puddle — especially on defense — and still came away with an upset win over Washington as 7.5-point road pups.
New York is home to the New England Patriots in Week 12 with a much-needed bye sitting on the other side of the Thanksgiving weekend. That sets up a potential look-ahead spot for a losing team just wanting to get some time away from the football field.
There’s also a healthy dose of letdown spot mixed into this Sunday’s homestand with New England. The Giants blew up a bunch of survivor pools and decimated parlays and teasers with their 31-19 upset in Washington.
The win not only made bookmakers very happy but it snapped a three-game slide for the G-Men. It was just New York’s third victory of the season and really got to sink in deep, considering FedEx Field didn’t have any hot water for postgame showers.
The look-ahead lines had New York as a 5.5-point home pup to the Patriots this Sunday, but the win over the Commanders trimmed this line to Pats -3.5.
That adjustment seems like a head-scratcher to me. New England is coming off the bye with two weeks of Bill Belichick planning for his old NFC foil and Big Blue is in a big bad situational squeeze.
Schedule Spot: Washington Commanders at Dallas Cowboys (-11)
OK, this isn’t a traditional “schedule spot” in terms of tricky travel or a bunch of road games in the short window (truth be told, there weren’t really any in Week 12).
This is the curse of the Texas Turkey.
The Dallas Cowboys have hosted a Thanksgiving Thursday game almost every season since 1966 but it’s the past dozen holiday showcases that concern us. Dallas is a dismal 1-11 ATS in the previous 12 Thanksgiving Day games, including a backbreaking bad beat in the 2022 contest.
America’s Team was giving 10.5 points to the Giants and a last-second touchdown from New York made the final 28-20 in a game thoroughly dominated by Dallas. This year, the Cowboys are catching a similar spread, laying 11 points vs. the Washington Commanders.
Maybe it’s the short week and the distraction of the holiday along with a puffed-up spread for one of the most public bet teams in sports. Whatever the reason, betting on Dallas on Thanksgiving has been like finding a fingernail in the stuffing. Yuck!
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