2020 Fantasy Running Back Primer
Matthew Emmons/USA Today Sports

While many Americans will be preparing for Black Friday, perhaps just as many will be betting on the three NFL games on Thanksgiving. The Chicago Bears will be facing the winless Detroit Lions, the Raiders travel to Jerry World to take on the Dallas Cowboys, and the Buffalo Bills face the New Orleans Saints at the Superdome.

Some of you may be sick of the Lions playing on Thanksgiving, and it's understandable considering they have yet to win a game this season. And if you aren't a huge fan of your family at the dinner table, saying that you need to go watch the Lions game to avoid a conversation about what you're grateful for or politics isn't a great excuse. However, if you place a wager on the game, that's the only excuse you need.

Last week, by looking at the public betting trends, we nailed all three of our recommended bets, including a bonus bet. Monitoring public betting trends is one of the most pivotal tools used by professional handicappers to find the top wagers in the sports betting marketplace. Public betting trends allow you to track which teams the public is chasing and which teams professional gamblers are high on each and every week.

Whether you want to tail or fade the public, knowing the public betting trends (bet percentages and money percentages) is pivotal when determining which teams to back. So without further ado, let's take a look at the public betting trends for the three games on Thanksgiving.

Note: The lines and public betting trends are always changing so be sure to check out FantasySP for the latest odds and trends.

Thanksgiving Day Public Betting Trends

Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions (+3)

Although the Bears are just 1-4 against the spread in their last five games, they have won a whopping eight of their last nine games as the favorite. Meanwhile, Detroit is 0-13-1 straight up in their last 14 games as underdogs with an average defeat of 13.07 points.

The spread was originally 3.5 points but it dropped to 3 points with Justin Fields looking doubtful for the first game on Thanksgiving day. Andy Dalton will take over as the starter and he actually looked fairly good in Chicago's close loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 11. But the Bears aren't the only team that may be missing their starting quarterback. After missing Week 11 with an oblique injury, Tim Boyle will reportedly start for the Lions. Detroit is dealing with several other injuries outside of Goff on the offensive side of the ball. The Lions are now missing three starting offensive linemen and they don't have any noteworthy receivers. D'Andre Swift and T.J. Hockenson should see a ton of touches on Thursday. However, Chicago is dealing with many injuries of their own in addition to Fields. Allen Robinson is highly questionable with a hamstring injury, meaning Darnell Mooney will continue to be peppered with targets. Marquise Goodwin could also see more snaps if A-Rob is unable to suit up. Plus, a defense that looked pretty scary at the beginning of the season will be missing All-Pro pass rusher Khalil Mack, who is out for the season, and Akiem Nicks and Eddie Jackson may not be active on a short week after missing Week 11.

Both teams have underperformed this season but the Lions have been atrocious on Thanksgiving in recent years. Favorites playing on the road at Ford Field are 10-2 against the spread on Thanksgiving. Plus, the Bears have won six of their last seven games against Detroit, including two games on Thanksgiving.

A common strategy in sports betting is fading the public, which is exactly what I'd recommend in this clash between two terrible teams. Although 92% of the money line bets are on the Lions, I expect the Bears to win this game fairly comfortably now that David Montgomery is at full strength. And I actually think Chicago might be better with Dalton under center. And even though 72% of the money on the spread favors Detroit, I just can't imagine Tim Boyle keeping this game within a field goal. This is the ideal spot to make a contrarian wager.

Pick(s): Bears ML and Bears (-3)

Prediction: 23-14 Bears

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Las Vegas Raiders at Dallas Cowboys (-7)

Dallas is coming off their worst performance of the season after getting absolutely shut down by the Kansas City Chiefs. However, Dallas is 8-2 against the spread this season, 6-1 against the spread in it's last seven home games, and the Raiders have lost all three games this season against teams with winning records by an average deficit of 17.67 points. After starting the season 5-2, the Raiders have lost three consecutive games and have not looked good at all during that span. They were upset by a 3-7 Giants team, were manhandled to the tune of 41-14 against the Chiefs, and most recently lost 32-13 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Vegas has only scored 43 points over that three-game span. The Raiders offense just doesn't look very good and Derek Carr has really struggled to get tight end Darren Waller involved.

