Home for the holiday? Bettors backing Cowboys, Steelers

NFL fans will have a warm-up game before diving into a pair of rivalry matchups with significant playoff implications on Thanksgiving Day.

Home teams already have the advantage on short weeks due to the quick turnaround and travel visiting teams have to contend with. That edge has been even more evident on Thanksgiving Day, with home teams going 31-13 (70 percent) against the spread on the holiday since 2003, according to BetMGM.

However, the sportsbook said it does not adjust its odds based off that data.

Thanksgiving Day games of varying importance

The Houston Texans (3-7) will play at the Detroit Lions (4-6) to kick off Thursday’s action in a game between teams jockeying for draft position. The Texans are favored by 2.5 points by BetMGM, which has set the over-under at 51.5 total points scored.

Andy Dalton
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Those teams are right in the mix with the Washington Football Team and the Dallas Cowboys, who are each 3-7. However, that puts them both just a half-game behind the Philadelphia Eagles in the woeful NFC East, with the winner in Dallas on Thursday at least temporarily taking over first place in the division.

The Cowboys are favored by 3.0 points at BetMGM with the over/under being offered at 45.5 points.

Reeling Ravens desperate in rivalry matchup

The final game of the day will pit the 6-4 Baltimore Ravens against the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Ravens have lost consecutive games to fall to third place in the AFC North and in a tie for seventh place in the conference. The betting favorite to win Super Bowl LV by some sportsbooks early in the season, Baltimore is now in a battle just to reach the postseason.

The Ravens have already lost at home to the Steelers (10-0) earlier this season, and are dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak that will leave them particularly shorthanded at running back. BetMGM is offering the Steelers at -4.0 with the over/under at 45.5 points.

Pittsburgh is now being offered at +550 by BetMGM to win the Super Bowl, behind only the Kansas City Chiefs (+300). The Steelers are also listed at +250 to win the AFC behind the Chiefs (+160). Meanwhile, the Ravens’ title odds have lengthened to +1800 and they are +900 to win the conference.

Lamar Jackson
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The book said the majority of the early bets have been on the Texans, Cowboys and Steelers to cover on Thursday.

“Favorites have performed well the past few seasons but there is no guarantee that they will continue to cover on Thanksgiving,” BetMGM sportsbook manager Matt Cosgriff said. “The sportsbook does not adjust lines for games based on these trends.”

–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)