Thanksgiving Day in the NFL almost always begins in Detroit, but we’ll be happy since the ever-popular Buffalo Bills are in town (or should I say stay in town).
How should we bet on this competition? Is there value on both sides and what should we do with the high total of the game?
Buffalo Bills (-9.5) with the Detroit Lions
I wasn’t expecting that, but Buffalo is the opposite side at this point. You only get 40% of the bets and 43% of the money at this point.
The Bills – fresh from two losses and unable to cover against Cleveland in the same building last week – don’t quite have the same shine for bettors as they did at the start of the season.
Still, this is a great spot for the Bills if historical trends hold up. The first key trend? Road favorites on Thanksgiving have been 18-5 against the spread (ATS) since 2005. When road teams earn this status by having to travel in a short week, it’s usually for a good reason.
The second reason? There’s no reason to worry about a big number at Josh Allen. Allen is 11-2 straight and 7-4-2 ATS in career games as a double-digit favorite. He’s 3-1-1 ATS as a double-digit favorite this year.
Buffalo is able to crush it from an offensive standpoint. They are NumberFire’s 4th best offense, rivaling the worst scheduled defensive effort in our model. I wish Detroit the same success against numberFire’s sixth best overall defense, but I wouldn’t count on it.
While I would tend to fade the public with Bills -9.5 (-110)my favorite bet in this contest is actually Over 54.5 points (-108).
Buffalo’s offense against the Lions won’t come as a surprise, but I still think Detroit is scoring a lot against the Bills, who are down at least 20 points in four of their last five games. In addition, this game performs above average in both the combined situation-neutral pace and the combined pass rate.
Player props to aim
Josh Allen Over 323.5 passing and rushing yards (-114)
As mentioned, Allen is incredibly well set up for a monstrous day against the Lions’ defense. They’re the third-worst passing defense in our nERD rankings, and the reason this brace excelled beyond passing yards was because Detroit is also our overall worst rushing defense.
Remember, Allen (483 rushing yards) is still Buffalo’s leading rusher — albeit Devin Singletary is hot on his heels. I’d be more supportive of that line if Allen is doing a lot of damage to the ground at that point.
Our mean projections put Allen at 344.6 passing plus rushing yards, which erases that total by a solid amount.
Jamaal Williams for 55.5 rushing yards (-113)
Buffalo’s defense has really leaked in one area – the running game.
The Bills have yielded 0.06 rushing net expected points (NEP) per carry over the past five weeks, which ranks 17th in the NFL. It’s not a shortage, it’s just the path of least resistance.
Detroit will be happy to follow suit. They’re 10th in rush rate above expectations, and they’ve handed reign of their backfield to Jamaal Williams. He’s hit 19 carries per game over the past three weeks, which has translated into 68.0 yards per contest over that time.
A negative script here is concern and why that line is significantly lower than Williams’ recent average, but he should get his fair share of chances down the path of least resistance.