Although the Cowboys will be without Amari Cooper for the second consecutive week, CeeDee Lamb is on track to play after exiting the Cowboys' Week 11 loss to the Chiefs with a concussion.

https://twitter.com/jonmachota/status/1463543514025844744

This looks like a bounce-back game for Dak Prescott and the Cowboys' offense. The Raiders are tied with the Jaguars with the seventh-most points allowed per game this season (26.2 points). Although the Bears-Lions game will most likely be a low-scoring affair, I'm expecting tons of points in this matchup. Despite just 52% of bets being placed on the over, 63% of the money wagered is on this game eclipsing the 51.5-point total. The "smart money" is on the over in this game. Not only are Prescott and Lamb going to dominate the Raiders' secondary, but Ezekiel Elliott is going to have a massive game against a Raiders front seven that allows over 100 rushing yards and 1.2 touchdowns per game to opposing running backs, equaling the seventh-most fantasy points allowed per game to running backs.

Some bettors might be a bit reluctant to lay the seven points with the Cowboys, but I'm expecting a high-scoring blowout on Thanksgiving.

Pick(s): Over 51.5 points and Cowboys (-7)

Prediction: 34-20 Cowboys

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Buffalo Bills at New Orleans Saints (+6)

Recent trends suggest that the Saints are going to cover the spread in this game. The Bills are just 1-3-1 against the spread in their last five contests while New Orleans is 9-1-1 against the spread in their last 11 games as the underdog. Not to mention, the Saints have won five consecutive games against Buffalo by an average of 21 points and they have covered the spread in each of those matchups.

Although 68% of bets on the spread are backing the Bills, 52% of the money is backing New Orleans. While I expect the Bills to narrowly escape with a victory, I think the Saints will play this game down to the wire, especially with Alvin Kamara expected to be back in the lineup.

Buffalo has been incredibly unpredictable this season. They have terrible losses to the Jacksonville Jaguars and Indianapolis Colts, but they have also put up some huge point totals in other contests. Buffalo has lost three of their last five games and Josh Allen has thrown six interceptions during that span. It's hard to know which Bills team will show up on Thanksgiving. I don't think that Allen and the Bills will struggle as they did last week, but this won't be an easy task against one of the elite defenses in the NFL. The Saints allow the 10th-fewest points and 10th-fewest yards per game this season. Meanwhile, the Bills allow the fewest yards per game and the second-fewest points per game. This game has the under written all over it, especially since despite only 34% of bets being placed on the under, 54% of the money is anticipating this game to not exceed the 45.5-point total. Don't forget that Thanksgiving night games have gone under in 10-of-14 seasons, including six straight. I expect this to be a defensive battle, with the Bills winning on a last-second field goal, failing to cover the spread.

Pick(s): Under 45.5 points and Saints (+6)

Prediction: 20-17 Bills

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Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

After three consecutive victories, the Golden State Warriors conceded Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals to the Dallas Mavericks. In Game 5, the Warriors will look to close out Luka Doncic and the Mavs in front of the home crowd. As a team, the Warriors were efficient from the field, converting 48.8% of their shots taken. One of the main reasons Golden State lost was a result of poor free-throw shooting. The Warriors missed nine of their 27 free throws on Tuesday night (65.4 FT%). In comparison, the Mavericks were full-throttle in Game 4 facing elimination. Dallas’ Reggie Bullock (18 PTS) and Dorian Finney Smith (23 PTS) combined for 42 points, adding to Luka’s 30.

Ultimately, no team has ever come back from a 3-0 lead in the playoffs, meaning that the Warriors will almost certainly be heading back to the NBA Finals. Let’s take a look at what the best bets are for tonight’s Game 5.

Please note that all odds and lines are from FanDuel Sportsbook and were accurate at 2:00 PM EST. Be sure to check for line movement or odd changes.

Best Bets of the Night

Game: Dallas Mavericks at Golden State Warriors -6.5 (GSW Leads 3-1)

Bet #1: Dallas Mavericks, +6.5 (-110)

We like Dallas to keep it close. Perhaps Dallas has a 10-point lead going into the third quarter which the Warriors could then overtake in the second half. Regardless of the scenario, the Mavericks won against a Warriors team that still put up 109 points in Game 4 on close to 50% shooting from the field. Dallas shot above 50% from the field in Game 4 and took many shots to get there just like they did in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semis against the Phoenix Suns. Even Jalen Brunson said in the post-game interview with the guys from Inside the NBA that his team needs to "take it one game at a time (...) like four Game 7s."

While the Warriors are in it to win it tonight, the Mavericks seem to perform best when facing elimination this 2022 postseason. While they might lose tonight, the Mavericks seem to play well under pressure. As a result, take them +7 tonight as the Warriors will have a bigger challenge on their hands than they anticipate.

