NFL Week 12 Picks: Our Best Bets for Thanksgiving

The Dallas Cowboys stand attended for the national anthem. Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP.

Thanksgiving Thursday serves up three stellar games for NFL bettors to sink their teeth into, and in this space, we preview all three matchups, weigh in on the NFL odds and serve up choice NFL picks to spot.

So, without too much preamble, let’s get started.

Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions

Thursday, November 25, 2021 – 12:30 PM EST at Ford Field

The Detroit Lions succumbed to yet another loss this week, losing to the Cleveland Browns 13-10. Backup quarterback Tim Boyle made the start for the Lions, but the result was more of the same and the beleaguered Lions slipped to a 0-9-1 record on the season.

The Chicago Bears lost to the Baltimore Ravens 16-13, marking their fifth straight loss as they slipped to a 3-7-0 record on the season. In the loss, a quarterback controversy was sparked yet again. Justin Fields left the game with bruised ribs late in the third quarter, opening the door for Andy Dalton in the second half to make his case to reclaim the starting job that he’d lost to the rookie earlier in the season. He didn’t waste his opportunity.

Dalton got the offense moving and put the Bears in the lead with 1:44 remaining on a 49-yard touchdown pass to Marquise Goodwin. However, the Bears defense let the side down. The defense collapsed in the final minute of the game, allowing the Ravens – led by backup Tyler Huntley – to storm back to clinch the victory.

Neither the Bears nor the Lions strike a convincing pose, but books have gone ahead and opened this game with the Bears tipped as the 3.5-point favorites on the road. While there is genuine uncertainty at the quarterback position and growing concern about the defense, which is missing key players such as Khalil Mack. Akiem Hicks and Eddie Jackson, bookmakers clearly consider the Lions to be in even worse shape than the Bears. And they’re probably not wrong.

The Lions have uncertainty at the quarterback position too. Jared Goff was sidelined with an oblique injury this Sunday, and it’s not yet certain if he’ll be healthy for this Thanksgiving Thursday’s NFC North showdown. If Boyle gets another start, it’s impossible to say whether he’ll take a step forward or backward as he’s a wildly unknown entity. That said, the Lions as a whole is just not a good team.

Given all the uncertainty surrounding this game, betting the moneyline and point spread holds little appeal. It’s a total tossup for NFL picks, even if the Bears look like the better bet because of the Lions’ inability to win games. Thus, the only bet that’s semi-tempting right now is the UNDER for the game total.

NFL Picks: UNDER 44.5 at Bet365

Las Vegas Raiders vs. Dallas Cowboys

Thursday, November 25, 2021 – 4:30 PM EST at AT&T Stadium

Both the Las Vegas Raiders and Dallas Cowboys are coming off losses in Week 11. The Raiders lost to the Bengals 32-13 at Allegiant Stadium while the Cowboys lost 19-9 to the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

What’s interesting about the Raiders and Cowboys, respectively, is that their offenses were lauded as the best in the league in the first half of the season. Derek Carr and Dak Prescott were littering the stats sheets and everyone was singing their praises as top candidates in the MVP race. In recent weeks, though, both Carr and Prescott have struggled, leading to some suspect offensive accounts in particular when faced with better opposition.

Top sportsbooks opened this game with the Cowboys tipped as the 7-point home chalk, but the line quickly dropped down to Cowboys -6.5 as early bettors grabbed the Raiders plus the points. Injuries to CeeBee Lamb and Ezekiel Elliot likely played a factor in this trend, along with the fact that Amari Cooper won’t be available for this Thursday showdown as he’s set to miss a second straight game due to testing positive for Covid-19.

Without downplaying those injuries, the Cowboys are in better shape than the Raiders are right now. The Raiders are in poor form and they can’t seem to buy a win no matter how hard they try. Since their week 8 bye, they’ve lost three in a row. With that kind of form, betting on the Raiders is a risky play.

NFL Picks: Cowboys -6.5 with DraftKings

Buffalo Bills vs. New Orleans Saints

Thursday, November 25, 2021, 8:20 PM ET at Caesars Superdome

The Buffalo Bills were literally blown off the field by the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday, losing 41-15 in front of a stunned crowd at Bills Stadium. It was the second embarrassing loss in the last three games after the Bills were upset by the Jaguars 9-6 in Week 9, but the reaction to this loss was one of bewilderment rather than anger. Josh Allen was fired up after the loss to the Jaguars. After losing to the Colts, though, he seemed somewhat stunned and at a loss to explain what happened.

The Colts outplayed and outmuscled the Bills in every facet of the game, but Allen’s two interceptions spotted the Colts 14 points which practically put the game away. Mitch Trubisky stepped in for Allen later in the game, and his performance wasn’t any better as he added another interception to help advance the Colts on the scoreboard.

The New Orleans Saints are coming off a similar blowout loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. Sean Payton’s side succumbed to its third straight loss, losing 40-29 to the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field Stadium. Trevor Siemien threw two interceptions to help the Eagles run away with the game.

The Saints started slow and were down in a big way early. Although they made things interesting towards the end, it was too little too late. Where Payton’s side goes from here is anybody’s guess, but things aren’t looking up right now.

Predictably, books opened this game with the Bills as the road favorites. The Bills have taken a couple of bad losses of late, but the overriding impression across markets is that they’re the better and more complete team right now. Siemien is doing what he can, but he’s limited as the Saints’ offensive pivot, not to mention the Saints are pretty banged up right now. So, with the likelihood of the Bills rebounding at the expense of the Saints greater than it is the other way around, the Bills are the choice NFL pick.

NFL Picks: Bills -4.5 (-110) with DraftKings