Bet #2: Over 215.5 Total Points (-110)

In two of the series’ four games, both teams combined for at least 220 points. In Game 2, 243 points were scored while in Game 4, there were 228 points tallied. The Mavericks shoot more when facing elimination. This has been a trend we have seen throughout the postseason. In Game 7 of the Western Conference Semis, the Mavericks scored 123 points while in Game 4 against the Warriors on Tuesday, Dallas scored 119 points. Not much more needs to be said about the Warriors’ high-power offense that will likely outscore Dallas regardless of how many points they get on the board.

NBA Player Props of the Night

Game: Dallas Mavericks at Golden State Warriors -6.5 (GSW Leads 3-1)

Prop #1: Dorian Finney-Smith Over 11.5 Points

Dorian Finney-Smith erupted for 23 points in Game 4 to help the Mavericks rally past the Warriors. Throughout the 2022 playoffs, he’s averaged 11.6 PPG shooting 46.5% from the field. He’s also seeing 38.2 minutes per contest this postseason. Expect Finney-Smith to score at least 12 points tonight after his 23-points in Game 4.

Prop #2: Klay Thompson Over 18.5 Points

Klay Thompson was held to 12 points scored in Game 4. Despite going 5-of-10 from the field, Klay was limited by Dallas on defense in 28 minutes on the floor on Tuesday night. He should definitely be taking more shots tonight and perform better overall being back home for a Game 5. Thompson should easily hit at least 20+ points tonight, and take a handful more shots from the field in this contest than in Tuesday’s.

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Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

Tom Pennington, Getty Images

In Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Bam Adebayo's 31-point and 10-rebound double-double led the Miami Heat to a 109-103 victory over the Celtics on the road. That was followed by a dominant second-half performance by Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins who led the Warriors to a 3-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals.

Tonight, we'll get the first of these two matchups. Boston will look to come back in their second home game against a Heat team that is clearly not at 100% healthy. Tyler Herro has been ruled out for Game 4 while Kyle Lowry remains questionable. Here are some of the best bets for tonight's and tomorrow's big Game 4s.

Please note that all odds and lines are from FanDuel Sportsbook and were accurate at 3:30 PM EST. Be sure to check for line movement or odd changes.

ECF Game 4: Miami Heat at Boston Celtics -7 (MIA Leads 2-1)

In Game 4, the Celtics rallied back from double-digits to make things interesting in the fourth quarter. However, Boston conceded Game 3 to the Miami Heat 109-103. On Sunday, Bam Adebayo was getting everything he wanted down low. He finished with 31 points, 10 boards, six assists, four steals, and one block. Ime Udoka will need to boost the presence of his big men down low, perhaps by extending Daniel Theis’ minutes or having him share the floor more with Al Horford. The major reason for which the Heat are considered the seven-point underdogs for tonight’s game is injuries. Tyler Herro has already been ruled out for Game 4, and the Heat have four or five other players in their lineup currently listed as questionable. This includes Max Struss, Kyle Lowry, Jimmy Butler, and P.J. Tucker. Butler is dealing with knee inflammation which sidelined him for the second half of Game 3.

Even if all of the players in the Heat’s rotation are good to go tonight (outside of Herro), Boston has not lost back-to-back home games since late October. Plus, Jaylen Brown is shooting much better than he did earlier in the postseason. In fact, he’s elevated his shooting to 50% from the field through the 2021-22 playoffs through 14 games played. Expect Boston to bounce back big in Game 4, with multiple players on the Miami Heat not at full strength.

The Pick: Boston Celtics -7 (-110)

WCF Game 4: Golden State Warriors at Dallas Mavericks -1 (GSW Leads 3-0)

Well, it’s looking like the Golden State Warriors are returning to the NBA Finals. With the emergence of Jordan Poole late this season and into the postseason, Andrew Wiggins’ First-Team All-Star season, and Klay Thompson’s return to basketball, Golden State has been simply phenomenal. Golden State is simply that good this year, with anyone on the team capable of stepping up. Stephen Curry erupted in Game 3, while it was Andrew Wiggins that caught fire in the second half of Game 4. Any given night, the Warriors have one or two guys who they can count on for scoring approximately 25+ points. Considering the Mavericks' struggles this round, particularly behind the three-point line, bettors should go with the Warriors as the slight underdog. Teams get swept sometimes. Just ask the Brooklyn Nets. The Warriors will bring out the brooms and sweep the Mavericks as they punch their ticket to the NBA Finals Tuesday night.

The Pick: Golden State Warriors ML -104

NBA Player Props

Golden State Warriors at Dallas Mavericks -1 (GSW Leads 3-0)

Prop #1: Stephen Curry, Over 27.5 Points

Stephen Curry has scored 31 points and 32 points over the last two games. He’s done so by converting at least 50% from the field in each contest. It makes sense that he would score at least 28 points in a series-clinching victory tomorrow night. Curry is averaging 27.1 PPG on 45.9% this postseason but has certainly put up more points and done so more efficiently over the last few games.

Prop #2: Luka Doncic, Over 3.5 Threes

Luka has drained nine three-pointers over the last two games. He’s knocked down at least four threes in three of his last four contests. Facing elimination and hoping to not let down the home crowd in back-to-back home playoff games, Doncic will convert at least four baskets from downtown in Game 4.

Tyler Herro (Left), Bam Adebayo (Right), Miami Heat

Getty Images

Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, Bam Adebayo, and the Miami Heat held their own against the Celtics in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Likewise, Andrew Wiggins and Stephen Curry led the Warriors to a 112-87 blowout over Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks. Tonight, the Celtics play their second game on the road against the Heat. On Friday night, the Mavericks will look to bounce back after shooting horrifically in Game 1.

Let’s take a look at the best bets for the two NBA Conference Final Game 2 matchups set for 8:30 PM EST. tonight and 9:00 PM EST. tomorrow night.

Please note that all odds and lines are from FanDuel Sportsbook and were accurate at 4:30 PM EST. Be sure to check for line movement or odd changes.

Best Bets of the Night

Game: Boston Celtics at Miami Heat -2 (MIA Leads 1-0)

After a nail-biting series with the Milwaukee Bucks that the Celtics won in grandiose fashion, Boston conceded Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals to the Miami Heat. Tonight, they play Game 2 of the series at the FTX Arena and hope to bounce back from Tuesday’s 11-point loss. One of the principal reasons for their defeat in Game 1 was the absence of Marcus Smart (foot sprain) and Al Horford (health & safety protocols). It remained a relatively close game until the third quarter in which the Celtics were outscored 14-3 to begin the second half. Derrick White filled in for Marcus Smart and was terribly inefficient from the field. He scored three points (1-4 FG) and had four assists in 29 minutes filling in for the Defensive Player of the Year. In contrast, Max Struss and Gabe Vincent did a terrific job of filling in for Kyle Lowry, combining for 28 points on 9-of-19 shooting. In addition, Tyler Herro had a good night with a pivotal 18 points (7-15 FG) off the bench. Fortunately for the Celtics, both Smart and Horford are expected to return tonight.

Head Coach Ime Udoka indicated to reporters today that Smart was probable to play this evening. Horford was cleared of health and safety protocols today making him available for tonight’s contest. For those of you who have watched the Celtics this postseason, Horford and Smart have upped their play and have been absolutely integral to the team’s success. Tonight, let’s take the Boston Celtics to take a game on the road in the same fashion that they took two road games from the Bucks in the last series.

The Pick: Boston Celtics ML +108

Tonight's Best NBA Player Props

Game: Boston Celtics at Miami Heat -2 (MIA Leads 1-0)

Prop#1: Gabe Vincent Over 9.5 Points
In Game 1 without Kyle Lowry, Gabe Vincent scored 17 points in 34 minutes on 50% shooting from the field. As Kyle Lowry is out again for Game 2 tonight, expect Vincent to score at least 10 points. Vincent has performed admirably while filling in for the veteran. Even when Lowry returns, it's quite possible that Erik Spoelstra will give some of Lowry's minutes to Vincent.
Prop#2: Al Horford Over 9.5 Points
After five straight double-digit scoring performances, Al Horford scored eight points or fewer in the last three games of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Bucks. He missed Game 1 of the Celtics' series against the Miami Heat after entering Health & Safety protocols. Since he was only out for one game, he shouldn't face any minute restrictions tonight. Horford should score at least 10 points in 30+ minutes on the floor.

Tomorrow Night's Best NBA Bet

Game: Dallas Mavericks at Golden State -6 (GSW Leads 1-0)

Dallas was annihilated by Golden State in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. This comes after the Mavs blew out the Phoenix Suns on the road in impressive fashion, punching their ticket to the next round of the playoffs for a series against the Warriors. Golden State shot an impressive 56.1% from the field in the opening game and finished with 112 points. Just as important as the offensive production, Golden State clamped down on defense. The Warriors contained Luka Doncic, who converted just six of his 18 field goals on his way to 20 points. Andrew Wiggins did an excellent job guarding the young playmaker. Luka's teammates didn't help out much either as the Mavericks shot 36% from the field in Game 1, and 22.9% from downtown (11-48 3PT FG) for just 87 points on the night.

While I think the Warriors will win again on Friday night, expect the Mavericks to keep things more interesting after such an abysmal night shooting from the field. Dallas will make the adjustments needed to make this a competitive Game 2 in the Bay area.

The Pick: Dallas Mavericks +6 (-110)

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